X-Men: Children of the Atom

X-Men: Children of the AtomI haven't really enjoyed the X-Men since the early 1980s. Basically, they stopped being interesting once Marvel realized that they were popular and began replicating the formula ad nauseum in a crass money grab. Even Grant Morrison's famed run on the title seemed pretty lukewarm to me (heresy, I know). When I do pick up an X-book these days (which is rare), the story inevitably seems to be either a) an incomprehensible mishmash starring indistinguishable characters and Wolverine, or b) powerful-badguy-declares-war-on-all-mutants. X-Men: Children of the Atom takes the second approach; and I nearly couldn't bring myself to read it as it really felt like the same old story I've read dozens of times. As it turns out, I largely skimmed the larger story and focused on what made the book different: writer Joe Casey fleshes out the characters of the original X-Men in their seminal adventure.

I've always seen the X-Men as older than I am. That was true in the early 1980s, but while I've aged, they really haven't. So it was interesting to see Scott, Hank, and company as actual teenagers who are trying to figure out what's happening to themselves---something normally shown in a panel or two before the action begins. Granted, there are still some pretty ridiculous moments (Scott can't seem to realize that he can blast his captor with the eye beams that are causing him trouble), but overall I just enjoyed getting character development a little more rounded than "I'm dark and complicated."

While I've never been a big fan, Steve Rude does a nice job on artwork, although it seems he has to cram a lot of information on the page. It would have been nice to see him have a little more room to breathe. Personally, I would have jettisoned the whole bad guy angle (there's an incredible amount of time spent on what is essentially an idea that X-Men fans already understand).

If you are interested in the X-Men, Children of the Atom is worth a look if only because it manages to pull a rabbit out of a over-worn hat.