Collects: X-Men: Battle of the Atom 1-2, All-New X-Men 16-17, X-Men 5-6, Uncanny X-Men 12-13, & Wolverine & the X-Men 36-37

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Wood, Jason Aaron
Artists: Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen, David López, Esad Ripid,Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrew Currie, Tom Palmer, Chris Bachalo

Ah, crossovers! The bane of my superhero reading! Or they used to be before Marvel Unlimited. Now, they’re easier to read, as long as each comic is part of MU.

Battle of the Atom is a time travel mini-series featuring X-Men past, present, and future. In the end, there’s a lot of X-Men fighting other X-Men and that seem to be largely the point.

The original five X-Men have been brought to the present and they’re at the center of the conflict: if they should go back or stay. So far, the five have stayed and even split: Jean, Scott, Hank, and Bobby stay at the Jean Grey school under the tutelage of Kitty Pryde while Warren has joined Scott’s, er, the present Scott’s small band of rebels. Then, a group of X-Men from the future appear at the school and claim that the five have to return to the past or something terrible will happen.
The future group has some familiar and startling people: Xorn (who killed the original Jean Grey), Kate Pryde apparently from the Days of the Future Past future, Bobby as a huge ice monster, old Hank, and Xavier’s grandson.

Yes, we have no less than three Beasts and three Icemans at the same time in this story. If time travel and multiple same characters don’t make your head hurt, this can be fun. I loved the glimpses to the possible future and enjoyed the interaction between the various Hanks and Bobbys. Jubilee also had some very good moments. My problem was that it has far, far too many characters who don’t have much to do. Storm, Rogue, and Psylocke are some of my favorites and they mostly stand in the background but apparently have to be here for some reason. In fact, when I first read the few X-Men issues I didn’t have MU and no access to the rest of the story. In issue 8, after this cross-over, there was some mention that Rogue had left the team because of this event and I assumed she had a big role. Nope. She apparently died in Uncanny Avengers. And was resurrected. (Whew! Ever since Kurt died and was left dead, I sometimes worry about my other favorites.)