Review: X-Men #127

X-Men #127 cover
Cover by John Byrne and Terry Austin

X-Men #127
Published and © by Marvel, November 1979

Title: “The Quality of Hatred!”
Synopsis: The X-Men race to stop Mutant X, but the team is rattled and Proteus grows stronger.

Writer (plot): Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Writer (script): Claremont
Penciler: Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin

Review: This second installment of the Proteus saga is much like the first (see review of X-Men #126), with a sublime balance of action-movie pacing and poignant characterization. Chris Claremont’s slow-burn character development really starts to bear fruit here. It’s startling to see Wolverine shaken, and the impromptu “Danger Room” session is a master class in bringing a team together. Artist John Byrne matches Claremont’s skill at characterization, using expression and posture to accentuate emotion. He’s also a master of visual pacing and fight choreography. Add in Terry Austin’s detailed-but-never-fussy inking and this is assured work from an all-time creative team.

Grade: A

Second opinion: “(The) fight is a showcase of everything that makes Cyclops the greatest team leader in comics: technical skill, psychological insight, raw power, fearlessness.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … “In this issue, as ever, the strength of this title remains character growth.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003

Cool factor: The Cyclops/Wolverine showdown was a long time coming, and ultimately brings the team closer together while strengthening Cyke’s position as leader.
Not-so-cool factor: The Oedipal allusions are pretty icky.  

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 12p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “Proteus is the kind of mutant professor Xavier created the the X-Men to protect humanity against.” – Cyclops, clear on the mission parameters

Editor’s note: This review was written June 21, 2022.

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