Overview

X-Men: Schism #3

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X-Men: Schism #3

Credits

  • Words: Jason Aaron
  • Art: Daniel Acuña
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 17, 2011

Aaron delivers another home run as the Hellfire Club continues to wreak havoc.

The X-Men’s biggest guns are defeated, the new pint-sized Hellfire Club incites global unrest, and a young mutant girl is forced to make a decision that will change her life for the worse – and just to think, with all that bad stuff going on, Aaron has yet to reveal the straw that broke the Sentinel’s back. Wolverine and Cyclops still have yet to come to blows, but with such an engaging story rendered in incredibly beautiful artwork, it hardly seems to matter.

Young Kade Kilgore continues to own the spotlight as he takes the X-Men down one by one. Fans often rage about how easy it would be to take down any hero just by exploiting their weakness, and here Kade and his fellow child-sociopaths do just that. Some tactics are more creative than others, but the true brutality of their takedown is what resonates throughout the pages. I’m sure Apocalypse is turning in his grave for not thinking of using a couple kids and some of those face-sucking creatures from Alien to defeat his enemies. Kade beats the X-Men pretty bad, and Aaron further develops his intriguing, sadistic character while also throwing in some interesting tidbits about the other violent misfits. You might feel bad for the beaten X-Men, but I can’t help but feel sorry for Wilhelmina’s kitty cat.

This event has had a revolving door of artists, and luckily this time Acuña turns in some stellar artwork. The X-Men have never looked better, especially Cyclops as he rockets across the night sky with a (freakin’ awesome) jetpack. Acuña depicts action in large, dynamic panels that make the battles feel quick and urgent. Whether Iceman is using a giant frost-fist to send enemies flying or Magneto takes out a group of Hellfire goons with a car, kinetic energy crackles on the page. And while the big scenes look great, Acuña knows how to create smaller, more intimate moments, too: Idie hides scared in the dark, the Cuckoos transmit telepathic commands with eerie glowing eyes, and a close shot shows Cyclops wearing a stoic expression as he delivers a horrific order.

With everything going so well for this issue, the final page delivers a cringe-worthy cliffhanger. To avoid a blatant spoiler while still addressing the issue, I will simply point to my review of Schism #1 and reiterate my point about how overused, unimaginative, and anticlimactic Sentinels are – no matter what form they take. Reading this issue felt like playing your best ever game of Super Mario Bros. only to reach the last level and get one of Bowser’s fireballs in the face. It was thrilling in all the best ways, but the ending makes you want to throw your controller (or comic book) against the wall.

Regardless of that hiccup, Aaron’s Schism is proving to be the nail-biting, engrossing comic event of the summer, leaving Flashpoint and Fear Itself in the dust.

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