In Defense of Wolverine: Nick’s Take on Schism

Alright, I realize that this is way overdue, but here’s my take on the split of the X-Men.  I completely agree with Mauricio in his earlier post that the strength of the current X-Men storylines comes from the conversation that they have created.  Both Cyclops and Wolverine have strong reasoning for their actions, and their fans are standing firmly by them.  I understand why each character made the choices they did and I don’t feel that either should be demonized.  However, when forced to choose a side I lean toward Wolverine, and here is why…

(And, yes, spoilers are up and running)

To begin, I can understand how Logan’s statement about teens fighting for the X-Men could look like he’s ignoring the years of their participation in combat.  In fact, I think it would have been very lazy on the part of Jason Aaron to write the character in such a way that he could pretend that it never happened.  Upon re-reading Schism I have come to interpret his words in a different manner.

Logan’s use of “we” implies the direct hand that both he and Scott had in using the kids as soldiers.  For the majority of their existence, Cyclops and Wolverine were not at the head of the X-Men.  In my opinion, this statement seems more an acknowledgment that when in a position to do so, the decision to use child soldiers should not have continued.  And yes, Logan had to have come to this conclusion through his recent unfortunate experiences, being manipulated into killing his own offspring, but does that make his choice any less valid?  The majority of Logan’s life has been filled with violence and loss.  That’s not to say that Scott’s hasn’t, but, having lived for over a century, Logan has seen a lot more of the atrocities that the world has to offer than Scott has.  I think it’s appropriate that his character should be compelled by any past traumas to make attempts to change things, and in so doing, evolve.

As for being accountable to his chosen stance and the safety of the child X-Men, I believe he has been.  Logan’s absence from the Mutant History Museum when it was attacked is not an indication of dodging responsibilities.  Firstly, Logan was never told of the event, let alone that he should be there.  And, the X-Men who were sent to the museum as a “peace delegation” were rightly recognized by Logan as being sent to intimidate and deter any would-be attackers.  Intimidation was really the only goal Scott had in sending them, as indicated by his disinterest in the event until he knew it would be televised.  Protection was never the goal for any X-Men veterans present.

Furthermore, Logan found out that the museum was under attack right after he learned the opening was occuring.  There is no way he could have gotten there in time with such a short notice.  If he had stayed on Utopia he would not have made it either, as indicated by Scott’s rushing from there with a jetpack.  And, where else would he have been?  That’s right; Scott had given Logan permission to hunt down Quentin Quire.  Had Quire not shown up at Utopia, who knows where Logan would have been.  Most likely, not at the museum.

Furthermore, the fact that Idie and the other children were in danger cannot be placed on Wolverine because Scott was the one that sent them there.  Why were they there?  Only adult X-Men were outside of Utopia fighting the rising threats against mutants.  The children never should have been allowed to leave the island in such a time of crisis.  So, Logan is right.  Idie and the others never should have been in danger in the first place.  For these reasons and more, I am more concerned with Scott’s decision making than with Logan’s.

Let us not forget why all of these events occurred.  The annoying, little brat that is Kade Kilgore was able to manipulate Cyclops’ every move.  Though he does not know who did it, Scott admits that this is the case.

The problem now is what this manipulation has pushed Scott to become.  Kilgore had used Quentin Quire to heighten mutant hysteria.  The leaders of the world had been duped into thinking the X-Men were a threat.  Of course, they had always misunderstood and hated the mutants, but their recent jump in hostility was manufactured.  Scott believes that the world is simply continuing to hate them because it always has.  It is here that I see his more pessimistic outlook on the world turning against him.  The recent events that saw a return in the popularity of sentinels were the last straw that led Cyclops to give up on mutants being accepted for anything but a threat.  Because of this he has resorted to a more militaristic approach for the X-Men that attempts to use the threat of their power to instill fear in order to discourage attacks on them.  His stance toward the rest of the world is as follows: “Traditionally, powers have demonstrated their weapons for others to understand their threat.  I trust that we are all wise enough not to require that.”  He goes even further in comparing the X-Men’s new world relations approach to that of North Korea and says of the world, “if they hate us we need to make sure they’re scared of us, too.”

REALLY?!  How is this progress toward Xavier’s dream?  The objective of the X-Men was to protect mutants from others and themselves and to provide them with an accepting environment that would one day include the entire world.  How does fear help meet this goal?  Acceptance through fear is not true acceptance.  In the words of Jane Addams, “Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.”  If anything, Scott’s approach will only foster resentment instead of respect.  Minus the killing, Scott’s starting to seem more and more like the old Magneto, which worries me for the future of his team.  Don’t agree with me?  Well, Magneto does…

You don’t want to be a victim anymore.  I get that.  But attempting to scare the world into accepting you won’t win many of your opposition’s hearts and minds.

Half of Scott’s Extinction Team includes members that are more partial toward violence than negotiation (which isn’t exactly Colossus’ fault right now, but that’s a different story).  Scott even admits that this lineup does worry him, which is why, though they wanted to side with Logan, he had to guilt trip the more education oriented team members, being Storm and Emma Frost, into staying at Utopia.  After all, he does need someone to teach the kids a couple things when they’re not out in combat.  Maybe it’s my background in education, or maybe I’m crazy, but to dismiss a child’s education in favor of combat preparation seems foolish.  How will they deal with the world once they have strong-armed it into consenting to their existence?

And, of the four founding members of the X-Men that have chosen sides in this feud, three (Xavier, Beast, and Iceman) are on the side of Wolverine, which is a good indicator of who is staying more true to the team’s original goals.  Yes, the Jean Grey School is a potential target, but how are Scott’s child soldiers any safer than Wolverine’s students?  To say that they are safe in active duty because of a heavy training regimen does not change that they are intentionally being placed in the line of fire.  No matter how sound the reasoning, how can the use of child soldiers and the admitted denial of any attempt at a normal life for these children be the best option?  And, that the survival of the Jean Grey School is dependent on Scott’s followers at Utopia still remains to be seen.  Scott and his troops cannot be everywhere and be able to save all mutants in danger all the time.

Finally, at the end of Schism Scott lays it on pretty thick that Logan is weakening the X-Men by leaving with his group. But, I believe that if it weren’t for their split the X-Men might not have survived at all. This is because Kade Kilgore had successfully mapped out the progression and every contingency of his plan without fail, except for one thing. That was Logan’s restarting of the school in Westchester. Though we cannot say for sure, as that story will never be written, if the X-Men had remained together on Scott’s dictatorial approach Kilgore would have planned a means for their eventual disposal altogether. While his initial moves were so successful after months of planning, being caught off guard has now led him to have to act on his feet to remove this last threat to his plans of mutant extinction. Yes, this has made the school a target of his, but he would have targeted all the mutants at Utopia anyway, and without a wrench thrown into his spokes. The school being his priority indicates that he stands to lose more from its existence than from that of Utopia.

So, I’m not trying to say that Cyclops is evil for making the choices he has, but I feel that they are very misguided.  How can flexing muscle in the face of those who dislike you bring anything to the table except trouble?  It’s right that the X-Men should take a stand, but not at the cost of their humanity.  I am afraid that Scott’s focus on cold, hard decisions has left him in danger of that.  Logan may not be breathing down the neck of the world and demanding acceptance, but at least he is providing a home for his students that does not include an asking of their lives.  As I said in the beginning, I can’t completely fault either man.  Logan will not be able to make the world better simply by hoping for it to finally change, but I don’t see Scott’s militant approach as helping.  That is why, though I am enjoying both key titles of Regenesis very much, I look forward to the reuniting of all the X-Men.  Come on.  We all know it’s coming.

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