That's how little I knew that I was in for a catastrophic experience where everything I know about X-Men will be questioned--and this is coming from somebody who experienced Fabian Nicieza's most insane pieces and Claremont's most sadistic emotionally draining ones. Please take note that I am writing this review after distancing myself from this story for three weeks. I initially always review an issue as soon as I'm done reading it so I can get right into it, especially if either the issue in particular is (a) awesome as fuck; or (b) boring as shit.
The latter part of Brian Michael Bendis' roster for All-New X-Men (from issue #26 to #39) had fallen in the b-category so I was more than eager to put that series behind me for good once September wraps up, and I intend to finish it with my overdue review of Battle of the Atom which for me will forever be known as the Last Great X-Men Story from Bendis' ANXM.
This tantalizing ten-issued arc will be followed later on by entertaining issues (#18-21) concerning the Purifiers before it will get eventually pointless by the time The Trial of Jean Grey hits (#22-24), saved only by the nice break with the 50th anniversary issue of X-Men Gold
Well, maybe deeming it as a 'masterstroke' is an unfair hyperbole; clearly, BotA is not a perfect piece. It was beguiling though--fast-paced, quirky and shocking during its ten issue-spread of intersecting narratives. I was speechless about it for a time because I don't know how I felt about it as a whole which was why I delayed coming up with a cohesive review that outlines my complete thoughts about its content. There are parts I immensely enjoyed and parts that baffled me to no end, which was why I was rendered in a fit of hysterics that were only succinctly captured by the following GIFs belows as I updated my reading progress in Goodreads. Comprised of the titles All-New X-Men, X-Men vol. 4, The Uncanny X-Men, and Wolverine and the X-Men, Battle of the Atom was a batshit crazy and take-no-prisoners crossover event that delivered genuine thrills and shocking twists for a lot of the players involved. With an ensemble cast made in both heaven and hell, BotA was stylish, over-the-top, engrossing and unapologetic in its camp and gore moments in between. I loved it because it kept me on the edge of my bed and made me screech and bite into my pillow because of the dizzying cocktail of emotions it brought out, both positive and negative. Much like Nicieza's unforgivably hurtful Fatal Attractions that somehow also combined the kooky premise and storytelling style of Claremont in X-Men Forever, Battle of the Atom was a brave endeavor, daring into places that you thought they won't ever cross but they did and it got super weird and totes uncomfortable midway, but it remained just as addictive to the very end.
Allow me to take you to my journey of psychosis as I read Battle of the Atom. This is all subjective and you may not share my unraveling and descent to madness in the same level of intensity as I did but that's probably because you didn't have the same emotional stakes or baggage as I did when I went into this story. It's hard to believe it was only the beginning of September when I was still able to feel something for Bendis' All-New X-Men--when I was still capable of love and remorse, of loss and triumph. Food still has flavors; the world looks like a promising and pleasurable place to mingle and explore. Now I'm relieved to end my reviews for ANXM because it has gotten so disappointing and shitty that I'm excited to start with a new series, this time going a few years back with Joss Whedon's The Astonishing X-Men.
FIRST STAGE: Four issues in
SECOND STAGE: Eight issues in
THIRD AND FINAL STAGE: Finished
I don't even know how to end this review properly. So I'm just going to end things abruptly and recommend you to read BotA yourself, imparting nothing more than an evasive dark promise of what you can expect when you pick it up. I'm probably exaggerating its aftershocks. It's probably just my frail, feminine constitution. In any case, don't believe everything I stated here. I'm possibly still recovering and probably doing a bad job with that too.