Children Of The Atom #6 by Vita Ayala

Children Of The Atom #6 (Children Of The Atom (2021-))Children Of The Atom #6 (Children Of The Atom by Vita Ayala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s a question about whether or not this was intended to be a limited series or if it just got cancelled after the first story arc. It’s certainly strange to spend six issues introducing us to these characters and then not do anything with them. But this series was a victim of covid from the start, suffering huge delays to its release due to the pandemic. It got off to a rather shaky start, with some fairly rough writing, but showed a lot of promise, and that promise is realised here.

Ayala’s writing over in New Mutants has been superb, so I suspected it was just a matter of time before this book found its feet. I was right, but the downside to that is that a lot of people were put off by the first issue, and at some point, I guess, the decision was made that this would be a limited series.

Which is a shame, because it explores some interesting and important ideas in regards to identity and allyship. It also explores prejudice and how are words can lead those close to us to think we won’t accept them for who they are, even if that’s not the case.

I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of these characters. I can see Carmen showing up in Ayala’s New Mutants, and where Carmen goes Buddy is likely to follow. But the whole team needs to find a future in the Marvel Universe. It’ll be a real shame if they just fade into obscurity.

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Children Of The Atom #5 by Vita Ayala

Children Of The Atom #5 (Children Of The Atom (2021-))Children Of The Atom #5 (Children Of The Atom by Vita Ayala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After a shaky start this book has really found its feet now. The team were captured at the end of the last issue, leaving the focus to fall on Jay Jay aka Daycrawler aka Nighty Nightcrawler and half brother of Marvel Guy. As he heads off to call the X-Men to help rescue the team we learn of his deep insecurities regarding the nature of his relation to Marvel Guy. You see, Jay Jay’s mother already had him when she married Marvel Guy’s dad, who already had Marvel Guy and his other brother, and so his mother’s new husband subsequently adopted him. So, he doesn’t feel quite like a proper family member, or, rather, he worries that’s how his older brother sees him.

Meanwhil, the X-Men arrive and both teams battle the U-Men, at which point the U-Men use a device which negates mutant powers…which has no effect on the Children of the Atom. They’re secret is out, they’re not mutants at all. Or…are they? Well, it turs out that one of them is, but I won’t spoil that reveal. Although, if you’ve been paying attention it won’t be a surprise (also, if you’ve read X-Factor #10 you’ll know who it is already).

Given that we’re told at the start of the issue that Jay Jay is only twelve, there’s still time for him to manifest mutant powers, and I’ll be interested to see if they go in that direction. I wonder what effect it’ll have on the team if some of them are mutants and welcome on Krakoa and not others?

This book has come on leaps and bounds since #1. Ayala’s writing has clearly grown sine she wrote the first issue and I find myself hoping that we stick with these characters for a long time.

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Children of the Atom #4 by Vita Ayala

Children of the Atom #4Children of the Atom #4 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is much better!

The team find out that Krakoa is opening its gates to humans for the Hellfire Gala and hope this is the opening they need to get to the island…thus confirming what we all knew, they’re not mutants. Indeed, their powers all seem to be technological in origin, derived from weapons they salvaged from the crashed space ship.

Carmen tries to confide in Benny that she seems to be manifesting mutant powers (although I still think she’s actually been infected by the Brood…just a hunch…) and he mistakenly thinks she’s asking him out…which she’s not, because she’s a lesbian, and it’s heavily implied that he’s asexual.

Things seem to be coming to a head when all of the team except jay Jay get captured…and then Jay Jay turns up with the X-Men to rescue them. I’m anticipating a big talk with the X-Men next issue where everything gets explained…and then hopefully we can move on. Or the series will just end and we’ll never see any of these characters again…which would be a real shame. This series has been a bit of a rocky ride quality wise so far, but I genuinely like these characters and think they have a lot of potential. But, you know, I’m a sucker for a team of teen heroes.

The art continues to be great, of course.

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Children Of The Atom (2021-) #3 by Vita Ayala

Children Of The Atom (2021-) #3Children Of The Atom (2021-) #3 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What…what is going on? This isn’t bad, exactly, I’m just confused…

So, we sort of get the origin of the Children of the Atom here…but we’re honestly none the wiser. They somehow ended up on a spaceship, which presumably took them up into space, and then was going to explode and so they got into some escape pods and crash landed back on earth. Is…is this how they got their powers? I feel like there’s a BIG gap here. I mean, that’s probably intentional, but it makes for a deeply unsatisfying read.

Meanwhile, in the present, all of the team except for Carmen go to a friend’s house for dinner, where they learn that friend had mutant tissue fused with his own to save his life. And when one of them asks if that means he can use the Krakoan gates he gets angry and throws them out. The whole scene is very…odd…

And while this is going on Carmen is at home transforming into…what? A Brood, maybe? Is that the source of their powers? Are they all Brood hosts?

What is going on?!?!?

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Children Of The Atom (2021-) #2 by Vita Ayala

Children Of The Atom (2021-) #2Children Of The Atom (2021-) #2 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some of this is really, really good…particularly the character work with Gabe. I feel like we know tis guy now, we know what makes him tick.

Where it falls down is in the confusing fight with Hell’s Belles. It’s never clear what’s actually happening, and that really lets the book down.

It also disappointed me that the team never actually made it to the Dazzler concert. It was such a big thing for them all to go see Dazzler, and a huge part of the start of this book was taken up with Gabe convincing his mother to let him go…and then they all just blow off the gig to go fight Hell’s Belles, despite them saying that they want to get there before the Avengers show up…so it’s not like Hell’s Belles will get away if they go to the gig.

Ultimately, I’m feeling a little frustrated that we still don’t really know what’s going on. Once again the Children of the Atom are invited to Krakoa, and once again they make their excuses…and the book, once again, ends with them preparing to attempt to go through a gate on their own. If they believe they’re mutants then why don’t they accept the invitation and have the X-Men help them figure out why they can’t use the gates? If they know they’re not, why do they keep trying to get to Krakoa?

I’m sure all will be revealed in time, but I’m just impatient, I guess.

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Children Of The Atom (2021-) #1 by Vita Ayala

Children Of The Atom (2021-) #1Children Of The Atom (2021-) #1 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was not the comic book I was expecting it to be. I mean, it was Children of the Atom #1, which I was expecting, but it just wasn’t about what I thought it would be about. For some reason I’d got it in my head that this was going to be set in the future and be about the children of the X-Men…or maybe the clones of them, or the first generation of Sinister’s Chimera. Instead it’s about a group of young mutants who have refused the call to move to Krakoa and are, instead, fighting crime as a super team.

Or…are they mutants? And…have they refused the call to move to Krakoa? Or can thy just not get there because they’re not mutants. Right now, we have the answers to none of those questions and really don’t know what’s going on. But that’s just fine, I’m sure we’ll find out in time.

The writing is a little wonky in places, but this was supposed to come out ages ago and since then Ayala’s New Mutants has come out and is superb, so we know her writing gets better. The art, which is mostly lovely, has a few wonky moments too, especially in that one panel of jean Grey (you’ll know it when you see it). But I think that’s actually an issue with the colouring than anything Chang’s doing wrong. The colouring’s mostly good, but there are a few too many colour holds for my taste and too much filling in of detail that’s not in the pencils and inks…which mostly works, but in that panel with Jean Grey jus makes her look…wrong.

The new character designs are great, though, with Cylcops Lass being a particular stand out. Cyclops Lass and Gimmick are definitely the stand out characters here. It has something of a Young Avenges feel, with each character’s identity being analogous to an existing X-Man…which makes me wonder if they, too, will eventually get new, unique identities of their own. Time will tell.

By no means perfect, and with some clear rough edges, this is nevertheless a good start to the series. And, well, I’m always a sucker for a team of teen heroes.

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