X-MEN: CHILDREN OF THE ATOM #1-4 (1999-2000)

Children of the Atom was (yet another) book designed to “gap fill” days in the early history of major Marvel characters. The creators’ pedigrees are undeniable, and yet the series comes out as bland and forgettable. It’s a well-written and beautifully drawn book that just doesn’t amount to more than a fun read.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

A few highlights:

A cameo from Mulder and Scully, in the background as issue #1 shows us the beginnings of the FBI’s fear of mutants, including the early days of Agent Fred Duncan.

Magneto is portrayed almost as a competitor to Xavier, drafting members for what (I assume) ultimately becomes the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Here, he tries to recruit Angel.

The above sequence should give you a flavor for the book. Again, it’s good–but it won’t stick to your ribs. Later in the story, the Ku Klux Klan attacks Angel:

I’m not sure if that trivializes the actual Klan’s racism…I don’t think it does, but these days it’s hard to tell what people will find offensive. And are they really the Klan? Because they wear black instead of white…

I still they are KKK stand-ins. We’re shown that this attack is the reason Angel joins Xavier’s team instead of Magneto, after Charles rescues him.

I like how the burning cross becomes an “X”. It’s a creative way to turn a tool of oppression into one of rebellion. Kind of like reappropriating epithets like the N and F words.

Some of the other “join the team” sequences are fun. Here’s Cyclops:

Iceman, and his parents:

He was cuter when he was a snowman instead of his later, icy form.

The anti-mutant terrorist group is the villain through all 6 issues, and the story ends with Magneto savagely killing their leader–a nice juxtaposition of how he differs from Professor X.

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