REVIEW: ‘Children of the Atom,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Children of the Atom #3 - But Why Tho?

Children of the Atom #3 is published by Marvel Comics. Written by Vita Ayala with art by Paco Medina. The colourist is David Curiel and the letterer is Travis Lanham. Most mutants have made the journey to Krakoa, where they will be safe. However, a group of five young vigilantes are still living in Manhattan. The team, using costumes and names inspired by their heroes are battling supervillains and saving people, whilst also trying to maintain the lives that other teenagers have. Multiple times they have met their idols, the X-Men, who have invited them to join them in paradise. Unbeknownst to the older mutants, the five have already tried to go through the gates and failed…

Within this issue, the mystery deepens. The team are invited to a friends’ house, who they suspect of also being a mutant. While there, they are introduced to new, menacing, figures, who seem to have plans for the children. Left behind, Gimmick struggles with the weight of so many people depending on her. In a different time, the team find themselves trapped in a spaceship hurtling towards Earth.

The structure of the plot changes drastically within Children of the Atom #3. There has been intrigue and confusion inside this series from the beginning, but this issue takes it to a new level. There are two, arguably three, stories happening at the same time, and the timing of both is difficult to keep up with. Carmen is in her bedroom, alone for much of the comic. The rest of the group have gone to their old friend’s house for dinner. These two strands of the narrative are easy enough to follow, matching the timeline we understand. But the scene with the spaceship seemingly comes out of nowhere. There isn’t any buildup to it, nor much indication as to where it fits chronologically. Its appearance is extremely jarring, which is probably what Ayala intended. So much of the story within this series has happened off-panel or before the comic has even started, which makes the reader feel like they have missed something. 

The enigma that is why Krakoa is inaccessible to the team is the most investing aspect of the plot. The reasons are starting to be made clearer, which has the potential to lead to catastrophic consequences. The concepts explored by Ayala in regards to how they are trying to access paradise suggests that they are getting more desperate. There are surprises galore within the issue, each one more unexpected than the last. 

The focal character of Children of the Atom #3 is Carmen, AKA Gimmick. The tone of the book matches the emotions she is experiencing, which is a fascinating idea. Carmen is struggling and falling apart. She feels like the weight of the world is on her shoulders, and that everyone in her life is depending on her for something. And thus, this pressure manifests throughout the comic as a whole. There’s an uneasiness in every page that isn’t quaking with action. The sensation is akin to a panic attack, building in intensity. What happens to her at the end of this book was jaw-dropping.

The art is brilliant. Medina’s lines are very thick for the outlines of characters, allowing them to stand out against the often busy backgrounds. The artist is extremely talented at showing emotions through body language. Carmen is exhausted, which is represented by the hooded eyelids and slumped posture. When in the spaceship, the fear is accentuated wonderfully. None of the team is in costume inside this issue. Yet the clothing choices that Medina designs for each hero fit their individual personalities. 

The colours are stunning. There are many bright, vibrant colours that make the outfits the characters wear lively and eye-catching. Curiel’s manipulation of light creates authenticity within the scenes and is influential in setting the atmosphere. This is appreciated especially when there are multiple settings going on at the same time.

The lettering is fantastic. The font that Lanham uses mimics that used in the other X books, indicating the house style throughout the various comics.

Children of the Atom #3 is an intense yet anxious book. Ayala’s understanding of young characters is exceptional, depicting their struggles in exciting and sensitive ways, implementing them in dynamic storylines. The plot is confusing and the time jumps may throw certain readers, especially when the change of structure comes out of nowhere. At times the pressure within this comic is uncomfortable and yet you can’t stop reading. Despite this, the story itself never ceases to be engaging, always leaving the reader demanding to know more.

Children of the Atom #3 is available where comics are sold.

 

Children of the Atom #3
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TL;DR

Children of the Atom #3 is an intense yet anxious book. Ayala’s understanding of young characters is exceptional, depicting their struggles in exciting and sensitive ways, implementing them in dynamic storylines. The plot is confusing and the time jumps may throw certain readers, especially when the change of structure comes out of nowhere. At times the pressure within this comic is uncomfortable and yet you can’t stop reading. Despite this, the story itself never ceases to be engaging, always leaving the reader demanding to know more.