Review: X-Men: Prelude To Schism #2
Issue one gave us a tale of Xavier reminiscing about how much Scott Summers has grown over the years. From naive Boy Scout to stoic leader of the entire mutant race, Cyclops stands as the quintessential savior of the X-Men. So what looms in the distance that has him so indecisive? What has his "family" so fearful that they are questioning the man they have followed to hell and back? Paul Jenkins is still not telling, but rather uses the fear in their hearts to tell one outstanding story!
Issue two has Magneto take center stage, but instead of trying to mentally strengthen Cyclops for the coming disaster the way Xavier did, he tells him a tale of why he became the monster he was. From Ypres in 1914 to the very first encounter between Xavier's "children" and the Master of Magnetism, Jenkins creates a nostalgic introspective into the mind of Magneto. It is a tale of pain and lost hope, of one country's betrayal of it's heroes and of a man who lost his humanity. It is moving and poetic, making it a book that is rich with depth and if nothing else -- heart. Though die-hard X fans already know most of these tales, Jenkins heightens them to a higher level by adding the ever elusive "bad-guy" point of view to them. Not that he is making Magneto out to be some kind of martyr, neither is it the damnation of a villain for his wicked acts. It is purely the dialog used when Magneto is speaking in hind-sight that shows how much a man can change as he ages. It is this same dialog that he uses to inform Cyclops that he will forever stand vigilant beside him.
The art is the only thing lacking in this book. Changing from Roberto De La Torre on issue one, to Andrea Mutti for the second installment is like trading in a Lamborghini for a Chevy Malibu. They're both cars but the similarities stop there! Maybe it is my penchant for darker art, but the mood needed to match Jenkins story just wasn't there. It was okay, but nothing jaw dropping.
The writing is outstanding and truly focuses on the emotional aspects of the human condition to drive the story. All the action is in flashbacks and the impending doom is still lingering in the future, so all we really have in the here and now is pure emotion. Jenkins has out done himself with these issues, creating a new standard for quality X books. Action will always draw numbers but quality stories, ones that actually mean something, will not only draw readers but keep them with you! This is one of those books that quenches the thirst for great writing.
What can be awaiting our heroes that has them so distraught? Is it the Evolutionaries from Giant-size X-Men #1 (on sale now!) or maybe the servant of the Serpent, Juggernaut, wielding his mighty hammer of destruction? What ever catastrophe awaits our heroes I will be the first in line to know!