I have seen praise for issue 127 around here, but it was an issue that really frustrated me, and made me feel that even outside of the fill in artists something was seriously wrong with Morrison's New X-Men. I remember reading it on the subway, amazed at my boredom.
The issue is beautiful; Leon and Sienkiewicz are amazing, especially drawing and coloring Xorn (with his glowing blue eyes) and Jean Grey (with her halo of fire) -- both stand out wonderfully against the dreary surroundings. Quitely's cover of Xorn contemplating a cheeseburger is great, and goes well with Sciver's earlier one of him inhaling the essence from a bag of chips. The mutant Buddha confronting popular culture is a lot of fun. Professor X also makes a point that actually makes him sound like a very smart guy, about how humanity survived in tribes organized by shared ideals, but now we are living under the same tent and are guilty for mistaking our ideas for things. This is how Xavier should sound all the time.
But the issue itself is painfully generic. The story takes place in "mutant town", like China Town or Little Italy; I have heard that people like Morrison's idea that there would be a similar set up for mutants -- it is "realistic" I guess -- but it strikes me as a lame analogue. In the story a boy has become a freakish mutant monster people hate and fear, and is killed by cops for being dangerous even though he just needed medicine. I don't find that moving; in fact, I think that is the most generic X-Men story ever -- stupid people hate and fear a something peaceful but different that they do not understand. I think I have read that story many times over by now, and if I had not, I saw it in the sequence of Angel at home a few issues ago. It is also such a transparent bid for emotion it is embarrassing itself; I think Morrison showed significantly more real emotion when Jean told Scott "you are my favorite super hero" in the previous issue -- that was specific to that relationship; this is a fairy-tale allegory for all human-mutant relationships, and instead of characters it has the most simple kind of place-holders: an angry mob, a monster with a soul, a heartbroken mom. It especially annoys me that someone in the crowd wants to get Jean's autograph and then let her burn, and someone else, clearly unconscious of the unintended b-movie humor in the phrase, screams "it came from mutant town." Someone is going to tell me this is all perfectly realistic, and I don't necessarily disagree, but I still think it is stupid and I don't want it in my comic book.
And sweet, sensitive, Xorn: "if I could save every life, I would do it", "we only want to stop them hurting one another. Why were they so angry?" I know it is Magneto -- he even describes how he sees wavelengths and energy. But I just have such a hard time imagining any version of Magneto staying in character to this degree. I also cannot understand why Xavier, in the Cerebra helmet, says, when he looks into Xorn's mind, that "I see orchards in China, a star falling across the sky, a radiant star of pure thought." Xavier is a top notch psychic. How does Magneto do that? Later in the issue Xorn says Xavier cannot read his thoughts because he is blinded by the star under the mask -- what is going on? Is Xavier just being metaphorical? It is at least a little confusing, and it is Morrison's fault. Xorn narrates this issue in the form of a letter to Xavier -- an extraordinarily detailed cover for himself as Magneto, I guess, complete with a story about how he met a man with a connection to his ancestors. He even tells the mom that he once ate a dog. Again, Magneto? Really? It is possible, I agree, I just don't like it.
Xorn also claims that the monster-boy would have have grown, in just ten days, to something wonderful, rare and unique. Without looking ahead this just makes the story all the more pathetic -- veering into bathos. Looking ahead Magneto is just lying to be extra mean, I guess. He was, I suppose, lying about all the parts of the story that could not be verified by Xavier, making up, for example, eating with a man from China. Also he makes glowing light near the wounded in front of paramedics -- fake helping? Really helping somehow to keep his cover and kill everyone? If the Kick made Magneto crazy I want to know what is going on in his head at this point, before the kick (though is it before the kick?). It is a huge gap in Magneto's character that bothers me to no end. The whole thing is very messy and unsatisfying.