All New X-men #16
All new X-men 16 is the second installment of the battle of the atom event and its a good one. It picks up right where the Battle of the Atom #1 left off and and sees the future x-men coming to warn their past counterparts about the repercussions of letting the past x-men stay in the present.
The books briefly looks into how Old Cyclops and his team are taking the recent sentinel attacks and particularly how the new healer kid (still cant recall his name) is dealing with his powers as he has possible not just healed Cyclops but raised him from the dead.
Over at JGS the future team gets formerly introduced to Wolverine and his people to warn them about the terrible impact keeping the the past X-men in the present has had on the future (as if there is ever any OTHER reason for time traveling in comics but to bring some kind of warning).
By the time most introductions are made and warnings are issued Wolverine is mind controlled into popping his claws and the beastly future iceman reacts only instinctively and a short battle ensues at the end of which we notice Scott and Jean are missing.
You guessed it, young Jean did it all as a distraction to get away. The comic then backtracks to show that while everything was going on Jean became suspicious after realizing the minds of the future x-men were shielded. She telepathically tells young Beast and Cyclops. Young Beast decides not to be rash about it but she manages to convince young Cyclops to take off with her before they are forced to return to the past by suspicious people from the future she knows nothing about.
The young Xavier (actually future grandson of dead Xavier) reveals to Wolverine and his team why Jean must have fled. And explained that he blocked their thoughts from her to prevent anyone finding out telepathically what happens in the future. Of course the big reveal in the end is that the woman in the Xorn costume - “in poor taste” by Rachel’s opinion- is none other than future-past Jean Grey (sheesh time travel can really make things get confusing).
WHAT I LIKED ?
The pacing of the event so far is pretty good in my opinion. It allows for various aspects of the plotline to be tactically explored and revealed over time. I’m glad that the book took time to delve into how Jean of the past is handling everything and not just rushed right along into chases and battles. It brilliantly plays off of the interactions and relations of X-men from all three time periods with each other - like Beast, Beast and Beast and Iceman, Iceboy and Icebrute among the others - while placing minor plot points that could be later explored or expanded in the crossover event or in other Arcs, books or titles - like the healer kid, Beast’s mutations and the Icebrute.
This book - as has the ‘All New X-men’ title - looks a lot into how Jean is handling all that is happening around her with all that she knows is her “destined” future if she goes back to the past. Of course she doesn’t take any of it well and her response to the new threat of the future X-men is what any teenager would do. I love how really real her character is portrayed (both her and Scott) as a time displayed teenager destined for tragedy.
As it was seen in Battle of The Atom #1 what happens to the Original X-men can have serious repercussions on the future X-men. At this point it seems there is little hope for her.
By the way, who else knew it was obviously gonna be Jean behind that mask? Just me?
WHAT DIDN’T I LIKE ?
Ummm… This whole time thing in marvel is a little played out and a little confusing, but once you ignore those elements it makes for good stories. It’s kind of like how writers treat powersets and power levels, it changes and the rules change to suite the story line and it throws us off a little sometimes. eg. for one story’s purpose how time and the multiverse functions is that if you change something in the past it doesn’t affect your present/future, but an alternate future is created. Obviously that’s not what they’re working with here. I’ll try not to wrap my brain around what the future X-men’s time might look like.
Poor Jean. She doesn’t have much going for her. And I’m really hoping the series doesn’t end in tragedy at her expense. Why would future Jean want to send her back though, because that would mean she doesn't live. Guess we’ll find that out.
I give it an 8