Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix might be my favorite X-Men series ever. It’s vividly drawn, extremely weird, and offers something no other Marvel comic can give you. It’s back this week with a special giant-sized one-shot. Is Marvel Comics honoring their 80th anniversary with a check-in with these weird heroes, or is it building towards something bigger? You’ll find out if you read this!
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
As I say on this week’s Comics podcast, this issue features Doop. Nuff said. I also talk about why it’s the most anticipated comic of the week because of how many good vibes come from it.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This book does a great job reintroducing us to the X-Statix and the bevy of characters on the team via a surrogate for the reader named Katie Jones. Early on we learn she was related to the teleporter of the team, Edie Sawyer. Katie’s relationship to the team is like most, as she watches clips of the team via social media and Netflix. She’s roped into the latest antics of the team along with other newer mutants too. By the end, it’s clear the X-Statix need to join up again due to a new threat that harbors close ties to the original team.
There is a wonderful sense of awkwardness throughout this book that makes it all feel so real. Take for instance a moment where a villain apologizes for her rendering of a character using her powers and says, “ignore the nose, I’m not very good with noses…” It’s something someone would really say, yet you never see it said in a comic book. It’s all always so perfect. There are many moments like this one, where characters surprise themselves with how their powers work or how a plan is coming into place, and it does a good job reminding us even with superpowers, everybody makes mistakes.
Added to that realism are characters who are unique and aren’t usually represented in comic books. I’m greatly anticipating how folks react to Phatty, for instance, as she could be considered offensive to some, but most will be missing the point of her message about body image. There was a social commentary at work with this series and the creators haven’t stopped with this giant-sized special.
The art continues to be everything you’d want from Mike and Laura Allred. It’s bright, clean, and leans heavily into the weird. Phatty, a new hero who can manipulate her cellulite, is quite a weird hero to draw yet Mike Allred makes her flabs of fat make sense. Details in backgrounds exude energy and explosions or cloud bursts add so much to make things pop. Body language is expertly done too. There’s a lot being said in how a character stands or positions themselves. Take for instance a scene where Dead Girl is being attacked. She’s casually looking at her watch and says, “Hm. They’re late.” In the very next panel, an explosion goes off behind her rendered in streaks of blue and purple, sending the bad guy flying. At the same time, she hasn’t budged from her casual stance.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Generally speaking, this book follows a familiar formula from an average person being dragged into a superhero lifestyle to a villain who wants to do bad things just because. The latter is more problematic since we never learn what he’s up to besides his desire to put together a team for a future “culture war”. It’s the kind of vague detailing that keeps things moving forward without really saying anything. All that said, I’m curious to find out what he’s on about.
Is it good?
Your favorite mutant team from 2002 is back and better than ever. Milligan and Allred are not only reminding us why their series was genius; they are also giving a reminder of the vitality of the genre as both a celebration of the weird and social commentary.
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