Wednesday, October 5, 2011

X-Men Schism #5

This was originally going to be part of this weeks $30 pull list, but I had enough to say on the issue that it deserves it's own post:

The final issue of the series is the weakest story wise, but it does provide a cap to the story and lead in to what happens next. This serves as a point of reflection for the reader, where do you draw the line? Which side do you fall on?

For me, I side with Wolverine. Following the X-men through the Utopia age has really changed the character dynamics of both Wolverine and Cyclops. Wolverine has become the grizzled protector, doing what he does because he knows how and doesn’t want to burden they people he sees as his family with the events that haunt his life. He has done everything Cyclops asked without hesitation, even sticking by Cyclops with the death of Nightcrawler, doing all of Cyclops bloody, dirty deeds. All he asked was that the younger mutants, the kids they were supposed to protect, stayed out of the fight.

Cyclops, not only failed at that, he stopped paying lip service to it. He became a dictator, a good intentioned one (maybe) but still a dictator. There was no way but his way, and he was willing to do whatever it took to have his way. He created his own country with no negotiation, he did this through a thinly veiled threat of hostile action against the rest of the world. He created an illegal prison, first on what was American soil, to house people who were held without trial an due process. He created a wetwork team to commit assassinations on his behalf with no oversight. He gave the “citizens” of his country no choice, no freedoms; he was father, teacher, leader and they died, fought, starved, lived, played and ate all on his word alone. He backed all of this up with the threat of ostrasization or violence. He even maintained a cadre of mind readers to ensure there would not be threats to his plans.

In the end, there was only one thing Cyclops would not do, and that was get himself dirty. He ceased to be the leader of a team of superhumans, and became a head of state using people as weapons to enforce his political agenda. He did not commit murder, he had others do it on his behalf, he did not rip secrets from the minds of others, he had others do it for him. In the end, he was willing to send teenagers to fight for his country and his dream, potentially die, rather than see his vision put at risk.

Cyclops was the villain of this story. His actions brought death to Utopia, brought war to his doorstep. Last panel, three pages from the end, notice who is standing with him. 3 historically villainous characters and a teenage girl who is functionally his granddaughter. A girl he sent other people to die for and is for the most part ignorant of everything except Cyclops's and Cables's propaganda. Not his oldest friends (Beast left long ago, and Iceman left with Wolverine), not the voices of reason (Shadowcat left with Wolverine and Nightcrawler is dead because of Cyclops). With the spoilers on the upcoming X-comics covers, we know that even his brother and sort of daughter side against him.

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