X-Men: Schism #4
The fourth chapter in the five-part X-Men: Schism mini-series picks up where we left off in the previous issue, with the X-Men under full attack in San Francisco at the fictional Mutant History Museum. The X-Men who showed up for the press gig had been taken out by the kiddie Hellfire Club in issue #3 as a mysterious bomb released a Sentinel-forming singularity. Though at the time, Cyclops ordered only Dr. Nemesis over to the museum, in this issue, we learn that he brought a friend! Mister Jeffries appears as a regular member of the X-Men Science team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.
The distance between the museum and Utopia, the island headquarters of the X-Men, is four miles, as revealed in the massive X-Men entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (OHOTMU) Hardcover #13 and confirmed with a little map as part of the Utopia entry in X-Men: Earth’s Mutant Heroes #1, so how Nemesis and Jeffries got to the museum so quickly is rather difficult to explain. Nevertheless, they arrive to find Wolverine chopping away furiously at the embryonic Sentinel, which seems to be forming faster than he can furiously chop.
Previous encounters between Jeffries and Sentinels haven’t exactly gone so well for the Sentinels. Recall that Jeffries once used his mind to rip apart a Sentinel and used the debris to make a superharpoon to kill another Sentinel in Alpha Flight #43. Remember also that he made a lightning gun out of a model T to blast a Sentinel apart in Uncanny X-Men #512. Basically, there’s just no other super-powered guy you’d want around to take out a Sentinel, seeing as how his technomorph powers could easily destroy one with a single thought.
This situation is different though, because the nascent Sentinel is forming at a rate faster than he can destroy it. Even Wolverine, who appears to be in full berserker mode trashing the Sentinel’s brain directly can’t keep up with it. Later, when Cyclops eye-blasts the Sentinel with full force, it just repairs itself and keeps coming. Alan Davis draws Jeffries with his hands out as if he were using his powers to rip apart the machine, but he actually is trying to communicate technopathically with it, perhaps in an attempt to control it – a smart move since no one seems able to stop it. Jeffries has used this technopathy power before, notably in Alpha Flight #87 when he communicated with the Roxxon computers to discover that James MacDonald Hudson was trapped inside, as well as other instances more recently communicating with smaller devices such as a coffee machine and a digital camera, but honestly, Alpha Flight Collector would just as soon have Jeffries rip the Sentinel apart than try to open a hailing frequency with it.
Then, the Sentinel zaps Nemesis and Jeffries with a “ZZZZKKT” lightning blast, knocking them back but not out. Wow, Jeffries actually lasts an entire issue without losing consciousness!
Although writer Jason Aaron sort of muddled up Jeffries’ power in this issue by making him into more of a technopath (someone who communicates with machines) than a technomorph (someone who can change the form of a machine), he did it in a plausibly explainable way, and ended up putting Jeffries into a heroic role. Madison succeeds in making technopathic contact with the Sentinel and woozily calls out to Cyclops that it’s coming to Utopia, giving the X-Men time to prepare for the attack, and possibly saving everyone’s life on the island, again.
Note: Northstar and Aurora had recently been in the Red Sea, dealing with a malfunctioning Sentinel as seen in X-Men: Schism #2, but when the Cuckoos roll off the list of teams dealing with malfunctioning Sentinels, they aren’t mentioned.
Note: this issue has a variant cover by Frank Cho, which is part of a larger 5-part poster featuring nearly every X-Man and tons of cleavage, and an X-printing variant, which is a sketch variant of that variant, also featuring tons of cleavage.
|X-Men: Schism #4 – Frank Cho variant|
|X-Men: Schism #4 – X Printing variant|