Thursday, August 18, 2011

X-Men Schism #3

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Company: Marvel Comics

What is Schism?  Tough question, as this series, which brings back the threat of the Hellfire Club and introduces some pint-sized villains that are bent on world domination, feels a little disjointed.  We've constantly been hearing that this is where the split between Cyclops and Wolverine will happen, that that is a huge issue that this book will deal with.  If that is the case, it's happening at a snails pace.  Sure, we've seen a few quibbles between the two characters as Sentinels run crazy around the world, but nothing that feels like it would mean the end for these two friends.  So again, what is Schism really about?  Well, let's delve a little deeper into the issue, Emma Frost style, and see what's what.  And no, I won't be wearing the outfit.

Jason Aaron, the writer behind things like The Other Side, Scalped, and Wolverine is certainly a talented writer.  His out of continuity books have a very real and human feel to them, skewing to the darker realms of the human psyche and exploring the depths of horror that we as a society sometimes tread.  His superhero books don't quite hit those same highs though and often times feel a little lackluster.  The first two issues of Schism have been better.  Aaron has been able to really sell the characters and I've enjoyed the familial tone that he has set up with the members of the X-Men, specifically with Cyclops and Wolverine.  And that's where the whole notion of those two characters essentially splitting feels awkward and out of the blue.

I know that he has set up Idie as the new Kitty Pryde or Jubilee for Wolverine.  It seems a bit fast, but I get what Aaron is trying to show with Wolverine taking a fatherly approach to her and wanting to keep her safe.  Still, the notion that this and Cyclops' decision for her to defend herself will be the deciding factor, or perhaps the final straw, just feels weird.  One of my other issues with this series is the choice to make young kids the villains of the story.  Sure, they are villainous, evil, twisted little tots that seethe Warren Ellis like he had been diffused and trasmutated into a sentient cologne, but they're still kids.  It's strange, at least for me, to see them bandy about all willy-nilly, making cute jokes about kitties while at the same time firing off explosive rounds at members of the X-Men.  They don't seem like A-list threats, and seeing them out-think and then take out members of the team on the battlefield, Magneto included, feels as though you have to suspend a lot of disbelief.

Daniel Acuna has not always been a favorite artist of mine.  Often times I've felt that his work carries a very frozen type look to it, which often times put a crimp into the action stories that he was hired on to tell.  That has a lot to do with the thick line that he employs and the painted look, which sometimes just bogs things down.  His work on this issue of Schism is better.  The action certainly has more movement to it and his rendition of the Hellfire Club guards is damn snazzy looking.  That said, there are times in this issue, especially as the cadre of X-Men attending a party in costume come off a little lame and unflattering looking.

All in all, X-Men Schism is a mixture of both good and bad ideas.  However, it's missing a key ingredient to bring it all together and make it something more, not to mention something that is a little more entertaining.

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