Review by Paul Bowler
After the young Cyclops was injured, temporarily erasing his adult self from existence, the modern-day X-Men decided to send the original X-Men back to their own time. The young Jean Grey is reluctant to go back, but a team of X-Men suddenly arrive from the future, and say the world is doomed if they don’t return. Jean and Scott turn to the adult Cyclops and the Uncanny X-Men for help, while the X-Men set out to bring them back. Magik, suspicious of the future X-Men, together with the young Iceman and Beast, travels to the future where they discover a pleasant future and meet a new team of X-Men. They reveal how the “future” X-Men that Magik and her fellow X-Men are helping, are not really X-Men anymore. The X-Men from this time period have not associated with them since the death of Alison Blaire, who was killed just after she became the first mutant president. Back in the present, the “future X-Men” have captured three of original five X-Men, and set about making preparations to send them back to their own time period.
Part Seven of Battle of the Atom kicks off in X-Men #6 as the Blackbird and the Dove return to the Jean Grey School, where the X-Men are greeted by Jubilee and Roxanne. Xorn accompanies young Jean, Scott, and Warren to the Time Cube, but Wolverine suspicions soon prove correct when Xavier becomes enraged after learning that Magik, Beast, and Iceman have gone. With their cover blown, the bogus X-Men of the future attack. A surprise transformation catches Wolverine off guard and he is mortally wounded, while in Beast’s lab Xorn locks down the Time Cube and quickly secures the three original X-Men.
This leaves Rachel, Jubilee, Rogue, and Betsy to take on the rest of the future X-Men, while trying to keep baby Shogo safe at the same time. With the school in lockdown, Krakoa subdued, Psylocke keeps Deadpool busy while Jubilee and Roxanne try to escape and get Shogo to safety. The Uncanny X-Men arrive near the school, along with the “real” future X-Men who have returned along with Magik, Iceman, and Beast to help them. The Uncanny X-Men and genuine future X-men hold back to assess the situation from afar, but Sentinel X is not prepared to wait, and takes off to investigate the damage to the school. Jubilee, who is carrying Shogo, Roxanne, and then Psylocke emerge from the rubble as Sentinel X lands. The armoured figure approaches, removing its masks when Jubilee asks it to identify itself, revealing the identity of the armours occupant…
So far, Battle of the Atom has been a hugely entertaining crossover event. The only real downside being that some issues have spent a lot of time recapping events, which sometimes made them feel like they were going over the same ground. Now that we are well past the halfway point, the mystery surrounding the time travelling X-Men from the future has taken a significant twist, and it looks like the present day X-Men are going to have one hell of a fight on their hands.
Brian Wood’s X-Men #6 places Jubilee right at the heart of the action. There are some really fun moments with Shogo and some great action scenes when the X-Men are fighting the future X-Men, which leads to Jubilee taking a much more prominent role in Battle of the Atom than expected. When the “fake” X-Men from the future reveal their true colors, even Wolverine is caught off guard, and the psychic powers of the future Xavier and Xorn quickly overpower the rest, leaving only Wood’s team to oppose the future X-Men. Rachel battles against Xavier psychically, while Rogue gets a surprise when she tries to absorb the Ice-Hulk’s powers, which offers us some insight about this lumbering ice creature. Psylocke is also right in the thick of the action, while protecting baby Shogo at the same time, and later ends up fighting Deadpool. I thought baby Shogo’s “panic button” was a really fun device as well.
There is a lot going on in this issue, even though the majority of the other X-Men are either unconscious or trapped in Hank’s lab. The art by David Lopez is excellent, every character is well defined, and his work is complemented by Cam Smith and Terry Pallot’s inks, with colors by Laura Martin and Matt Milla.
X-Men #6 really captures the essence of Brian Woods X-Men, its one of the best instalment so far in Battle of the Atom, and the final scene is made all the more exciting by the reveal of who is inside Sentinel X.