Comic Review: X-Men Schism #5 - End of the X-Men As We Know It!

Overall with all of its warts Schism did the job it set out to do, the team has split, a new status quo has been established for all of its books and is a well executed jumping on point for new readers.

Book: X-Men: Schism #5 (Of 5) Written By: Jason AaronArt By: Adam Kubert Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: $3.99 Pages: 32 Release Date: OUT NOW IN STORES & VIA DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (COMIXOLOGY) Lets make something clear right off the bat. I haven't been a constant reader of X-Men since Second Coming. In honesty I gave up trying to follow 8+ books to get one cohesive story. However I'm giving Marvel the benefit of the doubt and I'm reading X-Men's latest event in hopes for a more approachable story which shakes up the current status quo with a bang. For those not in the know X-Men Schism has been marketed as the fallout of the X-Men, the Mutant version of Marvel's Civil War if you will. Over the past five issues tension has grown and grown until we find ourselves in the middle of a bloody fist fight between Cyclops and Wolverine as a new and more powerful Sentinel looms over them with a kill shot. The fight itself is something of a disappointment, last issue saw the catalyst of the fight (the mention of Jean Grey) let loose and really set up a high level of tension between the two as they finally vent their rage at each other. Writer Jason Aaron clearly has a strong and clear take on these characters and how the fight should be directed, punch for punch. However pencils by Adam Kubert (with Inks by Mark Roslan and Colouring by Jason Keith) lack quality during the final fight scene, panels lack definition and fluidity from one to the next, at times we are far too close to the punches to get a clear definition of what is going on and at others we are too far away leaving moments feeling like a scene from Loony Tunes (I'm looking at you page 3).

There are also moments during this massive and devastating fight which are left unlettered: grunts, explosions and powers are not shown for 4 pages during the peak of the fight. I feel this was an artistic decision as a moment of shell shock (ala Saving Private Ryan) as the two protagonist's realise what is happening in their surroundings. It is a jarring moments when you sit and realise you are reading unlettered page after unlettered page of a fight however maybe thats the point, as the characters have shell shock we to have it as we see through their eyes.

For me the real meat to this issue happens after the fight had been fought. Art from Kubert improves ten fold during more dialogue heavy scenes. Characters are more defined, expressive and you get a real feel for your surroundings. Aaron also shines during these scenes, one problem Civil War had was within issues you were with either the "Heroic & Brave" Captain America or the "Corporate & Law Making" Iron Man, you struggled to empathise with Iron Man as he was quickly turned into a harsh and strict bad guy. With Schism though, Cyclops and Logan both have more equally balanced and characterised opinions on what is best for the team. Neither is a true villain and this creative direction makes the ultimate "who's side are you on?" decision much more powerful and hard for the readers.

The ultimate "fallout" between Scott and Logan is handled very well without turning either into a victim of a villain. There is a nice level of acknowledgment between the two characters and thankfully there is little villainous rivalry set up for later issues. The approach of "I won't stop you if you don't try and stop me" works best for these characters and sets up a more complex dynamic for them than what could have simply been "I'M RIGHT YOUR NOT" *PUNCH*.

Overall with all of its warts Schism did the job it set out to do, the team has split, a new status quo has been established for all of its books and is a well executed jumping on point for new readers. I will definitely be picking up the upcoming X-Men issues over the next month and look forward to seeing what can be brought to the stories and characters in their new locations, or should I say old?


Follow him on twitter @Jay_Slough for constant film/tv/comic commentaries. This is the rather strange story of how Jamie Slough, at 3am one morning decided to try and form a cohesive sentence on his laptop by bashing his head on a nearby keyboard while finishing some university work. It's been doing him surprisingly well for the last few years and things don't seem to be changing anytime soon. At most times Jamie can be found reading from a large stack of comic books, catching up on TV shows such as Doctor Who, Breaking Bad & Curb Your Enthusiasm, begging people for work (but less said about that the better) and pretty much trying to be analytical about stuff. When he's not doing any of those he's writing or replacing yet another broken keyboard...