Since AvX ended, the main point of the X-Men world has been the arrival of the teenage versions of the original team in the present in what has to be one of the worst decisions in the X-Men mythos. Worse than “let’s let the world believe us to be dead”. In an attempt to make Cyclops realize how far he’s strayed, Beast pulls out not the family albums or videos, but rather himself and his teammates from the past. The effort does not impress Cyclops at all, but for whatever reason when the kids decide to stick around in the present, no one really flags this as a bad idea.
Battle of the Atom is the story that gets around to addressing how awful an idea this whole thing is…well, actually it starts to, then quickly shoots off into time travel shenanigans, gratuitous fighting, trickery and shenanigans, then a HUGE BIG DEAL at the end that pretty much comes out of left field to make sure at least SOMETHING happens to justify the ten issue crossover.
In the sake of big, stupid fun, it’s perfectly acceptable. There’s running around, happy moments, sad moments, and OMG reveals galore. But in the sake of a bigger narrative, a storyline direction and characters making rational decisions and coming with ends/means life-altering decisions? Not so much.
I’ll get into the deal after the jump. Here’s hoping you’ve read it, because there will be SPOILERS WITHIN.
One of my biggest problems with the whole All-New X-Men plot of pulling the original X-Men to the future is the question of what happens if one of them dies in the present? That gets answered immediately when Cyclops gets blasted by a Sentinel and nearly dies before Triage hops in and saves him. In that span, adult Cyclops popped out of existence and all reality started getting all-fuzzy like. And thus everyone FINALLY realizes that the kids should get the hell out before something bad happens.
But let’s pause for a second. Granted, time travel is a sketchy subject in any fictional medium, since the question of potential paradoxes always hits, and thus everyone lives in fear of what Doc Brown warned Marty McFly about in 2015 Hill Valley. But then again, established Marvel continuity would argue against that. Remember the Age of Apocalypse? The original story ended with Bishop successfully travelling back in time and stopping the death of Charles Xavier, thus negating the AoA and reestablishing the standard Marvel U. This was whammy-ed away when Marvel decided it actually WANTED the AoA around, so thus it was established that the AoA was just a parallel universe, and shut up about the whole time travel thing.
So what happens if a teenage Cyclops comes up from the past and dies in the present? Does that negate the common reality, shift it, or simply leave it in a standard where Cyclops lived his whole life before seeing himself as a teenager die? After all, Cyclops lived his whole life without that happening, so thus would this just be a thing that space/time would just shrug and go on with?
Go ahead and tell me that’s not possible. I’ll tell you that shooting lasers out of your eyes isn’t possible.
So let’s go with the reality set at the start of the story in which reality got fuzzy for a second while Cyke was dead. That in itself didn’t really work since after all, space/time should have realized that Triage was right there and could heal him. Why would Cyclops vanish then reappear in the meantime? Time travel will make you go cross-eyed thinking about it.
So whatever. We establish the kids need to go home, and everyone agrees. Well, except for Jean Grey, who doesn’t want to go home and is determined to hold her breath until she gets her way. So a bunch of future X-Men show up and tell them that it’s really, really important that the kids do indeed go home. And now that EVERYONE is now on the same page, Jean just runs away.
The issue becomes whether the future X-Men are telling the truth (they’re not) and whether the teenage X-Men should be forced into doing something they don’t want to do. Now this isn’t like a matter of a dad making his of-age son take over the family hardware store rather than following his dreams of becoming a vaudeville performer. This is a matter of staying in a time you don’t belong in and endangering all of reality in the process or simply going home and trying to make a difference then.
And since the plot makes no good reason that the kids should stay, they then toss in something that says they HAVE to stay, and bye-bye plot. So since there’s still another issue and a half to kill, everyone fights the future X-Men and then we shift the status quo up in the epilogue since it is a cross-over event, after all. The big point is that Kitty Pryde feels betrayed that none of the X-Men went along with her argument (reality be damned) and so she feels like she can NEVER EVER trust them again, and jumps over to Team Cyclops, along with the teenage X-Men.
This decision really comes out of left field, and really doesn’t make Kitty look like a sympathetic character. After all, she is abandoning her position atop a school with dozens of mutant students for a handful of kids whose presence she’s wrong about anyway. But of course, if there’s one thing the X-Men have always excelled at, it’s abandoning their students. Just ask the New Mutants. Or Generation X. Or the New X-Men. Or Cyclops’s kids on Utopia. Or the Five Lights. Or now Kitty’s students. Hell, the Wolverine school is probably going to be largely ignored when Wolverine and the X-Men wraps next month.
Apparently Marvel will be dealing with a problem with its space/time continuum, and to me that screams the possibility of “fixing continuity” here and there, and in all honesty its not a concept I would be opposed to. The New 52 in DC has actually gone pretty well thus far.
But this in itself? Fun romp. Not so strong of a story.