Overview

X-Men: Schism #5

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X-Men: Schism #5

Credits

  • Words: Jason Aaron
  • Art: Adam Kubert
  • Inks: Mark Roslan
  • Colors: Jason Keith
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Oct 5, 2011

Jason Aaron delivers the best X-Men event in years.

Schism has thus far been the best X-Men event in years, and possibly one of the best Marvel events, too. The deteriorating relationship between Cyclops and Wolverine has been brewing in the background for a long time, and in this final issue they are pushed to their breaking point. While a bloody brawl does ensue, the actual split feels more like divorce proceedings: Wolverine can’t be with Cyclops anymore, and he’s taking the kids.

The start to this issue is absolutely stellar. Barely a word is spoken throughout the first ten pages detailing the tense clash between the two disgruntled men. It is gritty and gruesome and grueling to watch. There are stabbings and faces melting off and more stabbings. The fight ends not because a winner was declared, but rather when the children appear to defend their mentors, causing both men to return to their senses. Great stuff.

The rest of the story has the obligatory “we’re breaking up” talk and not much else. It is a quiet end that focuses little on the actual schism and more on the characters, which is usually a good thing. While there will be ample opportunity to explore why each member of the X-Men chose to stay with Cyclops or go with Wolverine, it would have been nice to see some of those decisions played out on the page. Without them, the entire split feels too calm and ultimately unexciting. Jason Aaron played this ending safe by making it civil. It would have been more exciting to see the two end on a bad note before Wolverine makes a rushed departure from Utopia. That would make it feel more like a true split and less like a dry, temporary goodbye.

Each installment has had a different artist, and Adam Kubert finishes the miniseries on a fairly high note. His paneling is flawless, especially in the beginning where there is no dialogue and everything falls on him to get the story across. He does so with great skill and proves that the artist needs to be every bit as good a storyteller as the writer. While most of his characters look spot-on, his Wolverine has some problems. He looks too boyish in some panels, while in others he looks appropriately like a spiky-haired Neanderthal. Then when his face gets melted off, the visual looks bland and lacks the necessary grisly edge that could have made it haunting and unforgettable.

Schism has accomliashed what it planned to do and changed the status quo of the X-Men for the foreseeable future. The kids from the Hellfire Club get an insidious little wrap-up that hints they will be around for more fun in the future, while the X-Men have split in half and gone their separate ways. As a whole, Schism offered an intimately close look at two heavily burdened men, their unresolved personal history, and the life-changing choices they were forced to make, and in that Aaron has knocked it out of the park.

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