WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #37
Writer: JASON AARON
Artist: GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM, PART 9!
Cover Price: $3.99
X-Men Battle of the Atom has reached its penultimate chapter in Wolverine & the X-Men #37, and the event is absolutely nothing we haven’t seen before from the X-Men. There have been some pretty interesting reveals about a certain future universe, but there are already so many of these alternate universes that the whole thing just seems kind of unimportant. So, in order to fill 10 issues worth of a 6 chapter (max) story, Battle of the Atom has been crammed with repeated, over-the-top fights between various mutant teams, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing if one fight didn’t simply lead to the next. Not only is Wolverine & the X-Men #37 bursting with this overabundance of “I saw that last issue” brawls, but it tries to take advantage of the only appealing aspect of the event in a way that ultimately falls flat.
The reveals about the relationships between future and present X-Men are really fun, and this issue touches on some of the best. Quentin Quire’s brief encounter with his younger self, Wolverine’s son Raze and his unique powers were spotlighted briefly, and Iceman (again) are highlights of these longtime X-Fan morsels of nostalgic goodness. There’s some fun interaction between Wolverine and Cyclops reminding readers of the current state of affairs of the mutants of the present. The plot is adequately moved along by Jason Aaron, but it is by no means an example of his best showing, and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli is consistently straightforward, while being more spectacle than story.
While the reveals are interesting and kind of fun, they just don’t feel meaningful whatsoever. So what if Quentin Quire is the Phoenix in some alternate future/universe? It doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t stick, and nothing in this event feels like it is going to stick. The impact of Wolverine & the X-Men #37 doesn’t feel like it will have any lasting, or even temporary, impact on Wolverine & the X-Men as a title overall. And it’s a real letdown. The interaction between Cyclops and Wolverine is fun, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen in every interaction those two have had for the last 3 years of X-comics. Although the plot is adequately moved along to its end, it’s the same plot from the last three X-books in this series: fight to get to location A, fight to get out of location A, get to location B, repeat. S.H.I.E.L.D. showing up was the only thing close to a surprise in an otherwise predictable book, but even then the helicarrier only acted as another weapon for the Brotherhood to use against mutant-kind. The story may be trying to retell X-stories of old in new ways with time-traveling elements, but it falls flat on the delivery in unimaginative ways. While the art actually shines in some of the battle scenes, those scenes depict the most obvious matchups; the three Icemans fighting, or the three Beasts fighting, for example; and did nothing to help tell the story, and unfortunately helped ruin an otherwise decent aspect of the issue by ramming the entire appeal of “time-traveling mutants” further down the readers’ throats. A necessary course of action as this, regrettably, is the single only appeal of the entire Battle of the Atom event.
The only reason to pick up Wolverine & the X-Men #37 is to get a bit more (and it’s a very small bit) of information about these future versions of the X-Men and Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The issue barely adds anything to the overall event (everyone is pretty much in the same exact fix they were in at the end of the last chapter) and adds absolutely nothing to the Wolverine & the X-Men story overall. There may be something from Battle of the Atom that sticks longer than a few issues into the series’ various titles, including Wolverine and the X-Men, but my bet would be, and history shows, that there’s little chance of that happening. This issue is definitely worth skipping altogether.