The Strange Academy’s current argument is the same one that split the X-Men apart for years: are we educating students or preparing soldiers for war?
Warning: spoilers to Strange Academy #5!
In the latest issue of Strange Academy, school principal Doctor Voodoo calls a meeting with Headmaster Stephen Strange to discuss troubling prophecies that have come to their attention, especially regarding one of their students. When Stephen appears to brush it off, either out of ignorance or arrogance, Jericho calls him out, which leads to an argument about the purpose of Marvel’s version of Hogwarts.
Is the intent to educate the next generation of magic users or to prepare soldiers that’ll follow commands without question in an upcoming magical war? If that discussion sounds familiar, its because this is the same argument that split apart the X-Men for years back in 2011.
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In X-Men: Schism by Jason Aaron with artwork by Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho, Daniel Acuna, Alan Davis, and Adam Kubert, the X-Men were facing a coordinated attack from the new Hellfire Club. In the face of a new kind of Sentinel, Scott Summers prepares to rally together the X-Men, which include Hope Summers and any available younger X-Men. Logan is against the idea of meeting the mutant killer with young members, stating that they have no right to include children in this battle. Cyclops and Wolverine argue to the point where Wolverine arms himself with explosives to make his point clear, stating that the X-Men lost their way the second they wanted to train soldiers instead of students. As the Sentinel approached with blasters blaring, Cyclops makes it personal by invoking Jean Grey’s name, which provoked Wolverine to attack his former leader despite the approaching threat. Although the combined might of the X-Men defeated the latest version of their classic foe, the damage was done, and the team split in half down philosophical lines.
In Strange Academy #5 by Skottie Young and Humberto Ramos, after meeting with the fortune teller who gave Doyle Dormammu a glimpse of the future, Jericho Drumm brings his concerns to Stephen Strange. Stephen seems to disregard Drumm’s warning, telling him he’d believe it if it was more than one prophecy, which Doctor Voodoo sees as a troublesome and self-centered way of thinking. Brushing off the idea that he’d have taken it seriously if he’d been the one to discover it, Doctor Strange reminds him that the school was started “to teach the next generation of sorcerers how to deal with the growing number of forces and mystical chaos that threaten all time and existence.”
Doctor Strange’s concern is that none of the students think they are one of those threats, to which Doctor Voodoo states he is not here to create soldiers that’ll blindly follow either of them. According to him, the purpose of the Strange Academy is to educate the students to know who they are, to understand their magical capabilities, and then to trust them to make the right decisions with that knowledge.
For the X-Men, Wolverine and Scott couldn’t look past their differences and conflicting philosophies, and Wolverine chose to leave, taking anyone who agreed with him to found the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning on the ruins of the former X-Men schoolgrounds. Cyclops retained what he called the Extinction Team; X-Men who remained on Utopia to take care of threats to the mutant race’s existence. After the events of Avengers vs X-Men, Cyclops was imprisoned and later escaped to form another team of mutants to prepare for an impending war with humanity, while Wolverine’s school continued to deal with their own unique problems along with their educational curriculum.
Eventually the X-Men would be reunited, but it took years of healing personal and professional grievances as well as waves of death, destruction, violence, pain and suffering. With this discussion on the table, the unaddressed issue of the cost of magic for the school, and the introduction of their latest enemy the Hollow, could Strange Academy see a similarly devastating schism to the X-Men in its future?
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