Before I read comics, the X-Men were always my favorite superheroes. It wasn’t even the cartoons, really; I played youth basketball, so I wasn’t at home watch TV Saturday morning. It was actually the trading cards. I collected the hell out of the Fleer ’95 series. Albert, Cypher, even Emma Frost, I knew about them before having read any books featuring them. So, even though I’m regularly disappointed in the books, I still have a special fondness for them.
Every time there’s a big X-event, I’m there. Most of the time, I start reading the monthly books when the event ends, but a few months later, I drop them. I was on and off for Mike Carey’s X-Men for most of the run. But I tried to read Uncanny after House of M, Messiah Complex, and Second Coming, and always ended up bored and dropping the book.
So when Schism came. I knew I’d read it. I did and I mostly enjoyed it. I’m not going to read either of the new monthly titles, but I bought the first issues of each, to see how things are. So yeah, I’ve been thinking about the X-Men a lot recently.
Like I said, I mostly enjoyed Schism. I don’t really care for pages and pages of fighting, but it’s a really interesting debate that ended up dividing mutants – the role of children in war. Cyclops and Wolverine each have valid points and each of their views are completely within character. I guess what I’m saying is, the conflict is valid, even though it was shoehorned into five issues to make this whole split happen.
Cyclops – Cyclops believes it’s his job to protect the mutant race. With somewhere around 200 of them worldwide, “endangered species” is and understatement. Whether it’s threatening the mayor of a major US city or sending 14-year-olds to kill, he’ll do what it takes. Cyclops is no longer the starched shirt he always was in the old days. “Yes, professor. Whatever you say professor. Oh Jean, you’re so pretty.” Even since Grant Morrison reignited the franchise, Cyclops has really gown as a character. From Morrison to Whedon to Gillen, all of a sudden, Scott Summers has a personality. And you don’t want to mess with him.
Scott runs his X-Men like a military unit. If you’re fit to serve, get on those front lines! It makes sense – he’s been fighting Magneto since he was 16. He didn’t get a normal childhood. Why should anyone else? You want the race to survive? Lace up your boots. Like any good bad guy (I’m waiting for the day everyone sees him as such), I don’t agree with him, but I see where he’s coming from.
Wolverine – Wolverine’s opinion on children in war is simple: They have no place in it.
He’ll crack a smile when he gets some revenge, but I don’t think Logan enjoys killing. He does it so no one else has to. Think about Wolverine’s history. About his sidekicks. Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, Armor, and now Idie. He’s trained and protected these girls not just to fight, but to protect themselves. He doesn’t want them to be like him. Think back to the formation of X-Force post-Messiah Complex. Cyclops puts Warpath on the team? Fine. But X-23? Not her choice to make. Wolfsbane? Logan pipes up “Don’t pull her into this world.” Before their first assault, he still gives everyone one last chance to drop out. He’s done this before. He can take it. He doesn’t want others to cross that line. And if they do, it better be on their terms.
So Wolverine restarts the school. The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. “The best there is at what we do.” I love it. And yes, he’ll train them how to use their powers, but he’ll also let them be kids. Imagine a world where mutants aren’t a minority. This is how they would be treated. Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I know I’m not breaking any new ground here, but this must be what makes editorial retreats so much fun. I go from six to midnight just thinking about that kind of thing.