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Comic Book / X-Statix

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"We're filthy, ungodly mutants. But we're their filthy, ungodly mutants."
Guy Smith

X-Statix is a Marvel Comics series written by Peter Milligan , with art by Mike Allred. It's a Sequel Series to Milligan & Allred's run on X-Force (1991), an In Name Only reinvention which had reimagined the violent mutant squad as Reality TV stars performing superhero missions for ratings.

Picking up several weeks after the death of U-Go Girl, the series follows the team's attempt to rebuild itself under the leadership of Spike Freeman, now calling themselves X-Statix after refusing to pay royalties to the founding members of X-Force to use their name. Later arcs dealt with Mister Sensitive's increasing disillusionment with being a super-celebrity, Vivisector's ill-advised efforts to bring his feral powers under control, and Venus Dee Milo's search for her long-lost family, among other stories.

The series became known for its large cast and famously rapid turnover of characters, being a satiric superhero saga on the level of Garth Ennis where most (if not all) of them are second-tier celebrity wannabes only in it for fame, fortune, and kicks. X-Statix was eventually canceled after twenty-six issues, ending with the entire team getting killed off. (Many of them would later come back anyway.) After its cancelation, a spinoff mini-series starring team member Dead Girl was published, satirizing the cyclical nature of superhero resurrections with Doctor Strange in tow.

In 2019, the team (as well as original creators Milligan & Allred) returned for a one-shot —Giant-Size X-Statix— wherein U-Go Girl's daughter inherits her late mother's mutation, inadvertently leading to the reunion of the team. The issue also served as a backdoor pilot for X-Cellent, a 2022 Sequel Series.

This series contains examples of:

  • Abusive Offspring: When Arnie Lundberg discovered that he was a Reality Warper, he used his powers to take over his town and deform everyone he felt had wronged him. While he never used his powers on his single mother, he kept the threat of doing so over her head to keep her in line, and it's clear that she's terrified of him.
  • The Alcoholic: Back when she was still alive, Edie was a raging alcoholic. In issue #10, which recounts her early career as a superhero, nearly every panel in which she appears has her holding a whiskey bottle.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: As with Milligan and Allred's X-Force, X-Statix is premised upon the notion that everybody loves mutants.
  • Amateur Film-Making Plot: In the "Moons of Venus" arc, the team reluctantly agrees to let Hollywood make a movie about them. This causes increased stress for Guy and Venus, neither of whom are comfortable with the spotlight.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • In the first arc, poor Ocean has her legs torn off by zombies. Luckily for her, Arnie Lundberg uses his powers to give her new ones.
    • In the "Back from the Dead" arc, El Guapo loses both of his legs in an explosion. He remains legless for the rest of his run.
  • Anyone Can Die:
    • The X-Force run had already established a high mortality rate for the team. X-Statix adds the Mysterious Fanboy, then Phat, then El Guapo, until the surviving members were all killed in the last issue of X-Statix.
    • The first arc of X-Statix has Venus Dee Milo gathering the team to pull this towards the end of it, and then pulling it off pages later.
  • Artist Disillusionment: A frequent theme of this series in-universe.
    • In "Moons of Venus", Guy's superhuman sensitivity grows at the same time that he's dealing with the fallout from Lacuna publicly revealing that he had her kill off Fanboy X. He doesn't handle it well, and it doesn't help that a lunatic called "Bad Guy" starts appearing.
    • Tike's stand-alone issue has him becoming the leader and utterly hating it, and becoming uncomfortable with the fact that the team is frequently sent out to kill dark-skinned terrorists.
    • Dead Girl's stand-alone issue has her coming to grips with the fact that being in the spotlight means she might actually be held responsible for the behavior of her more deranged fans. It's further complicated by the fact that her powers give her responsibilities to her fellow deceased that sometimes conflict with her responsibilities to the team.
    • A two-part arc had Myles become disillusioned with being known as the gay wolfman with the hair-trigger temper, and his extreme attempts to remedy that situation.
  • Artistic License – History: The first arc has a scene set in suburban Los Angeles that includes a cameo from Woody Allen. Allen is notorious for his hatred of LA.
  • Attractive Zombie: Despite being reanimated and frequently having noticeable wounds, Dead Girl has no shortage of admirers.
  • Blessed with Suck: Mr. Sensitive's powers still cause him constant agony, except that his grief and disillusionment with his job make it worse.
  • Brick Joke: The explosion that kills Phat blows off one of his feet. It later comes falling back to Earth and (literally) brains Dead Girl.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • In "Back from the Dead", as the public sours on X-Statix in the wake of their failure to take out the Random Killer, Guy learns that Edie helped sell WMD's to Saddam Hussein.
    • When Arnie Lundberg was on the team as the Mysterious Fanboy, the rest of the group had to grit their teeth and pretend to like each other and care about helping people so temperamental Reality Warper Arnie wouldn't see them for what they really are.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In one two-part arc, Vivisector tries to have his powers removed. Unfortunately, the scientist he hires to remove them takes those powers for himself, becomes convinced that he is Vivisector, and goes after Myles' father.
  • Bury Your Gays: By the end of the series, Phat and Vivisector are both killed off. Downplayed in that everybody is killed off by the end, not just them. Ultimately averted when it's revealed Vivisector has come back from the dead in Giant-Size X-Statix, and even has a new partner; Phat remains dead, however.
  • Captain Ethnic: Gleefully parodied with EuroTrash, a supervillain team made up of ethnic stereotypes - The Wall is a Germanic Depressive, Surrender Monkey is a Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey, Oxford Blue is basically Hugh Grant as the Hulk, etc. When a potential buyer balks at how crudely stereotypical they are, Spike Freeman cheerfully tells him that that's exactly how Americans like their stereotypes.
  • The Chains of Command: Guy Smith was originally made the leader of the team to head off a leadership contest between Anarchist and U-Go Girl. He certainly never asked for it or wanted it, and in the "Moons of Venus" arc, the stress gets so bad that he willingly hands over leadership to the Anarchist.
  • Character Shilling:
    • Parodied with Venus Dee Milo. Everyone praises Venus when she first shows up, but Guy is extremely wary of adding such a seemingly "perfect" member to the team. It isn't until she reveals just how screwed up and neurotic she is that he warms up to her.
    • Played straight with Henrietta Hunter; she was supposed to be Princess Di, but Marvel refused to let Milligan and Allred do that, so they were forced to try and sell a generic fictional celebrity as someone that the rest of the team would actually work with.
  • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: There's actually a character named "Surrender Monkey," leader of a team of supervillains whose entire gimmick is being horrible ethnic stereotypes. He has the amazing mutant ability to know exactly the right moment to run away from a fight. Subverted when he comes back later on and is revealed to not be French at all but rather an American Francophile.
  • Companion Cube: El Guapo's board is sentient.
  • Creepy Child: Arnie Lundberg, a disfigured teenage boy with frightening reality-warping powers.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: For a long time, Venus believed that she'd accidentally vaporized her whole family.
  • Dead Star Walking: Literally with Dead Girl, but more traditionally with the entire cast in the first issue.
  • Death Is Cheap: Utterly subverted in this series.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: In the final issue the entire team is inexplicably killed by regular gunmen, even though they had survived worse situations before. The bad guys even manage to kill Dead Girl, even though her superpower is that she's already dead and can't die for the second time.
  • Dirty Old Man: A Running Gag in this series is Professor Xavier's creepy interest in the sex lives of young mutants, to the point that he just happened to have a suit prepared for Venus so that she could engage in sex.
  • Doorstopper: The 2011 omnibus collecting the entire series in a single volume is 1200 pages long, making it at the time the longest book Marvel had ever printed (beating out the Walt Simonson Thor omnibus by a mere eight pages). It also weighs nearly eight pounds, cementing its status as a true doorstopper.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: El Guapo gets impaled on his own damned skateboard.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Edie, both in-universe and out.
  • Executive Meddling: Done frequently In-Universe as well, with Spike constantly trying to get the team to act in the ways that would be the most profitable.
  • Fandom Rivalry: In-universe for Phat at his funeral between his gay fans and his fat fans.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: Subverted. At the end of the second-to-last issue, the team decides to split up, but Guy convinces them to pull one last mission. They're all brutally killed, even Dead Girl.
  • Foreshadowing: Guy threatening to break Spike's neck shortly after Edie dies.
  • Generation Xerox: Edie's daughter Katie becomes this in Giant-Size X-Statix, inheriting both her late mother's powers as well as her blue skin. There's also Mike, Anarchist's son, who is almost the spitting image of his dad, and Phatty, who is a female clone of Phat.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Throughout the series, Dead Girl takes damage that would have killed someone else.
  • Gracefully Demoted: Guy Smith was only too happy to step down as the leader of the X-Statix, relinquishing command to teammate Anarchist, after narrowly surviving a PR nightmare when he was revealed to have ordered the death of one of his own teammates (albeit a teammate who was a sociopathic Reality Warper) and another PR nightmare when a supervillain impersonated him and went on a rampage.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Phat dies in order to protect the rest of the team from a bomb.
  • I Have No Son!: Vivisector's father, Edward Alfred. When his wife pleaded with him to consider letting Myles back into their house and insisting he's your son!, he responded with "That is a matter of opinion."
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Katie Jones has no interest in following in her mom's footsteps and becoming a superheroine. She wants to be an engineer.
  • Incest Subtext: It's strongly hinted that Brad Gutman has an unhealthy interest in his stepdaughter that's only kept in check by his profound necrophilia. After Britney dies, Dead Girl kills Brad to prevent him from sexually abusing her corpse.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Myles develops a crush on El Guapo. Unfortunately for him, El Guapo is straight. His attempts to flirt with Hawkeye fare no better.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: El Guapo is forced into this role after getting his legs blown off during a mission. He's not exactly thrilled about it.
  • Intimate Lotion Application: In issue #15, Henrietta Hunter is lounging on the deck of her yacht, while having one of her attendants rub sun lotion on her back, with her narration implying she has an affair with him, but the X-Statix team teleporting into the yacht puts an end to it. When she manages to talk the team out of killing her, she flirtatiously asks the boys if one of them wants to finish rubbing lotion on her legs. Cue Orphan looking tempted while Venus shoots him a Death Glare.
  • Karma Houdini: By the end of the "Moons of Venus" arc, the public at large knows that Guy Smith convinced Lacuna to murder Fanboy X, but neither of them ever face any legal consequences for this.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The source of much of the humor.
  • Legacy Character: Giant-Size X-Statix introduces a few:
    • Edie's daughter Katie becomes the second U-Go Girl in Giant-Size X-Statix when she inherits her late mother's mutation.
    • Mike Alicar, the son of the Anarchist, has more or less the same powers as he did.
    • Phat's daughter Phatty, who has exactly the same skillset as him.
  • The Lost Lenore:
    • Guy spends the early issues still mourning over Edie.
    • Katie feels this way towards Edie before learning she was actually her mother, not her sister.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Phat in his normal state strongly resembles Eminem, a deliberate irony given the oft-homophobic lyrics Em was known for.
    • The second issue features O-Force rescuing Woody Allen and Will Smith from terrorists.
    • Arnie gives a dog the head of Britney Spears.
    • Henrietta Hunter was originally going to be Princess Di. Marvel forced Milligan and Allred to change her to a generic celebrity.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Edie was a huge star, beloved by almost everyone... except her own daughter Katie, who resents her for abandoning her and not even having the decency to tell her that she was her daughter.
  • Only Sane Man: The Orphan, who's probably the most grounded member of the cast. Spike Freeman lampshades this by saying he's saner than all of them put together (not that it's saying much)
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Phatty, from the Giant-Size special, is a female clone of Phat.
  • Parody Sue: Henrietta Hunter, world-renowned singer, philanthropist, charity worker, and all-around saint.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: When he first joined X-Force, Guy Smith at least tried to be a good guy, but between his depression over Edie's death, his realizations that Edie was not really as wonderful as he thinks, and his growing suspicions that his teammates are all self-absorbed assholes, Guy gets increasingly comfortable with doing terrible things.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Phat is a white boy who acts and talks like a black dude.
    "He was white, but he wanted to be black. And that's what made him blue."
  • Private Military Contractors: In many of their missions they are effectively this dressed up as a superhero team.
  • Punny Name: Venus Dee Milo. She has nearly-intangible arms.
  • Putting the Band Back Together
    • In the first arc, Venus has to rally the team back together after they split up.
    • Giant-Size X-Statix reunites the team for the first time after their series ended fifteen years prior.
  • Rape as Backstory: It's implied in the "Moons of Venus" arc that Venus was sexually abused by her cousin.
  • Reality Warper: Arnie Lundberg can completely change people's appearances, read minds, and bring back the dead, among other powers.
  • Red Right Hand: Arnie Lundberg is missing half of his face. He also has a warped sense of right and wrong, and used his powers to take over his hometown.
  • Refusal of the Call: In the Giant-Size special, Dead Girl tries to recruit Katie Jones - Edie Sawyer's daughter - to join a new version of X-Statix. Katie tells her to go away. Repeatedly.
  • Revenant Zombie: Dead Girl not only retained her intelligence after coming back from the dead, but also gained the ability to communicate with spirits.
  • Rock Beats Laser: The first stage of the Orphan/Iron Man fight showed the peak of modern technology falling to the peak of smithing equipment.
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: Zig-zagged by Phat and Vivisector, initially faking a relationship to raise their popularity and discourage their publicity-hungry bosses from killing one of them for drama, then they try a genuine relationship, but decide it is not working.
  • Satire: Milligan loved making fun of comicbook storytelling.
  • Shoot the Dog: Arthur K. Lundberg is a well-meaning disfigured Reality Warper who idolizes X-Statix and is eventually allowed to join the team. Not trusting him with that much power, Orphan collaborates with mutant reality show presenter Lacuna to dose him with an undetectable but fatal poison.
  • Sixth Ranger: Quite a few given the team's high turnover rate, though Venus Dee Milo and Dead Girl are the streightest examples.
  • Straight Gay: Both Phat and Vivisector eventually realize they are this, though they also realize they are not attracted to each other like they thought.
  • Straw Fan: Arnie could be seen as representing all the fans who were upset with the re-launch, what with his obsession with Edie Sawyer and his trying to force the X-Statix to become a cohesive team again.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: All of the X-teams have fights over leadership and strategy. In this case you also have to account for the team members being celebrities with fragile egos.
  • Time Stands Still: Lacuna's powers allow her to travel between moments. From her perspective, it seems like time briefly stops.
  • To Hell and Back: The Dead Girl mini-series sees Dead Girl and Doctor Strange travelling to Hell to stop a team of deceased C-listers from resurrecting themselves.
  • Token Minority Couple:
    • Repeatedly averted — Anarchist and Venus never get together, despite both being black, and Phat and Vivisector realize that despite the fact that they're both gay, they are not attracted to each other.
    • The execs behind the X-Statix movie feel it's more appropriate for Venus Dee Milo to be paired with the Anarchist instead of the Orphan.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Played with for all it's worth in one storyline with the entire team worried about a prophecy to this effect. U-Go Girl dies.
  • Truly Single Parent: It's revealed in Giant-Size X-Statix that Doop gathered enough DNA from Phat during his lifetime to produce a daughter.
  • Turn to Religion: Lacuna and her hippie parents become Born-Again Christians after a faith healer seems to bring her out of a coma.
  • The Un-Favorite: Nothing that Vivisector does will ever be good enough for his Ivy-League professor dad.
  • The Unreveal: Twice. When both Mister Code and the Pitiful One are unmasked, the characters see them and recognize them as someone they know, but the knowledge is never passed on to the reader.
  • Warts and All: One issue, a Breather Episode after the events of "Moons of Venus", has Venus going through Edie's old diaries in order to help Guy get rid of them. The diaries paint a not-so-flattering image of the beloved superhero-slash-celebrity, revealing her alcoholism, her brief flirtations with super-villainy, and her complete disinterest in going home to raise her daughter.
  • Wing Ding Lish: Doop's dialog.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: This series introduces the concept of "code-x", a factor in the X-gene that makes a mutant dangerously unstable and psychopathic. The protocol is for Doop to put them down in a secluded area.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: "We interrupt this special famine-relief bulletin to bring you a breaking story. Yes, it's official. Venus Dee Milo is a VIRGIN!"
  • You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Dead Girl is extremely tough to damage or destroy because her body is a walking corpse.

Alternative Title(s): X Statix 2002