Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: X-Men - Schism #3

I’m perfectly willing to admit that I may have jumped the gun about Cyclops being killed at the beginning of the last Schism review, but in my defense I did mention that it wasn’t even close to being confirmed and that I might, in fact, be jumping the gun.  Plus if you read superhero comics you should know by now that Marvel and DC are practically biting at the chops to murder your favorite character and focus more comics on Wolverine and Batman.  Anyway we now know for sure that Cyclops will survive Schism because Marvel has fully released the promos for the Regenesis branding of post-Schism comics.  It also appears I was slightly wrong when I said that the team was splitting into two books, Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men; it seems that there will be eight books, four working with Cyclops, four for Wolverine.  For Ole “One-Eye” it’ll be Uncanny, as well as [Non-Adjective] X-Men (Made up of almost all women), New Mutants, and Generation Hope.  Wolverine has his semi-self titled book, X-Men: Legacy, Uncanny X-Force, and X-Factor.  The promos seem to confirm which X-Man is going where but since in theory it’s all spoilers for the current storyline (Gee, thanks Marvel) I’ll avoid listing it all here.  However I will say two things about this: 1) Eight X-Men comics is likely about four too many.  2) The Uncanny squad seems to include Cyclops, three former villains, and an X-Man who is clearly under the influence of an artifact of limitless evil power.  So what, it’s like an X-Men version of the Suicide Squad or something?  A “Task Force X” so to speak (Hey-yo!).

Fanboy Rage: AVERTED
X-Men: Schism #3 was again written by Jason Aaron with art this time by Daniel Acuña.  So by now we can tell that they are bringing in a bunch of different artists for this series, and I’m guessing each artist will also being doing one of the comics in the new direction [UPDATE: This doesn’t seem to be the case].  Obviously if you haven’t been keeping up with this review series you’ll need to check my reviews of Issue #1 and Issue #2.   I’ll wait.

When you’re done click below for the full review.

[WARNING: Decent amont of spoilers in this review.  Be aware!]

What's this?  Action?  Wow, and it only took three issues!
After Cyclops dispatches the X-Men’s heavy hitters to the grand opening of the Museum of Mutant History as a show of force the team is attacked by a group of Hellfire Club foot soldiers led by twelve year-old sociopath/genius Kade Kilgore and his Daycare of Doom   Kindergarten Cabal  other sociopathic twelve year old genius cronies, making the claim that they’re out to destroy mutants (Though that’s dubious).  Both Cyclops and Wolverine race towards the museum in order to even the odds, but in the end a very hard decision must be made.

I think my biggest problem with this miniseries so far has been the portrayal of Kade Kilgore due to the ridiculousness of some twelve year old kid being so unbelievably capable, but by issue three it’s gotten so out of hand that not only do I not care anymore I’m starting to find it hilarious.  If I think about this series as a comedy it makes the whole thing actually entertaining and interesting, if completely unbelievable.  What crazy shit is Kade going to do next?  If I think of him as the villainous counterpart to Squirrel Girl then the whole thing actually makes sense!

So what’s he done so far?  Well he’s ignited worldwide mutant hysteria by breaking into Utopia undetected by any of the X-Men or their allies and letting loose a unstable terrorist, murdered his father and became the legal owner of his multibillion dollar empire, been elected the Black King (i.e., the “leader”) of the Hellfire Club, caused worldwide panic by supplying damn near every country on the planet with defective Sentinels, and as of this issue easily defeated a squad of X-Men compromised of Emma Frost, Iceman, Colossus, Magneto (!) and Namor the Submariner (!!!).  To put this in prospective if those guys decided to break away from the X-Men and go rogue not only would the remaining 194 X-Men (Or however large their roster is) have a damn hard time defeating them I’m certain those five guys would be able curb stomp at least 2/3rd of the team before they went down.  And despite the f act that they make up five of the ten most powerful mutants list somehow Kade’s Kiddie Carnival of Terror somehow took them all out in a matter of pages.  KADE KILGORE CANNOT BE STOPPED!!!!

Kade Kilgore Über Alles
Speaking of the Kade’s we learn more details about his group of half-pint henchmen that first appeared in the last issue and his background.  Apparently sometime in past Kade assembled a cabal of outrageously capable juvenile to aide him in a still as of yet unknown endgame.  He recruits Manuel Enduque, the young member of a family of slave traders who apparently deal in human trafficking to aliens (Hench the alien involvement last issue), Wilhelmina Kensington, daughter of a deceased hotel entrepreneur and more than a little psychotic, and Baron Maxilmilian von Katzenelnbogen, a child genius and orphan who the comic heavily implies is the descendent of Frankenstein…with a straight face.   If these are the villains of the comic then this comic has to be a comedy!  

The artwork of this comic is not my favorite.  It’s almost watercolor style doesn’t really do anything for me but I suppose that it’s not bad exactly but at some spots I was really underwhelmed by the details, or lack thereof, of certain characters and/or things.  The cover of the comic, also drawn by Acuña, annoys me a bit due to the fact that Emma Frost is wearing hot pants.  This bugs me mainly because she is clearly wearing full legged pants in the book itself, as she did as the last issue ended, and the lack of continuity bothers me a little.  I’m not sure if this was to squeeze a bit more sex appeal on the cover than they would have had.   I have no idea and I realize that this is a nitpicking problem.  Overall the artwork is not a selling point for me.

The actual biggest problem with this comic is the lack of focus on characters.  Almost no one has really been developed all that well in this series so far with one exception: Idie Okonkwo aka Oya.   Now I didn’t mention this girl in the last reviews since she didn’t seem too terribly important to the main plot but her actions in this comic seemingly means that she’s is probably the actual central focus of this miniseries and likely will be the catalyst for the X-Men splitting up.   In issue 1 and 2 there’s a rather clumsy attempt on the part of the writer to try to establish that Wolverine is trying to form a similar bond with the young mutant as he had done with Kitty Pryde and Jubilee (Anyone else find it a little creepy that Logan likes to hang out with thirteen and fourteen year old girls?) but the problem is that I don’t know anything about this girl and the comic doesn’t do much to explain who the hell she is.  Oh it takes the time to tell me that her personality is extremely pessimistic (She calls herself a monster because she’s a mutant and in this issue ridiculously asks why people are smiling in a goddamn photograph.  Are you serious?).  What little I have seen of her has actually made me think the character is a joke. 

Is...is she a robot?
 Similarly the plot of this not great.  It’s a step above the last two issues as far as action goes; there is indeed a fight between the X-Men and a gang of little kids which makes me laugh, but ultimately I was left wanting more.  I do really like the scene near the end where Idie is forced to make a hard decision while we see see images of Cyclops and Wolverine psychically arguing over what she should do.  It’s a really well put together scene (Hampered by the fact that I don’t know who the hell Idie is) and I liked how it ended.  The problem was that the conversation the two have when they finally arrive on the scene is pretty weird and I don’t really buy Logan being that upset over the whole “Kill the Bad Guys, Save the Innocent” way of thinking seeing as he’s the poster child for “Shoot First, Ask Questions Never” plus blowing up at Cyclops about it seemed unwarranted since all Scott said was “Do what you think is right”.  I actually agree with the X-Men leader on this one; I don’t like superheroes killing all that much, especially young kids, but she ultimately did do the right thing and saved lives.   Plus based on what I found in research (As opposed to the comic proper) Idie isn’t really the purest child ever to wear an X-logo.

This issue is a bit easier to read than the last two because things actually do happen and the cliffhanger leads me to believe things will get even hotter in issue four, but unfortunately I just don’t care.  It’s still not very interesting and I think things would be a lot better if the comic brought in more characters as something other than window dressing.  The character we do see, Idie, is a complete mystery to anyone who is has only recently started reading the X-Men comics.  The only real saving grace here is that I’ve decided that Kade Kilgore’s impossible escapades are the funniest thing I’ve read in a Marvel Comic since Nextwave.  Seriously what the hell is he going to do next?  Fight the Silver Surfer?   And Win?  Kade is making this comic a must buy!

Also Emma Frost breaks a little kid's finger

I give X-Men: Schism 3 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.

Pros

-KADE KILGORE, F**K THE WORLD!!!!

-The comic produces a lot more laughs than I expected, both intentional and unintentional

-Idie Okonkwo’s heartbreaking choice is the highlight of the series so far

Cons

-That same scene is hurt by the fact that I find her character more than a little annoying

-I’m not a fan of this art

The next issue I’ll be reviewing for this series won’t be X-Men #4 but will be instead be Generation Hope #10, which is a tie-in to the main series.

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