Episode 10: post-Schism battle lines drawn

Scott Summers and Wolverine clash in Schism #5

With Schism winding down, ironically with the end of mutantkind’s unity in tow, Marvel has been slowly revealing the members of the 21st century versions of the X-Men blue and gold teams. When the eight post-schism X-Men covers were first revealed in August, all we knew for certain was that the X-Men universe was going to be divided along philosophical lines (again), this time pitting Cyclops’ vision for mutantkind against Wolverine’s. Although there are still two issues left in the series and we’re not quite sure yet what will cause the divide, we can surely make educated guesses. Surely we can assume placing the younger X-Men in harm’s way more readily will weigh heavily considering the previous issue and its events revolving around the young X-Man, Idie. Factor in as well the re-emergence of Quentin Quire and his handling and we have two ingredients for what will ultimately result in what’s been described as the “gnarliest” brawl ever between Cyclops and Wolverine. Whatever the final tipping point is between “Slim” and “Wolvie,” it’s huge enough to split Utopia in half.

When Marvel released the original teasers featuring Sebastian Shaw, Jubilee, Emma Frost and Nate Grey on Cyclops’s “blue team,” and AoA Nightcrawler, Rogue, Alex Summers and Wolverine himself on the “gold team,” the remaining members were but silhouettes across the covers of very different landscapes. On Sept. 9, Marvel revealed the final rosters for both sides after slowly revealing them over the last few weeks.

First let’s take a look at Cyclops’ team.

Generation Hope: Zero, Velocidad, Primal, Sebastian Shaw, Transonic and Hope.

X-Men: Jubilee, Warpath, Psylocke, Domino and Storm

Uncanny X-Men: Magneto, Danger, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik and Colossus

New Mutants: Moonstar, Nate Grey, Cypher, Magma, Sunspot and Warlock

And now Wolverine’s team:

Uncanny X-Force: Psylocke, Deadpool, AoA Nightcrawler, Fantomex and Toad

Wolverine and the X-Men: Quentin Quire, Idie, Wolverine, Ice Man, Beast and Kitty Pryde

X-Men Legacy: Gambit, Rachel Summers, Rogue and Frenzy

X-Factor: Shatterstar, Madrox, Longshot, Polaris, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, Siryn, Layla Miller, Rictor, Monet and Havok

Upon looking at the two posters, there are some glaring members who stick out. Foremost, Psylocke appears to be playing both sides of the split, but what it’s going to mean story wise is unclear. If you’ve been following Uncanny X-Force, Psylocke has been the equivalent of Emma Frost for the team, keeping the team’s members in constant contact during missions, while believing in the credo of the group fully. Yet, she also appears prominently on the cover of X-Men. What this means for her allegiances is undetermined, but she’ll obviously have a clear decision to make eventually. Another glaring point between the two posters: with Archangel M.I.A. and Jean Grey long dead, the remaining members of the original five X-Men are on Wolverine’s side, as is half the Summers clan in both Rachel and Alex Summers. Also, joining Havok is Polaris, which is interesting considering Magneto is on Cyclops’ team. What shouldn’t come as a surprise though is that Gambit and Rogue are together, while it seems much of X-Factor Investigations will remain intact. Truly the most interesting addition to the team, especially considering Schism thus far, is the inclusion of Quentin Quire on Wolverine’s side.

Cyclops’ side has its surprises, but is also home to arguably the more powerful roster. Cyclops aside, Nate Grey is formerly one of the most powerful mutants with his telekinesis, telepathy and reality altering powers. But with them exhausted, he’s apparently left only with residual telekinesis. New Mutants otherwise remains unchanged, although as a recent issue hinted, Hope and Nate may be hanging around together a little more, and considering her mimic-cry powers and how she can use anyone’s powers to their full extent regardless of whether they’re depleted, Hope on her own is quite the juggernaut when in proximity to Nate Grey. Speaking of which, Cyclops’ team also boasts a Juggernaut-esque Colossus, having recently begun his service to Cyttorak, in addition to the aforementioned Magneto and Danger. The teams do boast additional parallels in including characters who can alter their luck to varying degrees in Domino and Longshot, but as is the case with both sides, they possess game changers in Storm and the very difficult to defeat Sebastian Shaw.

There are plenty of questions surrounding the events of Schism, and more, its fallout. Where characters like Archangel, Cable, Professor X or even Cannonball figure into the landscape is unclear. Who has the stronger team though as of now? It’s a toss-up, but I’d say Cyke’s side takes this debate.

Andrew Ardizzi Written by:

Andrew Ardizzi is an honours graduate of journalism from Humber College, and is currently working out of Toronto as a freelance writer and editor. He's also the Senior Editor at Crystal Fractal Comics. You can find him at his blog, or follow him on Twitter.

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