Comic Reviews: X-Men: Battle of the Atom and Damien, Son of Batman!
(Relatively Spoiler free)
With Battle of the Atom #2, the X-Men’s latest crossover has reached its end, and of course, nothing will ever be the same! ……Until the next one.
Seriously though, as far as events go, “Battle of the Atom” has been great, and one of the best X-events of the past decade. I was a little apprehensive that Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, and the other members of the X-Men writing stable wouldn’t be able to stick the landing, but I’m pleased to report that they do a great job wrapping up the main story and teasing what’s to come.
The X-Men of past, present, and future have all come to battle the Brotherhood of Mutants from the future, and what follows is a tremendous battle that ranks as one of the mutant team’s best. There are some causalities (all are future X-Men), and while the battle doesn’t end quite like I wanted it to, I still found it satisfying.
Fun fact: while Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho are credited on the cover, neither one of them wrote or drew the main story for Battle of the Atom #2. The Wolverine and the X-Men scribe Jason Aaron is actually the man behind the words in this installment. A rotating cast of artists, which primarily features Esad Ribic and Giuseppe Camuncoli, handles the art. Ribic and Camuncoli’s depiction of the final battle is truly jaw dropping, and filled with fantastic moments that will make you glad that you purchased this book. My only complaint is that the switch between artists isn’t quite as smooth as it should be.
The other creative teams behind the X-books all each get an epilogue that teases what piece of the fallout from “Battle of the Atom” they’ll be covering. So instead of having to get all of the X-Men books to find out what the mutants do now, you can choose the book that will have the plot point that interests you the most.
“Battle of the Atom” didn’t really change things all that much in X-Men universe, but it kept me guessing. As far as Marvel events go, “Battle of the Atom” delivered an entertaining story and has me intrigued about things to come for Marvel’s mutants. For the first time in a very long time X-Men fans can give their friends a recent story to read that doesn’t require a ton of continuity knowledge to enjoy.
I had high hopes for Damian, Son of Batman, and after reading it, I feel my hopes may have been too high. Written and drawn by Andy Kubert, the book is a possible alternate reality/future tale of Damian’s journey to becoming the Batman we saw in Grant Morrison’s Batman #666. It’s well known that I love Damian and have been anxiously awaiting anything else starring him after his death last April. Unfortunately, not even my love for the character can make this book a “must buy”.
There are a lot of things that made me scratch my head in this issue. Sure, the scene where Damian is going after Gotham criminals who claim to have killed the Batman was awesome. However, him tracking them by reading their blog posts? Not so much. The way Batman is killed in this issue is strange, and happens in an extremely out of character way. Even the back-story for Damian, which is pretty well tread ground by now, comes off in a strange and convoluted way under Kubert’s watch.
Grant Morrison wrote Damian phenomenally, and Peter J Thomasi made him an even stronger character, so when I heard Kubert was going to write this series as well as draw it, I was a little hesitant. After his turn writing the Joker one shot for Villains Month last month, I still wasn’t sure if Kubert had the chops to take on a four issue mini series, and it looks like I was right. His Damian is missing the bratty charm that Morrison and Thomasi gave him, and feels like a pale imitation of the Robin that died back in April.
Even Kubert’s art isn’t up to snuff. Andy Kubert is one of DC’s top tier artists, but there are some pages here that look just plain weird. Much of it is great, but the opening page with Damian reacting to a crime scene he’s investigating with Batman has one of the strangest facial expressions I’ve ever seen in a comic book. When your opening page has me saying “ugh”, that’s not a good sign.
I had a lot of hope for Damian, and while they were not met with this issue, I’m still giving the book another shot. Hopefully it’ll turn around next month, but right now I’m getting a strong Batman: Odyssey vibe from this book, and that is not a good thing. Hopefully issue two is a lot stronger, because Damian deserves better.