Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: X-Men - Schism #1

(For those of you who care The Lady, whom I've been spending lots of time with the past few months, has finally updated her blog. Go check it out. DO IT!!!)

As promised here’s the review of X-Men: Schism #1.  But before that I’d like to mention X-Men: Prelude to Schism, the supposed prologue leading up to the miniseries.  Now I did try to read this four issue series but frankly it was boring as shit and as far as I can tell didn’t really have anything to do with the forthcoming storyline.  It came off as one big suck-up to Cyclops and wasn’t all that intriguing or revealing.  Issue 1 was about Professor X reminiscing about Cyclops as a young man and how far he's come and issue #2 was Magneto retelling his origin again and this time he inwardly says how much Cyclops reminds him of his dead father who he greatly looked up to.  Really, Magneto?  Everything I read in those issues felt phony and forced and was a real chore and reading comics should never be a chore.  So I opted not to bother with the final two issues.

Anyway this comic was written by Jason Aaron, who has a lot of expience writing for Wolverine and will in fact be writing for Wolverine and the X-Men starting this fall.   It features art from Carlos Pacheco (Penciler), Cam Smith (Inker) and Frank D’Armata (Colorist).  Now as this is the first part of series we can’t judge too harshly but take in mind that often the first issue of a series sets the tone for the whole book.  Then again the first issue of Secret Invasion was awesome and then every issue after that was more terrible than the last.

Review after the jump.

[Warning: There will likely be full spoilers here, so be warned.]

Kid Omega, 100% Not a Big Nerdy Virgin
[This Caption Written By Kid Omega]
Despite having an exhausting night of battling (Or whatever he does at nights) Wolverine is dragged by Cyclops to an international arms conference.  As leader of Utopia, and thus mutant kind, Scott plans on tying to appeal to the leaders of the world to disarm any and all Sentinels (Mutant hunting robots) that their countries may have.  The party is crashed when former Xavier Student and current asshole Kid Omega arrives with a mutant terrorist attack.  As the world turns on mutants yet again it seems there is a true puppet master pulling the strings.

So right off the bat I don’t feel like this is the same X-Men I grew up with which is a petty complaint, I know, and isn’t even relevant to this comic.  Even so it’s a bit sad for me.  For example I had to look up on the internet who the students that Wolverine interacts with at the beginning of the comic were because aside from Hope Summers I didn’t recognize any of them (It turns out they were the cast of Generation Hope).  Also I couldn’t help but notice that Cyclops seems to have had a costume redesign since the last time I saw him in Astonishing X-Men, though that must have happened outside of this comic, and it doesn’t look great.  What’s up with all these costume redesigns?  This was a redesign of a 2004 redesign of 2001 redesign.  Come on, Marvel, pick one and stick with it!

Anyway let’s start off on the comic proper by talking about what I liked.

Holy shit, I didn’t like anything about this comic! Okay, I guess I liked that it was the Hellfire Club that showed up at the end but that was sort of ruined by how they’ve reorganized. As it features none of its classic members nor interesting new members in the Inner Circle I’m not super interested in it yet. Now that I look back on it I suppose I liked the portrayal of Cyclops and Wolverine’s relationship, not as friends but partners who obviously have a deep respect for each other likely due to their long time working association. It was handled well enough though comparisons to this story being akin to Professor X and Magneto’s friendship coming to an end will probably end up being wrong.

Sentinels in their natural state (Being killed by X-Men)
That’s not to say that I hate this comic though.  There’s just wasn’t anything to make me all that invested.  The main conflict in the plot is that Kid Omega returns and causes the world leaders to “hate mutants more than ever.”  Really, Marvel? This is the straw that breaks the racist human’s back?  Not Magneto blackmailing Earth into forming his own 16 million strong mutant country?  Or that time “Xorn pretending to be Magneto pretending to be Xorn” (*Rolls Eyes*) destroyed a large chunk of New York City and killed a bunch of innocent people?  It’ Kid Omega, a character who I’m not particularly all that interested in to begin with, making the world leaders embarrass themselves on TV.  Considering that there’s so few mutants around it seems that regardless of one terrorist doing something bad shouldn’t be enough to make the X-Men seriously consider this to be the most they’ve ever been hated in history.  If anything it’s another drop in hatred bucket.

Also, X-Movie fans; Kid Omega is this telepath, not a dude with spikes on his face.

F**k you, Brett Ratner!
 The art is…fair?  I didn’t really like that there wasn’t a huge amount of variety in facial expressions but I suppose it wasn’t the worst on Earth.  It’s a bit dull, but then again not much happens in this issue.   I guess my biggest complaint was the person revealed to be behind Kid Omega’s attack: Kade Kilgore.  Don’t be sad if you don’t recognize the name.  Far as I can tell Kade is a twelve year old super genius who also happens to be insanely rich.  Over the course of this issue he murders his father and takes over his company (…somehow), manipulates established villain Kid Omega into pissing off every world leader, and becomes the Black King of the Hellfire Club.  And he’s TWELVE!   I feel this book is stretching my willing suspension of disbelief, which is really weird considering I’m reading a comic book about a dude who shoots concussion blasts out of his eyes.  I already have trouble taking Kid Omega seriously because he’s just a punk teenage kid, but it’s even more difficult when the villain is someone who can be defeated with a spanking.  This is just the first issue though so I won’t condemn too badly since we don’t know exactly “who” is the mastermind behind “what” at this point, but should this Kade kid turn out to be the threat powerful enough to tear the X-Men apart I may have to wonder if Marvel really knows what the hell they’re doing (Yeah, because DC Comics really have their shit together, don’t they?)

The next big X-Men villain?
(No.  No he is not)
Some of that was harsh. The fact is that this is an okay first part of a multi-part series. It does set up a reasonable conflict that our heroes will have to face, but truth be told there’s nothing all that attention grabbing here to make me excited about the next issue. The only reasoning Marvel seems to be utilizing to get us to pay more money for this specific storyline is because they’ve told us in interviews and promo pictures how it’s all going to end (Cyclops and Wolverine separating) which is not exactly what I call proper story telling. Still it’s not a bad read, but probably should have been about a dollar cheaper to be worth the price (It’s $4.99, which is much, much too high for what I got).

X-Men: Schism #1 get 3 Adorable Pandas out of 5.

Pros and Wolverine’s relationship didn’t piss me off


-Not really an attention grabbing first issue

-The conflict, and villains, are so far underwhelming

Come back in a few days for a review of X-Men: Schism #2.

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