I thought it might be fun to re-read my favorite Marvel mutants book, and by "my favorite", I mean the only one that I've read much of.   After all, can't let Fluit be the only one who writes about mutants around here!   ;)

 

Any way, in typical Baronial fashion, I begin with a book that doesn't contain the word "X-Statix" in it at all.

 

X-Force #116 (May 2001): "Exit Wounds"

Written by Peter Milligan, art by Michael Allred.

The premise of this book is the existence of a team of mutants who are more concerned with publicity than they are with acceptance or heroism, which is an interesting idea

 

I'll start with a note about the art. Allred's style seems to be peculiarly suited to stories of an "oddball" or "quirky" nature. I like his stuff here, don't know that I'd want to see him drawing Jonah Hex or the  JSA.

 

We meet the various team members:

 

  • Zeitgiest (Axel Cluney) - the team leader, who spits acid, and is haunted by the fact that he horribly burned a girl when his powers first manifested.  We first see him reviewing the team's previous mission.
  • Sluk - a vaguely Zoidberg-looking fellow, who was killed on said previous mission.
  • Plazm - an immaterial fellow with ill-defined powers.
  • Battering Ram - a big, bulky fellow with a ram's head. He is concerned about how he is used on the team
  • La Nuit - a fellow with ill-defined "darkness" powers.
  • U-Go-Girl (Edie) - a teleporter with a somewhat unstable personality.
  • Doop - a blob that speaks in an unknown language. It may be that his word balloons are something that an astute reader should be able to decode. Not being an astute reader, I couldn't say.
  • Gin Genie (Beckah) - a girl who seems to be able to cause earthquakes when she drinks alcohol.  Perhaps this is a gag on the tendency of booze to give people the "shakes"? She doesn't like Edie much.
  • Coach - an older guy, who appears to be the team's manager. He only  has one arm.
  • The Anarchist (Tike Alicar) - He sweats acid which allows him to do energy or something.  He is introduced at a press conference as Sluk's replacement. He doesn't like Axel much, although one sometimes gets the impression that this is as much because he supposes that it's his role on the team to be a troublemaker as because of any genuine animosity towards Axel.

 

We see that there exists an "X-Force Cafe", obviously modeled on the Hard Rock Cafe. (Ever eaten at an Hard Rock Cafe? I have. The food's no better than Bennigan's, and it's alot pricier.) We see what looks like Wolverine and Cyclops among the customers.

 

To build goodwill, Coach sends them on a mission to rescue a boy band who are being held hostage by crooks. They are in the process of doing this, when suddenly they are all mowed down by an attack chopper, with only Edie and Tike left alive!

 

Overall: Well, I have to admit, that ending really surprised me that first time I read it. Sluk's death was no biggy, because I knew of teams having a member set up to be killed off, bu tI had not foreseen that they'd kill off most of them! That really drew me in. I don't remember what prompted me to pick up this book in the first place - it may have been just a whim. I wasn't a big X-fan, but it hooked me pretty quickly.

 

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X-Force #123 (February 2002): "TickTock"

Writer/Artist: Milligan/Allred

This issue is part of a stunt that Marvel did called "'Nuff Said", in which they presented their books with pictures only, no words or dialogue.  This is the only sampl of the stunt in question that I seem to have in my collection.

 

The story itself is typical X-Force weirdness. The team it sitting around their HQ not doing much. Doop pops a zit on its head, and it and the team get sucked into it.  They are portrayed as being caught up in various dream scenarios.  It is not clear whehther these derive from their own minds or Doops's. We see

  • Billy Bob being chased by shadowy black people.
  • Myles in a giant library, pursued by his father.
  • Spike cross-dressing on the cover of a magazine..  A Rodman gag, perhaps?
  • Tike lost in a desert, then drowning in his own sweat.
  • Edie trying to reclaim her tongue, which has been torn out.
  • Guy swarmed by numerous mini-Doops.

 

In the end, Doop restores them to HQ, possibly unaware of what has happened.

 

Overall: This was an interesting exspeirment, though this is not one of my favorite issues.

X-Force #124 (March 2002): "Edie and Guy Finally Do It"

Written by Peter Milligan, with guest artist Darwyn Cooke, whose style is a bit "cartoonny", but suits the book well enough.

Edie and Guy go on a date, and she tells him some of her life story, including the fact that her "little sister" is actually her daughter, the result of a teenaged indiscretion.   Guy takes her home and she talsk to her mother and bonds with the little girl, although she opts not to tell her the truth. We end with Guy and Edie in a hotel room, tohugh it is left up to the reader to decide what happens next!

 

Overall: A very entertaining issue. A good development of Edie as a character, as we learn more about where she's come form , thus learning more of why she is the way she is.

X-Force #125 (April 2002): "One of Us"

Writer/Artist: Back to Milligan and Allred again.

After the team comes back from a rough mission, Freeman suggest changing the team name so her can avoid paying royalties. This leads to a running gag of them suggesting and rejecitng various new names. I've no idea what the "real world" reason was for changing the name.Guy, Edie and Tike go to a cemetery to recruit Dead Girl and a spectre appears to them and points in their general direction. They imagine it is Death, and argue as to which of them it was pointing at.

 

As a side note, I get the impression that there was alot of fan resistance to this new direction at the time. The letters pages still seem to have at least one or two "the new team sucks" letters in each issue.

 

The CIA approaches them to performa "fake" mission in which they will fight "aliens" and "lose" so that the CIA can be made to look good in return by rushing in to save them. In return for this, they will quash some bad publicity for the team.  The team votes on this, with Dead Girl throwing the vote in Guy's favor. We end with our heroes getting ready to go into space, wondering which of them will die.

 

Overall:  Another interesting issue. I recall liking Dead Girl as a character, so I'm glad to have gotten to the point where she joined up.

X-Force #126 (May 2002): "As I Die Lying"

Writer/Artist: Milligan/Allred

Interesting developments as Edie and Tike ask Dead Girl if she knows which of them will die.  Dead Girl puts on a "mysterious" act, but we see her remember being an aspiring actress who was murdered. Myles and Billy Bob announce that they have "special feelings" for one another.  They rescue some people on the space station, but they turn out to be the baddies in disguise. The baddies win Spike over to their side. Tike, Edie and Guy are trapped in an airlock. Dead Girl joins them and reveals her fear that they'll all be killed and she'll be left drfiting alone in space.  We end with a groggy Edie suggesting the team take the name "X-Men"!

 

Overall:  Fun stuff here as the actual adventure takes a back seat to character development.  I'd forgotten the whole Billy Bob/Myles scenario. I'm curious to see how this develops.

X-Force #127 (June 2002): "Because Louise"

The battle in space continues. The enemy questions Spike on why he sold out X-Force. Elsewhere, we learn that Myles and Billy Bob are faking their relationship for publicity's sake.  The team fights multiple Spikes, but the real Spike saves Tike's life. The CIA arrives, but Agent Wright sells them out, because he has a sick daughter who might've have been cured if Guy hadn't saved Paco. the team is split up and Guy, Edie and Tike end up in a smaller ship drifting in space. They find a lifeboat which could save two of them, and they roll a die to see who gets left behind. The others fight Wright, and Spike kills him. They leave, but iit is revealed that the Spike who leaves with them is a fake, and the real Spike has been left behind!

 

Overall: Fun stuff. Lots of interesting twists and turns here.

X-Force #128 (July 2002): "Someone Dies"

Tike loses the roll of the die, and Guy and Edie return to the space station. Billy Bob reveals that Tike could use his powers to affect dice, and the others work out a way to rescue him. The real Spike shows up, and the fake Spike kills him and fatally wounds Edie. As she dies, she requests to be buried in space, and whispers a new team name to Guy. We end with Guy playing Russian roulette again.

 

Overall:  A good issue. Edie's death scene was well-handled, after the misdirection that it was Tike that woud be killed. They did a good job developing her character, so that when she does die, it doesn't felel like they're just doing away with another disposable character.

Thinking about it, Edie was the best choice of a character to die in that instance.  She was the character who was best established at the time, and the one we knew the most about. Her story was done. Killing any of the others wouldn't have had the emotional impact.

I agree - killing off Tike or Guy wouldn't have had the same impact.

X-Force #129 (August 2002): "X Storm"

Our guest artist for this issue is Duncan Fegredo. His stuff is OK, but I prefer Allred's work.

Much of this issue is taken up with people's reactions to Edie's death. Guy tells Freeman that Edie suggested the new team name should be "X-Statix". Freeman resists this, and wants it to be "X-Storm". Freemn resists this, and asks Guy to hold off on announcing Edie's death for publicity purposes. Guy announces it anyway, earning Freeman's ire. Lacuna interrupts Guy's daily Russian roulette ritual, and persuades him to go on her show, where he announces Edie's suggestion of a new name.  Freeman calls Guy out on it, and says that he is par tof the team, too. When Guy challenges Freeman to ake his place for Russian roulette, Spike does it, to Guy's shock!  We end with Guy about to officially announce the team's new name...

 

In other developments, we learn that Billy Bob and Myles actually are a couple. Billy Bob makes homophobic remarks to the press. When Myles calls him out for it, Billy Bob reveal that he is uncomfortable with being "out" now that they aren't pretending. 

 

Tike pals around with Dead Girl, to the exten tthat they end up getting arrested. She quesations his sincerity, however.

 

We meet a new character, as when the media swarms Edie's family, one Solomon O'Sullivan appoints himself their representative.  Solomon tries to get our heroes to sign up with him. When they refuse, he reveals that he is a mutant, too.

 

Overall: Lots of interesting developments, here. It's fun re-reading these. While I remembered the overall storylines, I'd forgotten lots of the secondary stuff. I'd completely forgotten Solomon, for example.

Lacuna interrupts Guy's daily Russian roulette ritual

If Guy can play Russian roulette every day and survive he's so lucky he should head for Las Vegas.

As I recall, Guy can actually tell which chamber the bullet is in.  I think it's more of a ritual than any actual risk to Guy.

Richard Willis said:

Lacuna interrupts Guy's daily Russian roulette ritual

If Guy can play Russian roulette every day and survive he's so lucky he should head for Las Vegas.



Randy Jackson said:

As I recall, Guy can actually tell which chamber the bullet is in.  I think it's more of a ritual than any actual risk to Guy.

Richard Willis said:

Lacuna interrupts Guy's daily Russian roulette ritual

If Guy can play Russian roulette every day and survive he's so lucky he should head for Las Vegas.

 

 

So far, it hasn't actually been stated that Guy can tell which chamber the bullet is in.  That siad, it wouldn't surprise me if Guy's nightly ritual was more emo melodrama than reality.

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