For the first couple of issues, it wasn’t clear why, exactly, the current X-Event, “Schism,” would be crossing over with “Generation Hope” and nothing else in the line. Of course, anyone who’s read “Schism” #3 will know immediately why. This issue follows Idie in the moments leading up to her big turning point, and the immediate aftermath of it, as well as explaining just what she was doing there in the first place.
Regular readers of this series will know that until now, Idie has been the quietest of the “Generation Hope” kids, so in that way it’s doubly surprising to see her go so completely off the deep end as we did. And yet, if you look back over the last few issues, the seeds were there. Idie has always held the belief -- not especially vocally, but enough that we can be sure -- that mutants are inherently wicked. Rather than kick against that, when her hand is forced she instead chooses to embrace it, with terrifying consequences for all involved. And suddenly, the reasoning behind the titular schism becomes clear.
What’s interesting is that our position, as the audience, mirrors that of the X-Men in charge of Idie. We should have seen something like this coming. The signs were there. That we didn’t means not only that Gillen’s misdirection worked, but that we can sympathise with Hope, whose speed in lashing out at those around her suggests she holds herself at least partly responsible. We might have expected Kenji, or even Teon to be the new mutant most likely to turn into a murderer, but Idie? Only in retrospect does it make sense.
Structurally, the book carefully avoids stepping on the toes of “Schism” while telling a complete story. In one sense, it’s useful in avoiding any disparity that it skips over the critical scene as it appears in the parent book, but with the issue told using Idie as the narrator, it makes as much sense to gloss over the moments which, through her shock and adrenaline, would be left a blur. In both cases, it’s clear what happened, but here we get a clearer picture of Idie’s mental state before and after.
Guest artist Tim Seeley continues the book’s tradition of strong, character-focused visuals, best evidenced in a six panel “fixed camera” sequence which true to the comic book litmus test, tells the story just as well without its words. Of course, while it’s easy to heap praise on the blank, haunted stares that Idie gives towards the end, Gabriel’s expression on the final page tells us as much about his character despite being completely different.
Although “Generation Hope” has been a great read since it began, it’s issues like this, which tie it to the wider X-universe, which are going to make readers interested in it. If you’re reading “Schism,” this issue – and the next – promise to be nothing short of essential purchases.