Overview

X-Men: Schism #2

Review

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X-Men: Schism #2

Credits

  • Words: Jason Aaron
  • Art: Frank Cho
  • Colors: Jason Keith
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 27, 2011

Aaron continues Schism with deft writing, but the art will leave readers wanting.

Cyclops and Wolverine continue to quarrel as a new villain executes a nefarious plan to eradicate all mutantkind. Aaron’s scripting remains tight and thoughtful, but Cho taking over the art leaves much to be desired.

Hardly any meaningful action goes down in this issue, leaving most of the conflict to tense conversations between the X-Men about how to deal with numerous countries firing up their Sentinels. As if in direct response to my review of X-Men: Schism #1, Aaron shows that the Sentinels are hardly anything to worry about: many don’t work, and most that do decide to turn against their masters. The X-Men are then forced to save their enemies from machines built to destroy them. That’s the spirit of the X-Men to a T, and Aaron embellishes it with a funny scene where Kitty Pryde tells the extremist Iranian leader that he was just saved by a team of women and tacking on, “Did I happen to mention I’m also Jewish?”

The scenes of robot mayhem take a backseat to the drama in the X-Men war room. Wolverine gets irritated when a young girl tells him she has accepted the fact that she’s a monster. Aaron has crafted Wolverine into a father figure who wants his kids to have a better life than his, but Cyclops seems determined to shun his allies and dig in for a war where the lives both child and adult will be at risk. Aaron takes his time building the tension between these two iconic characters, a sign of a skilled writer biding his time to make the eventual confrontation that much more deserved.

Unknown to the X-Men, twelve year-old Kade Kilgore has killed his father, taken over the Hellfire Club, and orchestrated this global backlash against all mutants. Here lies the real threat in lieu of the broken Sentinels. Kade’s character feels fresh and dynamic: he’s got daddy issues, a chilling sinister feel to his words, and the way he lets everyone know he’s two steps ahead of the game makes him feel all the more dangerous. He meets up with a group of kids as unflinchingly evil as he is, with the little girl in a pink dress taking the cake for most disturbing child character in recent memory. It’s unbelievable what she pulls out of her matching pink purse, or what she does when she doesn’t like someone’s face.

In contrast to the deft story, Cho’s art feels like a mixed bag. Some characters look downright peculiar, such as the way-too-skinny Cyclops or the overly Neanderthal Wolverine. A small highlight of his pencils are the Sentinels: last issue they were all shiny and uniform and new, but here they appear appropriately dirty, scratched, and different. However, despite constant background chatter mentioning Samurai Sentinels, Sentinel Birds of Prey, and Submarine Sentinels, none of that is shown, begging the question “Why not?!” Who wouldn’t want to see a Samurai Sentinel?

Cho does a solid job showing Kade’s side of the story, including a group of ugly aliens reminiscent of the pig-like Mangalores from The Fifth Element, but the facial expressions and body language of the X-Men characters look all wrong: Wolverine’s scowl is lopsided, Quentin Quire has the face of Mad’s Alfred E. Neuman, and Cyclops readies to catch someone by putting his hands up as if he’s preparing for a game of pat-a-cake. After Pacheco’s impressive art in the first issue, Cho’s work just doesn’t compare.

Aaron continues to plot out an engaging, ominous story rife with character-driven conflict that looks poised to deliver on his promise to change the X-Men status quo, while the only element bringing it down is Pacheco’s absence on the art.

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