Children Of The Atom is a series that was originally announced to release in April 2020 as part of the second phase of new X-Men comic books post-House of X and -Powers of X. But the planned released was obviously delayed as many announced comics were placed on paused. Now finally almost a year after originally being announced Children Of The Atom is going to be released. Obviously things are very different in the world of the X-Men from when this series was originally planned to release. Specifically, we had the X-Men franchise go through the X Of Swords crossover event that has propelled the X-Men franchise into the Reign Of X direction. Let’s find out how this series joins the X-Men franchise with Children Of The Atom #1.
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The Hell’s Belles (a former mutant villain team made up of Flambé, Vague, and Tremolo, who were all depowered back during the M-Day incident from House of M) cause a bank trunk to crash. As the Hell’s Belles are stealing the cash from the bank truck the Children of the Atom (Cyclops-lass, Cherub, Marvel Guy, Gimmick, and Daycrawler) appear.
The Hell’s Belles and Children of the Atom fight all over the street with Cyclops-lass suffering a injury to her ribs from a punch by Tremolo. The two teams continue to go back-and-forth until the Hell’s Belles are finally knocked out and tied up. Daycrawler teleports the Children of the Atom away so they don’t get captured by the cops.
In an alleyway the Children of the Atom are confronted by the X-Men (Magma, Pixie, and Maggot). Magma and Maggot try to talk the Children of the Atom to join them at Krakoa. The Children of the Atom all say that while they want to there are things in their personal lives that they need to square away before going to Krakoa. Magma understands and says that when the teens are ready they have a home in Krakoa.
In the Summer House on the Moon, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm, and Nightcrawler play pool while talking about what to do about the Children of the Atom. Cyclops wants to leave the teens decision to join Krakoa to them but Wolverine is concerned if the longer they are living “normal” lives the more in danger they’ll be so he wants to force them to come to Krakoa. Jean mentions that Charles Xavier can’t track the teens down using Cerebro. Storm offers to be the one to speak with the Children of the Atom so they can better understand the kids.
Over at Corbeau Preparatory High School, Buddy Bartholomew (Cylcops-lass) and Carmen (Gimmick) watch a basketball game that Gabe (Cherub) and Benny (Marvel Boy) are in. During the game two other teens hear Buddy and Carmen talk about going to a Dazzler concert and they talk crap about mutants. Buddy calls the two teens out for being bigots. As things get heated the basketball coach tells the teens in the stands to quiet down.
Once they are the only ones on the stands Buddy compliments Carmen on the adjustments she made to all there costumes and equipment. During the conversation it is brought up that Buddy runs a fan fiction site as ArchivistX on the side.
Buddy suddenly spaces out and when Carmen calls her out Buddy says it was just her injury causing her pain. In reality Buddy was focusing on Gabe, who she has a crush on but doesn’t say anything as Carmen is going out with him.
During the basketball game Gabe gets competitive with another student, Cole. Remembering Cole’s past back injury Gabe lets up on his defense as is dunked on by Cole. Cole apologizes for dropping Gabe during the dunk as he didn’t realize his own strength.
Later that night Buddy packs up her bag and kisses her sleeping father on the forehead as a goodbye. She quietly leaves her house and meets up with Carmen, Gabe, Benny, and Jay (Daycrawler). They all take the train to Coney Island.
Under the pier, the Children of the Atom change into their costumes. They then try to enter the Krakoan portal under the pier but instead just exit on the other side still in Coney Island.
Cyclops-lass says its okay and that next time they won’t attempt to go to Krakoa so late in the night so they don’t get in trouble. End of issue.
The Good: Children of the Atom #1 hits all the right marks to introduce the reader to a new cast of characters and get you to understand the direction of the series. There will be a lot of comparisons to Young Avengers with the set up for Children of the Atom. That is by no means a bad thing because Vita Ayala and Bernard Chang nail what they are going for.
Opening with a big battle between the Children of the Atom and Hell’s Belles was a strong way to make a statement about how the former works as a team. The Children of the Atom are a brand new team and that comes across in the way they fight. They come in as a team that was able to use their prior friendship to overcome their inexperience. While they do defeat and capture the Hell’s Belles it wasn’t the cleanest. We saw mistakes made that you can expect from a team of rookies. At the same time the fact that the Children of the Atom were able to contain the battle so they minimize damage and successfully capture the Hell’s Belles worked to get them over as a superhero team.
Using the Hell’s Belles as the first villains that that the Children of the Atom went up against was a good choice. As a group of minor villains they are able to take this loss without making them appear weak. Rather, because the Hell’s Belles have not been seen very much Ayala is able to focus in on what drives them as villains. Basing that off the fact that Hell’s Belles are a villain group of depowered mutants from the M-Day event Scarlet Witch caused by her “No More Mutants” action at the end of House of M. Ayala was able to balance out that motivation for the Hell’s Belles while still positioning them as bad guys our heroes need to defeat.
The meeting with Magma, Pixie, and Maggot was handled well to introduce one of the big plot points around Children of the Atom being their questionable status as mutants. We get hints of there being more to the excuses that the Children of the Atom make as to why they haven’t gone to Krakoa yet. That was further teased with how Charles Xavier hasn’t been able to track them down. It was all a good build to the ending of Children of the Atom #1 showing that they were unable to step through the portal to Krakoa.
This puts further into question who exactly the Children of the Atom are since we technically haven’t seen them use there powers out of costume. Which leads into the conversation between Buddy Bartholomew and Carmen about their updated costume designs. Given what we saw at the end of this issue there may be more to this particular conversation that Buddy and Carmen have. Its definitely going to a big plot point that brings you back as a reader to find out about this mystery.
We also get to start to dive into who each individual member of the Children of the Atom are. Buddy in particular was the star of this issue which makes sense given her status as the leader of the team. Showing that she is the biggest fan of the X-Men on the team does explain why she would be so for being the leader of her own mutant team. We also get into some of the normal teenage drama from Buddy as we see how outside her Cyclops-lass identity she has more of shy personality. At the same time we also see that she is someone who won’t back down when confronted with how she calls out other students for their negative views on mutants and Krakoa.
Carmen is the other character we get to learn more about beyond her Gimmick superhero identity. Learning that she is the one designing all of the Children of the Atom costumes positions her as the tech expert in the group. Her friendship with Buddy was well established to show they have a close bond. How this role as a tech expert develops will be interesting to see.
To a lesser degree we do get some background on Gabe as he had a close past with another fellow student in his high school, Cole. Ayala establishes that Gabe looked out for Cole when they were younger and when Cole suffered a back injury. How that friendship possibly changed as Cole seems to have grown in a way he doesn’t know his own strength is a good sub-plot to establish something beyond the superhero adventure to get into Gabe’s character.
The meeting in the Summer House between Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, and Wolverine worked well to establish the mentality of Krakoa towards the Children of the Atom. We see that battle that we’ve seen in other X-Men comics that our core cast wants all mutants to live on Krakoa not everyone is in agreement of how to bring them in. We get the best example of the two extremes in approach from how Cyclops wants to give them the freedom for it to be completely on Children of the Atom to decide. Meanwhile Wolverine wants to drag them to Krakoa out of concern the longer they are outside Krakoa the longer the teens are in danger.
Having these two extremes made the way both Jean Grey and Storm entered the conversation worked even better. Ayala worked well into how both Jean and Storm are much better mediators than Cyclops and Storm. They see that there is more than two approaches to talking with other mutants about Krakoa. Storm stepping up to be the one to talk with the Children of the Atom about Krakoa gives another sub-plot to look forward to seeing taking a bigger stage in this series later on.
Bernard Chang’s artwork was solid throughout Children of the Atom #1. He got over what the powers of each member of the team was while making the action dynamic. Chang also complimented all of Ayala’s dialogue well to further drive home who these characters are.
The Bad: Obviously with so much to check off with the first issue some characters weren’t going to get the same amount of attention as others did on the team. That is what happened with Marvel Boy and Daycrawler. Both these characters worked more as supporting characters so you never got into who these characters really are. As the series moves forward we will hopefully learn more about these characters because as a team title Children of the Atom needs to have a focus on every member. As of now Marvel Boy and Daycrawler are just blank slates and hopefully that changes in the next issue.
Overall: Vita Ayala and Bernard Chang kick off Children of the Atom with a fun and engaging first issue. Multiple plotlines are set up that builds intrigue to learn more about who the members of the Children of the Atom are. The way this team works into the greater story around Krakoa we’ve seen in all the X-Men comics worked well to give this series a hook that gets the reader to come back for more.
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