X-Cellent (1st series) #5

Issue Date: 
July 2022
Story Title: 
New Blood, New World – part 5

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

Brief Description: 

The X-Cellent now have their own version of the book of Vishanti thanks to Pood, and Zeitgeist is still obsessed with getting followers. Whoosh lets slip out that he murdered Fluff, much to Mirror girl’s despair. When she is alone in her room, she is surprised by celebrity blogger and teleporter Toodle Pip, who is figuring out what happened to Fluff. However, Toodle Pip develops compassion for Mirror Girl. In the meantime, Gone Girl breaks up with The A. When the team confronts the X-Cellent, who are causing a prison breakout, Zeitgeist get blinded in one eye by The A. When later Zeitgeist wants to punish Mirror Girl for her inaction Toodle Pip defends her. Considering her an opportunity, Zeitgeist blackmails her into becoming their new teleporter after getting rid of Whoosh, in exchange for not harming Mirror Girl. While the X-Statix are at a signing, they find out via internet that the X-Cellent are attacking their headquarters to gain more follower numbers, all part of Zeitgeist‘s plan to achieve the Rite of Apotheosis and turn into a living god.

Full Summary: 

Artemis, a young girl with long, brown hair held back with a giant bow asks her father if this is a game. The man who is holding a gun to his temple is afraid not.

She is only five, but she must have noticed how their lives have changed. How they no longer have the nice things they used to have. The girl reminds him he said some nasty men cheated him. Their Ponzi scheme cleared them out, he agrees. He thought coming to America would change their luck, but it was another failure. He wasn’t born to be poor. The Boleyns are distantly related to the Queen’s third cousin. “Toodle pip, sweetheart,” he says with tears in his eyes and fires his weapon.

Twenty years later:
Artemis, who has taken the name Toodle Pip, is now a celebrity blogger, going where others fear to tread.

She stands outside looking at the dead body of Fluff.

She writes about his death and the question who killed him, and what the hell is going on with the other superteam.

At X-Statix HQ, it looks like Doop is vomiting at the walls. Phatty asks what he is doing. Guy Smith, who is looking at a tablet, explains that Doop is strengthening their anti -teleportation defense. She asks how Katie is supposed to get in. He explains her unique genetic code has been fed into the system, meaning she can come and go as she wishes.

He is going to need her soon, Girl Joe’s voice comes from the tablet. The internet is wondering what Zeitgeist is planning next. He assures them Katie will be ready and is grateful Girl Joe has forgiven X-Statix for their slow response to their SOS. Ain’t forgiven nothing, Girl Joe warns him, but X-Statix are their best chance at avenging poor Fluff. To do that, they need to find out what is going on with the Book of Vishanti, Guy replies and wonders when and how Zeitgeist plans to use it.

At the Zeithouse, Uno informs the others Pood (their anti-Doop) has created a replica of the Book of Vishanti from a photo. The others wonder how… but more importantly why.

Hurt John touches the book... and a moment later is hit by Zeitgeist’s corrosive vomit. Next time it will be his face, Zeitgeist warns. He forbade anyone from approaching the spellbook. He expected better from Uno. He orders them to come next door for the mission brief.

He shows them the Franklin Correctional Penitentiary – home of many high-profile antiheroes. Men who have captured a gullible public’s imagination. Which means that any breakout of these lovable rogues will win him many followers.

What is it with him and his followers? Hurt John mutters. Male ego, Mirror Girl assumes. Zeitgeist chides them to pay attention. That includes Whoosh. Billy is busy removing chewing gum from the sole of his shoe and complains this is like school. Boring! Dropping Fluff from a great height and watching him splatter like a ripe tomato – now that’s his idea of education!

When she hears that, Mirror Girl calls Zeitgeist a lying pig. He promised her he wouldn’t hurt Fluff! He grins it was probably over too quickly to hurt. She calls him evil and stalks out.

In her room, Mirror Girl berates herself for this being her fault as she creates a mirror image, who berates her even more. Fluff stood up for her! They had a connection, and how did she repay him? By betraying him to Zeitgeist! Like she betrayed God, when she turned her back on the convent!

Suddenly, a young woman looking like Alice in Wonderland stands behind her and states Fluff seemed a decent kind of guy and was clearly a stud… but comparing him to God?

Mirror Girl recognizes her as Toodle Pip the celebrity blogger. Toodle Pip demands an exclusive, or she will let her audience know how Mirror Girl betrayed the belly lint guy. How shall she put it? “Brokenhearted Fluff jumps out of plane after lovecheat Mirror Girlrl sells him out.”

He didn’t jump! Jenny shouts. He was murdered by Zeitgeist’s little teleporting monster! That’s what she thought, Toodle Pip replies and thanks her.

Confused, Mirror Girl asks who she is. She is Toodle Pip, the other woman replies. Jenny clarifies: She has read her blog, but there is no trace of her in there. Who is she really? Toodle Pip stammers it doesn’t matter. The only life she needs are the lives of others. Mirror Girl’s mirror image tattles that she saw what happened to her daddy. She’s scared to live life, in case it hurts her again. Mirror Girl wonders aloud if behind the celebrity chatter Toodle Pip is as miserable as she is. Clearly shaken, Toodle Pip announces the interview is over. She’s got to appear for the next big story. With a toodle pip, she teleports away.

X-Statix HQ:
Phatty looks at her phone and announces the XC are attacking a prison. They’ve blown a hole through the wall. Rosa Lemper sympathizes with the wall. Mr. Sensitive worries that their teleporter isn’t here. He trusted her.

Katie and Mike are currently at the beach and Katie has dropped the bomb that she wants to slow down their relationship. She is saved from an uncomfortable discussion by Guy’s message and she ‘ports herself and The A to the mansion. They don’t notice Toodle Pip some distance away at the beach.

Guy quickly tells them what’s going on. Are they ready? He is, The A stresses, but maybe Katie ain’t ready to commit.

Toodle Pip secretly observes how the X-Cellent break into a prison housing supervillains and gushes about it on her liveblog. There is only one thing missing, she figures and, as if on cue, X-Statix teleport in.

However, several members’ minds are on other things. The A bitches to Gone Girl that there is a word for a girl who sees a lot of guys. Jezebel, Siren… Temptress, Grisette, Vivisector provides helpfully.

While Rosa Lemper builds a wall to protect them from the X-Cellent’s attack, Katie complains about the different standards for men and women in sexual matters. Mike stubbornly insists it is different. And why is that? Katie retorts.

That moment, Mike is hit by a piece of the wall, due to Zeitgeist’s attack. Immediately, Katie is at his side and asks if he is okay. He tells her he is going to prove she loves him. He jumps over the wall to directly attack Zeitgeist, who is busy counting his number of followers.

Guy asks what’s gotten into Mike, and Katie admits this is her fault. He is trying to impress her. Guy orders the rest of them to attack the X-Cellent.

Toodle Pip writes in her blog how “dishy” Guy Smith had to get over the death of his love Edie Sawyer and the disappearance of Venus Dee Milo. Can he get himself together in time to defeat Zeitgeist’s team?

Zeitgeist orders Whoosh to get ready to teleport them and tells Mirror Girl to turn her mirror toward The A. However, Mirror Girl is busy with her mirror, talking with her own conscience. She wants to help Zeitgeist, but her mirror image urges her to take revenge for Fluff and his treatment of her.

Zeitgeist interrupts her and orders her to stop The A from squirting any more acid at him. That moment, an acid drop hits his left eye. Surprisingly, he politely asks Billy to teleport them away.

Whoosh literally drops them from a height on the floor of the Zeithouse’s lounge. Hurt John immediately curses him out for possibly breaking his arm. Billy mocks he is the only teleporter they have, so they can’t hurt him.

Zeitgeist rages at Mirror Girl and vows she will be sorry. As well as the sight in his left eye, her hesitancy probably cost them followers! She weakly defends herself that she was upset about Fluff. He threatens to give her something to be sorry about and begins breaking her psychic mirror.

That moment, Toodle Pip intervenes, unwilling to accept his bullying anymore. She plans to teleport away with Mirror Girl, but Zeitgeist’s mesmerism stops her.

A little later in a room, surrounded by machinery, Toodle Pip screams in frustration. Also in the room are Zeitgeist, Whoosh and Pood. She is strapped to a contraption designed by Pood, which stops her from teleporting. Zeitgeist warns he is good at inflicting pain, so she shouldn’t move. He asks if she recognizes the book he is showing her. She recognizes it as a copy of the Book of Vishanti. She blogged about it some time ago in a blog about love charms. Zeitgeist continues that one of its spells is the infamous Rite of Apotheosis, which turns a man into a god with godlike powers, but first one must have 500 million acolytes… or in modern parlance… followers.

Toodle Pip asks what that has to do with her. He is impressed by her power. He needs that kind of teleporter. She points out he already has one. In return, he kills Billy with a spray of acid vomit. He believes a position has become vacant…

Meanwhile, X-Statix are doing an autograph signing at the X-Statix store, much to The A’s chagrin. They are supposed to be fighting the bad guys! he complains to Mr. Sensitive. Guy explains that their public loves these appearances and the war with the X-Cellent could be decided by which team is more popular.

Looking at her phone, Katie announces there is a video of the X-Cellent in the X-Statix mansion! The X-Cellent are thrashing their crib while they are posing for selfies? Mike shouts. Guy states, it is impossible that Bill McMullen would manage to teleport inside their HQ. Naively replying the internet doesn’t lie, Katie shows him the feed, and Guy realizes that whoever Zeitgeist used to get past Doop’s defenses must be one special teleporter.

At the X-Statix mansion, Stripe, Hurt John and Uno gleefully cause property damage. Zeitgeist praises Toodle Pip for getting them in there, then rants that the first stage of his grand plan is now complete. He needs only another million acolytes before the Rite of Apotheosis turns him into a living god!

She figures he already thought he was some kind of god, Toodle Pip snarks to Mirror Girl, who tells her she should not be here. Zeitgeist is insane! Maybe, she concedes, but it’s time she started making the news instead of just writing about it. Besides, Zeitgeist knows he’d better treat Mirror Girl nicer now or she’s packing her bags and saying these two special words…

Characters Involved: 

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

Hurt John, Mirror Girl, Pood, Stripe, Uno, Whoosh, Zeitgeist (X-Cellent)
Toodle Pip

In flashback:
Artemis (young Toodle Pip)
Her father

Story Notes: 

The story is continued in X-Cellent (2nd series)

A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud that lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors.

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