Collects X-Men: Schism 1-5, Generation Hope 10-11, & X-Men: Regenesis.

Writers: Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen
Artists: Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho, Daniel Acuna, Aland Davis, Adam Kubert, Cam Smith, Mark Farmer, Mark Roslan, Tim Seely, Billy Tan

Despite being such a fundamental event, Schism was skipped in the Finnish edition of the X-Men and now I understand that decision. It’s an ambitious comic with the theme of children in war. That’s a hugely important topic and is addressed through two main views: the mutant kids in Utopia (especially Idie) and the new Hellfire Club pre-teen kids. Their lives are pretty much the opposite of each other.

The four pre-teen kids have all grown up impossibly rich. Yet, they all turn out to be insane mass murderers, seemingly without other cause than boredom (and possibly getting out the shadows of their parents). None of them are abused in anyway. Yet, they casually murder their own parents and take over their business empires. And then take over the Hellfire Club by murdering the previous leaders. They’re also planning mutant genocide and intend to profit from it. That’s… chilling, twisted, and insane are too mellow words. Yet, they’re so clearly monsters that they’re pretty much caricatures. What’s the message here? Unearned wealth makes kids into murderers? I don’t know.

The mutant kids are far more relatable. Most of them are Hope Summers and her generation Hope kids. I’m actually not very familiar with them. They were shown briefly in Finland when the whole Generation Hope started but not much after that. But they’re all under 18 and Hope has recruited them to be soldiers. Some of them, and some of the adults, take exception to that. Idie is the central character. She’s 14 and has accepted that she’s a monster because she’s a mutant. Wolverine is horrified by that and is even more horrified when she ends up killing people. She does it in self-defense, of course, and rescues other people beside herself. But she still thinks of herself as a murderer.

I rather enjoyed the Generation Hope issues here which gave us insight to the kids’ point-of-view.

The other theme is heroes disagreeing but that’s an old hat by now. The main conflict is between Cyclops and Wolverine. They pretty much invert their original positions: Cyclops wants mutants to be proactive and protect themselves while Wolverine wants the mutants to live first and protect themselves when absolutely necessary. Cyclops the realist and Wolverine the idealist.

The problem for me is that Logan has never before been against teens in battle. Kitty Pryde? He trains her as a ninja when she’s 14. Jubilee? Again, he trained her when the rest of the X-Men had gone through Siege Perilous and were lost to him (yeppers, I still remember way back things. ;)). He also trained Rogue although she was 18 when she joined X-Men (IIRC). And X-23. He had no problem being in the same team with any of them. Now, suddenly, he’s got a problem with the newer kids. Hmph. So, while the idea might be good, the execution not so much. In fact, I think Ororo would have been far better choice as the idealist leaving Utopia. Or perhaps Kitty, thinking the other kids needed a childhood she didn’t get (although I don’t remember her ever lamenting it). Maybe Kurt? Or to shake things up real good, how about Emma who claims to loooove teaching. Or perhaps someone newer who still had the idealism left. Because part of the problem is that the old and experienced X-Men have seen so much and lost friends and family, that while many of them would like to live in a world where mutant children would not need to be soldiers, they’re far too pragmatic to behave like they already have that luxury. Because that’s why they’re fighting. To get to that world.

Also, the story clearly shows that the mutants are in deadly danger right frelling now and if they kids don’t fight, they’re dead. So, what’s with sudden idealistic Logan who wants to get the kids killed now, huh? But of course the real main issue between them comes out when Scott says: “She never loved you, you know. You always frightened her.”

That’s right. Mr. Hypocritical who abandoned Jean for Emma. (No, Marvel, I’m never going to forget that.) And by the way, Mr. Hypocritical who abandoned his wife Madelyne and their new-born son for Jean. (Ditto.) And of course on the other side Mr. Hypocritical who has already taught children to fight.

In the end, I think this was done because the mutants were too cozy with each other. Too many characters and too difficult to get them in danger when they have ready back-up. So, it was an outside driven thing rather than rising from the characters, so it felt forced to me (and yeah, I really shouldn’t expect any character driven things from comics). It could have been a far more interesting conflict if Marvel had chosen central characters whose personalities had actually fit the roles chosen for them. In that case, Logan choosing to, for example, support Storm would have been far more believable choice. But you know, who wants to read about girl mutants making their own choices when we can have the savage but noble Wolverine battle the increasingly unlikable Cyclops over a dead girl?

Okay, rant over. 🙂 I think I’ll be revisiting some older X-Men comics, except for the All-New X-Men which I’ll continue with.

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