As if the title weren’t enough of a clue, X-Men: Schism spotlights a pivotal moment in X-Men history: a rift in ideology between its two biggest guns--Cyclops and Wolverine. In the wake of a mutant extinction-level event, perennial team leader and wet blanket, Cyclops, rallies the X-Men to an island dubbed “Utopia” in order to establish a sense of community. His plan, however, doesn’t account for any villain who might want to wipe out mutantkind in one fell swoop and who possesses enough skill to hit a target the size of a giant island. And that’s exactly what happens in Schism.
As danger looms, Cyclops sends the usual heavy-hitters across the globe to stop various enemies, leaving the island’s defense up to him, Wolverine, and the latest batch of young mutants who came to Uptopia to train to be X-Men. Therein lies the issue: Cyclops declares the new recruits fit for battle, while Wolverine declares the very idea to be ludicrous. Writer Jason Aaron presents both sides of the argument with equal footing, but it’s still difficult to take Wolverine’s position seriously. This is Wolverine, after all--the hot-tempered Canuck with the beserker rage and fangs; he’s the runt who’s always spoiling for a scuffle. Yet, here he tells Cyclops that maybe the better idea is to evacuate the island, because someone needs to think of the children. Really, it’s all an excuse to get Cyclops and Wolverine to clash, and Schism definitely delivers. This isn’t a shoving match or a harsh exchange of words soon mended by standing against a common enemy (although there are plenty of verbal barbs, especially on the subject of Jean Grey). No, here are two classic X-Men at each other’s throats. It’s an extended, bloody fight that ends a friendship and divides an entire race.