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-Statix #1 (September 2002): "Good Omens Part One"

Back to Milligan and Allred again.

The cover is a parody of the cover for Giant-Size X-Men #1, although the book itself is the usual thirty pages.

 

We meet a mysterious mutant fanboy who is obsessed with Edie.  He appears to be using his powers to control his town, the way Billy Mumy did in that one Twilight Zone episode.  Freeman urges Guy to bring in Venus Dee Milo, but he is resistant.  They view new recruits, one of whom, Corkscrew, kills another.    Guy finally agrees to recruit Venus, but their press conference is overshadowed by the debut of a new team sponsored by Solomon O' Sullivan, the O-Force, whose gimmick is that they all begin with "O". Meanwhile Guy has been seeing and hearing Edie.

 

Guy tries to warn Venus off the team, but she tells him how she accidentally killed her family, and he agrees that she's a good fit for them.

 

"Code X":  In a back-up story by Millgan and Darwyn Cooke,  Doop takes Corkscrew out into the woods,and, after messing with his head, murders him and cuts him up with an ax.

 

Overall:  OK, Venus is an interesting new character, but the main story is overshadowed somewhat by the fact that Doop brutally murders Corkscrew, and seems to enjoy doing it!  Yeah, Corkscrew was a loose cannon and needed to be dealt with, but to chop him up with an ax?

X-Statix #2 (October 2002): "Good Omens Part 2 of 4: How the Super-Hero Business Works"

Solomon schemes to get O-Force sent to deal with Arnie the mysterious mutant fanboy. He also schemes to get Venus away from the X-Statix. 

Guy starts seeing Edie again, and Billy Bob loses his powers. Myles tells Billy Bob that he lost his powers because he's not facing up to who he really is. Tike is fed up with Guy and decides to leave. He tries to convince Dead Girl to leave with him.  Guy and Venus go out to dinner, and she makes it clear that she's not there simply to fill Edie's role in Guy's life. As Freeman tells Guy and Venus that O-Force is going after Arnie, Solomon's lawyer, Sharon Ginsberg, serves them with a court order forbidding Venus from being on X-Statix.

 

Overall:  Interesting stufff. What's fun about this book is that their chief problems come not from villains, but from other heroes.

X-Statis #3 (November 2002): "Good Omens Part 3 of 5: That's Entertainment!"

The team starts to fall apart as Guy beleives it is Arnie that has been sending him the images of Edie.  Tiek and Dead Girl leave to go on tour together, Tike having developed the idea that heroes are now for entertainment and not for fighting crime. Dead Girl goes along to keep an eye on him.  Myles is questioning who he is and goes off to get drunk.  Billy Bob goes home and finds that he doesn't fit in there anymore. His pals beat him up when they find out that his powers are gone. 

Guy tries to warn O-Force how dangerous Arnie is, but they blow him off.  Arnie raises an army of zombies, and when O-Force shows up, they are badly beaten. We end with Guy parachuting in alone to faceArnie...

 

Overall: More interesting stuff, as questions of identity and the purpose of super-heroing are raised.  I think Guy's survivor guilt is well-handled - it's not the simple "we must carry on in honor of our fallen comrade" stuff you might se ein a different book.

X-Statix #4 (December 2002): "Good Omens: Part 4 - Talking About With Arnie"

As Guy goes to confront Arnie, Freeman pushes Solomon into letting Venus out of her contract, much to Sharon's disgust. Later, when she rescues Solomon from an angry mob, Sharon reveals that she is a mutant, and pushes him to join her in bringing down the X-Statix. 

 

Venus pressures the other X-Statix to come help Guy. Billy Bob has his powers back - he and Myles have talked it out, and realized that while they are both gay. they're just not into each other. I thought that was a pretty interesting development.

 

While the others help clean up, Guy and Arnie each talk to one another about Edie, and end up at one another's throats. In the end, it is only through the intervention of Arnie's mom that they do not kill one another.  I like the idea of someone's mom stopping a big super-hero fight. Whiel this is going on, Guy spots something about Arnie. Arnie undoes as much of the damage that he can, and Guy suggests sending him off to Professor X. Arnie has other ideas, however, and thus we end back a HQ, with Guy announcing Arnie as the newest member of the team!

 

Overall:  Lots of interesitng developments here. I'dforgotten about Sharon Ginsberg turning out to be a mutant.  She would of made an interesting courtroom antagonist for Jennifer Walters.

X-Statix #5 (January 2003): "Good Omens: Part 5 - The Mysterious Fan Boy!"

Guest artist on this is Paul Pope, and sacred excrement, is the art bad on this issue! I really, really don't like it!

 

Arnie is introduced as the team's newest member, the Mysterious Fan Boy! Guy has to push the team the get along, so as to keep Arnie happy while Guy figures out what to do about him. Lacuna reveals Arnie's ID, and the team takes heat for having Arnie as a member.  Guy seeks Lacuna out and pressures her to help handle the situation.

 

The team goes after a dangerous escaped mutant - Razorhead - and Arnie stops him, but his heart give out and he dies. After Arnie's funeral, Guy talks to Lacuna and it comes out that the thing Guy had spotted about Arnie last issue was that he had a weak heart (and couldn't use his powers on himself to fix it).  Arnie died because Guy deliberately took him into  a stressful situation and had Lacuna inject him with something that ensured that he would die. In other words, he murdered Arnie and pushed Lacuna into taking part in the murder!  Granted, Arnie was a menace (and had killed people himself), but was that really Guy's only option?  I know that Guy's never been portrayed as a saint, and he never had a "code against killing" like the Silver Age Superman, but murder? Just like that?  No thought of maybe getting on the hotline to Professor X and asking him for suggestions?

 

And then the issue ends with him telling Lacuna that he's quititng. So, do a murder and then walk away from it and go be emo somewhere? Wow. Ihave to say, that was sometinhg I didn't expect, even in this book!

 

Overall: Certainly an interesting issue.  I have to say, I must not have read these books very closely the first time I looked at them, since I have no memory whatsoever of Guy doing a flat-out murder here.

One of the things about X-Statix was that yes, the members of the team have zero qualms about killing others.  Usually it's not out and out murder, but given Arnie's powers, one could argue that it was self-defense.  I'm not saying that's right, but that's the way it is.  It would have been interesting had he been caught, but then we would have had to wade through a 30 issue trial of the Orphan involving time travel, rigged jurors and the final reveal that the victim wasn't dead.

Now I want a crossover with the Silver Age JLA!

X-Statix #6 (February 2003): "The Moons of Venus Part 1 of 3: Good Guy, Bad Guy"

We start with Professor X helping Venus explroe other dimensions, hoping to find her family, who may not be dead after all. something she sees traumatizes her.

 

Lacuna goes public with what happened to Arnie Lundberg (Isn't she opening herself up to prosecution?), and has Tike and Dead Girl on to argue against Guy, and Billy Bob and Myles to argue for him.  We see Solomon and Sharon in bed together, wathcing all of this and plotting.

 

Spike later calls them out for it, saying that if Guy doesn't come back, the team's next mission will be to take him out.

 

Meanwhile, the Professor has a new suit for Venus, saying that it will allow her to live a more normal life.  Someone steals a bunch of power suits form the Professor, then suddenly a new villian appears calling himself "Bad Guy". It is left ambiguous as to whether or not this actually is Guy or not.  The team goes after Bad Guy, and when Tike orders Venus to attack him, she hesitates, unsure of whether it's Guy or not.

 

Overall: Interesting developments here. Only in this book could they get away with a villain actually calling himself "Bad Guy".

Well, if you can have a hero named "Strong Guy" why not a villain named "Bad Guy"?

The Baron said:


Overall: Interesting developments here. Only in this book could they get away with a villain actually calling himself "Bad Guy".

...BAAAAAADDD as in good ?????????

Randy Jackson said:

Well, if you can have a hero named "Strong Guy" why not a villain named "Bad Guy"?

The Baron said:


Overall: Interesting developments here. Only in this book could they get away with a villain actually calling himself "Bad Guy".



Randy Jackson said:

Well, if you can have a hero named "Strong Guy" why not a villain named "Bad Guy"?

The Baron said:


Overall: Interesting developments here. Only in this book could they get away with a villain actually calling himself "Bad Guy".

 

 

I never was overwhelmed by Strong Guy as a character.

X-Statix #7 (March 2003): "The Moons of Venus Part 2 of 3: It's Official!"

Dead Girl drives Bad Guy away. We get the reveal that Venus is a virgin, which becomes a big news story.  We see Guy is with Professor X, and he is injured the same way Bad Guy was.  Venus hears Spike planning to make Tike the new leader - Tike refuses until the business with Guy is settled.

 

Sharon plots to contact Bad Guy to use him against the X-Statix. She contacts him, and later we see her lying in the street, badly hurt.

 

Venus also sees the Professor, who urges her to try to help Guy.

 

Lacuna offers to help the team find out who Bad Guy is, but when they confront him, she finds that her powers do not work on him.

 

Elsewhere, Solomon's skin tells him that Guy is not Bad Guy. The Professor seems to have worked out what is going ob.

 

We end with Venus confronting Bad Guy - he unmasks, but we don't see who he is!

 

Overall:  Fun stuff - they do a good job maintaining suspense as to whether or not Guy is Bad Guy.

 

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