REVIEW: ‘Children of the Atom,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Children of the Atom #2 - But Why Tho

Children of the Atom #2 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Vita Ayala with art by Bernard Chang. The colourist is Marcelo Maiolo, and the letterer is Travis Lanham. The first issue introduced a team of brand new heroes—young mutants that have adopted monikers and costumes similar to existing X-Men members. They battled the Hell’s Belles, a group of mostly depowered and angry mutants. After making them retreat, they were visited by the X-Men, who want them to join them in Krakoa. But the teenagers decline, not wanting to abandon their families still in America. 

In this next chapter, the X-Men meet more encouragement to bring the five to sanctuary. The Avengers visit the island, reminding them about Kamala’s law which bans superheroes under 21. Meanwhile, with the team, their trip to a Dazzler concert is interrupted by news that the Hell’s Belles are back and with reinforcements. The young heroes engage the villains but may encounter more than they had bargained for. 

The plot continues to be exciting, with a pace that allows the reader to lose themselves in each scene without getting bored. The story switches between the X-Men and Krakoa and the “Young X-Men” in their own lives. This is balanced well by Ayala. The use of the X-Men continuously connects these new characters with the existing figures, but their own story is given enough time to flourish. When they unleash their powers against the villains, the fight is energetic and full of peril. And the end of the issue continues the mystery surrounding the children and their reluctance to travel to Krakoa.

These brand new characters are continuing to grow. Children of the Atom #2 presents only the second time the readers have seen them, yet they are so easy to love. It becomes apparent that the narrator of each issue will alternate between the five team members. This issue has Gabe, also known as Cherub, as its voice. Gabe’s backstory is grounded and explains why he doesn’t want to leave for the paradise of Krakoa. If there were any criticisms of this comic, it would perhaps be that we don’t spend enough time within the character’s personal lives. Obviously, this is only the second issue, but there is still much we don’t know about many of the team members. 

One of the most interesting aspects of this comic is how it appears to be adapting as it progresses. It is made evident that this team has been operating for a while now but are still rookies and inexperienced. The characters confirm through dialogue that the codenames are deliberate images of their heroes. Daycrawler even refers to how bad the names are. This is a really clever and funny creative decision, as it adds real depth to the identities. Some members even talk about changing their aliases, suggesting that they may change in this series.

The use and writing of the X-Men is another fantastic aspect of Children of the Atom #2. They aren’t overused and don’t crowd the space, with only a few members appearing in each scene or issue. Mystique, Multiple Man, and Storm are the focal points of the conversation with the Avengers. Ayala’s dialogue is stunning, full of venom, meaning, and strength. The mutants defend each other, Mystique and Storm effortlessly rebuking any intimidation attempts from Rogers, Stark, or Danvers. 

The art is awesome, the energy of the last issue crossing into this one without slowing down. The physical attributes that Chang takes time to imbue each character with are important in building their personalities. Each person has a different stature and shape, so much so that even their silhouette would make them recognisable. The artist also takes time to sculpt brilliant expressions on their faces.

The fight is long but keeps the readers’ interest in its entirety. The choreography is superb and tells the story without much dialogue needed. The heroes are powerful and eager but are still so small when pitted against huge villains who have been fighting for a long time.

The colours are exquisite. The characters’ skin has an incredibly realistic look. The colours of the main team’s costumes are varied in how powerful they are. Marvel Guy’s luchador-inspired suit has much more vibrancy than Cherub or Cyclops-Lass’s costume. This also seems intentional and adds realism to this world. So much of the fight scene, particularly the superpowers, is enriched by the methods Maiolo uses.

The lettering is very similar to that used in many X-Men titles since House of X. This is important as it suggests a house style to these books and makes them seem even more connected.

Children of the Atom #2 is a superb follow-up and potentially even better than the first issue. We are getting to know more about the five heroes, and they are so much fun to read. This book is so deeply entrenched within the X-Men world. Not just from the guest stars and plot, but the references in the dialogue too. This creates the impression that any character can appear at any time, which fills each issue with the potential for surprises. 

Children of the Atom #2 is available where comics are sold.

Children of the Atom #2
4.5

TL;DR

Children of the Atom #2 is a superb follow-up and potentially even better than the first issue. We are getting to know more about the five heroes, and they are so much fun to read. This book is so deeply entrenched within the X-Men world. Not just from the guest stars and plot, but the references in the dialogue too. This creates the impression that any character can appear at any time, which fills each issue with the potential for surprises.