C2E2 2013

C2E2 2013: X-Men: Battle of the Atom

Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron and Brian Wood celebrate the 50th anniversary of the X-Men with a major crossover event!

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X-Men: Battle of the Atom design by Arthur Adams

By Brett White

The X-Men celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, and Marvel Comics promises that this birthday will be their biggest—and deadliest!

This fall's X-Men: Battle of the Atom marks the first major X-Men crossover event since 2010's Second Coming, and its time-crossed ramifications will be felt throughout both the history and future.

Masterminded by writers Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron and Brian Wood, the event springs directly out of the current status quo, as established by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen in ALL-NEW X-MEN. In Battle of the Atom, the mutants of the past—currently sheltered within the walls of the Jean Grey and Xavier Schools—will be targeted by a mysterious new team: the Future X-Men! Their only goal: send the original crew back to the past by any means necessary.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom design by Arthur Adams

"The story itself hinges on the All-New X-Men and whether or not they need to be sent back to their home time," elaborates X-Men Senior Editor Nick Lowe. "This causes the X-Men of the past, present and future to pick sides.”

"Jason Aaron came to us with this [idea]," says ALL-NEW and UNCANNY X-MEN writer Bendis. "Jason pitched big and he scored. Jason came to everyone with the bare essentials of this idea and everybody got really excited about it because it was all the things we liked about the X-Men. It spoke to the legacy of the entire franchise while at the same time focusing on the future."

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN writer Aaron echoed Bendis' sentiment:

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 cover by Arthur Adams

“This event really celebrates everything that we all love about the X-Men, to the extent that you get the X-Men of the past, present and future all coming together in one epic story that spans all the major locations of modern-day mutantdom."

The collaborative nature of the project also offered all three writers a chance to craft a truly unique story.

"Having a good and thoughtful series of conversations about characters that mean so much to us with writers of this caliber is one of the perks of the job,” says Bendis. "It really is an honor."

"It’s not just about this character or that character," adds X-MEN writer Wood, "But about [each writer's] versions of them. I’m just enjoying the group aspect of it all."

Since the launch of Marvel NOW!, X-Men fans have learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to their favorite characters.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom design by Arthur Adams

"People now know that they should have no idea what to expect from ALL-NEW X-MEN," says Bendis referring to the shocking twist of fate that led the original five X-Men to the present. "They really have no idea what to expect from an event like this—except there will be slapping. Everybody knows there will be slapping."

The event differs from more recent X-Men epics like Schism and Avengers Vs. X-Men in that the main action will not be separated into a limited series.

“This is a classic X-Men crossover,” says Lowe. “Huge crazy ideas moving through the biggest books we have in the X-Office.”

X-Men: Battle of the Atom design by Arthur Adams

All of the high concept action will unfold across each of the four ongoing X-MEN series.

"I can appreciate the tight-knit nature of this event," says Wood. "It's just the four books and the three writers, keeping it relatively short and sweet, and I think it’s all the better for it."

X-Men: Battle of the Atom begins this September in X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM #1 by Bendis and artist Frank Cho then continues in UNCANNY X-MEN, ALL-NEW X-MEN, WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN and X-MEN into the next month. The crossover then concludes with X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM #2 in October by Aaron and a mystery artist, thus ensuring that the X-Men's world will never look the same again.

"I can tell you that nothing in this event is what it seems," teases Bendis. "The X-Men franchise has never taken an idea this far."

"There are also a couple of ways in which the event will fold back and reinforce, profoundly, what I’m doing in my book," says Wood, whose new series X-MEN launches in May. "I’ll be establishing some stuff that’ll be around for a long, long time."

For complete coverage of Marvel at C2E2 2013 all weekend long, head to marvel.com/c2e22013!

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