Review: X-Men: Schism #3

The big event shaping the future of mutantkind continues to be underwhelming in its muddle.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

X-Men: Schism #3

Schism #3 continues the perilous journey of the X-Men into the mediocre. When this five-part muddle from writer Jason Aaron concludes the lines will be drawn in the sand. On one side will be Wolverine & The X-Men and on the other side the Uncanny X-Men. I’m hoping when those lines are drawn the results will be much better than what Schism has offered us up so far. Issue #3 doesn’t fair any better than the first two and, in fact, the story actually manages to get sillier. The major problem here is that Aaron is writing things just to write them; manipulating characters to act ways they never would just to move the plot along. For anybody who has long followed the X-Men, it’s kind of insulting.

The story opens at the festivities for the new Mutant Museum, where the Hellfire Club, now being led by pissed-off little children, is attacking. Let’s start with page one where Emma Frost’s psychic link to Cyclops is deactivated by one of the children’s inventions. Yep, the most powerful psychic in the world reduced to nothing by a smart kid, but, y’know, a really really smart kid, Meanwhile, Wolverine, in the middle of one of the darkest hours for the X-Men, is in a bar getting drunk because Cyclops hurt his feelings. Yep, that sounds just like Wolverine doesn’t it?  He is talking to one of the X-Men, who are out fighting the Sentinels that were unleashed earlier in the story for no good reason. Wolverine sees on the news that the museum is under attack and rushes to help.

In the middle of all this, just so we’re up to speed, we get the obligatory meeting of all the super evil smart children. There’s the super smart mean leader Kade Kilgore, who killed his father because he didn’t want to wait to “inherit” the world. There’s another kid named Manuel whose parents, I kid you not, are slave traders to other plants. In fact, this particularly evil kid smuggled his brothers onto a shipment to flesh-eating space trolls so he could be sole heir to the fortune. Wow, how "Syfy movie of the week." Then there’s Wilhelmina, who is a martial arts expert that likes to kill kitties when they won’t behave. She has one-line gems like “Mr. Farnsworth didn’t like to tickled so I made his head all squishy and now he doesn’t mind”. Get it? She’s super evil and violent!!

The final piece of the devilish Brady Bunch is the worst of the lot. A crazy spooky science whiz named Maximillian that is related to Victor Von Frankenstein. I nearly dropped the comic laughing when I read that.

With that hiccup of character development out of the way, back to our action scene. This is when the comic really gets frustrating. The X-Men, the most intelligent, seasoned and versatile team in comics’ history, attacks these kids like a bunch of amateur soldiers. Namor is taken out with heat circles, Magneto is beaten like an asthmatic child by a school bully, and everybody else falls way too easily. I know Aaron is trying to show how hard it will be to beat these evil kiddies but did he have to make the X-Men look like idiots to do it? Nobody here acts or responds like X-Men and it’s all done to move the plot along.

My personal favorite is the use of “mind slugs” to render the X-Men useless. Mind slugs? Seriously? The end has the new X-Man Idie, the one we’re all supposed to root for, saving the day, which is a problem for Wolverine. Oh did I mention the bomb that goes off which makes every scrap of metal start forming a giant Sentinel? Yeah, can’t wait to see how that pans out.

The art is underwhelming to say the least. Daniel Acuna does some decent work, but most of it sits there limply on the page. I was especially disappointed with the way he drew the four kids at their big meeting. Everybody has the same face, even the girl. Schism #3 is a mess and creates a trifecta between Flashpoint and Fear Itself as three failed massive event series.