Johnny Bullet
Marvel Comics
By Andy Frisk

July 27, 2011 - 22:50

Publisher(s): Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Jason Aaron
Penciller(s): Frank Cho
Inker(s): Frank Cho
Colourist(s): Jason Keith
Letterer(s): Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist(s): Frank Cho and Jason Keith
$3.99 US

Jason Aaron has Cyclops send an all female contingent of X-Men, including the Jewish Kitty Pryde, to rescue his version of the Marvel Universe’s Ahmadinejad from the Sentinel that he just commanded activated, and has subsequently gone haywire, in Tehran. If you don’t get the irony, sarcastic humor, and political commentary in this simple little plot construct then you’re either one of the most uninformed readers of X-Men SCHISM on international politics, or Aaron’s storytelling abilities are way over your head. I don’t mean this statement to be mean or condescending. Rather, I mean it to be a laudatory statement on what looks to be the real beginning of the Jason Aaron era of the X-Men.


Again, taking nothing away from the work that Gillen is doing in Uncanny X-Men and Generation Hope, Aaron really is the type of writer that the X-franchise is in desperate need of. He is quick witted, sarcastic, and bold. His stories reflect this. Underneath though, he’s a passionate believer in telling the types of stories where evil, injustice, and prejudice are thwarted by justice and right minded heroes. No wonder he is such a whiz at writing Wolverine’s stories. This description of Aaron’s writing style is nearly word for word descriptive of Wolverine’s persona. Aaron is also a master at presenting opposing viewpoints that, while diametrically opposed to one another, are of equally debatable validity, and for SCHISM to succeed as a story (and ideological debate) this type of writing is just what the X-doctor ordered.

The schism that is growing more and more obvious between Cyclops and Wolverine, and the position of each X-Man on how the X-Men, as a group, need to respond to the crisis created by the returned Quentin Quire is coming more sharply into focus. Also, the two’s views on how the youngest members of the X-Men should be used in scenarios such as these, and how much risk they should be exposed to, are also coming more and more into focus. The way that Aaron is developing this upcoming split between Wolverine and Cyclops, which will lead to one of the developments that I’ve been hoping for some time—revealed here) is intriguing and really isn’t, as he promised, a clear cut or black and white debate. This really is a new spin on the old Xavier vs. Magneto dichotomy. Neither is really swerving into villainous territory with their decisions (ironically though, Cyclops actions involve more deception). By the end of this issue, Cyclops and Wolverine are pretty far apart ideologically, this is unfortunate though because the villains behind the scene are more united than ever, and ready to strike.


As always, great sequential art storytelling must be bolstered by great sequential art, and Frank Cho does an excellent job, as always, with his pencil and ink work. His work is solid on all fronts, even if his backgrounds are a little bland. Personally, I prefer his work to the art of the previous issue’s penciller, Carlos Pacheco. There’s nothing really wrong with Pacheco’s work, but Cho is a little better with anatomical proportion. One major drawback artistically to SCHISM overall though is that there isn’t one artist pegged to handle the artistic chores throughout. Each issue is going to feature a different artist. This will make for a general inconsistency in the look of this series, which can unintentionally affect the storytelling. With the rushed world of deadlines and marketing timetables to meet though, especially with a corporation as big as Marvel and their parent company’s boards of directors and shareholders, we have to put up with art that is mandated to the restrictions of the profit margin. Oh well, at least we’re getting a strong consistency of writing. The juggling of artists on this tale should be something that Aaron can handle nicely. He has been doing so for a while now with his variously helmed titles.

Overall, SCHISM hasn’t disappointed yet, and X-readers everywhere should be greatly anticipating the next installment. This X-fan is. Even more than next issue though, this X-fan is highly anticipating Aaron’s upcoming Wolverine and The X-Men.  

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