If you’re like me, you’ve been enjoying the Jonathan Hickman orchestrated X-Men revival like Todo loves Itadori. If you’re really like me, you’ve been devouring dam near every book that has come out since House of X & Powers of X. I’m talmbout Marauders, New Mutants, X-Force, Cable, Wolverine, Hellions, X-Factor and of course, the flagship X-Men. Yeahhh, I’ve read every one except for the sus Excalibur issues. I’m invested and expect greatness, so when I heard about Children of the Atom, an exciting book about brand spankin new mutants, I was hype thinking about the possibilities.
What Could Have Been
Vita Ayala was blessed with a blank canvas and the ability to create something special, something original. She set out to imagine “what would actual kids from our current time be like if they were X-Men sidekicks?” Obviously, I’m thinking Batman and Robin with wild mutant powers.
Then, there’s the fact that all the promo images had these kids lined up with the OG X-Men which left this ambiguous timeline open for interpretation. Is this decades in the future? Are they the offspring of our faves? Are they from some alternate universe?
“They’ve learned from the best, now they’re ready to be put to the test!”
“But who the heck are these kids, and where do they come from? Guest-starring the X–Men!”
*Spoilers Manifesting Ahead*
Then, Children of the Atom drops and the first couple pages are as glorious as I’d hoped! We got a kid shootin Cyclops lookin optical beams around with Yondu precision, a little bamf! bamf! bamfing nugget causing a ruckus, a black girl with a heavy Gambit vibe and a couple more teens with classic X-Men inspired fits on.
Young Mutants or Young Frauds?
Of course, this isn’t about the dope uniforms or fire opening pages of Children of the Atom. This is about Marvel having me and thousands of other convinced we were getting the mutant version of the Young Avengers and instead we get regular degular shmegular humans playing X-Men dress up. We don’t see this until the very end, but the kids are unable to use the gates to Krakoa, establishing them as non-mutants.
Sure, we’ve seen a big end of issue reveal like this before, but this one felt different considering the timeline everyone is trying to figure out with Hickman’s grand plan. This could’ve been 50 or 200 years in the future, but instead we have Gen Z teenie boppers decked out in devices and tech.
Despite getting hit with the oakie dokie, I was happy to see some cool elements get mentioned as they may become a bigger part of this story. Giving some panel love to mutants who lost their powers on M Day is a dope approach. The fact that Kamala’s Law is in full effect with these kids out here fighting crime…without actual powers means there’s a much higher chance they could get faded or pinched. Exciting and terrifying possibilities on the young Marvel front.