Children of the Atom is the perfect example of how to approach the X-Men and their world for a modern era that strives to truly represent the diversity of humanity. Beautiful, creative, and energetic artwork fills every single page and slides easily between heartfelt & heart-wrenching moments to action-packed moments with the COTA heroes and X-Men. Everything about this book just clicks and it’s exactly the type of series that Marvel should be producing for years to come.
When young heroes run into a bit of trouble related to their attempts to come to the attention of their mutant heroes, they just might need those mutant heroes to save the day. The long-awaited moment where the X-Men and the Children of the Atom fight side by side as heroes has arrived.
Anytime a series focuses on new characters in an established world, it can potentially face an uphill battle. Especially when competing alongside books full of decades long-established and fan-favorite characters. Vita Ayala, though, makes it look simple because there is no uphill battle for this book.
Right away this book has made all five of its main characters likable, relatable, and completely fleshed out. They are diverse in so many aspects while they deal with so many of the same struggles and issues that many of us have faced in the past and/or still face today. Setting each issue through the perspective of a different teen helped with that greatly.
Vita is truly a tremendous character writer, and they make sure that any character they write, whether new or old/established, they fill them full of so much life that is just bursting off the page. The struggles that Jay Jay talks about in this issue through his captions are so heartfelt and heart-wrenching to read but so relatable to many out there.
It makes it even more painful to realize that we’ve gotten to know these kids so well and now it’s become clear that the next issue is the last, a fact that came to light from the way this issue ends and checking of third party solicit sites that confirm the ending. There is so much more that could be done with these characters and it would be beyond a shame if we never saw them again.
Knowing Vita though, this won’t be the last we see of them and that brings a bit of comfort to the sadness of losing this series. There is at least one particular character within this issue that seems to be assured to be showing up somewhere else in due time (the likeliest spot being Vita’s New Mutants series)
There are so few series like this where the cast is so diverse and representational and so vibrant and alive. This is the type of series so many members of marginalized groups hope to see more of in the X-Line and the uncertainty of if we’ll get more is sure to be a blow.
Paco Media, David Curiel, and Travis Lanham continue to knock it out of the park bringing this story to life in vibrant, dynamic, and emotional ways. The attention to detail not only with these characters but every aspect of the world around them continues to be a giant highpoint with this series’ artwork. Not to mention the creativity that is showcased to think outside of the proverbial box.
As mentioned in other reviews, I very much appreciate it when artists are willing to move beyond the standard type of approach to panels. Where they play with the shape, spacing, and layout of panels (overlapping, longer or shorter, odd numbers, etc) as well as not shying away from embracing and using white space to their advantage.
Just look at the page below, where there is a full-page panel of Jay Jay/Nighty Night Crawler/Day Crawler standing before the Krakoan embassy. Two panels are placed over the top of this one, including one where Jay Jay bursts out of panels before dropping under the other one to stare at himself as he drops the X-Men logo in dialogue. This is the fun and out-of-the-box type stuff that comic books can do and should do as it really sets books apart. It gives them each their own energy and style, and really showcases what the art team is capable of doing.
This brings in the fact that Curiel’s colors play wonderfully with the light and dark needed through the book across these pages, really making things pop. While Lanham works his magic to make the dialogue work and flow through these pages, even the ones that play around with style, and never feel like they overwhelm. The dropped X-Men logo along with the creative SFX through the issue just makes things even better.
There is one more issue to go with this team of creators and characters, and it’s both a sad and a happy time. Sad that we’re losing this wonderful, heartfelt, engaging, and much-needed book but there is the happiness that we got this book. Hopefully, it will not be the last like it or can come back in some form because we need these teens and we need this book.
Children of the Atom #5 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.