With the Hellfire Saga coming to a closen in the last issue, we’re now ready to enter the ‘Battle of the Atom’ crossover event between the X-Titles. In ‘Uncanny X-Men’ #12 we were promised an epic battle between The White Queen and The Black Queen.

Does the current chapter deliver on this promise? Well yes and no. With an event that started off so strong, I was convinced this was the best crossover of the year, let alone the best X-Men event of the year. I may be forced to choke back my own words.

Let’s explore the issue and see what they did right and what they did oh so wrong. Usually you get a choice when people say do you want the good news or the bad news first. I’m going to deliver the bad news up front because while it takes away from the issue, it doesn’t ruin it.

So what was the problem? Well, the last issue really felt like they were hyping up the fight of the century between Emma and Jean. I could just imagine a sports announcer starting off “and in this corner….”

Alas, while the psychic showdown lasted nearly the entire issue, I don’t think it was portrayed all that well. To start with, we see Young Jean, Emma Frost, AND the Cuckoos all fighting old Jean. She pretty much takes them all out, except for her younger self, with no real issues. However, the fight was illustrated quite horribly. If they could have delved more into that, it may have been interesting but most of the fight seemed to be background to get us to the younger and older Jean facing off.

Somehow after all this, the younger Jean is able to win this duel and see into her older self’s mind and the horrible future that is coming. Without telling us what she sees, Jean is now convinced that the young X-Men have to go back to their own timeline. How convenient.

So a bit easy on wrapping part of the story up, but there’s still quite a bit going on in this issue past that. That’s where we get to the good stuff!

There’s 3 key points to focus on here and the one that I am most happy about is that we don’t have another 10 pages of various factions of X-Men debating on what we should be doing with the younger X-Men. It’s not even really a factor in this issue and that’s a nice change of pace.

So with both of the Jeans in agreement on what has to happen, the rest of the X-Men fall in line behind the words of their favorite redhead. It’s not until Beast and Bobby are forced into the future by Magik that we see a twist. All of the sudden, they are in a perfect looking Jean Grey school that appears to be a Utopia and are introduced to the X-Men! But they are not at all the X-Men they were just talking to. They see someone in Iron Man armor, a Phoenix powered Quentin, Colossus with a flaming sword on his back, another Ice Man looking person, someone who looks related to Cloak, and 2 other mutants I couldn’t identify too well (one looks like a cross between Psylocke and Jubilee with Wolverine’s claws that are glowing.)

So after an issue that was kind of slow, this one ended on a huge twist that has fully drawn my interest back in! If it had all been about the ending, ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ #36 would be getting a perfect score. Unfortunately the psychic battle just didn’t play out well on page for me.


Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli