X-Statix #2

Issue Date: 
October 2002
Story Title: 
Good Omens - part 2 : How the Super-Hero Business Works

Peter Milligan (writer), Michael Allred (artist), Laura Allred (colorist), Blambot's Nate Piekos (letters), John Miesegaes (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Encouraged by the success and warm reception of O-Force's first mission, their manager, Solomon O'Sullivan, sets up their next one; apprehending a young mutant named Arnie who is terrorizing his town with his powers. Meanwhile, X-Statix completes a mission to another third-world nation, breaking into a rebel stronghold and disposing of a "dirty bomb" they have been constructing. The decision of the Orphan to have Venus Dee Milo teleport it to a remote location only adds to the growing tension between the him and the Anarchist. Later at their own HQ, the team deals with their recent personal problems. Having recently lost his ability to use his X power, Phat is lectured by Vivisector as to what he believes is the cause; the denying of his true self. Tike attempts to bury the recent animosity between he and Guy, but is rudely rebuked. Deciding that this is enough, Tike goes on the town and vows to Dead Girl that he is through with his buttoned-up attitude and will begin to live up to his codename: the Anarchist. Also in a social setting, Guy and Venus go on a date that ends badly with the protests from fans of former teammate, Edie Sawyer, U-Go Girl. Returning to HQ, the two argue about their assumptions in their relationship until they are interrupted by their employer, Spike Freeman. Spike shows them images of what will be O-Force's second mission, a mission he turned down; taking down a mutant named Arnie, who is holding his hometown hostage with his powers. Reeling from the name Arnie, a name which has recently haunted him in audio hallucinations, Guy and associates are even more shocked when O'Sullivan lawyer Sharon Ginsberg arrives and presents a court order forbidding Venus Dee Milo from being a member of X-Statix.

Full Summary: 

Standing before the demolished Bel Air mansion and among the terrorists that they have just killed, O-Force waves to the cameras recording their first mission. Watching this image transmitted to his television screen, O-Force manager Solomon O'Sullivan revels in his success. Of course it was a success, he thinks to himself; everyone had been paid and knew their part. Sure, the schmucks who did the kidnapping didn't know they were going to end up dead, but he thinks, that's their fault for being schmucks.

Sitting in his office, a hands-free telephone around one ear and holding a telephone receiver in the other, O'Sullivan turns down multiple offers for his newest commodity, before getting one that interests him; one of his contacts in the police department. Sometime later, O'Sullivan meets his contact on a park bench by a duck pond. The contact tells O'Sullivan about a kid up north with an "amazing power thing" controlling an entire town, killing anyone that steps out of line. Normally, he says, they would pass something like this over to X-Force... "X-Statix," corrects O'Sullivan. Disregarding the correction, the contact tells O'Sullivan that if he moves fast and applies grease where grease should be applied... Taking a piece of the bread that he had previously been throwing to the ducks, O'Sullivan pops it into his mouth and asks his contact to tell him more about the kid.

On both his knees, a man pleads with Arnie to not alter his hands. He reminds the boy that he teaches music. It is his whole life, his hands are his whole life. Snarling with hate, Arnie tells the teacher that his hands also twist the wrists and tweak the ears of kids he doesn't like. The kids with no ear for his crummy music. After a moment of writhing pain, the teacher looks at his hand, now two-dimensional and folded, like origami. As the terrified teacher looks in horror, Arnie hears his name called and turns to see his grief-stricken mother. Her hands clasped together, Arnie's mother pleads with him. How many times, she asks, has she told him not to rearrange the skeletal structure of his old teachers? Defending himself, Arnie explains that the teacher picked on him because he was different.

Now standing over the traumatized and deformed teacher, Arnie's mother points out that the teacher has apologized. More so, Arnie has already manipulated his inner ear and vocal chords so he's tone deaf and can't sing. Leave it at that, she pleads. Undeterred, Arnie approaches his mother and thinks aloud that he should start on her. She, he points out, wasn't exactly the perfect mother. He used to see her look at him sometimes... wishing that he were normal. Caught off-guard from the accusation, Arnie's mother begins to stammer a defense; she has always loved him. Smiling, as much as he can with his deformed face, Arnie hugs his mother, explaining that he was only kidding. He knows that she did. Just, he says, try not to interfere so much, huh? He isn't a kid any more.

As Arnie begins to walk away, his old teacher calls out, asking about his hands. Glancing back, Arnie tells him to come and see his in his office tomorrow. They can discuss then his recent behavior. As he continues his stroll through the town, Arnie congratulate himself on his humor. Recent behavior, that's a good one. Passing by one townsperson, Mr. Clancy whom Arnie has removed an eye and mouth, Arnie says afternoon and receives a muffled reply. Taking a moment to look up into the clouded sky, Arnie thinks that he senses the spy helicopter high above. They'll be coming soon. And this is the kind of thing X-Force, and now X-Statix, will handle. Continuing his stroll, Arnie passes a dog whose head he has altered to look like Britney Spears. Thinking to the arrival of X-Statix, he thinks that he can meet his former heroes and decide whether they are going to be the shortest-lived super hero team ever. But where are X-Statix?

Many miles and countries away, X-Statix arrives by way of Venus Dee Milo's teleportation powers. As buildings explode around them, the Orphan sarcastically congratulates Venus and reminds her that he asked her to bring them out somewhere quiet. Defensively, Venus suggests that the shooting must have started in the instant she teleported them in. Not good enough, the Orphan retorts. Stepping in to defend the team's newest member, the Anarchist asks his "tough ass leader" how many times Edie dumped them in Ca-Ca and he didn't say a word about it? Surrounded by explosions, the Orphan only responds with a cold stare.

As the team continues to make short work of their foes; rebels, mercenaries, US-backed government forces, UN forces... mutants... whatever, the Orphan tries to keep in mind the Dirty Bomb whoever the above they are fighting has been developing. Communing with a recently deceased enemy soldier, Dead Girl tells the Orphan that she's getting a reading and thinks that it's the way to the rebels' headquarters. Taking a moment for levity, the Anarchist asks what did he have for his last meal, to which Dead Girl replies McNuggets and fries. Following Dead Girl's lead, the team makes their way toward the rebels' HQ. As he charges into battle next to her, the Orphan sees Dead Girl not with her own face, but with Edie's. Silently, he thinks that it's happening again, another piece of his sanity lost in the civil war going on inside his brain.

Reaching a group of rebels, most of them already dead, Vivisector asks the Anarchist if the mission is covered by the Geneva Convention. Firing his acid without regard, the Anarchist asks in turn, the Geneva what? Pulling back his teammate, the Orphan tells the Anarchist to listen; if he wants to play that gung-ho all American crap, then join another team. Visibly angered, the Anarchist suggests X-Force. He heard they used to be a pretty cool team. A new rain of gunfire ends their conversation. Jumping to safety, the Orphan ordered Phat to "get phat" and go. Noticing that the teammate still hasn't used his power to bloat his mass, the Orphan calls to him again. Exhausted from the attempt, Phat slouches and tells his leader it's no use, he can't do it. His arms raised in defeat, Phat tells everyone to stop looking at him. God help him, he's normal. Maybe, he suggests, it's just a passing phase.

Elsewhere in the battle, the Orphan runs alongside Venus, who projects her energy in offensive blasts at their enemies. Watching them on television from Doop's live cameras there, Solomon O'Sullivan remembers how he fell in love with her, that sick to your stomach and dizzy kind, the minute he saw her. At the time, he kidded himself that she wasn't interested in him because she was scared of physical contact. Truth is, he admits, she's too good for him. Yeah, even him. The camera now focused in on the Orphan, O'Sullivan says aloud that if he can't have her, no one can. Especially, Guy Smith and his team of has-beens. Calling his colleague Larry on his hands-free phone, O'Sullian asks which of their lawyers most resembles a starving timber wolf with rabies. When Larry gives him the name of Sharon Ginsberg, O'Sullivan tells him to send Sharon Ginsberg in. Eyeing the contract between Solomon O'Sullivan Enterprises and Venus Dee Milo, O'Sullivan tells Larry that they have some contractual matters to discuss.

Wracked with fatigue, Dead Girl tells her teammates that at times like this, she's glad she's already dead. As the team gathers around the large casing of the dirty bomb, Dead Girl asks the Orphan if he's sure it's about to go off. No, the Orphan admits, but says he doesn't want to hang around to find out. Calling for Venus, the Orphan tells her they should go. Raising her arms, Venus begins to emit her energies for teleportation, but is told to halt by the Orphan. Questioning the leader's command to wait, the Anarchist points out that waiting is something you do when you're not standing next to a home-made nuke. Looking at the area around them, the Orphan points out that they can't let it blow there, it's too densely populated. Issuing new commands, the Orphan tells Venus to leave them there and take the bomb.

After a comment from the Anarchist that this is suicide, Venus voices her opinion that the Orphan is right, and she's under no illusions about her life expectancy. As Venus teleports away, the Anarchist moves toward her, exclaiming that he's going with her. After being held back by the Orphan, the Anarchist, in a fit of rage, places a right cross across his face. As the Orphan nurses his sore jaw, the Anarchist powers up his hands with acid and goads the team leader to come on, fight, hit back and throw some of that freaky martial arts stuff at him. When the Orphan does not comply, the Anarchist fires a blast, which is easily avoided by a somersault. Rambling with rage, the Anarchist asks why the hell he isn't fighting? Isn't that what they do? Fight and get bloodied up all the time and then feel better afterwards?

Having avoided many blows and blasts from the Anarchist, the Orphan tells him why he won't fight. The Anarchist, the Orphan tells him, feels so guilty about Edie dying, feels so responsible, that he wants to be punished. Enraged by this response the Anarchist lunges for the Orphan's throat, proclaiming him insane. Effortlessly, the Orphan uses a Judo move to flip the Anarchist onto his back. You wanna be hurt, the Orphan asks the Anarchist, you have plenty of options. Sack-cloth shirt, flagellation, drink, drugs, fast food... plenty of ways to punish himself. Grabbing his teammate by his shirt, the Orphan tells his teammate to not expect him to do his dirty work for him.

Getting the arguing teammates' attention, Venus, cold and drenched, tells them whenever they've finished... Getting back to his feet, the Anarchist asks her if he's gotten rid of the bomb. Answering the Orphan's question as to whether anyone was hurt, Venus guesses that a number of those funny eyeless rubbery fish, plus a whole load of krill, have seen better days. Venus' voice begins to trail as her body suit, normally filled out with the firm shape of a body, begins to ripple and lose coherence. The Orphan begins to approach in concern, but is thrown back with the rest of the team by the force of Venus' unleashed energies.

Later at the X-Statix headquarters, Vivisector tells Phat that he believes he knows what the problem may be. He believes that that Phat's inability to access his X-power is a symptom of a deeper malaise. He is denying his true self and desires. Until he is honest and accept who he really is... Across the room, and wishing that he couldn't hear them, Guy thinks back to a similar situation with Edie months ago. She, he remembers, had trouble 'porting until she face up to her past... and her little girl. In realization, Guy thinks that in all of the self-pity that he has wallowed in, and worrying about his own state of mind, he hasn't thought of them; Eddie's mother and the daughter who thinks she's Edie's kid sister.

Interrupting Guy's thoughts, the Anarchist, eyes downcast, apologizes for what he did before; he was just being dumb. Maybe, he admits to Guy, he was right. Maybe he does feel lousy and guilty and think that a little pain might make him feel better. Holding out his hand for a shake, Tike suggests that they try to be on the same team again. It's what Edie would have wanted. After taking a moment to consider the Tike's offer of the hand of friendship, Guy turns his back and leaves. Consoling her former lover, Dead Girl tells Tike that he's come around. Maybe, he replies, but Tike Alicar won't be waiting for him. Taking a brief break from his conversation with Phat, Vivisector exclaims that now he knows things are bad; they're referring to themselves in the third person!

Entering the room of Venus Dee Milo, Guy finds an empty room, save for an empty bed, Venus' suit hanging from one of the bedposts and a large silver-gray machine. Calling out, Guy asks the absent Venus where she is. Hearing a ghostly voice coming from the machine, Guy walks to its
front. On the front of the machine, Guy sees a large oval window revealing the energy-soup the machine contains. Staring closely into this energy mixture Guy asks Venus if she is in that stuff. No, she responds, she is that stuff. The professor, she explains, built the tank for her. It works something like a dialysis machine and contains compounds that Xavier created that clean between her molecules. Especially useful, she adds, after what happened yesterday.

Reaching out, Guy touches the window and asks what did happen? Responding simply, Venus replies that she exploded. Prodded for a better explanation, Venus tells Guy that she went very deep under the ocean. The pressure was immense and she then ported out too quick. So, Guy stutters in his question to Venus, she is going to be okay? When she answers that she will, Guy then asks, fine enough for dinner? Dark spots of Venus' energy swarm out of the machine and glide across the room to her containment suit. Filling her costume until she has regained her traditional appearance, Venus answers Guy's question: on one condition, her tab.

Tike and Dead Girl, dressed in their civilian clothes, are out on the town. Taking a moment before stepping back into their limousine, Tike tells Dead Girl that he's through with X-Statix and with Guy Smith. He's buttoned his lip and played for the team, but now it's time he started living up to his name. Tike Alicar? Dead Girl asks with a smirk. Watch, Tike says as he turns to a nearby jewelry store. As he fires his acidic blasts, Tike tells his date that he's going to show her how this country works. Taking necklaces and bracelets from the store's window, Tike begins to place them on his arms and wrists. As he grabs merchandise, he asks Dead Girl if she thinks they're going to call the cops? Have him arrested?

Ten minutes later, the storeowner stands next to Tike and Dead Girl and poses for the cameras. Addressing the gathered reporters, the owner tells them that they're always happy for the Anarchist or any of his colleagues to smash in their store! Walking away from the scene, Tike points out to Dead Girl that the team was never primarily about fighting evil anyhow. But now he's going to go one step further and give up all pretenses. When asked what he is going to do by Dead Girl, Tike answers anything he likes... and get away with it. Turning the question back to his date, Tike asks he what about her? Want to live a little?

Attired in a suit and dress, Guy Smith and Venus sit in a glamorous restaurant. Taken aback by her question, Guy apologizes when Venus reiterates that he hasn't stopped talking about her. It wasn't a criticism, she begins, but is interrupted by two eggs thrown at her. Turning to see who threw them, Guy and Venus see a mob of angry X-Statix fans yelling and screaming. Calling out to Venus, they call her slut and whore of Babylon. To Guy, they call him a rat. With Edie not dead four months he is already found a replacement! Unable to understand what is happening, Venus asks Guy what is this? It's called celebrity, he tells her. She is in the big league now; big fame, big money, big windows. Get used to it... and get them the hell out of there.

As they teleport back to X-Statix headquarters, Venus states plainly that Guy knew that was going to happen. It was a possibility, he admits, but he didn't know for sure. But this, he says, is how it is, Venus. Back at the HQ, Venus asks Guy what is it with him? Does he think he's so damn attractive that she has to be warned off him? Does he think the moment he decides he's ready to replace Edie with her she'll come running? Shaken by the accusation, Guy mutters defensively. Continuing her verbal assault, Venus points her finger and tells him she wanted to have dinner with him because he was team leader and she really believes in the team and wants to be a part of it. As for anything else, she spits, he's not her type.

The two's argument is granted a brief reprieve by the team's employer, Spike Freeman. Pointing his remote control to the mounted wall monitor, he tells them to stop fighting and get a load of this. Their competitors, O-Force, are about to go on a second mission; to liberate a Minnesota town from a mutant named Arnie. Arnie, asks Guy as he looks at the image of the boy on the screen. Explaining the situation, Spike tells them he controls the place with his mutant mind. And he's an X-Force nut too. Glancing to Venus, Guy tells her that's the name that Edie calls him in his audio hallucination.

Not paying attention to Guy, Spike continues. 'Course, he says, they could have gone in there and sorted thing out, but he wanted O-Force to do it. The whole gig is a loser to nothing. Rule one: never go into battle against a kid. So why, Venus asks, is O-Force doing it? Adjusting his hat, Spike explains that he has a contact in the police which O'Sullivan believes is his contact. He got him to nudge O'Sullivan in the right direction... the schmuck. Winking an eye and pointing his finger, Spike tells Venus it's how the super hero business works.

Hearing his name called, Spike turns to see a woman entering the room. Dismissing the vehement apologies from the X-Statix employee who attempted to stop the woman, Spike addresses her as baby and asks what he can do for her. Pulling a paper from her purse, the woman tells him she is not his baby, her name is Sharon Ginsburg. Presenting the paper, she tells him it is a court order forbidding the property known as Venus Dee Milo from being a member of the team known as X-Statix.

Characters Involved: 

Anarchist, Dead Girl, Doop, Orphan, Phat, Venus Dee Milo, Vivisector (all X-Statix)

Spike Freeman, X-Statix employer

X-Statix employee

Solomon O'Sullivan

Obituary, Ocean, Ocelot, Ooze, Orbit, Overkill (all O-Force)

Sharon Ginsberg


Arnie's mother

Music teacher

Mr. Clancy

Dalmatian with Britney Spears' head

O'Sullivan's police "contact"

Bel Air mansion "terrorists", all dead

Movie "stars"

Jewelry storeowner
Third world soldiers


Restaurant patrons

Friends of Edie protestors
In hallucination :

U-Go Girl

Story Notes: 

While it is not implicitly stated, the has-been movie stars freed by O-Force seem to be Burt Reynolds, Eddie Murphy and Woody Allen.

Schmuck is a Yiddish word with a variety of meanings depending on the context. In this case a schmuck is a person who does a very stupid thing.

Caca is Spanish slang for excrement.

The Geneva Convention is one of a series of agreements first formulated in Geneva, Switzerland in 1864, establishing rules for the treatment prisoners of war, the sick and wounded.

The term dirty bomb originally referred to any bomb with nuclear properties, but in recent times has come to refer to something different. In contemporary terminology it refers to a conventional explosive (not nuclear) with radioactive material laden as shrapnel. While the explosion itself is not nuclear in nature, it can spread radioactive material over the blast range, theoretically rendering an area uninhabitable for thousands of years.

Dialysis is a process of the separation of smaller molecules from larger molecules by selective diffusion through a semi-permeable membrane.

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