X-Cellent (1st series) #1

Issue Date: 
April 2022
Story Title: 
New Blood, New World – part 1

Peter Milligan (writer), Michael “Doc” Allred (artist) Laura Allred (colorist), Nate Piekos of BlamBot Studios (letterer), Michael & Laura Allred (cover artists), David Mack; Mateus Manhanini, Skottie Young (variant covers), Lauren Amaro & Kat Gregorowiecz (assistant editors), Darren Shan (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Zeitgeist’s team the X-Cellent continue their Dadaist-style attacks on happenings while Zeitgeist makes himself out to be a defender of a free internet. However, he bristles because they still haven’t got a teleporter and therefore a means of elegant getaways. X-Statix are reshooting their battle with X-Cellent for the fate of Katie Jones, who has now joined X-Statix, when they learn of Zeitgeist trying to frame them as the bad guys. Later, Katie and Vivisector brainstorm for Katie’s codename, while the others discuss how to handle the X-Cellent, and The A and Mr. Sensitive argue about The A’s father, the late Anarchist. When they are about to trade blows, they are separated by their latest member, Rosa Lemper, a German who can turn into a living wall. When the X-Cellent attack a rock concert, X-Statix confront them. The A is needlessly reckless, causing one of Zeitgeist’s blast to critically injure Vivisector.

Full Summary: 

Mr. Sensitive aka Guy Smith considers the mysterious X-Cellent team. Their leader is Axel Cluney aka Zeitgeist: he was head of the ill-fated X-Force team who were mostly wiped out in the Boyz r Us massacre. Zeitgeist himself was thought to have died that day. But recently he turned up again with tales of weird, life-saving operations and plastic surgery that Guy still hasn’t quite gotten his head around.

His team, the X-Cellent, consists of UNO (a flying eyeball), Mirror Girl (whose reflections show the viewers their real self), a good-looking guy whose powers and name Guy doesn’t know, and Hurt John (who can see and share others’ pain).

Mr. Sensitive leads the latest iteration of X-Statix with his old teammates, Vivisector aka Myles Alfred, Dead Girl and Doop, and newcomers The A (son of the Anarchist) Phatty (daughter of Phat) and Katie Jones (daughter of U-Go-Girl).

They are staging an attack on Zeitgeist’s team. Guy shouts, it’s time to give up the ghost, Zeitgeist! Vivisector tells him he needs a rewrite, while the A drags him back, shouting Vivisector was never in front of him when they got in.

Phatty gets in Myles’ way and asks the camera team to make her ass look fat.

The director cuts the scene. It’s their sixth take reshooting some scenes of their battle against X-Cellent for X-Statix TV. The director criticizes Guy’s ad-libbed line, and Guy weakly explains it was supposed to be a play on “Zeit” and “Geist,” meaning “time” and “ghost” in German. Even Doop groans at this.

The director vows this is the last time he works with superheroes. What’s the use of spending money on scriptwriters if they all insist on ad-libbing? He then criticizes The A’s line and behavior. Mike Alicar angrily replies Vivisector wasn’t in front of him - he was hiding his furry ass behind The A!

Sounds like someone’s a little insecure, Myles mocks. Mike warns him to watch his mouth and calls him werewolf. Myles lectures him about the folkloristic werewolf who depends on the full moon. He on the other hand is free. He turns to his furry form to make a point.

The director orders them to stick to the script or he will be on his next flight to London. He next wants to shoot Katie’s heartwarming moment of joining the team. Katie Jones suggests her decision to join should be a separate episode and not be tacked to the end of X-Statix vs the X-Cellent - part one. It was a tough decision made for a variety of very personal reasons. Money, fame, ego…, Phatty mocks. This way her joining the team has better context, the director explains.

Why are they reshooting this anyway? Katie asks. Doop’s movies were good enough in her mother’s day. The director explains Doop’s stuff plays well in France and with the older arthouse crowd but X-Statix TV is aiming for a broader younger market. And the truth is, after being fed a diet of computer games and CGI, unmodified reality doesn’t cut it anymore. He means reality isn’t real enough? The A asks. The director agrees and asks make-up to powders Mike’s face.

Guy checks his phone and announces that there is another Zeitgeist notification. The others take out their phones as well to watch Zeitgeist’s livestream. He tells his viewers that this concerns their future… the future repressive forces want to steal from them.

The A is impressed. Zeitgeist’s followers have hit the hundred million mark. Has he had a nose job? Vivisector wonders. He kinda looks like her, Katie muses. Seeing this has no point, the director orders a tea break.

Uno continues his stream, as Zeitgeist rambles, they are scared of the truth, so they want to curtail the freedom of the internet. It is his goal to keep that from happening… to keep the cyberworld free.

Mike and Kattie note Zeitgeist’s follower numbers keep rising.

Zeitgeist continues that perhaps the most dangerous of those repressive forces are those heroes-turned-zeroes X-Statix!

Guy whimpers that he may be the most sensitive man in the world… but that really hurt!

Zeitgeist shows a video of how X-Statix recently attacked one of his establishments. The clearly faked video shows them hitting babies and puppies as Mr. Sensitive vows, Zeitgeist’s dreams of a free internet are history! Vivisector threatens “just like the way you is!”

Guy is horrified, while Myles groans that everybody will think he murdered the English language!

In the fake video, Zeitgeist plays the voice of reason, suggesting they discuss their differences like decent Americans. Mr. Sensitive replies that his idea of America is different than theirs and kicks him in the face.

In reality, Guy protests they fought Zeitgeist to save Katie! This is fake! The director tells him that is now the truth. That’s what really happened. Which is why they have to finish their film and get it out pronto!

Guy narrates how, four weeks ago, X-Cellent performed the first of what can only be called “happenings” by gatecrashing the star-studded premiere of the latest Thok Helmson movie.

While the others were gorging on canapes, Hurt John analyzed the modern action hero, revealing to Thok Helmson that, under the steroid-enhanced beef, he is still the skinny kid getting bullied in the schoolyard. By the time X-Statix arrive, the X-Cellent were making a messy getaway. No one was hurt besides Thok’s pride and career.

More happenings follow. Like the Hero Comic Book Convention, where Mirror Girl shows some fans what they really are.

Or the Light Heavyweight Championship of the world, where Zeitgeist knocks out both fighters with a hand tied behind his back. The soccer moms riot. The Frank Sinatra appreciation debacle. The Venice Beach Dada farce. Each event or happening seemingly more meaningless than the last.

Doop says they live in a post-meaning age but Mr. Sensitive is trying to find a pattern. This must be about more than Zeitgeist seeing the number of his online followers grow.

At their home, the Zeit House, the X-Cellent celebrate another occasion of giving X-Statix a bloody nose, without even leaving the comfort of their armchair. The mood is interrupted when Joe Bomb accidentally causes an explosion. He apologizes, figuring the champagne drove his blood pressure over the edge.

Zeitgeist admonishes the team. They need more in their war against X-Statix. What they need is transport.

In a lab, several scientists are busy trying to draw the molecules of Venus Dee Milo together. One of them enthuses that this morning they got her entire left earlobe. When Zeitgeist demands when they will be ready, the scientist figures five years. Not nearly good enough, Zeitgeist replies and vomits his acid into his face. He then informs the second engineer he has been promoted. The man warns him this won’t make the matter engine any faster. Zeitgeist warns him not to disappoint him as they leave.

Joe Bomb ventures that there are plenty of other teleporters around. Zeitgeist knows. He interviewed some and rejected them all.

Nightcrawler didn’t cut it (actually he wasn’t interested in Zeitgeist’s vision). Blink really blew her interview (she told Zeitgeist he gave her the creeps).

He announces their next event will be their biggest and most dangerous, and hopes it will not be a disaster without a teleporter. Mirror Girl gushes they will be fine. After all, he has right on his side. He repeats her statement, surprised. She wouldn’t be here otherwise, she insists. All his suffering has made him a good man. He reminds her that he kidnapped U-Go-Girl’s daughter, Katie Jones. For the best of reasons, she replies undeterred and creates one of her mirrors. She urges him to look. Isn’t that the face of an honorable right-thinking man? Yes, very pleasant, he chokes out, while seeing a monstrous version of himself.

Meanwhile, in the X-Statix’s mansion, Katie and Myles are brainstorming codenames for Katie. Gone-in-ten-seconds-Girl, he suggests. Katie replies, it will look crap on merchandise. He tuts about millennials and their love for the crassly commercial. And the original X-Statix didn’t care about that stuff? she shoots back.

Standing some distance away with Mike and Dead Girl, Guy orders them to pipe down. They are discussing something important here. Where were they? he asks. Mike replies Zeitgeist is amassing a huge following, but why?

Dead Girl muses he said he is fighting for the freedom of the internet but the spirits of the dark places tell her his words are like grave mud… Doop agrees. The question is, what do they do about it, Guy wonders.

Mike suggests they bust X-Cellent’s headquarters and beat Zeitgeist into revealing the truth. Guy forbids it. Zeitgeist would use this to gain more followers, Mike accuses Guy of being a coward just like Mike’s father. Angrily, Guy grabs him by the shirt. His father was a good friend and one of the bravest men he knew!

So brave he kept Mike’s mother a dirty secret, Mike shoots back, as he goes for Guy’s throat. That was for her protection! Guy groans. He only cared about his reputation! Mike snaps. Guy retorts, Mike didn’t know his father like he did. Right, because he was never there! Mike shouts.

Suddenly, a wall appears between them separating them.

A female head and torso appear on top of the wall and introduces herself in German as Rosa Lemper.

Guy complains about his hurt hand and Mike demands if she belongs to Zeitgeist’s people. Rosa asks Doop to tell them. He explains he thought they needed another member. Guy admits they were a little understaffed.

Katie suddenly shouts that she’s got it: Gone Gal! Perfection, Myles agrees.

An estimated 20 million people tune in for the “live” hologram tour of deceased British rock legend Rick Ragger. Suddenly, it is more like 150 million as X-Cellent appear. The band (which unlike the singer is live) wonder if this is a PR stunt. One of them complains poor Ragger will be turning in his grave. The others school him he doesn’t have a grave. Being a convert to Zoroastrianism, his corpse was eaten by vultures.

As the band members flee, Mirror Girl wonders if this is a good idea. Ragger, like many deceased British stars, is very popular in America. Zeitgeist replies this isn’t an attack but an homage. From one star who’s come back from the dead to another. He orders her to get all the A-listers in the front to look into her looking glass. Show them the dirty truth behind their manufactured glitter. X-Cellent are the only celebrities here!

X-Statix arrive after they get off the phone with their agents.

When the X-Cellent attack, Mr. Sensitive orders Rosa to build the wall.

Rosa was born in East Berlin, at the very moment the Wall was torn down. She has since carved a career in Europe building walls.

Rosa asks if Guy wants some nice graffiti on it. Her German fans always appreciate that. Guy deems it not necessary. The A snaps maybe Guy and his father hid like children. The A doesn’t duck a fight! Guy tells him he doesn’t have to prove himself by getting killed. The A surprisingly states, Doop recruited that German girl to be killed off. X-Statix’ popularity rests on its high body count; Rosa was brought in so she could be killed off. So he doesn’t believe anything will happen to him.

He leaves the protection of the wall and gets ready to attack Zeitgeist. Guy orders Rosa to protect him, but she replies she cannot maintain two walls at the same time.

Zeitgeist order Uno to hit The A. Mike dodges and mocks that he missed! However, instead, the blast hit Vivisector, who is hurt so badly. His guts are hanging out, Myles weakly jokes he will make Dead Girl his amanuensis and dictate the first Pulitzer Prize winner from the grave.

Angrily, Guy blames Mike and hopes he is satisfied!

Characters Involved: 

The A, Dead Girl, Doop, Gone Gal, Mr. Sensitive, Phatty, Rosa Lemper, Vivisector (X-Statix)

Hurt John, Joe Bomb, Mirror Girl, Uno, Zeitgeist (X-Cellent)

In flashback:

Story Notes: 

The story follows the Giant Size X-Statix one-shot.

Zeitgeist died in X-Force (1st series) #114.

In this context, an amanuensis is an assistant hired by an artist (usually a musician) to transcribe what the artist dictates.

First erected in 1961, the Berlin Wall was a separation barrier erected by the communist government of East Germany, encircling the city of West Berlin. Although it was the capital of West Germany, West Berlin was physically located within the borders of East Germany. The wall was torn down 1989 and ostensibly began the process of German reintegration.

Page 3 panel 1: oh my God!
Page 16, panel 3: I thought X-Statix needed another member.

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