Review: X-Men: Schism #1

The great divide of mutantkind begins, but there's no telling where the whole Prelude to Schism series fits in just yet.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

X-Men: Schism #1

I’m not really sure what to make of X-Men Schism #1. It’s not a particularly entertaining book, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be. It’s built on a lot of older X-Men lore, but is supposed to be leading into a new dawn for the X-Men. I guess if pressed to answer, I’d say Schism is ushering in the new by reminding us of the old. Part of my misgiving is that the four part lead up to Schism seems incredibly out of place, but then again it might not be. I would also say all of this is particularly convoluted but really, that’s been an X-Men staple for years. I do detect a touch of Marvel trying to play out their version of the DC Reboot. When Schism ends, Uncanny X-Men begins at #1 and Wolverine & The X-Men is launched.

Story-wise, nothing really happens in Schism #1. Cyclops and Wolverine head to a giant political conference to try and urge the people of the world to dismantle the Sentinels and leave in peace with the mutant population. Cue the appearance of the fly in the ointment; the rogue mutant you just knew was going to screw it all up. It comes in the guise of Quentin Quire aka Kid Omega, a Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely creation that hasn’t done much recently. Quire releases a psychic blast that forces every politician in the room to publicly divulge their darkest crimes. This creates a backlash against the mutants and the world starts building armies of Sentinels to respond to the attack. By the end we discover that a twelve-year-old boy named Kade Kilgore, who is all kinds of demented, masterminded the entire plot in order to become the Black King of The Hellfire Club. Yep, the Hellfire Club and the Sentinels are back. I had to step outside to make sure it wasn’t 1987 again.

While it’s clear this issue of Schism was just a setup issue, Jason Aaron still does a great job of holding a readers attention simply through his use of dialog. I have no idea if this story will pan out, but I found myself laughing out loud and being reminded why Aaron is the best out there at writing Wolverine. Marvel maintains that Schism will split the X-Men down the middle and that’s where the two new books come from. So who is good and who is bad remains to be seen, if there is a good/bad side. Those who read the Prelude to Schism will probably be as confused as I was, although I do have a theory. In the prelude, everybody is waiting for Scott to decide if they should fight some force heading towards them that could destroy the mutant population. There’s no sign of that decision in Schism #1. What if Prelude is actually after the events of Schism and is introducing the fall out of the mini-series? I know it says Prelude, but that may just mean giving us a look at what will happen – an 'intro via the end' type of thing.

If that’s true, then Wolverine & The X-Men could feature Cyclops. It seems weird to have a comic with Cyclops that pushes Wolverine as the main hero, but you never know with Marvel. So where does the split come in? Who is going to end up fighting whom? I’m interested in that not only from the X-Men characters involved in Schism but also all the stuff going on with Scarlet Witch in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. If she gives all the mutants back their powers and then decides to lead them, that could be epic. Imagine a book where Magneto has to fight his daughter. This is all conjecture, coming from the pages of Schism #1. Jason Aaron has his work cut out for him if the future of the X-Men is resting on his shoulders. I have enough faith in Aaron to keep buying Schism, but my fear of X-Men returning to their convoluted glory weighs heavily on my mind.

Carlos Pacheco’s art is nicely done here. I don’t love all of it, particularly how he draws Wolverine, but everything else is on point. Pacheco has a nice flow from panel to panel and he’s very focused on the foreground of each panel. There’s little shading or texture save for what’s happening right in front of you. Definitely an epic quality, something you need for a story like this. Schism #1 is a good start and it gets the ideas flowing about the new trajectory for the mutant population. It could all fall apart, but for now I’m fully on board.