More action and satisfying character moments are marred by inconsistent art
Battle of the Atom has been a thrill ride with a band of mutants from the future coming to the present to usher the original X-Men back to the past. After Jean and Scott fled in Uncanny X-Men 12, all the teams come together to fight to decide who stays and who goes while Magik's jaunt takes a turn for the bizarre.
Jason Aaron's script works very well in conjunction with the ongoing narrative we've previously seen from Brian Michael Bendis. The characters are believable in their motivations, the conversations are funny, honest, and sometimes deadly serious. It's great to hear the different versions of the characters talking and acting consistently and behaving true to their motivations.
This issue not only delivers the action we've all been waiting to see from the series, but serious ramifications for the continuing course of the crossover. The cliffhanger ending will leave you excited to pick up the next issue in the story and increasingly confused (in a good way) about who can truly be trusted.
Unfortunately, Giuseppe Camuncoli's art is inconsistent in this issue. Despite solid color work, some of the battle scenes are awkwardly drawn and the framing of the action gets muddled by poor composition and an abundance of thought & word balloons that impair the storytelling. This is doubly disappointing since the pacing of the story and the pitched battle in the physical and psychic planes are some of the most anticipated confrontations we've been waiting to see. In an issue that would have otherwise been a huge turning point, this one feels like it could have been more.
This issue has fabulous character moments where team members you thought were sidelined get a new hook to follow. The dialogue is smart and the consequences for character decisions will be felt in issues to come. If you are just jumping into the crossover, this may not be the best place, but if you've been following along, this issue delivers for faithful readers, despite the inconsistent art.