X-Cellent (2nd series) #1

Issue Date: 
March 2023
Story Title: 
Unsocial Media – part 1

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: 

Having learned that the X-Cellent are trashing their HQ, X-Statix teleport back there to find the place empty again. Zeitgeist threatens Mirror Girl, causing Toodle Pip to give an ultimatum: he will either leave Mirror Girl alone or be minus one teleporter. Zeitgeist pretends to agree but bristles at her disobedience and terrorizes the lab tech, who is working on reconstituting Venus Dee Milo, to hurry. While Zeitgeist has Uno spying X-Statix, Dead Girl in turn spies on him. She gets caught but is saved by a distraction from Edie Sawyer’s ghost. Dead Girl’s intel and a talk with Dr. Strange make Mr. Sensitive realize that Zeitgeist has stolen a spell to make himself into a god. For that, he needs a certain number of acolytes or – in modern parlance – followers. Guy decides to make this a war of popularity and talks the separated couple Katie and Mike into posing as lovers for a magazine cover. They also fake Vivisector’s death, making his novels rise in popularity. Zeitgeist decides to fight them another way by stealing a robot that can hack into any internet account.

Full Summary: 

Silicon Valley:
Uno secretly watches a scientist and his sponsor arguing over what seems to be a red robot imprisoned behind energy bars. The sponsor demands tangible results.

Uno watches and enjoys mindless destruction. It’s the frustration coming with being a sentient eyeball, who will never enjoy good food or sex.

The HQ of X-Statix, which the X-Cellent have paid a visit to:
Uno mindlessly blasts things. Zeitgeist orders him to stop. Zeitgeist and Toodle Pip sense that someone is about to teleport in.

Mid-teleportation jump, X-Statix discuss what they are going to do about the X-Cellent. However, when they arrive in the shambles of their HQ, there is nobody there. They expect a trap, but nothing. The X-Cellent are gone, without having stolen anything.

Myles Alfred complains they did make a mess of his signed copy of “Giovanni’s Room.” They didn’t break in just to mess up a landmark in gay literature, Guy Smith points out. Checking her phone, Katie remarks that, whatever they did, it was sure popular. The whole thing won them hundreds more followers. That thing with the followers again! Guy wonders, recalling that all of Zeitgeist’s weird stunts seem to be about gaining followers. Maybe he is insecure, Katie suggests. Or very vain, Guy replies.

Uno, hidden, broadcasts their words back to the X-Cellent’s HQ.

Zeitgeist is satisfied that nobody discovered he stole the spell for the Rite of Apotheosis from the Book of Vishanti. Mirror Girl and Toodle Pip make fun of him for being vain. Displeased, he orders Mirror Girl to his room. While she cowers, Toodle Pip touches her arm in encouragement and sharply asks Zeitgeist if he has a problem with them having a little fun. Yes, he does, he replies humorlessly, and as she seems to have a rebellious spirit, he will fill her brain with his magnetic essence, until she is a puppet dangling on his…

Before he can finish his threat, she teleports the two of them into the Antarctic. Somewhere to where Captain Scott and his men met their end. How long does he think he will survive here? Toodle Pip challenges him. She’d be surprised, he blusters. He is tougher than he looks. What is she trying to prove here? With a smirk, she replies she doesn’t care how evil he is. She is pretty evil herself, but she cannot accept the way he treats Mirror Girl. Leave her alone, or he will be minus a teleporter. Is he happy with that arrangement? Perfectly happy, he replies with a false smile.

Later, somewhere in a lab, he screams in rage, as he hits the wall. He hates it! He hates needing someone like he needs that damned teleporter!

He turns to the remaining scientist and angrily asks how the progress on reconstituting Venus Dee Milo is coming along. The man stammers the matter engine is making more progress than expected. He expects her to be fully reassembled in six months. Zeitgeist orders him to make it three months. He won’t be able to tolerate Toodle Pip any longer.

Uno asks, once the Venus chick is assembled, won’t Zeitgeist be just as dependent on her as he is on Toodle Pip? Zeitgeist explains, he will be able to control her with his animal magnetism. Something their current teleporter is immune to. She will be Venus to his Mars! he rants. She will love him and he will make war, and the mortals will tremble before them!

Uno asks what it’s like to have a woman and take her into your arms. Zeitgeist snaps he is not his therapist. He orders him to keep his eye on X-Statix. They are the only ones who can stop him! Uno warns they will notice him eventually and when they do… When they do, Zeitgeist continues, he has to flutter his eyelid and give birth to another of his monstrous children.

X-Statix HQ:
Guy decides he will get into the Zeithouse to find out if this is really all about Zeitgeist’s narcissism or something more dangerous. Myles admonishes him, it is too dangerous. Guy insists they have to try, but he needs a teleporter. Where is Katie? Rosa loudly opines she is making whoopee with Mike. “If music be the food of love,” Myles quotes Shakespeare. “Play on,” Doop completes the quote.

Instead, in the kitchen, Katie and Mike sit, backs turned to each other as they are having a difficult talk. Katie fears they are not right for each other. He can change, Mike promises. Not enough, she fears. They too are being watched and eavesdropped on by Uno. Maybe she shouldn’t have thrown herself at him, Mike remarks. Katie accuses him of twisting the truth again. She can’t handle the truth! he shoots back.

The Zeithouse:
What’s happening? Zeitgeist asks Uno, who believes it clear they are crazy about each other.

X-Statix HQ:
Katie accuses Mike of lacking a sense of humor. He retorts that her taste in music sucks. And he hates being spied on! he shouts, as he notices Uno Jr. and fires a blast at him, which also hurts the original in the Zeithouse.

Outside, Dead Girl offers to go in Guy’s stead, as she is already dead. She doesn’t need a teleporter either. She will enter the abode of the dead and exit it at the Zeithouse.

The moment she is gone, Katie and Mike come running, and Mike berates Guy for having gone too far. Guy has no idea what they are talking about. Mike accuses him of spying on them. Is this how he gets his kicks? A little biracial voyeurism? He shows him the remains of the eye, which Guy has never seen before, but he has a good idea whom it belongs to.

At the Zeithouse, Zeitgeist orders Uno to dispatch another eye to X-Statix HQ. Uno pleads that he needs time. He cannot simply spit out little eyes like a slot machine! Zeitgeist urges him on. Some more strange and inexplicable missions and he will have all the followers he needs.

He notices Dead Girl spying and grabs her. He uses his power to mesmerize her, figuring she will make a fine hostage.

To think she once had a crush on him, he hears a disdainful voice. He looks up to see the ghost of Edie Swayer. She challenges him to look her in the eye. Zeitgeist calmly replies he died like her, but he didn’t go to Heaven.

Edie’s distraction allows Dead Girl to teleport away and Edie fades away as well, while Zeitgeist rages, why do women always gang up on him?

Toodle Pip asks Mirror Girl which of them should tell him and Mirror Girl laughs.

X-Statix HQ:
Dead Girl informs Mr. Sensitive and Girl Joe that Zeitgeist seems to be close to reaching his goal, which they still don’t know. She offers to go back. Guy tells her not to. She barely got away. Dead Girl agrees. If it hadn’t been for Edie Sawyer… Girl Joe gushes they’d love to meet Edie Sawyer.

They will, when their time has come, Dead Girl promises somberly.

Guy announces, he needs to call Dr. Strange. Girl Joe offers their phone, but Guy explains that the magical auras around the Sanctum Sanctorum mess with phones, so he uses the psychic connection Strange created between them to call.

How is he getting on with the Book of Vishanti? he asks. Slowly, Strange admits. The work is not without danger. Even to gaze at some of these spells while in the wrong state of mind can have dire consequences. It also gives you god-awful eye strain!

In the meantime, Uno is forced to give birth to another of his eye clones, which is then sent to spy on X-Statix. Meanwhile, the X-Cellent take part in a classic bank heist with a twist, as Zeitgeist then gives the stolen money to the crowds below.

Elsewhere, Uno cannot get into X-Statix HQ as Doo is fending it off with a gun shooting toilet plungers.

Dr. Strange talks with Guy to reveal that two spells have been copied from the Book of Vishanti. One to turn you into a kind of god with the power to rule the world and change the course of history, and another one to help you find your lost dog. He doesn’t think Zeitgeist has a dog, Guy muses somberly.

Later, he gathers the team and informs them they have to stop Zeitgeist from gathering enough followers to perform the Rite of Apotheosis. The A immediately suggests an attack. Guy states that this is a war of popularity. He has contacted LA Magazine. Mike and Katie will go on the cover. An article about their modern love affair will be perfect. Katie wants to tell him they split up, which Guy already knows. Mike accuses him of spying. Guy points out he isn’t called Mr. Sensitive for nothing. They will have to pretend to still love each other for the good of the team. Both vehemently refuse but of course…

A little later, Zeitgeist holds the magazine in his hands, the cover showing the two very much in love. How can he compare with that? he shouts.

More bad news: Hurt John informs him Entertainment News has just announced the death of Myles Alfred. Sales of his novels are going through the roof. They are losing followers to X-Statix. Zeitgeist asks Uno if he has gotten his little eye into X-Statix HQ yet, which he hasn’t. How’s Silicon Valley looking? Zeitgeist asks. Uno tells him they have a prototype up and running. Good, Zeitgeist announces. They can only beat X-Statix by hitting them in the private parts.

Very soon, Zeitgeist attacks several guards in a building where a red robot is held behind electric bars. He orders Stripe to free him, then turns to the only non-military personnel, asking who he is.

He dreamed up and designed this baby, the man replies. Zeitgeist asks if it works. The man replies it can find its way into any private email account. Listen to the whole world talking. There are no secrets from the Digital Man.

Zeitgeist informs him he can now consider himself an honorary member of the X-Cellent.

And soon Toodle Pip teleports them all back leaving behind only a little eye…

Characters Involved: 

The A, Dead Girl, Doop, Gone Gal, Mr. Sensitive, Phatty, Rosa Lemper, Vivisector (X-Statix)
Girl Joe
Dr. Strange
Ghost of U-Go-Girl

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

Story Notes: 

The story is continued from X-Cellent (1st series).

Giovanni's Room is a 1956 seminal novel by James Baldwin about a gay relationship.

Captain Scott refers to Robert Scott, captain in the British Royal Navy, who led two expeditions to the Antarctic. On his second expedition, known as the Terra Nova expedition, Scott and his team intended to be the first to reach the South Pole. Unfortunately, not only did they learn that a Norwegian had beaten them by 34 days, but Scott and his team of five died on the return trip.

Page 9, panel 3: Play on! (completing Vivisector’s quote from Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night.”)

Written By: