Yesterday, I asked what was going on with Rogue in the X-Men: Regenesis Gold teaser images, and today, I have to ask: What is going on with this fight between Wolverine and Cyclops from X-Men: Schism #5?!?
The images, released yesterday to promote the underachieving event book, show what is presumably the fight that the whole series has been leading up to, because ideological debates have to become physical, because these are superhero comics (See also Infinite Crisis, The Dark Knight Returns). And to say it’s a no-holds-barred fight would be an understatement: This is definitely a no-logic-included brawl. To wit:
Wolverine demonstrates that Sentinel hands are, apparently, entirely hollow! Or, much more worryingly…
See, here’s the thing: I know that these images are supposed to show just how intense the fight is, and how hardcore Schism is, and everything. But… This is a ridiculous fight. How does Wolverine keep fighting Cyclops when his face is zapped off? He doesn’t have eyeballs, ears or a nose, so… how does that work? Does he have radar sense to know where Cyke is? For that matter, what’s to stop Cyclops to simply zap his brain through his eye sockets? More to the point: Are we really supposed to believe that anything can get these two characters so upset at each other that they’ll fight to this point, especially when there’s a giant Sentinel trying to kill them at the same time?
There’s an exchange from the last Fear Itself interview that Matt Fraction and Tom Brevoort did with Albert on the main site, where Fraction responded to criticism about Spider-Man’s actions that this reminds me of:
Nrama: One scene in the issue that sparked a bit of discussion was the ending, with Spider-Man choosing to leave the battlefield and check on his loved ones rather than remain in the fight, with some reacting, “Oh, Spider-Man would never do that!”
Fraction: But look, he did it! It sees print, so it happened!
And… that’s just a terrible response; it’s the same thing as Fraction’s comment in the Comics Alliance interview, the idea that the writer can make anything happen because they’re the writer. I’ve already gone into the “I don’t think that’s necessarily true on a character level in a shared universe” part of that, but this example in Schism goes beyond that: Literally, how is Wolverine managing to do anything when he can’t see/hear/smell anything? I know he has a healing power, but still: He feels pain, right? Wouldn’t having your entire face blasted off kind of cause you to be paralyzed by pain, even if it for some magical reason didn’t kill you and/or stop you from being able to attack anyone because you have almost no sensory input – Touch would be overwhelmed by the feeling of your face being zapped off, you’d think, and taste won’t help.
I know, I know, I’m thinking about it too much and it’s just meant to be cool. But… it’s not cool; it’s taking what’s already stretching credibility and pushing it way past the point of no return, and I feel like that just undermines all future stories – Why don’t we just behead Wolverine now? He’ll probably recover, after all – and it’s one of those scenes that doesn’t work in context, but happened because the writer says it did. That kind of thing might work for the story once, but in the long term, it cheapens the world the characters exist in, and lessens the dramatic tension moving forward. But then… short term thinking seems to work out pretty well these days, doesn’t it…?