Written By: Vita Ayala
Art By: Paco Medina
Colors By: David Curiel
Letters By: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Art By: R.B. Silva, Jesus Aburtov
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 9, 2021
The Children of the Atom (COTA) shift focus to the next member of the team, Benny aka Marvel Guy, as we learn about his background and family with his stepbrother, Jay Jay aka Daycrawler. Benny is fearlessly protective of his friends and he wants the best for the team. When the Hellfire Gala is announced, the COTA see a way on to Krakoa if they’re willing to take some ethical risks.
Was It Good?
It was weird, for a few reasons.
The big buildup through the first three issues was the mystery of whether or not the COTA are mutants, and if not, how did they get their powers and why do they want to go to Krakoa.
In this issue, almost all the questions are answered with as much drama as a symposium at an accountants convention. And all the “what the…?” moments that were suddenly introduced in the last issue aren’t even mentioned here.
The art is excellent from Medina, who is a new addition to the creative team. Colors are bright and eye-catching. And the lettering is excellent. There’s not a single reason to complain about the art.
It’s the writing. It’s all over the place. Has been from issue #1. And there’s no sign of improvement.
What’s It About?
Benny aka Marvel Guy, is the salt-of-the-earth member of the COTA. He’ll throw punches and get in anyone’s face whenever his friends are in a jam.
We learn Benny went with his father when his parents divorced, and his father remarried soon after. That’s how he met Jay Jay.
One day during Lunch at school, the COTA receive word about the Hellfire Gala and key on the fact that humans will be allowed on Krakoa for the event. They see this as an opportunity to get on the island when they’re not mutants.
This is the first down of the issue. The series built up the “mystery” of the COTA by not really answering the question of whether or not they’re mutants. This scene simply confirms the COTA are not, and all energy that went into the mystery is summarily tossed away.
Next, we get a flashback of the team training in a remote location with what look to be advanced or alien tech that gives them powers. This presumably takes place after the alien ship crash from last issue that was never explained, introduced, or addressed. Again, another mystery is blandly concluded without any drama or fanfare. It’s as if Ayala got bored with keeping up the pretense of maintaining suspense and decided to unceremoniously end the mysteries.
Back to the present, the COTA meet at Benny and Jay Jay’s house. Buddy concocts a plan to get the COTA past the Krakoan sensors with a jersey she stole from Cole that potentially has some of his mutant-infused DNA on it. Several team members are put off by taking advantage of Cole’s body without his consent, but they eventually agree to give it a try because the reward is worth it.
Here’s the next mystery blandly solved. Why did they want to get on Krakoa so badly if they’re not mutants? The answer– no reason other than they really want to be mutants because they think the X-Men are neato keen. In other words, the COTA are nothing more than cosplayers with alien tech that are super duper X-Men fans. At this point, it would be very natural to ask: “What is the point of this title?” I know I sure did.
Later, the COTA arrive at the Coney Island portal suited up and covered in patches of Cole’s jersey that contain his DNA (eww!). Before they can attempt to cross over, they’re suddenly surrounded by an armed assault team. Everyone gets captured except Jay Jay.
When the team recovers, they’re in a holding facility with some unsavory scientist types. Their leader is mad at Gimmick for hurting one of her U-Men. Of all the confusing parts of the series, this is the most confusing because there’s no editor’s note or “see issue xxx” notation. I have no idea what she’s talking about and there’s no reference to help clarify.
Before the scientists can commence dissection, Jay Jay BAMFs! into the holding area with the X-Men following right behind him. I guess smearing Cole’s DNA on his little body worked (eww!)
Children of the Atom #4 has good art, but the story is a mess. The big mysteries built up over the last three issues are lazily eliminated, and the new mysteries introduced in issue #3 aren’t even mentioned. This series is quickly proving to be utterly pointless.