Robot 6

The Fifth Color | X-Men history doesn’t repeat itself, it rhymes

Wolverine Punching Gif

X-Men: Schism - it's kind of like this

The sad truth is that comics aren’t real. While mankind may have actual mutations (and some of them are super cool), none of them really warrants a special school or a uniform. Fighting for acceptance and tolerance thankfully doesn’t come by fighting giant robots designed to kill you. And, I hate to say it, but declaring yourself a sovereign nation off the coast of San Fransisco takes more than just an OK from the mayor’s office. So there is no way for the X-Men to be real, and therefore we can’t hold them to a truly “realistic” point of view.

At the same time, however, we do need to be able to relate to these guys, and that’s something the X-Men do nicely with a theme of social justice, teenage angst and the ever-vigilant battle of acceptance. Recently, these basic concepts have been taken in much more broad of a sense than, say, when they first started. Characters have grown up, loved and lost, tried to sustain families, and had their numbers physically shrink and dwindle. And then Apocalypse drove a giant floating sphinx over their house. In ever-escalating stories, the base concept of the X-Men was devoured for bigger and more dramatic concepts. In today’s comic market, it’s hard to keep our interests, and some days you have to try something new on top of something else new to keep things fresh and exciting.

Then again, going back to basics doesn’t hurt either, and X-Men: Schism seems to be on its way into familiar territory. A clear example of how the world hates and fears mutants, Sentinel proliferation as a nice metaphor for our own nuclear-weapons issues, old villains returning with new faces and a clear motivation that is nothing but evil — this is starting to feel like the comics I used to read, just revved up with a new engine and a new coat of paint. Hope and her crew are a great way to keep close to heart the “youth against the world” sentiment of the X-Men as they fight for the future.

Everything seems to be right on track … so why is Wolverine out of his canucklehead mind?!

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead for X-Men: Schism #4, so grab your copy and read along!)

Here’s the basics: A huge super-Sentinel bomb thing is headed for its single-minded destination: Utopia. Nearly everyone who’s ever fought a Sentinel before is either off in another part of the world or out of commission. Cyclops, back in the “Prelude to Schism” books, decided and told everyone that Utopia would be where they drew their line in the sand, and he plans on defending their island. Calling out for as many X-Men as he can get, Hope and her crew, plus Rockslide, Anole and Dust, show up and want to fight as X-Men. The music swells, we all feel entirely inspired and ready for the battle to come when Wolverine arrives like a big wet noodle and demands they retreat.

X-Men: Schism #4 - No

X-Men: Schism #4

This is where things fall apart. Cyclops is ready to lead these teenagers into battle with this crazy mega-Sentinel bomb thing and do what it takes to hold their ground. Wolverine, on the other hand, refuses to see more children die under their watch and wants everyone off the island so badly he’s willing to blow up the whole place. They fight. The Sentinel looms over them and we have to wait for Issue 5 for the stunning conclusion.

Seems kind of weird, doesn’t it? I mean, isn’t Wolverine the “fight and/or die!” kind of guy while Cyclops is the traditionally more reserved character? Logan was not but six pages ago ready to lunge at this huge mega-Sentinel monster thing claws first. It blasted him back into the Pacific Ocean — but when has that stopped him before? Besides, if he’s so concerned about putting kids in harm’s way, well … Kitty Pryde and Jubilee might have a different view of things. Wolverine’s stance isn’t even tactically sound; where are they going to run? There are Sentinels everywhere, and this giant mega-Sentinel monster thing came out of a suitcase and built itself from surrounding material. It’s a pretty fantastic weapon, and I’m certain the people who made that wouldn’t just build one and call it a day.

Even worse for his point of view is that Hope and pals want to be there. They volunteered, and knew what they were getting into. Sure, a lot of these kids are untried, but there are three former New X-Men with them and they’ve survived one of the bloodiest class years in Xavier’s school history. Hope herself was trained by Cable and should know a lot about unbeatable odds. Idie Okonkwo was given a doll in the first issue of X-Men: Schism as Wolverine tries to give her something more age-appropriate than a mutant refugee nation. She has no connection to the doll, nor any connection to the more happy times of the first class of X-Men. Despite her obvious troubles and fear of herself, she tells him that she’s made peace with who she is. Not the most ringing endorsement from a girl who thinks she’s a monster, but certainly the acceptance of someone learning how this all is played. It’s like she’s read some old X-Men comics.

X-Men: Schism #2 - Monster

X-Men: Schism #2

But then again, how does she refer to herself? A monster. It’s one thing for Hope to want to be gung-ho and charge into the face of battle, it’s another thing to allow it. Did I mention that Dust, Anole and Rockslide came from one of the bloodiest school years at the school? I am honestly not sure there has been any attempts at education since they left Westchester. This started as a “Gifted and Talented” school, a way to help mutants not only learn how to use their powers but to do some good with them, to learn how to cope with being feared and hated, not to just kick and explode. The X-Men are falling further and further behind their original goals, and the one in charge is the one to blame. Wolverine’s motivation is to save kids, it’s really hard to argue against that.

So is this really the final straw between Wolverine and Cyclops, resulting in a wedge being driven between the X-Men themselves? Or, let’s face it, has this always been the wedge driven through the X-Men when a wedge needs driving? Let me put it this way: When has Wolverine ever been the big-picture guy? He’s the best there is at what he does and that involves stabbing, not delegating the needs of an entire nation. He’ll fight to the bitter end but if the fight’s unwinnable, Logan will find a way to survive until there’s nothing left. Scott Summers, on the other hand, has had nothing but the big picture to look at since he joined the X-Men. He’s the leader of the X-Men, from when it was just five awkward kids to when its roster is bursting with new mutants. Xavier taught him that from the beginning, along with a core foundation of idealism. The idea that we can make the world a better place together, so standing one’s ground doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Not to mention he’s got hope on his side, in both the upper- and lowercase- forms.

Issue 5 will most likely change the face of the X-Men comics are we know it, which is also a very familiar and debatably welcome sight to mutant-kind. I hope we survive the experience.

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Comments

16 Comments

I’m just glad that this mess of a story will be over next month.

I love Scalped, but starting to accept that the rest of Jason Aarons stuff just isnt anywhere near that level unfortunately.

I have been enjoying Schism and think that Aaron’s work here and on Wolverine has been great. Anyone reading Wolverine will understand his frame of mind right now regrading kids in general.

Dangit, why did we let Messiah Complex happen?????? The direction the X-Men have been taking in recent years is yet another reason why I absolutely DESPISE the majority of modern comics.

most people are already over it and waiting to see if x-books are actually changing with different teams who stay in different books

I flipped through the first issue of “Schism” and was very much “meh–big effin’ deal” and put it back. And, at this point, it looks like, after more than 30 years as a major X-fan, I’m going to be down to nothing more than X-Legacy, New Mutants and X-Factor (and quite likely Astonishing, though the upcoming Storm/Cyclops tonsil-hockey bit looks a bit troubling for its future). Legacy may be on the chopping block depending on who follows Carey.

Schism (as I’ve been following through the related X-books) is a travesty. How are we supposed to accept that the Cyclops and Wolverine who cooperated so well in the recent Astonishing storyline as well as the cooperation through the Fear Itself blather could come to such a parting of ways in Schism? (It’s truly amazing that, for all the years of the Scott-Jean-Logan triangle, Scott and Logan could manage to work together but now they’ve become near-mortal enemies.)

Anyone says this hasnt been building for a while hasnt been reading the comics the last few years or refuses to see the signs. If you dont like the story thats one thing but to sit their and say it doesnt make sense is another. Wolverine is going thru stuff in his title which is effected his frame of mind here and he and scott started to get along better but Scott’s choices have been putting him and Wolverine at odds. From X-23 on X-force to the things happening in this series its apparent that they reached a fork and each are on different paths. Joseph you sit here can call it a travesty and say it doesnt make sense yet you havent even read the series.

i’ve read everything from Fear itself, and Wolverine and Cyclops have NOT been in the same books at all. Wolverine has been in NYC doing his own thing and working with the Avengers.. Cyclops has been in SF throwing cannon fodder at Juggernaut..

Besides, if he’s so concerned about putting kids in harm’s way, well … Kitty Pryde and Jubilee might have a different view of things.
————————————

That is the past. This is the present. What was his viewpoint isn’t anymore. Why is that so hard to understand? It’s been building up for awhile now. He also doesn’t consider this just harm’s way, but walking to them to their deaths as this Sentinel has no mutant sensors (target is only Utopia) and is self-repairing by absorbing metal (which their home is made out of). It’s not coming to fight them, just blow up their stupid rock.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

September 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

I’m actually surprised by Schism in the fact that it actually presents two even-sided perspectives, unlike Civil War (a series that contained a similar premise), which basically said that Pro-Reg was evil and Anti-Reg was good.

However, do I think this perspective is enough to split Wolverine and Cyclops? Not really. I mean, the original X-Men weren’t that much older than the Gen. Hope kids (if not younger) when they started out. So why is Wolverine that surprised/angered when Cyclops allows them to fight (as has been noted, they volunteered)? Kitty and Jubilee were also very young when they joined up.

On the other hand, Wolverine has been clashing with Cyclops on some of these issues for a little while now: they came to blows over X-23’s presence in the original X-Force. But I always thought Wolvie objected to that because she’d be used as an assassin all her life and didn’t want her to go back down that road. I could be wrong on that one, though.

Wolverine just wanted the children to go. He even says that he’ll stand with Cyclops and fight sentinels till the cows come home, but he didn’t want Hope and the various kid mutants fighting the sentinel. Cyclops wanted all hands on deck…so Wolverine over-reacts with the bomb.

I’ve been enjoying Schism well enough. It’s been a fun comic that actually has me looking forward to seeing how both halves of the X line of books turn out after the split.

While I can see both sides, it’s who’s preaching it I have a problem with. Logan basically threatened Hope when Kurt was killed stating, “You better be worth it or so help me…”. Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, and many more aside, in the midst of a major crisis, NOW you want to have this arguement? Plus in their world, most heroes and villians start out young.

Give it a year. In this economy, something’s gonna give plus there’ll be some new crisis where they all have to ban together and it’ll probably be Logan and Scott as the last men standing. They’ll fight it back, grudgeingly make up and what have you….

I took it as Wolverine has been crossing the line, dancing over the line, erasing the line… to keep just this kind of thing from happening. He’s made mistakes (well writers have, really, Rahne?) but he wants kids to actually be kids. Even if they’re ghetto kids living on a rock with day trips to California.

*sigh* I just wish someone at Marvel remembered how Madison’s powers worked.

What should have been. Schism #4.

Dr. Nemisis: Jefferies, what do your powers tell you about it?

Madison: Heck if I know, I don’t talk to machines.

Sentinel: Squark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Madison: But I can make a cool Box armor out of it.

He didn’t beat Omega Flight by talking to a VW bug.

Dangit, need an edit button.

Plus doesn’t this take place after Wolverine 15? (yeah, I know X-books don’t make sense.) Wolverine would have a real issue with taking kids and making them warriors after that.

Did the people who are complaining about “Aaron’s non-“Scalped” work” and “this terrible mess” even read the comic, or are they just reading the discussions? Because “Schism” has been pretty great.

I agree that the direction of the X-men has sucked for the past few years, but Aaron’s a breath of fresh air. The only thing that could make Schism better is if Aaron had been writing the X-comics for as long as he’s been writing Wolverine (which has been setting up Logan’s attitude in Schism for many issues now).

By the way, I’m definitely Team Wolverine.

Andrew J. is telling the truth. I bailed in the 90s after realizing that the AOA was as good as it was going to get, jumped back in a few years later with Morrison, then the Whedon/Cassaday ride, finally signed back up and have since stayed with the flagship UNCANNY, starting out with Brubaker (my least favorite of his work, though a huge fan of the Bru in all other regards), got pumped for Fraction and only partially satisfied (realizing this instant mainly because Ba/Moon weren’t initially rotating with Dodson, I mean, would it have been such a challenge?, all I wanted was CASANOVA/X-MEN)(which, how many fone calls would that take, couldn’t that quite conceivably be the greate[wor]st thing that could maybe ever happen, at least in this brane? sorry HOLY TERROR and all of this NEVERMIND anniversary retrospective have me all thrown off, but I was saying, Fraction’s run was solid, introducing(channeling/donating) Warren Nemesis and, too, he brought back Box, but then), Gillen cranked it way up on Fraction, shocking everyone (except, it must be said, between five and six thousand PHONOGRAMytes, who saw it coming all along) by nailing that old time Claremont tone so so much from the very first beat to the point that I already was two months ago as jacked up buying UNCANNY X-MEN off the rack as I ever had been, since July ’88, this is, all of which to pedigree:

Aaron dropped into the driver’s seat and hit the self-destruct button while thumping down spot-on character moments and crackling perfect beats of dialogue faster than a deep lover of these mythos can reasonably bear. Motherfucker is killing it. And these two split series, taken on their own, Gillen/Aaron&Friends are going to be as good as anything has been in this neck of the woods since it was just Claremont on the two monthlies, and that’s all that was going on at the big house at 1407 Graymalkin.

Really, just sign Sienkiewicz up for an arc and call it a tie. Anybody complaining about these books won’t have read them.

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