by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Billy Tan
Published: October 2011
The X-men are being split in two. One side is led by Cyclops, who believes that new mutants must train and be prepared for the battles that are inescapable. On the other, Wolverine makes plans to re-open the Westchester school, hoping to allow young mutants the chance to grow up in relative peace. The book ends with the question, ‘Whose side are YOU on?’ and it’s to the book’s credit that both arguments are equally compelling.
This one-shot documents the split as it happens, as Wolverine and Cyclops go about recruiting members to their side. What’s interesting is that we get a chance to see each character’s thought process and their motivation for why they choose the side they do. It’s a wonderfully character-driven piece, and it’s gratifying to see so many characters all being given these little moments to emote.
Throughout the negotiations, images of a tribal battle between Logan and Scott are used as a metaphor for their disagreement and the different sides that are forming. Characters surround them in a circle, walking to one side or another as the fight grows more and more violent. It gets across the sense of something shattering happening – the scale of these scenes, especially in the final pages, is impressive. It lends some action and excitement to a one-shot that is mostly comprised of people talking to one another.
Still, the ‘talking’ bits are the main appeal of the story. There’s a lot going on here, and it makes for good dramatic fare precisely because these are characters with so much history interacting with each other. Who sides with who, and why? It’s interesting that we get an entire one-shot dedicating to answering this question, and it accomplishes precisely what it sets out to do.