By: Jason Aaron (writer), Carlos Pacheco (penciller), Cam Smith (inker), Frank D’Armata (colorist)

The Story: Cyclops, as leader of the world’s mutants, goes to an arms control conference, bringing Wolverine as his security. Midway through Cyclops’ speech advocating peace and disarmament (in this case, not for nukes, but for sentinels), a telepathic mutant comes in and creates an international incident, making governments all over the world mobilize their anti-mutant weapons.

The Review: First of all, this was a thick issue. $4.99 thick. There’s a lot of story here, and Aaron starts it off close and personal, hinting at some of the struggles that are going to divide Logan and Scott by the end of this series. The conflict will be something that will bring the reader closer to Wolverine, while respecting Cyclops more, a brain versus heart sort of split. This will be a conflict of men not only making different choices, but making them based on different values. Cyclops is thinking the long game with a Messianic resolve to see his people through this, while Wolverine cares about the people having to suffer through the wandering in the desert. I love that it’s not going to be a superficial conflict. And Aaron is making it more flinch-worthy for the reader by reminding us how much water has passed under the bridge with these two standing back to back against the world, going so far as to show a glimpse of their early relationship. (And a no-prize goes to readers who remember that their relationship was really rocky until Uncanny X-Men #126, when Cyclops cleaned Wolverine’s clock without trying, to snap him out of a self-destructive mood.) By now, years later, they are close to brotherhood. This is a beautiful setup for lots of drama! And the addition of Kade Kilgore was great, but I won’t say any more for fear of spoiling.

Artwise, I was delighted with everything Pacheco drew, except Wolverine. Wolverine seemed to shape change from a short, muscular guy, to a block-like thing, to a miniature version of Guido from X-Factor (all this on pages 2 and 3!). His shifting proportions didn’t stop throughout the book, but strangely enough, everything else was awesome. Iceman on the beach was classic, with his little cushion of fog, while Cyclops and the conference were first rate and suggestive of Scott’s greatness. The cameo by the leader of Iran (sorry, I can’t spell his name without Wikipedia) was a beautifully-done artistic touch, right down to the open collar. The faces throughout were evocative and I have to take my hat off to D’Armata’s color work during the attack on the conference especially, but elsewhere, he chose some interesting dominant colors for backgrounds that signaled the grimness of the mood through encroaching shadows.

In terms of characterization, both in words and pictures, there’s only so much that can be done, even with extra pages, so Aaron wisely chose to focus on three characters (Wolverine, Cyclops and the villain), with recognizable catch phrases and argumenting positions for the rest to remind us they’re there, but not distracting us from the trifecta moving the drama forward. Only on Wolverine did I think Aaron was overdoing it. I know Wolverine is the best at what he is, and yes, we can be told once per issue, but the shot of Wolverine calmly walking down the beach stuck full of arrows and throwing stars was a bit much. This, however, was a small point, in an otherwise great book.

Conclusion: Despite the price, I’m totally happy I picked up Schism #1. Aaron launched the first issue well and I’m stoked to see where this goes.

Grade: B+

-DS Arsenault

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