BATTLE OF THE ATOM: Future X-MEN Cross Over Into the Present


Last November, All-New X-Men brought the X-Men of the past into the present. Proving that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, this fall, a new X-book crossover will take the natural next step, and bring the X-Men of the future into the present — in an effort to send the X-Men of the past back to their time by any means necessary, due to a currently unrevealed (yet clearly fateful) screw-up.

First announced during Marvel's X-Men panel Sunday at C2E2 in Chicago, "Battle of the Atom" is a 10-part crossover running through the X-books written by Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron and Brian Wood in September and October. The story starts with X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 by Bendis and Frank Cho, and then runs through issues #12 and #13 of Uncanny, All-New #16 and #17, Wolverine and the X-Men #36 and #37, issues #5 and #6 of the soon-to-debut new volume of the Wood-written X-Men, and final installment X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2.


"X-Men is a lot about legacy, and where are we going and what are we getting, so this is the perfect story to examine all of that," Bendis told Newsarama. "And it is in a weird way the flipside of All-New X-Men — instead of the past coming to the present, it’s the future coming to the present. And now certain characters are going to be faced with their past, present and future all at once."

Those future X-Men were designed by legendary illustrator Arthur Adams, and based on sketches released by Marvel, include a Wolverine offspring with (potentially) blue skin and red hair, a female Xorn, an Ice Hulk and/or Thing, Deadpool in some shape or form, someone resembling Professor X, Old Beast and an adult version of Molly Hayes from Runaways.


"Some X-Men of today are going to be surprised by who they hooked up with, and had babies with," Bendis said. "Some people who aren’t even romantically linked right now end up having children. That’s going to be hard to walk away from."

Aaron said to Newsarama that the future X-Men will be led by the older Kitty Pryde from the classic "Days of Future Past" storyline — which, of course, serves as major inspiration for Bryan Singer's 2014 film of the same name. "Battle of the Atom" is also intended as a celebration of the X-Men's 50th anniversary; Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's X-Men #1 debuted in September 1963.

"This story will have a lot of touchstones that X-fans will recognize — little moments, little references, locations, characters in here that hearken back to a lot of different eras of X-Men history," said Aaron, who Bendis credits for originally conceiving of the story. 'This is a celebration of 50 years’ worth of X-Men stories. We’re just trying to cram in as much as we can."


To that end, the story will include "pretty much all the main X-Men characters," according to Aaron, writer of Wolverine and the X-Men, the longest-running of the four books participating in the crossover.

"This will be the first time we’ve seen Wolverine’s side and Cyclops’ side thrown together in one big story in such a huge way since Schism," Aaron said. "There’s a lot going on here. Three X-Men writers. For me, I’m just thrilled to be a part of this. It’s a big honor to be in the X-Men universe on this anniversary."


"Battle of the Atom" will be the first traditional crossover within the X-Men titles since 2010's "Second Coming," though it's something of a hallmark of the franchise, dating back to 1986's "Mutant Massacre," and including significant stories like "X-Tinction Agenda," "X-Cutioner's Song" and "Messiah Complex."

Marvel senior editor Nick Lowe says that the crossover format is emblematic of what makes the X-Men popular.



"The X-Men have one of the biggest most complicated soap-operatic landscapes," Lowe told Newsarama. "It makes Game of Thrones family trees look simple. There are at least 100 important characters and their lives all interconnect in such draconian ways and that’s something that I’ve always loved about it. So something that intertwines as much as one of these crossovers plays that up in a perfect way."

Beyond the artistic contributions from Cho and Adams (who drew the Battle of the Atom #1 cover), Stuart Immonen and Chris Bachalo are on their respect regular books for the crossover, All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men; with Giuseppe Camuncoli illustrating Wolverine and the X-Men, and David Lopez on X-Men. The last chapter will be drawn by an as-yet unrevealed artist, with Lowe saying, "it’s too big of news not to hold onto for the fun of later."


Bendis said that the outcome of "Battle of the Atom" will involve a significant status quo shift — for his books, All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men, in particular — and that those involved are looking to play up what they like about crossovers like this, and avoid what they don't.

In the past, when they would do crossovers like this, there’s always that one book where you go, 'Oh… I wasn’t buying that,'" Bendis related. "But these books are really wonderful, and it’s kind of an honor to cross over with them… Every chapter is a major chapter." 

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