THE UNADAPTED: X-Statix

Posted: September 17, 2014 in Doop, Marvel, Wolverine, X-Men, X-Statix

Within Marvel Comics, mutants have always reflected the society in which they are written. From the racial tensions of the 60’s, and the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s and 90’s, right up to modern gay marriage issues, those with the x-gene have always been there as a stand-in for the current oppressed minority. And while the comics have often addressed the cultural impact of a world with such strange and different individuals in it, that was never really the focus of any story. That is, until The X-Statix burst onto the scene…

…literally.

In the early 2000’s, the X-Men books were in a state of flux. A successful movie had just premiered and looked to be turning into a full-fledged franchise. As such,  Marvel attempted to make their books a bit more relatable to new readers. So they were all either cancelled or retooled. X-Men (the re-launched series from the early 90’s) became New X-Men and was the flagship of this new direction. One title which had languished for the last few years was X-Force. It was a spinoff of the New Mutants and was stuck in a very 90’s style of storytelling. So, with issue 115, the team was seemingly killed off and their story ended. Except that issue 116 still came out. While retaining the title and numbering, a vastly different book was released upon an unexpected fandom.

A new beginning!

The original X-Force had been a paramilitary unit who fought for mutant peace, this new team (later dubbed X-Statix) was something entirely different. They were stars of a reality show. They fought crime on camera and displayed their mutant abilities for cheering audiences. They were crass, self-centered celebrities who felt entitled to the popularity that they received. They were exactly what we’d see on television today (well, early 2000’s) if mutants existed.

El Guapo and his psychic skateboard.
You read that right.

One trope of the series was the fact that when characters died, they stayed dead. This is something that set it apart from the oft resurrected characters from other X-Books. And death sure happened a lot. Their first appearance introduced an entire roster of characters: Zeitgeist, Battering Ram, Sluk, Plazm, Le Nuit, Gin Genie, Anrachist and U-Go Girl. All but two of which lie dead by the conclusion of the first issue. That’s not to say that the roster was entirely rotational. Some characters survived the entire series (well, almost) and some have even gotten their own spin-offs after the original run was cancelled. With that rotational cast some characters are much more associated with the book than others. I’m trying to be intentionally vague on a lot of the plotting and storylines because I feel it’s such a good book that it should be read instead of just discussed. As such, I’d like to avoid discussing which characters are cannon fodder and which stick around for the duration. And there are literally too many great characters to go into detail anyway. I’ll touch on some that I feel comfortable talking about due to their importance, but know that there are plenty of others who are equally interesting or integral to the narrative (seriously, go read this book already).

That Guy.

Mister Sensitive, or Guy Smith, is essentially the series’ POV character. He’s new to the team following the “Boyz R Us Massacre” (intrigued? Go read the book) and has the harrowing mutant power to “feel everything”. Literally. His senses are so insanely developed that even a slight breeze feels like razors on his skin. He’s developed a Zen-like calm as a result of his constant pain and becomes one of the leaders of this team of misfits.

I wonder if the energy 
smells like sweat?

Anarachist is the perpetual pot-stirrer. He has constant problems with authority and makes antagonists out of everyone around him. His mutation takes the form of toxic sweat that he can manipulate into energy blasts. He’s one of the few members to show up throughout the entire run, even the Deadgirl spinoff.

“You go, girl!” – Grammar Nerds

U-Go Girl is a blue-skinned teleporter of the team. She’s a drug-abuser and is thoroughly entrenched in the celebrity lifestyle. While pretty unlikable at first, her characterization develops into that of a person who is different and desperately craves acceptance while portraying confidence. She’s shockingly complex and interesting.

Behold his grandeur.

Doop is the team’s cameraman. He (?) may or may not be a mutant and his (?) powers are completely undefined. Doop’s language is unknown by anyone else (though Wolverine seems to speak it) and is represented with an alien alphabet. More than anyone else on the team, Doop’s odd look and mysterious air have turned him (again, I think he’s a male) into a cult icon. He’s made the most appearances in the larger Marvel Universe of anyone else on the team. In fact, he has a current mini-series that’s in the process of wrapping up.

Phat…kinda.

The book’s daring style garnered no shortage of acclaim or controversy (look up Henrietta Hunter, better yet GO READ THE F*CKING BOOK ALREADY!). Of the X-books from the era, it’s one of the most fondly remembered despite its limited initial run (39 issues in total). So why hasn’t there been an adaptation yet? Well, technically some of the characters have been somewhat adapted. Phat (a mutant with the ability to control his fat cells) and Spike (a short-lived team member with spikey bones used as projectiles) both had cameo roles in X-Men: The Last Stand as set-dressing and a minor antagonist respectively. And Doop had a humorous cameo in an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, but the team (and more importantly their style) have yet to be seen in expanded media.

Sadly, it seems that they’re a little too “out there” for a straight film adaptation. I seriously doubt that Fox is willing to shell out 100 million bucks on this team of outcasts. I think a straight to DVD animated feature would be awesome, but Marvel has shifted focus to more “kid-friendly” fare lately. What’s left? I would love to see this series (or a part of it) translated into a motion comic. I’ve never seen Mike Allred’s gorgeous character designs given movement but I’d love to. And Peter Milligan’s dialogue-heavy scripting should be a voice actor’s dream. Marvel has ensured that lesser known and eclectic books are shown motion-comic love (Neil Gaiman’s Eternals was just released) and X-Statix certainly fits that bill. The only question would be how to translate Doop’s language for the screen. But I’m sure they could figure something out, they’re smart guys. I just desperately want to see some form of this amazing team show up in expanded media. They’re such a fresh and interesting concept that someone needs to take a chance with them.

Maybe some day? No…never.
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Comments
  1. Brian C Baer says:

    Where did you find that image of X-Statix #1? The final cover looks different and I have no idea who that guy with the stripes is.

    Like

  2. C_P says:

    That's one of the original, unused covers. Back when X-Force ended, it was known that either U-Go Girl, Anarchist or Mr. Sensitive were going to die. To keep under wraps who would be leaving and which new faces would be joining the team, Allred did a couple of false covers. Two characters that never made it into the series showed up on these covers. One was Horn (a concept character) and the other was this unnamed stretchy dude.

    Like

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