X-Statix #13

Issue Date: 
October 2003
Story Title: 
Back from the Dead - part 1

Peter Milligan (writer), Mike Allred (pencils), Laura Allred (colors), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letters), Warren Simons, John Miesegaes (assistant editors), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

After several years of being dead, pop-star sensation Henrietta Hunter brings herself back to life by inhabiting a recently deceased corpse and transforming it to resemble her former self. Henrietta’s resurrection draws the immediate attention of the Europan government, which tries to quickly end her life again. Fortunately, due to the interest of Spike Freeman, the X-Statix are sent to the rescue and teleport Henrietta back to their HQ. Once there, Henrietta is confirmed to be a mutant, thanks to the tests of Professor Xavier, but, nonetheless, the team is not interested in making her a member. Trying to find a new place in the world, Henrietta begins a talk show circuit, which includes Lacuna on the Stars. As her re-found celebrity seems to be a threat to their plans, Europan powerbrokers, Reggie and Dicky, are discussing their options, when they are approached by Spike Freeman with a group of international assassin with stereotype-style powers called the Euro-Trash. In exchange to the media rights to the proceeding assassination, his team will kill Henrietta Hunter. Shortly thereafter, at the opening of the X-Statix megastore in Times Square, the Euro-Trash member called the Wall appears, kidnapping Henrietta. Tike is hesitant to rescue someone he doesn’t like but nonetheless order the team into action when Spider-Man arrives. While he does not like Henrietta, no one steals X-Statix’s limelight.

Full Summary: 


Even as a young girl, she always knew she was different. She felt as though her destiny was mapped out. She would use her lovely singing voice to become famous. And that’s exactly what happened to Henrietta Hunter. She became Europa’s hottest young pop star and she used her fame to help those less fortunate than she. However, this didn’t go down well with some of the powers that be and, one day, she found herself electrocuted onstage. Ouch!

Whoever tampered with her microphone that night certainly did a good job. She found herself in a long, dark tunnel. So, she did what any sensible, well brought up yet somehow different young girl from the shires would do… she followed the light. Years later, in her non-corporeal form, she returned to Hawthorne House, the ancestral home of the Hunters. It was there that she was buried among all those very gratifying scenes of nationwide mourning. It is there that she must make her return.


Realizing that she needs a body to inhabit, Henrietta floats into the morgue at Hawthorne House and selects one of the many corpses here. Sure, she thinks, the girl probably doesn’t really look like her… and she has clearly let herself go… but that’s nothing a little magic can’t fix. Moving her spirit form into the corpse, Henrietta alters its form beneath the sheet. Her task done, she rises again, accompanied by a very satisfied Ta dah!

Outside the morgue, troops and other officials gather at the news of Henrietta’s resurrection. One man, mustached and wielding a walking can, asks his friend, Reggie, if the president knows about this. Not yet, Reggie replies. Doctors are worried it might finish him off. When the caned man asks Reggie how they handle the press on this one, Reggie replies, addressing him as Dicky, that they will do so in their customary civilized Europan fashion, of course. Nearby, Europan troops open fire on the press, mowing them now with finality.

Inside the morgue, the caretaker points the troops to Henrietta, who, while sitting up, is still covered by her shroud. Pointing out the obvious, the caretaker informs the troops that she just… came alive… and started talking. Replying bluntly, the troop leader instructs the man that he is not to repeat anything he’s seen tonight to the press. Understood? Rather than waiting for an answer, however, the trooper opens fire, killing the caretaker. With a terse lip, the trooper then adds that he’ll take that as a “yes.”

Outside, sitting on a bench, Dicky once more asks Reggie if the situation is under control. Replying one last time, hopefully definitively, Reggie states that the situation remains very, highly and utterly…

Sensitive! yells the reporter, sticking a microphone into Guy Smith’s face. Calling him again by his nom de guerre of Mister Sensitive, she asks him if there’s any truth to the rumor that X-Statix are about to go on a highly dangerous, covert mission to Europe. Sorry, he replies simply, she’d better ask the Anarchist about that. He’s the leader of the team, he reminds her, not him.

A little later, inside their lounge, Anarchist addresses the team, vehemently announcing that he doesn’t want to go to Europa. And, he adds, he doesn’t see why they should be babysitting some “dag-burned whitebread popstar.” She’s so good, he concludes, that she makes Kelly Clarkson look like 50-Cent. Too, bad, chimes in Spike. His moles in European intelligence tell him she’s about to be killed all over again by the Europans. So, he says, they’re going in there and they’re getting her out. This is a mutant mission. Rule one: they have to help out their own.

Help out their own? repeats Guy. Speaking to the present Professor X, Guy asks for confirmation that she is, indeed, “one of them.” Replying possibly, the Professor states that, until he conducts some tests on her, he can’t be sure. In the meantime, he suggests they work on the assumption that Popstar Henrietta is a carrier of the Mutant X gene.

Turning now back to the Anarchist, Guy states that he thought Henrietta was dead. To this, Dead Girl merely scoffs at “labels.” Dead or alive, Spike finally says, she’s still a star. This is just the kind of gig to boost their profile.

The decision made, the Anarchist calls out to Venus, instructing her to teleport them. If they’re quick, they might make the evening news. So ordered, Venus uses her energy to shed her dress, revealing her costume beneath, and instructs the team to hop on board; next stop: Europa. Floating nearby, Doop gurgles a reply.

As the team arrives on the scene, teleported into the middle of Europa’s unsuspecting troops, Guy muses on the team that has become his home. There’ a side to this team, he thinks, that the outside world doesn’t usually witness. Away from the glitter and the glamour, the good life… they can be deadly and unforgiving bunch of killers. In illustration to his thoughts, Guy kicks over a table, disrupting the troops’ lines. An opening now made, the group launches into the fray, acting with as deadly force as the Europan troops had meant for them.

Musing on why they are like this, Guy decides that it’s because they are all too painfully aware that each of them… whether it’s the Anarchist… or Phat… Venus Dee Milo… Vivisector… or even Dead Girl… anyone could be killed at any moment. Noticing Dead Girl become sprayed with automatic fire, only to immediately reassemble herself, Guy thinks that, okay, maybe Dead Girl is an exception. The rest of them, however, are definitely mortal. And, unlike some people, he mentally concludes, seeing the Anarchist approach the still sheeted Henrietta, some people don’t get a second shot at life.

Addressing the same sheeted figure, the Anarchist calls out to “popstar-known-as-princess” and tells her that her knights in shining spandex are there. Let’s go! Finally unveiling her face from beneath her sheet, Henrietta innocently repeats the word “go,” followed by “where” and “how.” Repeating the word “how” in mock of her, the Anarchist informs Henrietta that Venus is what’s known in the biz as a teleporter. When Henrietta stammers that she doesn’t understand, Venus replies that she doesn’t either… but it sure as hell works!

Given the order by the Anarchist, Venus teleports the team, including Henrietta, telling her teammates to make room for one more. Smiling from ear to ear, Henrietta clutches her sheet, which is the only thing covering her newly formed but naked body, and proclaims that it’s just like flying the Concorde!

Later, at X-Statix HQ, Guy proclaims to Spike that he doesn’t care about the publicity, then adding that he doesn’t care about their damn image. Confused at such a statement, Spike counters that he thought they were nothing but image. Retorting that he’s wrong, Guy tells Spike that they’ve got substance. They do good… occasionally. They’re not as shallow and self-serving as they say in the papers… and he does not want them babysitting some… zombie popstar. Shrugging his shoulders and replying with the most innocent face possible, Spike asks why not? Because, Guy concludes, walking away, she’s a spoiled little rich girl… a-a-and because he doesn’t like her.

Visibly hurt by the departing Guy Smith’s statement, Henrietta asks aloud why Guy doesn’t like her. Leaning in, Dead Girl whispers into Henrietta’s ear, telling her not to let it get to her. Guys in tights, she says, are so easily threatened.

Addressing the whole assembled group, Professor Xavier informs them that he’s completed his tests… and they prove, categorically, that Henrietta is a mutant. Just like the rest of them. Once again sporting an innocent look, Henrietta replies to this that she always knew she was different.

Reclined in a nearby chair, the Anarchist takes in the idea that Henrietta is a mutant and promptly asks her what he powers are. Taking the question in surprise, Henrietta immediately supposes that she has the power of empathy. When immediately asked by Phat what that means, Henrietta replies that it means she understands people’s suffering. She feels their pain. She also knows how to make catchy pop records. Then asked by Phat how that’s going to help her in a “bust-up” with the Incredible Hulk, Henrietta answers that she doesn’t know and begins to cry, placing her face into her hands.

When this display of emotion is followed by a declaration that she knows when she’s not wanted, Guy asks her to wait, placing his hand upon her shoulder. Henrietta, however, is not swayed and announces that she had enough of this nonsense when she was alive! They should go to hell, she tells the group, all of them! With this, Henrietta departs.

In reaction to this display of drama, Phat emits an unemotional wow and asks someone to give a saucer of milk for the “diva.” Ignoring his teammate, the Anarchist rhetorically asks where she’s going. To this, Guy sarcastically wonders aloud where one would go, if they were on of the most recognizable faces in the world and you just came back from the dead.

Smiling at the camera on her TV show, Lacuna tells her audience that, tonight on “Lacuna on the Stars,” the show that brought Donald Rumsfeld with his pants down, they have a very special guest. The guest, she continues, is one of the most recognized faces in the world… and she just came back from the dead… pop-sensation Henrietta! Her name announced, Henrietta appears from behind the curtain and waves to the camera.

Her guest having taken her place on the chair opposite her, Lacuna gives her first question: As it seems that she’s become a kinda “honorary” member of the mutant super-team known as X-Statix… just how hard is it getting accepted by America’s favorite mutant team and the most cliquey bunch of control-freaks around? Unfazed by the question, Henrietta calmly replies that, after the music biz, it’s a total walk in the park.

Watching this scene on the television in his office, Reggie mutters in horror and what he is seeing. Speaking into his headset, Reggie tells Dicky, on the other end of the line, that “she” is back, she’s a mutant and she’s on a chat show tour of America. When Dicky simply asks what do they do, Reggie toys with rim of his drinking glass and purses his lips. They finish it, he replies. And this time, he adds, they do it properly.

In Spago’s restaurant in Los Angeles, Spike Freeman dines with Henrietta, flanked by Doop and a horde of reporters. Taking in Henrietta’s latest idea, Spike proclaims that “Henrietta dolls for deaf kids” is wild. They could also have a line of jewelry, Henrietta adds. And cosmetics. And, of course, the “Henrietta-carb-free-Diet” plan. Thing is, she then states, she needs some new management to help her organize it all… Immediately recognizing this as the opportunity it is, Spike tells Henrietta that she says the most wonderful things.

The dining couple’s conversation is interrupted by the arrival of a waiter, carrying the check on a service tray, who calls out to Henrietta. When the popstar replies to him, the waiter produces a pistol from beneath his arm towel and tells her that it is from you-know-who. The waiter’s shot, however, goes awry, when Doop moves his gun arm, shouting in his incomprehensible language. As Doop follows this up with a vicious counterattack, Henrietta looks on in horror at the sight. It is Spike, however, who leads her away from the scene, telling her that there are some things a lady shouldn’t see.

The scene, however, is seen by the viewing public via the numerous cameras run by the present reports. Around the world, television viewers watch a female reporter inform them of an attempt upon the life of pop-star Henrietta… who, tonight, is wearing a sensational gown by J-Lo’s favorite designer, Marco. Unwilling to allow such free press to go uncontrolled, Spike Freeman grabs the microphone and announces to the public that he wants it known to all concerned that Henrietta is, from this moment forward, under X-Statix protection because, as of now, she’s officially on the team. Taken aback at this declaration, Henrietta whispers into Spike’s ear, asking if they shouldn’t discuss this with the team first. She doesn’t think, she tells him, that the team is awfully… keen on her. To hell with that, he retorts, they’ll do what he tells them! Meanwhile, in the X-Statix lounge, the Anarchist and Guy Smith watch this proclamation from their employer and begin to fume.

Spike Freeman screams as he falls toward the pavement far below. His descent, however, is held in flux by the enigmatic energies of Venus Dee Milo, who teleported him high above the ground in the first place and floats humorously nearby. Please, Spike stammers, how could they take what he said seriously? He was on TV! So, Venus then counters, Henrietta isn’t really the latest member of the team? Still terrified but, in his own way, defiant, Spike asks her (as well as the team gathered below) if they could at least consider it.

When Venus asks in turn why they should, Spike replies that she’ll be good for them. She’s only been back a few days and the whole country’s talking about her. And, he adds, her q-rating is off the charts. He thought that they were the most celebrity-obsessed manipulators of fame, fortune and the media but that little pop-star can teach them a thing or two about…

Spike’s words are interrupted by Venus, who reiterates that the answer’s no. To this, Spike tells Venus that they’re scared; scared of how popular she’ll get – scared she’s better than they are. Watching from below, the Anarchist scoffs at this, stating that they’d whup her every which way till Sunday. Glancing down to the team on the balcony below, the floating Venus asks Tike if fighting is the only way he can think of resolving anything. With a wry grin, the Anarchist states that he’s a badass mutant super-hero; what did she expect?

In his office in Europa, Reggie bares his pistols, ready for battle, despite the fact that he is wearing nothing but his blue-plaid boxer shorts, his bandolier and socks and shows. Snarling to Dicky, Reggie informs him that the assassin failed and it settles it: he’ll have to do the job himself. Hearing this announcement, Dicky, fully clad in his suit, informs Reggie that he had no idea he wore Tartan underpants. To this, Reggie replies that he’s a man of many surprises… for instance, he is a highly trained, highly efficient killer!

When Dicky reminds him that he’s also pushing eighty, Reggie snipes that someone’s got to do something about her. Baffled by the statement, Dicky asks plainly, why? What can she do to them? Telling his cohort to watch, learn and tremble, Reggie uses the remote control to activate the television, upon which Henrietta appears, being interviewed by Lacuna. Answering the host’s question, Henrietta states that, before she was murdered… some high ranking members of Europa’s establishment tried to stop her doing her good work. They offered her money, she continues, for her to go away. They threatened her, some even propositioned her… and she was only fifteen at the time. In conclusion, Henrietta tells Lacuna that she’ll be naming names on her next talk… with Ricki Lake. Surprised at this revelation, Lacuna remarks at the juxtaposition of Henrietta and Ricki Lake… two celebrities back from the dead on one show!

Now convinced, Dicky tells Reggie that this calls for a special kind of operation. They’re dealing with mutant beings and they have to fight fire with fire. They must assemble a team capable of getting past these X-Statix types. When Reggie subsequently asks how they are going to do that, the sound of a voice being cleared breaks the tension. Turning to the source of the sound, Reggie blinks at the sight of Spike Freeman, who stands nearby, holding a small stack of videocassettes. Identifying the trillionaire immediately, Reggie announces that he’s read about him in the Financial Times, him being an apparent cross between Bill Gates and Satan. To this statement, Spike jokes that he thought Bill Gates was a cross between Bill Gates and Satan.

Returning to the previous subject, Spike informs the two men that he might be able to help them with the Henrietta thing. When Reggie wide-eyed remarks that it was his interfering team that rescued her, Spike retorts that he likes to keep his options open. Laying his videocassettes upon the table, Spike informs the two that, if they want some mutant assassins, they should take a look at the showreels. After Reggie reminds him that they are not auditioning for a part in a film, Spike replies that it’s the way these things work nowadays.

As he inserts one cassette labeled Miz tree, Spike informs Reggie and Dicky that this mutant grew up and mutated in a forest of tax-efficient conifers very popular with Irish and British nationalities. As the image plays of a plant-like woman stretching through a subway, immobilizing and impaling her targets, Spike narrates that this little weapon of “miz destruction’s” bite is definitely worse than her bark. She has a kill average of eighty percent and a very respectable career record of shock and awe and successfully smashed up a Japanese Sarin sect last year. Word is, he continues, the Japanese are working on a bonsai version but are still two years away from a prototype.

Watching this with amazement, Reggie announces that he believes he just wet himself, to which Dicky manages to mutter a ditto. Keeping the jest alive, Spike tells them to crack open the catheters, because they’re more. Placing in another tape, which shows the image of a large stone man, upon which graffiti is written, Spike introduces Gunter Gross from Berlin, Germany, aka “The Wall.” He was a respected author and spokesman for the new German left when the Berlin Wall fell… right on top of him. Luckily, Spike continues, his mutant gene kicked in and now he kicks serious butt, East or West.

Showing the next tape, which displaces an ape-like man with a black beret and a mime-style coat, Spike introduces the Gallic gene-genie from Paris, France: “Surrender Monkey.” When asked what this mutant’s powers are, Spike replies that it’s the uncanny ability to quit at “juuuuuust” the right time. Very useful in a tight spot.

The next tape shows a blue-skinned muscleman, wearing a Union Jack patterned speedos. Introducing this mutant as “Oxford Blue” from Oxford, England, Spike states that he’s kind of a cross between the Thing and Hugh Grant; ferocious violence with a boyish stammer and a predilection for black hookers. Seeing the expression on Reggie and Dicky’s face, Spike quickly explains that the last bit was a joke.

Moving on to the final tape, Spike introduces an Arab man, whose headdress is low enough to cover his eyes. Offering the services of “Blind Ali,” Spike tells the two that, though he might have lost his sight in a bombing raid on Baghdad, his other heightened senses more than compensate.

Interrupting this final reel, Reggie snorts that some of the characters are little more than crude stereotypes. To this, Spike scoffs with a “duh” and then adds that they’re for an American audience. That’s how they like their stereotypes. Squinting closely at the youthful tycoon, Reggie asks Spike to tell him what he’s getting out of this… arrangement… besides a hefty slice of British taxpayer’s money. Sliding the contract, as well as a pen, over to the old man, Spike answers: all television, movie and multimedia rights for “X-Statix vs. the Euro-Trash”… in perpetuity. Wincing at this statement, Reggie asks where this will take place.

Saying hello to her viewers from New York City, a television reporter for Channel 7 states that a huge crowd has gathered to greet the world-famous X-Statix, who are there to open the new X-Statix megastore in Times Square. Today, she continues, is the first official appearance of the team’s latest and most controversial recruit! Nearby, Henrietta stands through the open sunroof of the limousine, flanked by Dead Girl and Venus. To the rest of the team, still sitting below, Henrietta tells them all to work it more. She reminds them that these are their fans and they have to give something back. Sitting annoyed below, Vivisector snipes to Henrietta to not lecture them on how to be super-heroes. To this, the Anarchist adds that they’re not her teammates.

Watching this from a nearby rooftop, a male youth crouches with a camera in hand. His very image, however, is also displayed on another, higher rooftop, differentiated by the translucent signature of a holographic image.

Having exited the limo, Henrietta tells the group that she’s going to mingle with her fan. If they see someone moving in a mysterious way, that’ll be her! Following her, Guy reminds Henrietta that this isn’t a game, to which Henrietta retorts that they all treat it like one. Nonstop partying, champagne, press junkets, television shows, adoring fans. It’s rather like marrying George Clooney. But that’s just the sugarcoating, Guy counters. There’s a serious side. A dangerous side. They risk their lives, he continues. That’s why these people tolerate them; that’s why they’re willing to bankroll their extravagant lifestyles. They risk their mutant necks and bring a little spice into their normal lives. And, if one of them occasionally gets killed, they couldn’t give a damn.

Unconvinced, Henrietta returns to waving to the crowd, observing that she hasn’t seen too much danger and risking of lives. They’re going through a slow period, Guy replies. Any minute now, it will all be blood and danger and fights to the death with insane… Almost on cue, the sidewalk begins to buckle, shattering into huge blocks of concrete and upturning parked vehicles. Through this rubble rises the gigantic form of the Wall, who deftly scoops up Henrietta and proceeds to make his escape. Grimacing at this turn of events, Guy curses and then guesses to the rest of the team that they’d better for after her.

Hearing this, El Guapo suggests that they let her go. Maybe she’ll get smashed to pieces and do them all a favor. After being immediately asked by Venus what he has against her, El Guapo replies that he’s supposed to be the new recruit. He should be getting all the attention. Instead, everyone’s talking about her. When Vivisector suggests that he come out as gay, El Guapo asks if he thinks it would help. It’s worth a shot, Vivisector then replies.

Back to the issue at hand, Guy reminds Tike that their ward is defenseless. Mocking this, the Anarchist jokes that she might be able to hit the big s.o.b. with her empathy.

Despite the team’s lack of action, aid does come to Henrietta’s side, as Spider-Man appears, swinging onto the scene and telling the Wall to put her down. Pointing out the web-slinger’s arrival, Dead Girl remarks at the real super-hero. When she then asks if he’s getting all of it, Doop continues holding his camera upward and replies in his own tongue. Slightly upset at Spider-Man’s arrival, the Anarchist rhetorically asks what he’s doing there, only to be reminded by Vivisector that New York is his patch – there was probably always a chance he’s show up at a big splash like this.

Having had enough, the Anarchist calls the team into battle, to which a surprised Dead Girl remarks that she didn’t know he cared about Henrietta. Replying simply, the Anarchist informs her that he doesn’t… but he sure cares about that two-legged freak stealing their limelight! With their orders give, X-Statix rushes into the fray.

Characters Involved: 

Anarchist, Dead Girl, Doop, El Guapo, Mister Sensitive, Phat, Venus Dee Milo, Vivisector (all X-Statix)

Spike Freeman, X-Statix employer

Henrietta Hunter

Professor X



Cameraman for “Lacuna on the Stars”



Morgue caretaker

Europan troops

Europan media

X-Statix reporter

Unnamed media reporters & cameramen


Rooftop camera-guy

The Wall

One television


Spike Freeman

Unnamed reporter

Blind Ali, Miz Tree, Oxford Blue, Surrender Monkey, the Wall (all Euro-Trash)


Henrietta Hunter

Henrietta’s friends

Story Notes: 

The character of Henrietta Hunter was originally pitched as being the late Princess Diana of the United Kingdom. However, early reports of the story caused such bad press that Marvel decided to change the real-life person to the fictional Henrietta. Subsequently, Henrietta went from being blonde to a brunette and her homeland changed from the United Kingdom to the fictional Europa. The only direct hint at the original story can be found in Reggie’s comment of British taxpayers in his conversation with Spike Freeman

Kelly Clarkson was the winner of the first American Idol television show, whose winners are awarded a record deal. Her image has been crafted as being very wholesome, in comparison to 50-Cent, who is a rapper and whose image has been less so.

The Concorde was a supersonic airliner, built jointly by France and Great Britain. It was originally built in the 1960s and a fleet of 14 aircraft came into use in the 1970s. However, plagued by high costs and its first ever accident in 2000, the last Concorde flew in late 2003.

Donald Rumsfeld is the U.S. Secretary of Defense at the time of this issue’s publication.

J-Lo refers to Jennifer Lopez, the Puerto Rican/New York singer/actress.

Bill Gates is the major stockholder and founder of Microsoft. Due to his influence on the everyday lives of computer users and the effect operating system known as Windows has played, many chidingly consider him “evil.”

Sarin is a poisonous liquid and is used as a nerve agent in chemical warfare.

Hugh Grant is a British-born actor, who, in the summer of 1995, was arrested with the Sunset Boulevard prostitute known as “Divine Brown.”

George Clooney is a television and movie star who gained popular notoriety as Dr Doug Ross in the NBC telvision show “ER.”

The unnamed female, X-Statix reporter once again appears, having last appeared in X-Statix #4.
The name “Surrender Monkey” refers to a nasty nickname given to the French by some during the recent Iraq War. The term actually originated on an episode of “the Simpsons” when caretaker Willy insults some Frenchmen as “cheese-eating Surrender Monkeys.”
Gunther Gross is a parody of German leftwing writer Günter Grass (who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999), who has written some famous novels such as “the Tin Drum.”

Doop Translation:

When Venus sheds her dress to gear into action, Doop says, “Wait for me.”

When the waiter/assassin reveals his weapon, Doo shouts, “Zoinks!” Then, as he deflects the assassin’s aim, he shouts, “Not on my watch.”

When Spider-Man appears on the scene at Times Square and Dead Girl asks if he’s getting it all, Doop replies, “Course I am.”

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