X-Men SCHISM #1
By Andy Frisk
July 13, 2011 - 16:50
Publisher(s): Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Jason Aaron
Penciller(s): Carlo Pacheco
Inker(s): Cam Smith
Colourist(s): Frank D’Armata
Letterer(s): Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist(s): Carlos Pacheco, Cam Smith, Frank D’Armata
Jason Aaron brings his trademark wit and satire to the pages of an X-Men book, and the result is one of the best single issue X-Men stories in a long time. With all respect to current X-scribe Kieron Gillen, who’s doing some great work over in Uncanny X-Men and Generation Hope, Jason Aaron might be the next big writer to launch into superstardom via an X-book. As the writer who pens Scalped for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, did some great work on Ghost Rider and his run’s climax, Hell’s on Fire, and made Wolverine readable and interesting again for the first time in decades with the short lived Wolverine: Weapon X and current ongoing Wolverine, Aaron is no longer a newcomer to comic book writing, but has yet to take on as high profile a book as an X-Men team book. With SCHISM, Aaron begins what could, and hopefully will be, a long and storied run on the X-characters. This fall, Aaron will write Wolverine and The X-Men, which, aside from the silly title, might shape up to be the first real must read X-series in quite a while. Aaron’s gift for causing the reader to laugh out loud while reading his books whilst concurrently stimulating the readers’ thought processes by delivering a socially and politically relevant story is nearly unmatched in contemporary mainstream superhero comics. Before we put the cart before the X-horse though, so to speak, let’s take a look at what is causing this reader and comics essayist to giddily gush so much over Aaron's upcoming X-run…
X-Men SCHISM opens with Wolverine returning home to Utopia, the X-Men's island nation, from one of his many adventures with one of his many super powered teams. He wants nothing more than to crash and sleep for three days, blowing off a combat training class he’s scheduled to teach to Hope and her group, when Cyclops comes calling. He needs Wolverine/Logan to accompany him to an international arms control conference in Switzerland. Logan drags himself out of bed and heads off with Cyke. At the conference, Cyclops/Scott Summers makes an impassioned plea for the world to admit to secretly harboring Sentinel technology and do away with this dangerous and threatening technology. Mirroring real world events, a very Ahmadinejad-looking delegate to the conference denies his country’s possession of, and very existence of, this (anti-mutant) WMD. As Scott constructs his well worded retort, the mysteriously freed Kid Omega/Quentin Quire shows up, declares that “This time around, the revolution will not be televised. The revolution will be telepathic,” and subsequently psionically causes the delegates to begin spilling their deepest and darkest secrets for the live television cameras reporting the entire event. Revelations ranging from the darkly ominous, such as “I am personally responsible for the deaths of the following individuals…” and “I beat my children. I do it quiet often, in fact. I…I do it because—well because I enjoy it” to the hilarious “I married a Doombot!” and “I actually love America!” to the Johnny Cash referencing and reverencing “I once shot a man to watch him die!” are spouted by various delegates for all the world to observe. The revolution threatening mutant announcement by Quire puts the world on high alert, and causes the conference’s security detail to launch Sentinels, the very WMDs that they were just declaring as a body to not even exist, into action against Scott and Logan while Quire gets away, causing Scott to remark in disbelief, “They brought arms…to an arms control conference.” Shortly there after, Sentinels owned by governments the world over are deployed and the line is drawn in the sand. Quickly Scott gathers the X-Men and they, just as quickly, begin to show signs of splitting ideologically over how to proceed. Meanwhile, this entire new threat of global conflict is revealed to be the machinations of a long term and recently reborn X-Men enemy…
SCHISM is supposed to lead to a new status quo as concerns the X-Men which will lead to two separate X-Men teams with different goals and objectives. A close reading of X-Men SCHISM #1 pretty much lays out the motivations, ideologies, theories, and even where some characters will fall on the Scott vs. Logan divide quite clearly. It would be a travesty for me to elaborate or reveal them here before one has a chance to discover them for themselves, but the ideas behind the coming divide between X-Men ideologically are clearly not black and white nor necessarily right or wrong in nature, as Aaron has suggested in interviews around the web. They are not one dimensional in nature either. There isn’t just one dividing idea or ideology. It is an intelligent mix of two major ideas and theories on how to respond to the threat which mirrors the real world political question of diplomacy vs. the preemptive strike option and how to train, teach, treat, and develop future X-Men. Aaron is really good at writing these kind of themed stories, which are packed with plenty of commentary, while injecting some much needed humor to soften the rhetoric that such stories thrive on and generate.
We might be witnessing the dawn of the Jason Aaron age of X-stories. He definitely has some big shoes to fill, but with the foundation he is laying in SCHISM, Aaron definitely is showing that he has the potential to fill said shoes.
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