Uncanny X-Men #12
Review by Paul Bowler
A team of X-Men from the future materialise at the Jean Grey School claming the original X-Men’s presence could endanger the future. However, these future X-Men have also psychically blocked their minds to prevent the young Jean Grey from prying. Suspicious of these new arrivals, Jean and Scott go on the run. With the modern-day X-Men and future X-Men in pursuit, the pair turn to the present-day Scott Summers and The Uncanny X-Men for help.
Battle of the Atom continues in Uncanny X-Men #12 as the young Jean and Scott meet up with Cyclops and the Uncanny X-Men on Utopia. While the SHIELD Helicarrier temporal displacement unit monitors the readings at the Jean Grey School, causing Maria Hill to vent her frustration about the situation, on Utopia Cyclops introduces his X-Men to Jean and Scott. In order to hasten explanations, Emma Frost, Celeste, and Phoebe instigate the Stepford Sisters hive mind and link everyone telepathically to share the young X-Men’s memories about the X-Men from the future.
Brian Michael Bendis uses the vast ensemble cast of mutants to drive the plot forward, adding individual flourishes to every characters dialogue, and blending in a number of humorous situations and observations along the way. The scenes with Maria Hill on the Helicarrier are very funny, as is Emma’s remark about Celeste and Phoebe’s Jean Grey envy.
Magik is able to confirm the that one of the future X-Men is indeed Xavier’s grandson, revealing that she has met these X-Men before, much to Cyclops surprise. She teleports away before he can question her further, leaving everyone wondering how she could have already met the X-Men from the future. Of course Cyclops and the Uncanny X-Men are unaware that Magik has already used her powers to cross time at some point, as we saw in Battle of the Atom part #1, to catch a glimpse of the future they are all fighting for.
The argument over whether the original X-Men should be sent home because they could potentially damage the time stream forms the central focus of this issue. On the Pacific Coast Highway the X-Men and their future counterparts argue with Rachel and Kitty about who should decide the young X-Men’s destiny. Kitty Pryde continues to fight for her student’s right to make the decision themselves and Rachel firmly believes that everyone should live the way they want to. Cracks are clearly beginning to show in the X-Men’s ranks as Rachel and Kitty strongly voice their opinions, with Kitty confronting Storm and Wolverine, before trying to get everyone to think about what they are doing. Its moments like this were Bendis really excels, Kitty’s impassioned speech is brilliant, and makes for compelling reading.
Back on Utopia the Uncanny X-Men also have reservations after Cyclops decides they will help Jean and Scott, particularly Emma, who accuses him of letting his own feelings about the past compromise his decision. Magneto also has doubts, but it is the young Warren Worthington who steps forward and makes perhaps the most sensible argument of all.
With some great art by Chris Bachalo and Marte Gracia’s colors, Uncanny X-Men #12 looks really good. Every character is clearly defined, we also get to see Jean and Scott getting to know another team of mutants, and it all builds to a great final scene.
Having received a mysterious message telling them where to find Jean and Scott, the present and the future X-Men teams arrive at Utopia. The adult Jean Grey in her Xorn mask takes charge of the situation, freezing everyone telepathically, before attacking the young Jean Grey. But the person who contacted the X-men is not prepared to stand by and watch Xorn beat up her younger self. They intervene and challenge’s the Jean Grey from the future…
This fourth chapter of Battle of the Atom is deceptively light on action, but the great interaction between the characters more than makes up for that. The apparent betrayal and twist at the end sets up an exciting cliff-hanger, and the tense standoff will have fans eagerly anticipating the battle to come. Uncanny X-Men #12 is a good addition to Battle of the Atom, with its engaging storyline and great art, I look forward to seeing what twists and turns this time warping adventure will take next.