Overview

X-Men: Schism #1

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X-Men: Schism #1

Credits

  • Words: Jason Aaron
  • Art: Carlos Pacheco
  • Inks: Cam Smith
  • Colors: Frank D'Armata
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Jul 13, 2011

The teasers for Schism said that this event will split the X-Men, half siding with the ready-for-war Cyclops and the others joining the let's-solve-this-peacefully Wolverine. Wolverine adopting Professor X’s more passive point of view seemed strange, but after reading the first issue, it’s clear that Wolverine is not a bloodthirsty fanged cat; rather, he’s a mother wolf fiercely protecting her young.

Cyclops has Wolverine accompany him to an arms conference at the U.N. where he tries to convince countries around the globe to dismantle their Sentinel programs. One crisis leads to another and they are back in Utopia watching different countries show off their Sentinels on TV. Here’s where each man’s characterization and the reason for their divisive behavior can be plainly seen: Cyclops stands alongside Magneto and a slew of X-Men as he formulates strategies to deal with the swelling trouble headed their way; Wolverine leaves the war room to comfort a young mutant girl much like he used to with Kitty Pryde. Even their appearance speaks volumes as Wolverine takes off his cowl to relax and communicate on a personal level, while Cyclops constantly stands tall and never takes his off, making it seem more like a military uniform than an X-Men costume.

The scripting and dialogue in the opening pages are incredibly well-written and create a false sense of light-heartedness just before the inciting incident at the U.N. takes hold of the story and charges full speed ahead like a train powered by tension and terror.

In perfect sync with Aaron’s story are Pacheco’s pencils. Special note should be given to the excellent paneling used in perfect harmony with the pacing of the plot. Conversations feel cinematic, big reveals are given generous space to achieve their full effect, and quiet moments have the perfect amount of room to breathe on the page. D’Armata’s colors beautifully render the world in realistic fashion without forgetting to make the heroes pop out on the page. The final scene in the U.N. lobby has a distinct change in tone which helps to emphasize the storm approaching mutantkind.

With so much going for this issue, there is one glaring subject that needs to be nitpicked. The Sentinels are obviously being used as a metaphor for countries that stockpile nuclear weapons, but that metaphor is weakened because the Sentinels prove to be as much of a threat to mutants as battle droids are to Jedi. If Sentinels are to be the pivotal threat of this story, then shouldn’t they put up a fight that lasts longer than a single splash page? Since this is the first issue, Aaron gets a break, but seeing the Sentinels capture, wound, or even kill a mutant would have been more compelling than watching them fall apart against a few concussive blasts and claw swipes.

And if the Sentinels are being produced by many different countries, then why do they all look the same? Surely Russia’s final product would look different from Iran’s, even if only in color scheme. Wouldn’t Belgium’s design have a waffle-maker add-on? Seeing Sentinels from all over the world should have made for some noteworthy art, but the visual design decisions have kept them uniform, making them seem all the more uninspired, and reinforcing that these are the same old Sentinels that the X-Men have beaten time and time again.

That said, if the writing and art maintain this high level of quality, the end result will surely prove unimaginative Sentinels to be a moot point.

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Comments

  • Jason Wilkins

    Jason Wilkins Jul 14, 2011 at 9:03pm

    Despite my hatred of event comics, this looks intriguing. The creative team is inspired. Pacheco is one of the most overlooked artists in the biz and D'Armata is probably in the top five colorists. With Aaron showing such refined, insightful understanding of these characters, this should be one to keep an eye on.

    BTW my vote for best line in a review, if only for the Belgian waffle iron reference:

    Wouldn?t Belgium?s design have a waffle-maker add-on?

  • Frederik Hautain

    Frederik Hautain Jul 15, 2011 at 3:37am

    Nah, a Sentinel that pees Belgian beer would be way cooler.

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