Friday, October 7, 2011

Review: X-Men - Schism #4

So I said the next time I would review an X-Men: Schism comic it would be Generation: Hope #10.  That was the intention but to be perfectly honest the Schism Checklist may have overestimated that book’s importance.  Basically it’s the events leading up to Idie saving the lives of the civilians at the Mutant History Museum from her point of view.  It’s supposed to, I guess, give us a look at the type of person she is (Which guess is a “Debbie Downer”) but not only do I still not really care about the character but the issue itself has none impact on the storyline as a whole.  But if you want a Panda Score it would have probably been 3 out of 5, neither good nor bad.  Let’s move on.  For reference you might want to check out parts One, Two and Three

This issue is again written by Jason Aaron with art from Alan Davis (Penciler), Mark Farmer (Inker), and Jason Keith (Colorist).  We’re now at the “Make or Break” portion of the comic.  So far this comic has been a combination of silly and dull but has slid by with an average score thus far.  Will it continue to disappoint or will Aaron pull out an awesome story from an otherwise mediocre one? 

Full review after the jump.

[Warning: Lots of spoilers here. You’ve been warned]



Cyclops doesn't dig giant robots?
Though Idie managed to defeat the Hellfire Club Kade Kilgore left a parting gift: a suitcase containing powerful Sentinal that absorbs all nearby metal components to construct itself.  Retreating to Utopia Cyclops attempts to regroup before the weapon completes building.  However the Sentinel, possibly one of the most powerful of its kind ever built, marches towards the mutant safe haven.  Just as Scott realizes that none of the away X-Men would arrive in time and decides to face it alone the various mutant students offer to stand with him.  But this is not the way Wolverine wants this to play out. 

I’m going to be honest with you: there’s not a lot I liked about this comic.   I did however really enjoy how just as Cyclops was standing alone the students came right away to stand beside him.  As Hope Summers, a girl raised as a soldier by the way, says “I hope you don’t think you’re fighting that thing alone. You want X-Men? You got X-Men.”  This is everything I like about superhero comics in just one page, plus in a way it reminded me of classic X-Men comics where the original team stood with their teacher Professor X.  The odds are stacked against them but these kids are not willing to abandon their homes.  They plan on fighting, even to the end, for what they believe in.  Cyclops didn’t order or even ask them to fight; they came to him, not simply out of loyalty (Because several of these same students will abandon Cyclops in the next issue, but I’m getting ahead of myself) but because it’s the right thing to do. 
Seriously dudes; Hope Summers probably doesn't need to be protected
The problem is that this scene is completely ruined on just the next page when Wolverine demands Cyclops evacuate Utopia.  This is where this comic begins to go to shit.   Logan points that these are just kids and they shouldn’t be used as a combat force and what Cyclops is “forcing” them to do is wrong.   That ignores that several of the characters pictures, including Dusk, Anole and Rockslide, are not only experienced fighters by this point but have faced worse than this (Again: Hope Summers = Trained Soldier).  Not to mention that the fact that Wolverine himself is guilty of taking kid sidekicks, with less experience than some of these guy, all over the world in his violent adventures.  Not to mention the fact that there’s a huge difference between assembling a strike force of teenagers to do you bidding and a bunch of teenagers defending their homes and way of life.  Basically Wolverine’s argument is silly especially considering that, as Cyclops points out, if they abandoned Utopia during a heightened time of mutant hysteria they’re screwed anyway.  Logan is just wrong, but as we all know he’s a lousy character anyway so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s also stupid.   Then he basically rigs the place to explode to force everyone off the island.  Okay. Sure.  (Also Danger, the sentient and walking former Danger Room, is mentioned to be on the island.   Somehow no one thought the characters who’s primary power is “Talk to machines and control them” would be needed to fight a giant robot).

So this is it: this is what breaks up the X-Men.  It’s not that Cyclops has been militarizing the team, it’s not that he’s in bed with Magneto, it’s not that he refused to hand over Kid Omega to Captain America, it’s because Wolverine suddenly has a problem with young people fighting the X-Men’s battles.  You know: the team that was originally composed of teenagers?  Hell, the squad Logan was originally a part of, with the exception of himself and Banshee, probably had the average age of 19 or 20 which can’t be much older than these kids (And they were certainly not that much better trained).  It’s just weird and a pretty shallow excuse to split the team in half. I was expecting an epic confrontation, not Logan whining about nonsense.  But then the comic goes a bit further and completely validates Wolverine’s argument when, in a fit of anger, Cyclops says “She never loved you, you know” out of nowhere.  “She” as in “Jean Grey”.  His response to Wolverine saying that he thinks that his tactic had become too dark and off-kilt is bringing up Jean Grey and taunting him that she never loved the clawed mutant.

….

What.  The.   Fu-

"We've made a terrible, terrible mistake"
 Are you f**king kidding me?  That whole scene just implied that Wolverine’s point was completely right and Cyclops is just an asshole because that’s EXACTLY what an asshole would say when they’re painted in a corner and have no legs to stand on in an argument.  He just sounds like a petty dick, while Wolverine comes off like a hero standing up against him.  Despite Cyclops being 100% logical in his approach it feels like the writer is basically saying “Well Scott is naturally an arrogant dictator who’s forgotten the point of the X-Men.”  You can argue that I’m overeating to this (But once we get to the next issue you won’t be able to. Again, getting ahead of myself) but you can’t argue that with that one sentence this whole thing became about Cyclops’s dead wife.  It feels both obvious and lazy.  So, of course, the two decide to fight each other rather than the hulking metal monstrosity that is attacking Utopia because they’re both morons.  Will someone call them out on this next issue?  Of course not!

Cyclops: "Also you reek of beer and overcompensation!"
The artwork is fine for what it is but was nothing particularly special and I don’t have anything good or bd to say about. 

This story has taken a bad turn here. Cyclops is doing the right thing but he’s saying things that make him sound like he’s doing the wrong thing which I find bizarre. The cause of the break-up of the X-Men is either really lame or pretty stupid depending on which of the two reasons offerd is the true one. With Kade Kilgore not in this issue at all everything seems a lot less hilariously silly and all we have left is crap.  The worse offense though is that NO OTHER X-MAN SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT ANY OF THIS!  This story, for better or for worse, is about Cyclops and Wolverine and we hear nothing from the rest of the team.  Does anyone else think that Cyclops is going too far?  Would the other X-Men have done any differently in either man’s shoes?  These are questions that I know will be answered as we move forward but they certainly aren’t asked here and they won’t be asked in the this miniseries at all (I’ve read ahead).  I almost failed this comic but I realized that the stuff I dislike isn’t enough to warrant a failing grade but I really didn’t like what I read.

I’ll be nice and give X-Men: Schism #4 2 Adorable Pandas out of 5.


Pros 

-The comic almost produces a cool last stand scene with the younger X-Men

Cons 

-The comic seems biased against Cyclops and towards Wolverine

-Even so both character come off as extremely unlikable and irresponsible


As I’ve said I have already read the next issue so I hope to have the next and final review and analysis of the series sometime next week (I’m skipping the next Generation Hope as it’s likely also superfluous).

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