X-Cellent (1st series) #3

Issue Date: 
June 2022
Story Title: 
New Blood, New World – part 3

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

Brief Description: 

The X-Cellent’s new teleporter Whoosh turns out to be less than impressive, but with Venus Dee Milo still disassembled he is needed. The X-Cellent also recruit two more members, Stripe and Fluff. In the meantime, Mr. Sensitive hires vlogger Girl Joe to go after the X-Cellent, though they warn Guy they will treat both teams fairly. The X-Cellent teleport into Dr. Strange’s Sanctum, where they raise raise some mayhem and Zeitgeist photographs a spell from the Book of Vishanti. Afterwards, the team argues and Fluff is quick to defend Mirror Girl and the others against Zeitgeist, making himself a target. After Girl Joe’s blog entry on their raid, Zeitgeist actually loses followers. In return, he sends his Zeitgeisters against Girl Joe, who phones Mr. Sensitive for help. However, Guy cannot find the team’s teleporter, as Katie is busy making out with Mike…

Full Summary: 

The Zeithouse:
After their new recruit, Billy McMullen aka Whoosh, has teleported them, the X-Cellent have only partially arrived at their home. It takes some horrible time until their bodies are complete again.

One day later, Mirror Girl recalls this as she sits in front of one of her mirrors, replaying the scene. She feels like the mirror is asking her who she is: Novice nun Jenny Spiegel… or Mirror Girl?

She wonders why she is here. She doesn’t know, but knows she cannot return to her old life. She wonders if whatever is left of her immortal soul will be ruined by staying with X-Cellent.

So why doesn’t she leave?

She joins Zeitgeist, who is staring at the tube containing the still not-fully reconstituted Venus Dee Milo. She wonders if what Hurt John said is correct, as she tells Zeitgeist they cannot risk using Billy again. It’s too dangerous. Zeitgeist doesn’t care. He has some big plans coming up and Venus isn’t nearly assembled. He supposes she came to leave him again, he adds cruelly. When she hesitates, he interrupts he is glad that is decided. To show her he bears her no ill will, he can spare ten minutes in bed for her that night. But first he has to introduce their new teammates.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most miserable girl of them all? she wonders.

In the lounge she, Zeitgeist, Hurt John and Whoosh are joined by two more people. The small woman with a bob and a stripe going from her face downward through her costume is introduced as Stripe. Zeitgeist found her lurking in the drapers wing of a famous department store. She has power over all things stripy. She reminds him not to forget contrails. Big sky power.

The man, handsome in a 70ies way, with an open cleavage down to his navel displaying his chest hair, moves in front of Stripe and introduces himself as Fluff. A lot of people have belly fuzz or lint. Only, Fluff can generate buckets’ full of that stuff at will and vary its chemical composition. The little ladies really go crazy for this.

Mirror Girl pretends to throw up. Zeitgeist announces they need more crew because their next happening is their biggest, audacious one yet.

He is unaware Dead Gir is watching from a dark corner, and soon she informs X-Statix about what she heard. Is she sure they have a teleporter? Guy Smith asks. She turns to the injured Myles, now in a floating bed/chair and replies it would appear so, though he is as likely to kill them as help them. Mike Alicar interrupts impatiently. What about the audacious happening? Any details? Guy orders him to back off. He is questioning Dead Girl. Mike tells him he is getting sick of his timewasting. X-Cellent have a ‘porter! Seems obvious they need to strike hard.

Katie backs him up, which pleases him. Guy furiously snaps back he will not be dictated to by the person whose rash actions cost Myles his life. Myles weakly protests he is not the ghost of Banquo just yet, he is still clinging on to his mortal coil. Dead Girl warns that his spirit is being pulled beyond the veil of life and death.

Guy repeats that the situation is Mike’s fault, and Katie protests he is picking on Mike. Maybe he is a little too dark for his liking, Mike accuses him. Guy resents that and points out Mike’s father Tike was a close friend. Just his kind of black man! Mike shouts. A sell-out! Guy protests that is not true and they are going to attack Zeitgeist. But first he needs to enlist an ally to help. Rosa excitedly asks who he is. Guy corrects, he it is not a “he,” but a “they.

On the roof, he soon meets with Girl Joe, a non-binary, respected social and political vlogger and influencer with a large following in the queer / pan, non-normative and cisgender communities. Girl Joe announces amused that for an older guy he is pretty down with the terminology. He tries to be sensitive about these things. He asks them for help, they have to admit, Zeitgeist poses a danger. And since their story about black magic on Wall Stret broke, their opinion carries a lot of weight.

Girl Joe has one condition: if they see something they don’t like about the X-Cellent, they will call it out, but they will be equally tough on X-Statix. If they are product placing unsustainable products, Girl Joe will be on their backs. Their business manager will hate it, Guy grins, but it’s a deal! Girl Joe asks if he has any idea what Zeitgeist is planning. Guy doesn’t, but he believes it will be showy.

In her mirror, Mirror Girl watches a certain townhouse in Bleeker Street for two hours, until its inhabitant, Dr. Steven Strange, leaves. She informs Zeitgeist, who orders Whoosh to teleport them there. Strange has magical defenses, he warns, so this will probably be a bumpy ride. He reminds Uno to livestream everything.

A little later, Billy has them almost completely teleported into the Sanctum Sanctorum. Fluff demands, where are the hot succubi, while Zeitgeist urges Billy to give it another push and they will be fully materialized. He tries but suddenly they find themselves in a dark psychedelic place.

Zeitgeist figures it’s the Dark Dimension, home of Dormammu, where time itself doesn’t exist. Just like being back at the department store, Stripe mutters. Zeitgeist orders Whoosh, now he really has to give it his all to get them out, but Billy sulks and refuses. Zeitgeist orders Hurt John to take over.

John tells Billy, let’s talk about his mother. Billy gets nervous and refuses. John sees his memories: it’s his birthday, the first sign he is different… wetting his pants at his age? He recalls how his mother called him a freak… the memory still fresh…

Mirror Girl asks if that is really necessary. No, but he enjoys watching people suffer, Zeitgeist snarks. Of course, it’s necessary! Unless she wants to spend the rest of eternity dodging Dormammu’s demons!

Hurt John confronts Billy with his shame. With a scream of denial, Billy uses his power and actually manages to get them to the Sanctum in one piece. When he is still hysterical, Zeitgeist slaps him and orders him to pull himself together.

Stripe asks what they do now. Zeitgeist announces that the place is full of rare magical items and orders Uno to show what they will do. Eyewash! Uno shouts and destroys an artifact with his eyeblasts. Zeitgeist joins him.

Watching the livestream and on the phone with Mr. Sensitive, Girl Joe exclaims the XC are trashing Dr. Strange’s crib. “The XC?” Guy asks and is told that all the kids are calling the X-Cellent that. Girl Joe is already composing tonight’s report. This is going to be big. Dr. Strange of all people… he is a good guy. An Avenger… a Defender. He’s a hero!

In another dimension, Dr. Strange’s magical senses are screaming, but he is busy battling Morgan le Fay and cannot leave, not even to save his Sanctum Sanctorum!

In the Sanctum’s library, Uno suggests they burn the books. Zeitgeist replies that he needs to find the Book of Vishanti, which contains the most powerful magical spells ever known. Then they can burn the books? Uno asks, hopefully.

Mirror Girl asks why he is so full of anger. He is an eye, Uno replies. He can never taste fine food or wine or make love to a woman or feel a breeze on his face… because he doesn’t have a face. He’s just a big fat eye. Wouldn’t she feel a tad irritated?

Zeitgeist photographs a spell in the Book of Vishanti and warns Whoosh to get ready to teleport them. The book may not take kindly to being photographed. They are teleported away.

Later, in an X-shaped pool, X-Statix discuss matters. Looking at his phone, Guy marvels that even after the XC’s act of vandalism their followers have increased by a 100,000. “The XC?” Myles asks and is lectured by Guy it’s what the kids call the X-Cellent. Trashing an occult library got almost two hundred thousand likes? Dead Girl asks. Disgusted, Myles tells her not to underestimate the asininity of the masses.

Mike calls that elitist bullshit. The X-Cellent are new. They are modern. Myles calls them damaged second-raters. That’s why people can relate to them, he is told. Rosa asks when Joe das Mädchen is going to help them. They should be uploading any time now, is Guy’s reply.

On their vlog, Girl Joe announces that libraries may be kind of old-fashioned, and they don’t read anything that isn’t digital… but these were Dr. Strange’s books, right? They should be worried about this. What do the XC stand for? Or are they beyond meaning? Beyond truth? Beyond morality? The watchers should make up their own mind, but Girl Joe knows which side of the burnt bread they are going to spread their edible fatty substance.

What does that even mean? Rosa wonders. It means they are losing followers, Guy replies and, indeed, Zeitgeist’s follower number is going down.

He decides that she must be silenced. Mirror Girl corrects him that Girl Joe is a “they.” He snaps at her not to correct him about the correct use of pronouns. Mirror Girl bravely tries to stand up. If they don’t respect someone’s preferences, they are denying their identity. She talks to him about identity? Zeitgeist snaps and calls her a washed-up little novitiate, an infatuated excuse for an individual. Has she taken a good look at herself in the mirror lately? If she had, maybe she wouldn’t crawl sniveling into his bed, every time he snaps his fingers!

Fluff gets between them and shouts that’s no way to talk about a babe. She is no babe, Mirror Girl protests. He tells her to stay out of this, he is defending her.

In the X-Cellent for five minutes and already making trouble? Zeitgeist asks mildly. Fluff tells him he is so unimpressed with the team and with him. He thought he was joining the new X-Statix! Zeitgeist orders Uno to start streaming: “Zeitgeist destroys Fluff to restore discipline” should prove very popular…

Five minutes later, Fluff is still standing and Zeitgeist is exhausted. Fluff informs him that his coat of bio-fluff protects him from Zeitgeist’s whammy, so he is not one of the losers he can easily manipulate.

He was liking him right until he called them “losers,” Hurt John mutters. Zeitgeist shouts at Fluff to go; he will deal with him later! Angrily, he stalks off while slapping Uno aside.

Mirror Girl gloats silently.

Zeitgeist makes a video addressing his followers. There is a social feed journalist who has recently been impugning his good name. He is all in favor of freedom of speech. He begins to stammer, if only someone could ask them to go a little easier on him. He adds, the address can be found on his webpage. He is sure they would be open to persuasion

Said journalist, Girl Joe, is currently on a videocall with Mr. Sensitive. Their article on the Dr. Strange house incident is getting a lot of traction. They’ve got Zeitgeist on the run. Guy warns them to be careful. They are messing with Zeitgeist’s legacy. He will do whatever it takes to hit back. Girl Joe replies they were voted queer of the year. What can he do to them?

Suddenly, a stone is thrown through the window. Girl Joe looks outside to see an angry mob of zeitgeisters. Another window shatters and Girl Joe is hit on the head. Guy asks what is going on but he senses she is scared and confused. He is missing pissed off, they reply. He blames himself. He tells them to stay there: X-Statix are coming!

He gathers the team, but their teleporter Katie is missing. Guy goes searching for her. On the veranda, Mike and Katie are sharing a tender moment and are not interested in answering his calls.

At the Zeithouse, Mirror Girl watches both Zeitgeist and Fluff in her mirrors. She feels drawn to and repulsed by both of them. She sees Girl Joe cowering beneath their desk waiting, for someone to rescue them. She knows how they feel…

Characters Involved: 

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

Hurt John, Joe Bomb, Mirror Girl, Pood, Uno, Whoosh, Zeitgeist (X-Cellent)
Dr. Strange

Story Notes: 

Spiegel: German word for “mirror.”

Das Mädchen: German for “the girl.”

Written By: