And so begins the fourth entry in the Battle of the Atom.
The issue starts at the SHIELD Helicarrier, with them finally detecting a temporal anomaly. This causes Maria Hill to be the voice of what many people have wanted to say and blame Beast. She’s earned points in my book.
On Utopia there is an introduction all around between the kids on Cyclops’ team and the Young Jean and Scott. Celeste and Phoebe tease Young Jean, which Emma calls them out on having Jean Grey envy. They promptly respond they got it from her, being her clones/daughters, before the hive mind works together to project the images of the future X-men.
Cyclops goes through them all and questions if they are who they say they are, even though he recognizes most including Molly Hayes. For those who don’t know her, read the review I did for the Runways. Anyway, Magik confirms they are from the future which, if you remember the first part of the crossover when she broke her promise to Scott about traveling into the future (her teleportation allows her to cross time and space remember), she has seen and then goes off to do her own thing. This leaves the rest stranded on the island and forced to decide whether or not to send the kids back.
That’s when sides are drawn all over.
The future X-men argue with Rachel and Kitty, who are insistent on defending their right to stay. Rachel dislikes Storm’s taking the leadership mantle already (which is ironic considering Kitty gave her the role of Headmistress and now she’s lording it over her) and speaking for them all, while Kitty makes it clear that she dislikes the steps her future self has taken. Especially when you consider that these future X-Men aren’t saying anything about how bad the future is and shielding their thoughts, which automatically turns damn near every telepath against you despite the right to protect your mind. Kitty states that this isn’t what she signed up for as Future Jean Grey hears something telepathically.
Now they make a point that she’s being a bit emotional, but she also make a point that they should have the right to choose. Logan makes a point that this is Beast’s fault for bringing them here in the first place, but at this point Kitty is Mama-bear over her students and their loss will definitely hurt her if the cover for a future All-New X-Men I’ve seen foreshadowed properly. It’s starting to look like Kitty may very well defect to Scott’s side once the Inhumanity Event rolls around.
Back on Utopia, Older Scott has decided to help them on the same grounds as Kitty Pryde. Emma, however, rudely disagrees in a manner that I can’t help but think that she’s bitter about the whole ‘ripping the Phoenix out of you and breaking your powers’ thing that led to them breaking up. Magneto tries a gentler way of claiming that, much like Kitty, he’s being driven by emotion and needs to send them back.
To be fair, I’m in agreement with the Emma and Magneto. They pose a huge risk to the timeline since Doomlock on the time cube ensures that any action changed in the past affects the future rather than an alternate timeline. We’ve seen that already when time nearly rewrote itself and Young Scott nearly bit the bullet. But the way Emma says it, claiming that its only because he gets to have both his younger self to mold and Jean Grey, is damn cold.
Warren himself speaks up saying that they do need to go back, which he wanted all along, but he’s cut off mid-sentence and frozen. The same goes for Scott and I’m assuming the rest of Older Scott’s team (he and Magneto have anti-psychic gear while the Stepford Sisters and Emma are telepaths and shouldn’t be affected unless the plot demands it). Older Jean Grey decides to end this by mentally dominating her younger self,
Cue Emma calling her out and stating that she called them out there to send the kids back, not toy with them. If there is one thing Emma despises it’s an older Jean Grey and, broken powers or not, she’s willing to go toe-to-toe with her any day. She then makes a meta-comment that the message boards would love this and the issue ends.
First off let me say that they keep dragging the event out with all these build ups, so if there isn’t some earth-shattering Status Quo shake ups in the future I will be displeased. Kitty going with Scott’s team I can approve of being one. Maybe throw in Rachel too.
Next, we can see the cracks in X-Men unity at this point. Emma is undermining Scott’s authority (not for the first time I might add), whereas Magneto at least tried to reason with him with logic rather than claiming he’s thinking with the wrong head, but quite frankly this whole conclusion was made more complicated by what she’s done. The last time she pulled this, while under the Phoenix Force, she led to Namor attacking Wakanda, which was destroyed, and then caused them to slaughter hundreds in Atlantis in retaliation. There will be fallout considering she decided to undermine him in front of the kids.
I know that she, Scott, and Magneto are all leaders with clashing view points occasionally, but you are leading a revolution in the near future and can’t be pulling them in three directions.
The issue gets a 3 out of 5 for art and staying in tune with the characters I know and love. Even Emma’s betrayal was something I honesty expect from her. I just wish they’d get to either fighting or advancing the plot quicker.
Now, remember how Otto erased Peter’s memories? This would be one instant where it bites him in the ass, because Miguel O’Hara has met Peter Parker before. If he kept those memories he would probably have been more inclined to listen to the time-traveler and not cause a scuffle that he loses and wounds his ego.
The battle begins with claws drawn after Otto tries to knock out O’Hara, but Otto’s can’t scratch his outfit because it’s future tech. Low-future tech at that, which insults Otto into trying to crush him with a car. At this point Tiberius uses a device he literally kept up his sleeve to make Otto’s spider-sense go bonkers and endanger a child, which O’Hara saves since he doesn’t have spider-sense. O’Hara notices with his enhanced senses that Tiberius was responsible and disappears with him as Otto claims he would never endanger a child to the child’s mother, which he normally wouldn’t, and then shifts the blame on her for trying to take over Horizon.
Smooth, Otto. Really smooth.
At this point they notice the pair are gone and Otto tells his men to start searching for O’Hara since future Spider-Man is far more dangerous with the knowledge of Parker’s identity. It’s then that his girlfriend calls, Anna Marie, and reminds him of his thesis. Since it’s using Horizon’s resources that means they’ll own it and he would be damned before they get his projects, so he decides to smuggle it out immediately.
O’Hara, in the meantime, is facing the hero’s dilemma. His father, the future Stone, is stabilizing, meaning he’s doing what he’s suppose to. But that means that the future evils Alchemax will commit will come to pass. He’s weighing his own existence against just ridding them from the time stream for the good of all, like a hero normally would, since he has the power to change things now.
Unfortunately Tiberius heard the words “Ancestor” slip from O’Hara’s mouth when talking to his father over his line. He puts together that whoever his descendant was he was someone important enough to send a future Spider-Man to save. He tests this theory by throwing himself over a building. He risks the timeline for this and naturally that pisses O’Hara off and leaves him webbing the guy to a wall and calling for some help from the future to give him an info dump on current events and the connect between everything.
In the meantime, one of Horizon’s employee’s goes to the past while cloaked and catches Tiberius stealing data, while the Otto’s boss catches him smuggling out his goods and states he’s not the man he brought into Horizon. Otto receives a call about the Hobgoblin (Green Goblin in disguise) and decides to leave to handle him, costing Peter his job. At the same time O’Hara learns that Tiberius sabotaged Horizon to literally explode, on that very day, and rushes back to stop it, with Otto spotting him as he hangs up on MJ calling him.
At the end O’Hara arrives to tell them he needs to change the future and that they’re about to blow up, when Otto cold-cocks him and possibly damages his time traveling device to prevent a paradox. In short, Otto has screwed Peter’s life over royally and endangered the people at Horizon at this very moment because of his ego.
The issue was beautiful as always but, to my sorrow, Otto is turning into an unlikeable character. If he put aside his ego for one second so many problems could have been solved. Then again he is a former super-villain. On the other hand, breaking the Status Quo does make things more interesting, but Karma tends to be a bitch about it and I have the feeling that Anna Marie is going to pay the price.
After all, she’s a love interest and the Green Goblin is running around. The fact that he went after a future hero rather than villain only worsens things. Her days and relationship are numbered.
The issue gets a 4 out of 5.