Well, it was bound to happen; with the exception of one or two panels, “Uncanny X-Men” #13 is the first all-filler issue of “Battle of the Atom.” That’s not to say it’s a complete wash, but Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo seem to have drawn the short straw on which part of the group-plotted crossover landed on their doorstep.
With the X-Men teams of the various eras all coming together, most of “Uncanny X-Men” #13 is little more than small fight scenes between a handful of members. As she’s one of the main characters of “Uncanny X-Men” when it isn’t in a crossover, it was nice that Magik ended up in a lot of those scenes. Bendis gets in some fun dialogue for readers whenever she’s around, and it’s a nice distraction from the fact that almost nothing happens here.
Part of the problem with that, though, is that Bendis seems more interested in using the fates of characters in the far future as the selling point of “Uncanny X-Men” #13. And while it may come across as a bit jaded, I don’t think that most readers will buy for an instant that the majority of this will come to pass. We’ve seen so many different possible futures of the X-Men over the years that the initial reaction for most readers will probably be something along the lines of, “This won’t stick around into the next creative team’s plans.” While we can get a lot of hints about what’s in store for Magik down the line, the chances of seeing most of them play out are slim-to-none.
Once you strip all of that away, what’s left? There’s a big surprise about the status of the original X-Men, but it’s near the end of the issue and we’ve barely learned about it before the comic comes to an end. There’s the art, of course. Bachalo’s pencils look good — even with five different inkers leaping in to tackle it — although occasionally things are a little hard to follow (like the initial attack on the X-Men outside of the school) and seem a little cramped and jumbled. But it’s certainly the high point of the comic, because otherwise there’s barely any progression whatsoever. As nice as it is to see Bachalo’s way of drawing Cyclops’s current outfit and powers, that’s not enough to chalk up this comic in the “great” column.
Ultimately, there’s just very little substance to “Uncanny X-Men” #13, and it feels like this crossover could have stood to shed a part or two. Bendis and Bachalo do their best to put a nice spit-shine on this segment of “Battle of the Atom,” but in the end, I feel like they were dealt a dud hand. Overall I’ve enjoyed the crossover, but this one just fell a little flat.