Following the events of the previous issue, countries around the world have started activating their Sentinels, though not necessarily with the expected results. While the X-Men take care of the defective robots, the search begins for Quentin Quire, and Kade Kilgore takes the next step in his plans.
As you can tell from the synopsis, this is a rather packed issue. With equal parts danger, glamor, wide strokes and fine details, it’s a great comic. Alongside the first issue, it’s all looking as though “Schism” is going to be a fun event.
Chiefly, after a rather soft introduction earlier this month, we begin to see hints of what ideological differences the schism itself might be caused by. As Cyclops plans to harbor the fugitive Quentin Quire, Wolverine begrudgingly complies despite thinking that he should be turned over to the relevant authorities. It’s safe to assume this decision — and Wolverine’s loyalties — are going to be tested to the breaking point soon enough. As with “Spider Island,” it’s good to see an event comic that hasn’t forgotten to put character at its center.
Despite that, some of Aaron’s storytelling choices seem a little idiosyncratic for what is ostensibly an event comic, as he makes full use of some decidedly off-the-wall villains. Criminally insane capitalist pre-teens joining the new Hellfire Club and making deals with alien races is, few would deny, the stuff good comics are made of, but is it the stuff of good X-Men comics? It’s tough to say. It’s a welcome change in tone from the often grimly realistic threats of the last few years, but that feeling marries with slight confusion at why someone like Kade Kilgore belongs in an X-Men book.
At least Aaron’s script is good enough that that question never feels like it’s bogging the story down. As long as that’s the case, readers can give him the benefit of the doubt and see where it goes. It helps that the artwork is top notch. With all respect to the X-Men’s recent art teams, it’s been a while since the franchise saw someone with Frank Cho’s profile drawing it, and that’s helping make the series feel all the more special.
In particular, Cho’s Wolverine is scrappy yet commanding, and while his Cyclops is a little less buff than the character has been of late, it harkens back to Frank Quitely’s take as one of the few to evoke Scott’s nickname “Slim,” and is all the more enjoyable for it. The art on some of the female characters is often a bit distractingly cheesecake in nature (and his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it redesign for Dazzler(?) is actively cringeworthy) but on the whole, it’s to be expected when you read a Frank Cho comic.
The only major gripe is that it’s perhaps a little frustrating that we haven’t yet gotten to the crux of the schism, given that the next issue will effectively be the halfway point. It’s not as though there isn’t plenty going on, though, and there’s more than enough time to make the story work. A very enjoyable comic, and one that bodes well for the future of the X-franchise.