Marvel has thus far published three of its four X-Men: Prelude to Schism issues. They are all happening at relatively the same time and to the same characters. These introspective issues are focused on the primary mutant community decision makers as they sit, reflect upon their pasts, and wait for a decision from Cyclops as to whether or not they will be staying to confront, or fleeing from, the ominous force that is coming to get them – though what this incoming danger is, they have yet to say out loud.
These issues are important for a few reasons. First of all, the readers are blatantly watching as the two leaders of mutant-kind, who have been battling for decades for the authority to spread their very different ideologies across the globe, sit and wait for orders from a man who was a child when they were in their prime. Magneto and Professor Xavier have both stepped down and admitted that Cyclops is the first mutant to actually unite the race under one banner (that of Utopia) and one driving force. These prelude issues mark a passing of a torch which has occurred a long while back, but perhaps still needed recognized.
Secondly, these prelude issues are allude to the upcoming major X-men event, Schism, which will turn the X-men line of comics upside down. What has been revealed thus far is that the mutant community will, once again, be torn in half. This time the sides will not fall under the shadows of Magneto and Xavier, they will fall under Cyclops and his longtime rival and friend, Wolverine. History is repeating itself, though this time Marvel is promising will be different than the last.
On top of the angst within Utopia, there is still the oncoming outside threat to worry about. It is the central concern of each of these prelude comics. Should they stay or should they go? Should they fight or should they run? Do they stand a chance – and what exactly are they waiting for that is to be such a doomsday prediction for people who have seen it all? Due to various image previews, we know that the Sentinals will at least have a part to play in this looming danger.
The Schism preludes do a good job of building the hype and the suspense, but when the reader gets right down to it, they are about mind-numbingly constant issue: the dramatic psychological issues and thought processes of Scott Summers. For quite a while now Marvel has been in love with Cyclops – thrusting him into the forefront of every plot, whether the plot seemed to initially be about him or not. The Schism preludes take this to a whole new level. Each prelude is meant to focus on one character – Magneto, Xavier, and Cyclops thus far. But even the issues that have been about Magneto and Xavier have, in essence, still centered around Cyclops. The mass push for this character and his controversial decisions and neurosis seems to be coming to a, rather predictable, peak with the Schism event.
It’s almost as if the writers have to keep making Scott more and more dramatic in order to keep arguing a dead point that he really is, truly (they swear it!) an interesting character. Perhaps he was once, but this constant dramatizing about his emotional state and the pressure that he is under in leading the mutant community is becoming nauseatingly boring. This issue of prelude to Schism was yet another chance for Marvel to vomit Cyclops drama all over their audience.
Schism itself promises to be interesting, if only it will allow for other characters to shine other than the current favorite of Cyclops. Characters will pick sides. Readers and fans will pick sides. But, Marvel claims, neither side is mean to be “right.” It will merely be a matter of moral stance one way or the other. Considering the sides will be split between both Wolverine and Cyclops, I rather wish that these Schism preludes had been also equally split in focusing upon the evolution over the past several decades – mentally, physically, and emotionally, of both Cyclops and Wolverine, considering both of their sides are meant to be equally as important. As stated in a recent news post, Schism will be so dividing of an event, that the main X-men series, “Uncanny” will be discontinued and split into two different comic series to accomidate the two very different teams and the ideologies that they have respectively adopted. Look for the first issue of Schism on July 13!