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Infinity – The Hunt #1 Review

12 Sep
Let the hunt begin!

Let the hunt begin!

There has been a lot of talk of “Event Fatigue” recently, and I agree to a point. With the Age of Ultron still a fresh wound and the X-Men’s Battle of the Atom occurring simultaneously, some people will have to choose which earth shattering event to follow. While the main Infinity series rages on, a little gem as arisen in the form of Infinity – The Hunt.

Most tie-in books seem either tacked on or contain so much important information that they are a compulsory read. The Hunt is neither of these, in fact, the concept it so good it could indeed sprout its own spin-off once the dust has settled.

The basic premise of the book is to take the kids of each of the worlds meta-human schools and pit them against each other in a more peaceful version of the Hunger Games. Competing are students from the Avengers Academy, Future Foundation, The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, the Braddox Academy, the Wakandan School for Alternative Studies, the Pan-Asian School for the Unusually Gifted and the Latverian School of Science (the Atlantean School was invited but there are complications between them and Wakanda). The mere fact that all these schools exist in the Marvel Universe and have not come together yet is astonishing but provides amazing possibilities.

Future Champions

Future Champions

Steven Sanders channels the style of FF’s Mike Allred but also keeps other well known characters like the students of the Jean Grey School in their usual aesthetic. There are a whole heap of great designs here too for newer characters from the lesser known schools. Two of these new students bring in the concept of Para-Athletes to these games. Box of the Braddox Academy uses an exoskeleton due to a congenital birth defect which left him short two limbs. Additionally, from the Pan-Asian School is Gang, a genius teen with Muscular-Dystrophy  who has built himself a space-suit style outfit decked out with the latest tech. Neither are going to worry Tony Stark any time soon but they would definitely interest him. After the recent Para-Olympics painted Para-Athletes as “Super Humans” it is great to see their comic counterparts become literal super humans.

The elephant in the room here though is Avengers Arena. Students from many of the schools competing here have already been kidnapped and forced to compete in a more extreme version of these games. Their absence is felt and touched upon but the glaring question is why Avengers Arena needed to take place at all when this could have been the much more interesting alternative.

The main problem however is that this title isn’t about the “Contest of Champions” but rather Thanos’ evil forces invading earth. Undoubtedly the kids and teachers will be forced to work together to combat the threat in coming issues and probably get in each others faces whilst doing so. Despite this, the first issue was a lot of fun and offers a great new concept for the future.

Verdict: Infinity – The Hunt #1 lulls you into thinking this is a battle of the youngest and brightest students in the Marvel-U, but is forgiven for its flawless execution and great concepts. I would be very disappointed if this didn’t result in an ongoing series or at the very least an annual games.

8.0/10

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Battle of the Atom Chapter 3 – X-Men #5 Review

12 Sep
Runaways

Runaways

Battle of the Atom is now well under way and sides are beginning to form. Whilst young Jean Grey and Scott Summers try to outrun their future, some interesting divides are popping up within each camp.

Since the relaunch of X-Men Brian Wood has done a great job with his mainly female X-Force. Several issues have carried over from his run so far, the most important being leadership. With Storm being the Headmistress of the Jean Grey school some of her peers are feeling as though she is on an ego trip. The X-Men have never really had a military style leader, instead containing many members with strong leadership qualities. While the issue does follow Jean and Scott, it feels more focused on the characters within its own title, to much success.

Future Xavier - Minority Report

There are a few nice additions to the X-Universe here, foremost being the new Cerebro Spike pill which enhances the users psychic range in a very Minority Report-esque style. Also of note is the interplay between the three Henry McCoy’s.  Out of everyone with doubles or triples the Beasts seem to be extremely sympatico. Young Hank and present Hank finish each others sentences, and old Hank boosts all their egos by reminding them of a new vehicle the young and present Hanks made together. If anyone gets to stay in the present, I would hope these three get a little more time together.

But this volume of X-Men is really about all about one person, Shogo Lee. Jubilee may not be everyones cup of tea, but since her return her relationship with her new son Shogo is heart-warming and fun. For better or worse, Shogo now has a huge family of mutants, in particular two time travelling uncles to play with.

Buh!

Buh!

 

Verdict: X-Men #5 has kept the heart of it’s series intact whilst managing to forward the overall crossover event. Though the plot stalls in this chapter the character work done here will definitely be worth the wait as Battle of the Atom storms on.

 

8.5/10

Battle of the Atom Checklist Chapter 3

Battle of the Atom Chapter 2 – All-New X-Men #16 Review

5 Sep
All-New Future X-Men

All-New Future X-Men

All-New X-Men #16 wastes little time getting straight into the main conflict of this event. The future X-Men team confront the present and past teams informing them of an oncoming series of disastrous events caused by the original X-Men lingering about too long. Nothing specific is mentioned but there are definite hints at more going on than meets the eye.

Wolverine takes control of the proceedings by quite literally sniffing out this strange new team. Among them are an “old-as-dirt” Beast, a now hooded but maskless Deadpool, former Runaway Molly Hayes. Both Icemen are utterly mortified to see the Hulk like ‘Ice Thing’ staring them in the face.

Sniffing out the competition

Sniffing out the competition

There are plenty of emotions flying around this issue including a very touching moment between Logan and an older Kitty Pryde. This may just be the future Shadowcat showing her happiness at seeing an old friend but combined with a seemingly joking Deadpools comment  and the fact that the Wolverine has recently lost his healing ability, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was some early seeding by Bendis at a possible death for everyone’s favourite canuck.

Discussing the other two team members from the future would be heading into spoiler territory but needless to say they will play an important part as the crossover continues. One of those mysterious figures deeply unsettles young Jean Grey causing her to flee with Cyclops due to her deep distrust of them. It seems a little odd she wouldn’t voice these concerns when she has been so vocal about what she has or hasn’t overhead from others minds in the past.

Despite only having two pages in this chapter, all new mutant Christopher Muse’s conversation with his new mentor Cyclops is very poignant.

“You X-Men are so used to the space and time and life and death craziness in your lives that you don’t even notice how crazy it is anymore.”

With Jean Grey and Cyclops on the run to parts unknown the past, present and future X-Men will be looking for them before they cause irreparable damage to the timeline, but will Cyclops find them first? And if so, which side of the line will he stand when the battle commences?

Score: 9.0 / 10

Battle of the Atom Checklist Chapter 2

Battle of the Atom Chapter 1 – X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 Review

5 Sep
3106004-0856378044-XMen_

Let the battle begin!

Children of the Atom past, present & future collide in this opening chapter of this years X-Men crossover. Celebrating 50 years of all things mutant Battle of the Atom brings together a whole heap of fan favourites, some in several iterations.  Although no much actual battling takes place between the X-gene heroes in this issue, there is plenty of action here to dig into.

Kitty Pryde’s original X-Men and Cyclops’ revolutionary Uncanny X-Men clash attempting to recruit newly powered mutant Animax. Undeterred by tensions between them, the two groups are forced to put any animosity aside to battle an old enemy in the form a squadron of sentinels. There is some nice character work with the all new X-Men in particular Christopher Muse, a new student at Cyclops’ school with healing abilities.

XMenBattleOfTheAtom_1_Preview1

After a close shave for two mutants, the current Jean Grey School X-Men decide to immediately send their young visitors back from whence they came. The X-Universe has always been a complicated one, with several dystopian alternative dimensions and futures popping up left right and centre. So when a future team of X-Men appear before the young ones can be sent back you know that trouble is afoot.

Bendis has a fantastic grip on each character and manages to give everyone panel time despite the large cast. Looking forward into All-New X-Men #16 I’m eager to see why exactly these future X-men have broken the recently implemented no time travel rule, especially as one of they heavily responsible for being thoroughly irresponsible with the space-time continuum.

Score: 8.5 / 10

Battle of the Atom Checklist Chapter 1

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