X-Men: Schism Paperback – Jul 11 2012
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About the Author
Sara Shepard is the author of the #1 <em>New York Times</em> bestselling series Pretty Little Liars. She graduated from NYU and has an MFA from Brooklyn College. Sara has lived in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Arizona, where the Lying Game series is set.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Let's start with the strong points. The art is very well done. Nice action scenes.
Especially Wolverine vs. Cyclops.
Down side: The story could have been much better. For example, the mighty Magneto was taken down within one second. The characters credibility is at stake when the battles are not properly thought out.
If it weren't for the art, this book would have received 1 star easy. You can't buy a reader just with art.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Bonus: cover gallery with variants and promotional artwork
As a long time reader of the X-Men I was very skeptical about the Schism / Regenisis relaunch of the series. I was more than a little angry at Marvel for even thinking about stopping the Uncanny X-Men and starting something else with a number one in order to boost sales a la DC's New 52. I was wrong, way wrong.
Schism is the tale of the two very different philosophies at the heart of both Charles Xavier's dream of the X-men: one a warrior ethic fighting to save mutantkind and two the spirit of working on educating mutants and men alike for a brighter tomorrow. The fantastic plot of Schism 1-5 exposes the limitations of mutantkind living together in the island compound of Utopia under Cyclops' leadership (I'm going to be bare bones on details, because this is a must-buy comic).
Schism / Regenisis works because it is organic and inherent within the characters of the X-Men. There is no wiping the slate clean, rather the characters with the full weight of their emotional baggage much choose with which part of Xavier's dream they are more aligned. The Regenisis issue captures many characters motivations for following one of two leaders of the X-Men.
This graphic novel is perfect for x-fans new and old. New x-fans will find the starting place for two promising series (X-Men and the new Wolverine and the X-Men). For new fans Schism will provide all the backstory they need for the X-teams split and their different approaches to following xavier's dream. For old fans, Schism offers a rich story steeped in the history of many characters and raw with emotion. For this X-fan, I couldn't be more excited by where the new team is relocating: it feels like coming home after a very long time!
Overall, this graphic novel is certainly one of the strongest and most engrossing stories I've read in a long time--and I've read a lot of X-Men stories: no qualms with recommending this issue to everyone.
I haven't been along for Scott's transformation into the bada** ruthless leader he's become but I was surprised to see Wolverine, who has always pitched a soldier's line, to be the one to try to save the barely-there innocence of the x-children. It seemed a bit forced but good enough to break into multiple teams I guess. I loved the brutal throwdown between Cyke and Wolvie; thank-you Davis for your wonderful art there. I thought the best part of the book was the Re:genesis story where we got to see a variety of the x-folk decide whose side to join and why. I loved the way they cast the choosing sides as tribal, or a schoolyard pick. Also, how Idie was handled in the main storyline was compelling. Re:genesis elevated this read to a 3.5 stars.
What I thought was absolutely ludicrous was the new Hellfire club (SPOILERS ALERT). I mean, children, really? Really?? Ugh. Absolutely ridiculous (I know that I'm talking about fantasy here but...). And they were able to take out the X-men and make them look like tools? Really??? Took me right out of the story. Whoever had that idea must have recently had a few extremely bad nights with their 8-year-olds.
The five issue arc is such an incredibly tight bit of self-contained storytelling from Jason Aaron. We start out with Cyclops and Wolverine going to an arms conference to plead with world leaders to destroy their Sentinel programs, and at this point of the story it's obvious the two of them are close friends now, far past the petty bickering they always seemed to be involved in back when Wolverine joined the team. One reviewer took issue with the fact that nations at the conference claimed Sentinels didn't exist when obviously they do, but he seemed to miss the fact that the leader making these claims was very obviously real life leader of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and an obvious parallel was being made to Iran's nuclear program and Ahmadinejad's insistence that the Holocaust never happened.
Another common complaint seems to be that the antagonists in this story are a new version of the Hellfire Club made up of children. People who didn't like the story bring up how lame it apparently is that the X-Men are taken down by kids, completely missing the fact that this whole story is about kids. Wolverine starts to pick up on the fact that Cyclops is training their young mutants to go to war and not to the ideals for which Professor X originally created the School For Gifted Youngsters. He sympathizes specifically with a young mutant named Idie who seems to have missed out on a normal childhood. She never played with dolls and has never even had ice cream before. Wolverine thinks that the students should have a (relatively) normal school experience before having to deal with the fact that most of humanity wants to kill them, whereas Cyclops is especially on edge now that their numbers have dipped below 200 mutants because of the M-Day event and wants to prepare them for the eventual war he sees coming. Obviously Jason Aaron is trying to make the point that Cyclops is dangerously close to turning their kids into the same kids that are now running the Hellfire Club, total monsters devoid of any human empathy. The event that ultimately causes the Schism to occur is when Idie has to do something truly horrific and she just accepts this as a fact of life for mutants. Wolverine can't accept this and so he gets into a pretty epic knockdown dragout brawl with Cyclops.
Usually I hate it when you have multiple artists on a project like this, but all the artists are fantastic and their styles gel enough that I never felt like I was taken out of the story. And Jason Aaron's plotting and dialogue are spot on. My only real complaint about this trade is that the Regenesis story at the end feels a little unnecessary. Basically you just get a brief look at what side each X-Man decides to take for the coming split, but there's not a whole lot of plot. It feels more like those recap pages you commonly see at the front of a comic to fill you in on what's happened previously, except the whole issue is the recap. But that's a minor complaint. Schism is a great X-story and a superb way to find out about how the current X-titles came to be the way they are.
The X-Men have started their own mutant nation, a small island off the coast of California named Utopia, in a bid to create an identity and safe haven for themselves. But following an anarchist mutant attack on the United Nations, the world's nations activate old Sentinels which quickly prove their age by causing havoc to humans rather than mutants - X-Men to the rescue! Meanwhile the Hellfire Club undergo a rebranding and a new leader with no qualms about setting loose a dangerous new type of machine, one that seems unstoppable, and sets its sights on Utopia. With the X-Men scattered across the globe dealing with the Sentinel threat, Cyclops, leader of Utopia, is given the choice of abandoning the island or doing the unthinkable - conscripting mutant children to put their lives on the line to save the fledgling nation.
Jason Aaron gets the ball rolling nicely on this well put together and vastly interesting new series for the X-Men. I like the idea of Utopia though I felt the Westchester Academy was kind of the same thing. Until it was destroyed of course. The book hinges upon the decision Cyclops faces and which Wolverine is completely against doing - asking kids to fight for them.
The "Schism" of the title is about the conflict between Cyclops and Wolverine's different leadership styles and their own views on what Utopia stands for - are they training mutants to become X-Men or are they teaching them how to live better lives with their powers? The train/teach difference reflects Cyclops' current world view which is about establishing safety for the mutants of the world, while the other is Xavier's legacy of uniting the world through shared understanding. The resulting fight between Cyclops and Wolverine is gripping reading and the mutants of the world become split between one vision of the world and the other. It's like "Civil War" but for the X-Men only.
The one gripe I will say is about the Hellfire Club - hyper-intelligent and black-hearted 10 year olds, really? 10 year olds? It just looked silly. Either way, this is the most interesting X-Men storyline the series has had in years and I look forward to the coming stories following this split.