X-Statix was a fictional team of mutant superheroes in Marvel Comics, specifically designed to be media superstars. The team, created by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, first appears in X-Force #116 and originally assumed the moniker X-Force, taking the name of the more traditional superhero team, who appear in #117 claiming to be "the real X-Force."
In 2001, the X-Men family of titles were being revamped by the newly appointed Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, with the aim to make the titles more critically and commercially successful. Former Vertigo editor Axel Alonso hired writer Peter Milligan, best known for his surreal, post-modernist comics such as Rogan Gosh and Shade, the Changing Man, and Madman artist Mike Allred, as the new creative team for X-Force, starting with issue #116. X-Force prior to Millgan and Allred's first issue sold well but rarely had been the critical success Quesada wanted.
Milligan and Allred completely revamped the series, designing a team more akin to popstars or reality TV contestants than the gritty, violent paramilitary group originally portrayed in the series. The title was laced with Milligan's satirical take on the superhero team as well as general cynicism toward the entire genre. Milligan and Allred would regularly play with killing off the title characters: In their first issue, they wiped out the entire team with only two exceptions. This dramatic revision of the series was not universally accepted. Many readers wanted "their" X-Force back, a complaint Milligan later parodied in the pages of the title. However, the title was receiving mainstream media coverage in titles like Rolling Stone.
X-Force was canceled with issue 129 in 2002 and renamed X-Statix; it restarted with a new issue #1. X-Statix carried on the same themes as X-Force, but with an increasingly satirical tone. Milligan planned to deploy Princess Diana as a character in a story-arc beginning in X-Statix #13: she was slated to return from the dead as a mutant superhero. However, when news of this leaked out to the media, a series of objections followed, most notably from the British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail. Quesada and Marvel announced that they would alter the character, replacing her with a fictional pop star named Henrietta Hunter.
Although sales of the title during this time were moderate, they soon began to decline drastically. After a story-arc that pitted X-Statix against The Avengers, low sales prompted the title's cancellation with issue #26, published in 2004. In the last issue Milligan and Allred killed off the entire team, serving up one last parody of the superhero genre, while tying up the remaining plot threads.
Marvel Comics published X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl in 2006. In the 5 issue mini-series, Dead Girl teams with Doctor Strange to combat a group of villains who have returned from the dead. The series is written by Milligan, with covers by Allred. The storyline (which features the return of The Anarchist, The Orphan, and U-Go-Girl) parodies the manner in which creators in the industry handle death in comic books, with popular characters often brought back from the dead.
The team was a group of colorfully dressed and emotionally immature young mutants put together and marketed to be superstars first by the mysterious Coach and later by media mogul Spike Freeman. Some of the members included:
- Anarchist, the team's self-proclaimed "token" Black Canadian, whose acid-like sweat enabled him to fire acidic energy bolts.
- Bloke, a mutant with the ability to change the color of his skin, like a chameleon; turning pink would enhance his strength. His appearances were laden with blatant references to his homosexuality.
- Dead Girl, a literal dead girl who could reform her body and control its parts when dismembered, and could "read" the memories of dead bodies.
- Doop, a green, floating spheroid creature of unknown origins who spoke in a "language" all his own (represented in text by a special font), and who served as X-Force's cameraman. It was hinted many times that he might have been manipulating the team or that he was trying to control them in some clandestine way but nothing was ever resolved or proven.
- El Guapo, a sexy male mutant with a flying skateboard that had a mind of its own.
- Henrietta Hunter, an inexplicably reanimated woman with enhanced physical abilities and empathy. Originally intended to be Diana, Princess of Wales.
- Mysterious Fan Boy, the self-proclaimed greatest fan of X-Statix, he was put into the team so his powers and unstable personality could be placated and controlled. Orphan conscripted long-time ally Lacuna to inject him with a serum that would stop his weak heart to prevent him from a dangerous eventual personality meltdown. He had limited reality-warping powers and some of the acts he performed were illusion casting, animating dead bodies, rearranging items on a molecular level, creating explosions, and healing injuries.
- Orphan, aka Mister Sensitive, the team's de facto leader, a suicidal mutant with purple skin and two antennae protruding from his forehead who possessed heightened senses, superhuman speed, and the ability to levitate.
- Phat, an (eventually) openly gay man who could harden, soften and increase the size of any part of his body by expanding his subcutaneous fat layer.
- Saint Anna, an Irish-Argentinian mutant with the ability to levitate and control the motion of objects as well as physically and mentally heal others.
- Spike, a controversial African American character who made fun of Anarchist for being white inside, even though his skin is black. He is capable of extending thin spikes from his body or launching them as projectiles.
- U-Go Girl, a blue-skinned, redhead, narcoleptic teleporter who was once romantically linked to Zeitgeist and then to Orphan.
- Venus Dee Milo, whose body was made entirely of crackling red energy that allowed her to teleport, project concussive blasts of energy, and heal minor wounds.
- Vivisector, a bookish scholar who could transform himself into a wolf-like creature with enhanced senses, speed, agility, and razor sharp fangs and claws, and who briefly became Phat's lover.
- Coach, manipulative mentor of the team when it was still named X-Force. He has only one arm and red eyes. He was once called "The Arm" but it was never fully explained why. He had the second X-Force eradicated to start a new one. He had the team capture a young mutant named Paco Perez to sell to pharmaceutical companies but Orphan intervened and sent the boy away. He then tried to have Orphan killed but was eventually killed by a gunshot in a struggle with U-Go Girl.
- Spike Freeman, is an amoral billionaire with an addiction to thrills (he once voluntarily played Russian roulette). He assists the team by auditioning new members and by doing the team's public relations. Orphan kills him after he advocates the murders of innocent people.
- Lacuna, a young girl named Woodstock who set out to prove that she was worthy of membership into the then X-force by playing pranks on the members with the help of her powers. Even though she was more than capable, Orphan rejected her but on occasion would call upon her for help. When Orphan finally came to her to offer her membership, she declined, preferring instead to take up a spot as a talk show host where she would expose the secrets of the stars. Her powers allow her to walk between the moments of time while everything else remains still.
- Professor X, mentor of the X-Men who assisted X-Statix on certain occasions. He constructed special suits to accommodate Orphan and Venus Dee Milo's mutations.
- Wolverine, an old friend of Doop who aided Orphan in taking down Coach and his back-up team. Wolverine also accompanied Doop in searching for the Pink Mink.
In Milligan and Allred's first issue of X-Force, nearly the entire team was killed off in an incident called the Boyz 'R Us massacre. This precursory team, of which only U-Go Girl, Doop, and Anarchist survived, also included:
- Battering Ram, who had superhuman strength, and durability as well as a thick skull which sported two ram-like horns and purple skin.
- Gin Genie, who could direct seismic energy from her body but only when she had consumed alcohol.
- La Nuit, a Frenchman who could generate a cloak of dark energy around him that would disperse light and control objects.
- Plazm, a living, lighter than air, liquid man who could control metabolic functions upon contact with another or through a spray from his hands.
- Sluk, who has a face composed of tentacles.
- Zeitgeist, the team leader who could vomit acidic ooze from his mouth. He conspired with Coach to have his teammates killed in the Boys R Us massacre, but he was caught in the crossfire and killed as well. He previously had a one-night stand with U-Go Girl.
X-Statix's appearances have been collected into the following trade paperbacks:
- X-Force: Famous, Mutant & Mortal (hardcover, 288 pages, July 2003, ISBN 0-7851-1023-2) collects:
- Volume 1: Good Omens (collects X-Statix #1-5, Marvel, 2002, ISBN 0-7851-1059-3)
- Volume 2: Good Guys & Bad Guys (collects X-Statix #6-10, Wolverine/Doop #1-2 and X-Men Unlimited #41, Marvel, 2003, ISBN 0-7851-1139-5)
- Volume 3: Back From the Dead (collects X-Statix #11-18, Marvel, 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1140-9)
- Volume 4: X-Statix vs. The Avengers (collects X-Statix #19-26, Marvel, 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1537-4)
- X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl (collects 5-issue limited series, Marvel, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2031-9)
The entire run of X-Statix is collected in a hardcover Marvel Omnibus, which collects: X-Force #116-129; Brotherhood #9; X-Statix #1-26; Dead Girl #1-5; Wolverine/Doop #1-2; and material from X-Men Unlimited #41; I ♥ Marvel: My Mutant Heart and Nation X #4. (Marvel, 2011, ISBN 0-7851-5844-8)
- CBGXtra.com - Comics Sales Charts
- Lamar, Cyriaque. "5 weird examples of superheroic identity swapping". io9. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
- Milligan, Peter (June 25, 2003). "Princess Diana, superhero". The Guardian.
- Henrietta Hunter (X-Statix leader/charity worker/pop star) at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Retrieved September 3, 2009.
- X-Statix at the Comic Book DB