I’ve said this before and it bears repeating, Battle of the Atom is my favorite comic book event of the year so far. That aside, I have nothing but mixed feelings about X-Men # 5’s chapter in the series.
Let’s start with the story. The last issue in the Battle of the Atom event was nothing short of spectacular. Brian Bendis took us through one hell of a roller coaster ride through time and introduced us to a different set of future X-Men. In this issue, Brian Wood’s continuation of where All New X-Men left off was great from a high level. After reading this issue I am completely left pining for the next issue in the series. However, actually reading this issue was harder than it should have been, which is odd.
Ever since this new iteration of the X-Men book began, there was just something oddly off about it. It was hard to put my finger exactly on what it was. The art was fantastic, the story was great, but each time I sat down and read the book, I found the dialogue difficult to read. This is odd considering how great a writer Brian Wood is; I am a huge fan of his current Star Wars run with Dark Horse. Here, though, the dialogue seems stiff and rigid. I find this easier to see coming right off of reading Bendis’ work in All New X-Men.
The art in this book shows the same amount of unevenness as the dialogue. David Lopez’s pencils are brilliant in some pages while being lackluster in others. Sometimes this happens in the same panel. One example of this is early on in the book where we have a relatively large panel full of X-Men. The first thing I noticed was how half of the faces on these characters are absent, leaving me staring at blank faces more similar to Slender Man than anything else.
All negatives aside, this is a great story. Once I put the book down and things began to sink in, I grew more and more satisfied with where this issue left us. Unfortunately the process of reading through this issue was way harder than I would have liked.