Current Reviews


X-Statix #12

Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artists: Mike Allred (p), Phillip Bond (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

The book opens with X-Statix on a mission when Guy openly wonders what is Deadgirl doing that is so important that she could join them on this mission. We then discover that Deadgirl has signed a million dollar contract to be a fashion model, but several protesters are not exactly delighted with this news as they feel a reanimated corpse is a poor role model for young women. We are then introduced to Brad, the senior mortician who runs the morgue located in the basement of the X-Statix base, and during her visit we see Deadgirl is deeply disturbed by the what the dead are telling her, as we discover Brad is a necrophiliac who is giving the bodies more attention than one would like to see. We then see Brad has a wife & daughter, and that his home life is not exactly going all that well, as his wife is disgusted by her husband's perversion, while his daughter is a deeply troubled young woman who has gotten her hands on a gun. After the daughter is gunned down by the police when she went on a shooting spree at her school, we see Deadgirl is rather upset to discover that Brad is the mortician who is going to take care of her remains. As Brad lingers over his daughter's body in the morgue we see Deadgirl arrives to bring a swift end to this rather disturbing situation, and she rips Brad's heart out, and then unleashes the angry spirits of his previous undead victims to have their way with him.

Take one after school special style plot & a typical issue of X-Statix, put them together in a blender and this mixture of over simplification & cynical humor is the final result. I mean on one hand I enjoyed the almost parody like feel to this issue, as we see Deadgirl finds herself dealing with her discovery horrible acts being committed by a character, and the impact this person's deeds are having on his victims. However, the book also makes the problem & it's final solution out to be almost too simplistic, as Deadgirl's actions really don't make the situation better, but rather her solution has the baby floating down river with the bath water. Now I guess I'll give the book credit for not delivering the expected solution, as when you think Deadgirl is going to be able to talk the girl into getting rid of her gun, we see the gathered police decide that the ideal moment to gun this teen down is when her attention is diverted by Deadgirl. I also have to say I was quite surprised to see Deadgirl's solution to the problem with the girl's father was to simply reach into the guy's chest & rip his still beating heart out. I mean yes the guy was a creep who looked to be on the verge of committing a truly horrific act, but her punishment goes far beyond what I had expected from her. Than again in Deadgirl's eyes this guy was a serial rapist, and this makes her response fairly easy to understand.

I also like the fact that this issue is focusing its energy on Deadgirl, as in the aftermath of Edie's death, Deadgirl became my new favorite member of this book's cast, and since Deadgirl can't be killed I feel pretty secure that I won't have to worry about her leaving the book anytime soon. This issue gives us a better look at her power to communicate with the recently dead, as we see this ability makes her aware of a problem that is playing out in the mortuary in the sub-levels of their base. We also see her ability is rather handy when it comes to the X-Statix's standard method of operation, which is to kill everyone they run up against, and then turn their attention toward getting some answers. Now this issue makes it appear that the recently dead spirits are also compelled to follow her orders, though she refers to herself as a protector of the dead, as they are unable to act in their own interests. Now I'm now really sure who much use an army of dead souls is, but this issue also suggests that she's able to restore life to the recently dead, which means she could call forth a pretty impressive zombie army on a battlefield. In the end though this issue shows use that Deadgirl is interested in protecting the rights of a group of people that have never really had themselves a champion, and I have to say it makes her a rather unique hero.

This issue makes the first time I noticed Phillip Bond's name in the credits, as Mike Allred looks to have gotten himself an inker. Now the work looks pretty much the same so I have nothing against the use of an inker, and it might even be a good thing if it speeds up the production as Mike Allred's art is the best match for the stories that Peter Milligan seems to be fond of delivering. The art is quite strong when it comes to delivering the more humorous aspects of the issue, as how can one not love the look of complete outrage that is on the face of the protester when Deadgirl essentially admits that she's not looking to be a role model for younger woman but rather she simply want the fame & fortune that come with being a sex symbol. The art also does some nice work conveying Deadgirl's troubled mindset during her first visit to the mortuary, and the scene in the issue where she exacts her revenge of Brad, the senior mortician/necrophiliac is a fairly powerful bit of imagery. I also rather enjoyed the cover, though it does suggest a power that I don't think Deadgirl possesses. Now there's one scene in the issue where it's pretty obvious that the artist simply blew up an earlier panel instead of taking the time to draw a second panel, and I can't say I'm overly fond of this artistic cheat, but than again if corner cutting like this gets the issue in before the deadline I'm not going to make too big a fuss.

Final Word:
As I look up at the material I've just written even I'll admit that I'm guilty of babbling far more than I usually do in my reviews, and I suspect that this is largely due to the fact that there was very little about this issue that really captured my interest. Now, I like Deadgirl, and I'll give this book full marks for offering up a surprisingly violent solution to a truly disturbing problem. However, in spite of the odd subject matter, and the focus on a character who I feel is more than deserving of the extra attention, I found this issue to be a bit mundane. Now the opening exchange Deadgirl has with the protesters was rather cute, and Deadgirl's final revenge on Brad was pretty effective, but frankly this issue never really grabbed my interest. I like the done-in-one format this book has adopted as of late, and this issue does give us a better look at her powers, but the crisis that Deadgirl dealt with had a contrived, and almost manufactured quality to it, and the solution was almost too downbeat.

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