Back From the Dead (again) and As Subversive As Ever (Giant Size X-Statix Review)

July 12, 2019

 

GIANT SIZE X-STATIX

 

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Michael Allred
Colorist: Laura Allred
Letterer: Nate Piekos

Rating: 10/10 Mr. Sensitive tears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone pinch me. I must be dreaming…There’s a new X-Statix story out in the world and it doesn’t feel real. When I learned that GIANT SIZE X-STATIX was coming out, I had to scramble to the comic shop to make sure it was really happening. It’s been a while since I’ve actually scrambled to the comic shop to pick up a comic book. (I go every week but it’s usually a casual stroll). Anyway, having Peter Milligan with Michael and Laura Allred reunite for Giant Size X-Statix feels like a good dream that became a reality.

I didn’t think a comeback would happen because the last time we saw the X-Statix, they all… kinda died.

 


Apparently that’s not the case. Turns out former team leader Guy Smith (aka: Mr. Sensitive), the Vivisector, Dead Girl and Doop (the team’s camera man and an international sex symbol) are all alive and well. One of the many things I appreciate about this issue is how the original members of the team seem to have aged in real time. It’s a small detail but it’s as if time has actually passed for the characters since the last time we saw X-Statix on the page.

If you don’t know what X-Statix is, then there’s a lot to explain. It’s kind of a you-have-to-be-there situation. Explaining every detail will throw you down a rabbit hole.

So X-Statix is a cult classic mutant story. It’s about as indie as Marvel could go, I’d argue. The basic premise of the book is that X-Statix is a team of mutants put together for the sole reason of becoming celebrities. The team was usually out chasing money, sex, fame and product placement while racking up a high body count during dangerous missions for viewers’ enjoyment. (The in-joke is that team members keep dying.)

 

 


It should be noted that the X-Statix run is also the one and only time you can see Tony Stark and Mr. Sensitive fighting by throwing grass at each other while naked outside of a monastery.

Yep…


GIANT SIZE X-STATIX takes the “old” and mixes it with the new. In order to fight a new team of mutant baddies arriving on the scene, Dead Girl and Doop (who ditched his camcorder for an iPhone) decide to bring the band back together. The story mostly centers around Katie Jones, a high school student who learns that she is the daughter of dead X-Statix member, U-Go Girl. Before she died, the original U-Go Girl and Mr. Sensitive had a thing. He’s still not over it. U-Go Girl, a teleporting mutant passes her mutant genes to her daughter. That makes her valuable to said group of mutant baddies (more on them later). Dead Girl decides to bring in some young blood to even their odds against the threat.

 


Some original characters like U-Go Girl, Tike “The Anarchist” Alicar and Billy Bob Reilly (aka: Phat) stay dead. The new members like Katie Jones (the new U-Go Girl), Mike Alicar (the new Anarchist) and “Phatty” are brought in as legacy heroes for dead characters like U-Go Girl, the Anarchist (father of Mike) and Phat. It works as a passing of the torch, feels respectful and I appreciate their appearance in this issue.

Milligan’s cutting, smart and cynical tone is just as sharp as ever in GIANT SIZE X-STATIX. Throughout their run, Milligan and the Allreds told a subversive story while parodying popular comic book tropes and real world trends. Crossovers, publicity stunts, reboots, death. If it happened in the comics industry or to famous people, it might have been covered in X-Statix.

 


Speaking of death… In GIANT SIZE X-STATIX, the updated team has to go up against a team of mutants led by— wait, is this right?! Zeitgeist? (He’s back? You’re sure? Huh. That’s what I get for thinking that people in comics stay dead.)

Yeah sure, Zeitgeist, the acid puking mutant, is smack-dab on the cover but it still blows my mind to see him back again. As the original leader of Milligan and Allred’s X-Force, Zeitgeist appeared and died in X-Force #116. This was during the infamous Boyz R Us! massacre that left only three X-Force members alive. The team had to rebrand as X-Statix soon after.

Now, you can’t go wrong with Michael Allred. He’s the Doctor of Ginchy, a creator of cool, the surfer of psychedelic sketches. His off-beat, vivid, eye-catching art style has been appealing to me from the first book of his that I picked up. (It was Silver Surfer #1 that he did with Dan Slott. Their SS run is one of my favorite comics of the past decade. I describe my experience reading that run as “Kevin Smith crying”.)

Michael’s art isn’t the same without his wife Laura’s colors. Michael and Laura Allred are a package deal. When I think of Laura’s color work, the word “sheen” comes to mind. It’s because her vibrant style makes art glow, makes it richer. Just gaze through the Allreds’ work on Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Bug! The Adventures of Forager, iZombie and more and it’ll grab your attention. They know how to deliver a solid product every time.

 


While X-Statix was a product of its time (the early 2000s), the team has aged well. It seems like this is a book that’ll age well with the times anyway. There's so much for the book to cover given the long break it's had. I’m looking forward to where these characters go next.

X-Statix is like catching lightning in a bottle. It works in the best ways. If you dig mutants, buy this. If you’re reading any kind of Marvel title, buy this. If you’ve never read X-Statix before, buy this. Seriously, if you’ve never read X-Statix, go back and also check out the original run by Milligan and the Allreds. You are not ready for what they have in store for you. It’s insane that we even got this one shot. I’m still shocked that Milligan and the Allreds are bringing these characters back next year with The X-Cellent #1. Until then, I’m going to be on the edge of my seat (proverbial or otherwise).

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