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X-Men: School Ties Pt. 4

Jason Aaron offers up his thoughts on the new Xavier School founded by Cyclops!



Cyclops at the Jean Grey School by Chris Bachalo

By Brett White

Unlike previous generations, the new mutant generation emerging around the world has a choice between two schools of differing philosophies. The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning no longer has the distinction of being the only institution for mutants wishing to learn how to cope with their powers. Cyclops, along with his team of revolutionary X-Men, has founded a new Xavier School for the sole purpose of preparing the next generation for the harsh realities of the world.

These clear divisions will be put to the test, however, when Cyclops and his team appears on the front lawn of the Jean Grey School, offering a home and education to those who agree with his more extreme views.

We spoke with WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN writer Jason Aaron about his school's new competition, the Xavier School. As one of the architects behind the Schism storyline, Aaron set the X-Men down this divided path. Now there's a new institution that threatens to draw students away from his Jean Grey School and towards Cyclops' militaristic approach.

We spoke with Jason Aaron about the benefits of having multiple mutant schools. There are now two schools in the X-Men universe; what do the people at the Jean Grey School think of the Xavier School?

The Xavier School by Chris Bachalo

Jason Aaron: At this point in time, I don’t think they really know about it yet. That’s still a big moment coming up when the idea behind the new Xavier School is unveiled to the other X-Men and the kids. I think most of the kids at the Jean Grey School like it and are happy to be there but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them prefer what the Xavier School has to offer. Some of the kids agree with Cyclops and think that this isn’t a world where we can grow up to be accountants because we’re mutants and we’ll always be looked at as mutants. Some of those kids will get behind a more militant style of education. Do you think that Cyclops is filling a void that needs to be filled? Is there actually a need for a school like the Xavier School?

Jason Aaron: It depends on which side of that fence you sit on. What’s great to me as an X-Men writer is that we have these very distinctive flavors of X-Men books. Just publishing wise, we’re always going to have multiple X-books, but instead of just churning them out and just changing the name on the cover, the challenge is to give these books real reasons for being there. There’s a real clear mandate that differentiates it from all these other books. I think that we’ve got that. I think we’ve had that since Schism. I think that’s continued on and we’ve gotten only more diversified with Brian [Michael Bendis] bringing the young X-Men into the present [in ALL-NEW X-MEN]. I think we have a great stable of books that are very different from one another. They may have some of the same characters but in different ways and in different tones and flavors. You mentioned that one of the reasons Wolverine named his school after Jean Grey was to annoy Cyclops. Do you think the reverse can be said with Cyclops naming the school the Xavier school?

The Xavier School by Chris Bachalo

Jason Aaron: Sure. I’m sure that’s gotta burn up Wolverine and some of the other staff at the Jean Grey School, because Cyclops naming his school the Xavier School is like him saying, “This is the real continuation of Xavier’s dream.” Some people would take issue with that. I think that’s great. I think it’s great to see them both annoying the other side. Any final thoughts you have about the Jean Grey School or the new Xavier School that you’d like to make public?

Jason Aaron: I love the idea that we’re getting back to the school angle of the X-Men. That was obviously the big mandate of WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN from the beginning, which is something that I think had been missing from the X-Men for a while. The school was always the backdrop to the X-Men but at times it got pushed to the background or got lost in the shuffle. Grant Morrison did a great job with bringing the school part of it back to the forefront. I like seeing that back and back in a big way. Now we don’t just have one school, we have two schools. Going forward, I wouldn’t be surprised to see other different angles or different kinds of schools popping up. In terms of the Marvel Universe, we’ve already got the Future Foundation that the Fantastic Four run. That has some mutants in it. We’ve got the Braddock Academy that we’ve started to see explored in the pages of AVENGERS ARENA. I like that there’s this network of schools popping up around the Marvel Universe. It would be great to see Artie and Leech from the Future Foundation hanging out with Doop.

Jason Aaron: I think we would be leaving a great story on the table if we didn’t see a crossover at some point between these different schools.

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