X-Statix #21

Issue Date: 
June 2004
Story Title: 
The Good and the Famous - part one

Peter Milligan (writer), Mike Allred (penciler), Nick Craine (Inker), Laura Allred (colors), Blambot’s Nate Piekos (lettering), Jennifer Lee (editor, assisting), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (chief), Dan Buckley (president)

Brief Description: 

X-Statix has returned to a new status quo with the return of Vivisector, but Guy begins to take hostile questions at a press conference, with reporters asking about the status of the investigation into the death of X-Statix former owner Spike Freeman, as well as criticism from Captain America in a recent interview. Shortly afterward, some of Cap’s disapproval becomes reality, as Doop is kidnapped by Russian terrorists, who remove his brain and use it to build a weapon. X-Statix arrives on the scene, but they are unable to get close to the terrorists, as they succeed in turning the brain into powerful ray. Realizing that they need help, the team enlists the aid of the Avengers and together the two groups managed to make short work of the terrorists. However, during the battle, Doop’s brain is affected by Thor’s hammer and explodes, scattering its mass into six pieces, which are cast around the world and even into the land of Asgard. Despite their successful action together, both teams decide to work on their own to recover Doop’s brain, as they don’t trust each other. Unfortunately, the heroes are on a time limit – as Doop’s body will die within three days, if the brain is not recovered and re-inserted.

Full Summary: 

Another day, another circus, Guy thinks, as he faces the throngs of reporters before him, flashing their camera and demanding answers to their questions. Beside him is Venus dee Milo. Answering one of the reporters, Guy replies that, no, none of the other guys will be with them today. So any suggestions about Myles Alfred’s love life will have to wait.

Another reporter calls out his question, wondering why the rest of the team is in Russia of all places. Another reporter asks if the restaurants in Moscow have really improved that much?!? Very funny, Guy rejoins. Switching the subject back to seriousness, he explains that, since the death of Spike Freeman…

Interrupting, one reporter asks how did Spike Freeman die? There have been some ugly rumors… Guy interrupts in kind, reminding them that an inquest into Spike Freeman’s death is continuing. Then asked if it is a public inquest, like with the police or coroner, Guy replies that it will be conducted by private. By themselves. As usual.

In reply to an earlier asked question, Guy states that they are in Russia to look for a new owner…. Someone they can work with. Someone who’ll add a non-mutant dimension to their outlook. Someone filthy rich? a reporter asks. Speaking up, Venus says that, obviously, the new owner must be solvent, which is why they’re talking to a number of oligarchs in Russia, including one who already owns a British soccer team.

A new reporter calls out his question: What do they have to say to the Avengers’ latest criticism of X-Statix? In an interview with the Herald Tribune, Captain America suggested they were irresponsible. Captain America, Guy replies, is entitled to his own opinion. Miles away, Captain America is watching the news conference, stone-faced.

Continuing her question, the reporter states that Captain America went on to say that Doop could be a possible terrorist target… and maybe they should ask themselves whether they’re happy having such a potentially dangerous creature in the hands of a bunch of celebrity mutants. To this, Guy offers only a wry smile, replying that X-Statix is very aware of the potential dangers, should Doop fall into the wrong hands. He assures them all, they have no intention of letting that happen. Next question.


You’ve lost Doop, Guy yells incredulously. Whaddya mean, you’ve lost Doop? Exasperated, Guy states down into the crater, surrounded by the rubble of the area destroyed just outside of the city. At the bottom of the crater, the Anarchist, accompanied by the reconstituting Dead Girl and the feral Vivisector, looks back at Guy and explains that they were just meeting with the oligarchs… and all hell broke loose. Think War and Peace, Vivisector state. Without the peace.

As her severed arm reattaches to her shoulder, Dead Girl explains that Russian terrorists snatched the little blob. Now they’re holed up over in the Kremlin. It must be very comfortable, she supposes, because they’ve been there all day.

Russian terrorists? Guy repeats. Like Chechens? Loyalists of some description, Vivisector replies. He knows how complex this country is since the breakdown of communism. Guy asks if they’re mutants, which the Anarchist denies – they’re just Russian. Guy looks back at the team, even as he still leads them toward the Kremlin, and asks how come, with all their vaunted mutant powers, they haven’t been able to get at them. Oh, they tried, Myles replies. Even she was scared, Dead Girl adds.

Lying flat, Guy inches over the ridge with the Anarchist, peering at the Kremlin. He asks his teammate if they have some kind of weapon, which Tike replies that they definitely do. When Guy asks what kind, the Anarchist tells him to keep getting closer… and he’ll see. Okay, Guy replies. They’ll do it, but it is all very embarrassing. He just hopes the folks at home aren’t watching.

Back at home, Captain America watches the events on his television screen, eyes fixed on the events unfolding before him.

On top of the Kremlin building, a small cadre of men wearing red fezzes continue to work on a device. Near the top of it is Doop, clearly unconscious and hooked to the machinery. Green light is emitted from his body, which floats of its own accord, without support. Doop’s eyes are open, but vacant – and, inches above, the skullcap has been removed and his green brain exposed to the air. As the men continue to work, a electrical sound hums ominously. FFZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Suddenly, the humming becomes a zaAAT, accompanied by an even more brilliant green light. The light then coalesces into a beam, which shoots down at the X-Statix team’s feet, knocking them backwards. See what I mean, Tike asks. Point taken, Guy replies.

Still recovering, Venus crawls out from behind a pile of debris and asks if that’s their Doop firing at them. Sho’ nuff, the Anarchist replies, leading the team in a dodge of a new volley of Doop-generated blasts. They’ve turned him into a superweapon. At least they’ve turned his brain into a superweapon, Vivisector corrects. Guy asks how, but Tike can only reply that he’d ask him… if he could get near his green butt.

As the onslaught continues, Guy calls out to Venus, telling her that she’ll have to take them to Doop. Scarlet light quickly replaces the green and Venus replies that she’s on it. The reality between the team’s feet shifts to her dimensional passageway, and the team is on its way. As they freefall to their destination, Venus asks Guy what they’ll do when they get to their erstwhile teammate. Guy replies that obviously they’re manipulating him somehow, so they’ll get him back to HQ and see what they’ve done to him. Without hurting him.

“Is it just me, or is Red Square turning green?” Dead Girl notes, referring to the scarlet void about them turning hues. Suddenly, the teleportation becomes rocky, and Venus declares that they are falling, returning to reality near the Kremlin and the captive Doop. Incredulous, Guy yells back to Venus that he can see that they are - why? A moment later, the team find themselves recovering from their crash. Answering Guy’s question, Venus replies that the molecular configuration of her teleportation field is being dissipated by Doop’s ray. Dead Girl, beginning the process of reconstituting her shattered body, declares that she’s glad they straightened that out.

Now turning her attention to Doop, Dead Girl wonders what makes them so sure that Doop is being manipulated. Vivisector agrees, seeing Doop’s luminescent form in the distance. Are the Russians using Doop… or is Doop using the Russians? He draws the team’s attention to their teammate, who is surrounded by the fawning, red fez-wearing Russians. Vivisector states that he seem like some stranger savage green god, its hour come round at last, tended to by his devoted worshipers. Which makes them his burnt offerings, Dead Girl opines.

Declaring all of this bull, Tike reminds them that Doop has been an X-Statix longer than any of them. Longer than even him. But what is he/she/it, Dead Girl asks. She knows she breaks several laws of physics and nature… but Doop. Chiming in, Vivisector asks if anyone actually knows who or what it is? Where was he born? Was it born?

Ignoring them and returning his attention to their captive teammate, Tike asks what they suggest. They kick him out of X-Statix because he’s too strange? Or maybe they should have some kinda weird bar – only an acceptable level of mutation. Is Doop a mutation? Vivisector asks. Mutation of what? Another massive green ray halts the conversation, knocking Tike back. Barely escaping the blasts destruction, Vivisector drops to his knees, “praying” to Doop for forgiveness, “oh Green One,” for offending him.

That’s it, Guy spits. They need outside help. And he’s going to ask for it. Help? Tike wonders aloud. Who does a kick-ass team like X-Statix go to for help?

A short time later, the members of X-Statix are greeted as guests in HQ of the mighty Avengers. The Avengers, consisting of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man, are led by Captain America, who tells the mutants that they wondered when they’d get there.

Angered at the implication, the Anarchist states that he wants it on the record that he’s against this. Responding in his flowery yet majestic cadence, Thor asks what he doth protest. Mocking back in response, Tike states that he “doth protest” asking them knuckleheads for help! Trying to diffuse the situation, Guy tells Tike to shut it. Without another word to his teammate, Guy turns to Cap. He explains that Doop’s brain knows them… their every move, their every thought almost. But with them fighting alongside X-Statix, they might have an edge.

Changing subjects, Cap asks Guy how they lost Doop in the first place. It was very… Irresponsible, shouts Tike, interrupting the Captain and shoving aside Guy to get into his face. Is that what he was going to say? Unflinching in the face of the Anarchist, Cap replies coolly that it seems as good a word as any to say. Exasperated, Tike turns away, while spitting back to the Avenger that he read his interview in the Trib. Veeeeery interesting. He talks about the consequences if Doop fell in the wrong hands… then Shazaammm! Doop falls into the wrong hands. Throwing up his hands in mock surprise, Tike asks Cap if that is one big coincidence, or what?

Still stoic, Captain America replies that that’s either a very stupid, or very nasty accusation. Amazed at the audacity of the comment, Thor asks the Anarchist if he “dost” have any idea to whom he speaks. Yeah, he “dost,” replies Tike.

Having had enough, Cap places his hand on Thor’s shoulders and calls for the rest of the team to come on. They’re not going to be insulted by a hotheaded conspiracy nut. Before they can even take a few steps, however, the Avengers are stopped by Guy, who tells them that Tike didn’t mean anything. Pausing for a moment, Cap half-turns back, stating that Tike can apologize then. The Anarchist, however, is unmoved, replying, “the hell he can.” The decision made, Cap returns to the exit, telling the group that they can leave the same was they came in.

Before following Cap and the others, Iron Man pauses to inform the group of mutants that they should know the president is extremely concerned about the Doop situation. If it’s not cleared up within twenty-four hours, he informs them, he’s going to use the ultimate sanction. To this, Hawkeye adds that the president of Russia has agreed, in exchange for several trillion dollars of aid, to evacuate Moscow, allowing them to drop a tactical nuclear weapon on Doop.

As this new information sinks into X-Statix, Hawkeye joins the rest of the Avengers in the next room, laughing at the scene that just transpired. That was awesome, he laughs. The ultimate sanction! To this, Iron Man congratulated Hawkeye on his excellent backup. Hearing this, Wanda asks if they didn’t work out the nuke routine beforehand, to which Iron Man denies. They thought he’d put the squeeze on them a little, a technique he learned in the corporate boardroom. An’ he just caught the ball and ran, Hawkeye states, continuing to grin. It’s a technique he picked up on the block.

Still a little confused, Wanda asks Cap if it is so important that X-Statix ask them for help. Considering her question, Cap responds that it’d help make things easier. If they can get close without fighting X-Statix… they might be able to destroy the Doop without shedding any blood.

The team still in discussion on their situation, Tike points out Dracula - another example. That dude, he continues, can only get into your crib if you invite him in. Then he bites the hell outta you neck. Guy dismisses Tike’s concerns, reminding him that they’re simply inviting the Avengers to help them rescue Doop. Unconvinced, Tike asks Guy to admit that he has a point. That interview with Captain America in the tribune… like he knew this was gonna happen. A little disturbed by the idea, Guy stutters that he doesn’t know. Maybe. But they should forget about that for now. He then tells tike that he should just say sorry, please. They need them.

The conversation is then joined by Venus, who reminds Tike that they’re making a pact with the Avengers… not Satan. To this, Guy tells Tike that Doop is still their teammate, the oldest surviving member – it’s their duty to help him!

At the machine at the Kremlin, the red-fez wearing men continue their work, hooking wires up to Doops levitating brain. His eyes still vacant, Doop nevertheless mutters something in his own language. One of the Russians asks another, Fydor, what it is saying, but Fydor replies to Lev that he doesn’t know, even as he tries to work from a manual, written in Doop’s language. That thieving American didn’t give them a translator with the operating instructions.

Even as Fydor works, another wonders to the group why, now that they’ve made a stand and got the Doop, they don’t quit now. In reply, Fydor states that they need to make a bigger statement. Killing X-Statix will get them worldwide coverage. Russians fighting back against Western capitalism. When the man asks if they can do that just by killing a bunch of silly mutants, Fydor replies that super heroes are as American as cartoon mice and mass-produced food. All part of the U.S. imperialist agenda. You know, he adds, oblivious to the fact that the diminutive Ant-Man is standing on his shoulder, “commerce follows the spandex.”

A moment later, Fydor finds himself under attack by Ant-Man, who is joined by Iron Man crashing through the wall of the tower and by Captain America and Hawkeye, who leap over another wall. Fydor’s associates think quickly, firing a green ray from Doop’s brain. However, the blast is effortlessly deflected by the reflexes of Captain America and his impenetrable shield. Though safe for the moment, Cap calls out to Thor that they can’t take much longer, to which Thor responds with the release of his hammer, replying that Mjolnir will tickle the frontal lobes… Thor’s aim is true and the hammer finds its mark on Doop’s brain, causing the previously comatose Doop to vocalize involuntarily.

Nearby, Vivisector watches as Hawkeye effortlessly plugs the barrel of one of the Russian terrorists. With wide-eyes, he tells the archer that he looks a little like Ben Affleck, to which Hawkeye retorts that he can act. As another ref-fezzed terrorist sneaks up, Vivisector claws him ferociously, but takes a moment to quip back that they’re all actors.

Elsewhere, Cap and Guy make their way to Doop. Reaching up to Doop’s brain, in which Mjolnir is still embedded, Guy states that they’d better be sensitive about how they get it out. As an afterthought, he thanks Cap for their help, but they’ll take over now. Cap is unmoved by this, coldly stating that it doesn’t work that way. They invited them in. They stay in.

Hearing this, the Anarchist – having dispatches his last red-fezzed terrorist – feigns claws and fanged teeth, telling Dead Girl that he was right. Dracula! Any minute now, they’ll be biting their necks and stuff. Overhearing this, Hawkeye turns to Vivisector and tells him that he has very strange friends. Vivisector quips back with a wry grin that’s the way I like it, honey.

The time for mocking over, Tike moves to Cap and pushes him away, telling him that he heard the man. Doop’s their teammate. This is their gig now – so back off! Though caught off guard a little, Cap laments that he hoped it wouldn’t come to this, following his statement with a right cross across Tike’s jaw. Seeing this, Guy moves over to Cap, telling him that he doesn’t care who they are – this is still their Doop. Guy’s martial arts attack, however, is held in check by the notched arrow of Hawkeye, who tells Guy that, one more move and he’s gonna be counting sheep for the next few hours. Yep, bemoans Vivisecor, definitely attack…

Guy tries to diffuse the rapidly escalating situation. Telling Cap that, okay, they’re stuck with them, so maybe he should give them the truth. The interview that Cap gave… coincidence? Or… Cap interrupts, stating that, no, there’s no such thing as coincidence. They’d had word that a United States scientist who worked on the Doop Project had sold classified information to a dissident Russian group…

Now it is X-Statix’s turn to interrupt. “The Doop Project, Tike interjects. Continuing, Cap tells them that, towards the end of the Cold War, when Doop was built. “Built?” repeats Vivisector. “Cold War?” Venus asks. Chiming in, Iron Man laughingly asks them if they didn’t think the Berlin Wall fell down all by itself, did they? There were other, stranger – greener – forces at work.

Taking this in, Vivisector states that what he’d like to know is… what these classified secrets have to do with their situation… Cognizant that Hawkeye still has an arrow aimed at his head, Guy interjects that what he’d like is not to have this arrow pointed at his brain.

Suddenly, Doop begins to speak, gurgling out in his language. Translating for the Avengers, Venus says that he said “talking of brains. Believing that Doops is referring to his hammer, still embedded in Doop’s brain, Thor recalls it mentally, causing Guy to cry out a warning. His fears that they must be gentle are too late, as the hammer has already returned to Thor’s hand. The act, however, is hardly positive, as Doop gurgles out another statement. When Thor asks what he said, Guy crouches down, covering his head, and replies that it said… get down everyone… my Brain’s about to ex… High above Guy, Doop’s brain has begun to grow exponentially in volume, eventually exploding in a sonic boom and blinding green light.

Across the globe, manifestations suddenly occur – simultaneously, weird and apocalyptic. On an unspoiled fishing village in Thailand, a green blob of brain appears. Somewhere in the Atlantic, another piece materializes on the toxic hulk of one of a fleet of American ghost ships. In France, the sacred grounds of an heretical sect known only as the Church of the Naked Truth… L’Eglise de la Verite Nue… another piece lies in the darkness. A fourth appears in the indifferent wastes of the far north, while a fifth is discovered by the villagers in a sub-Saharan African state. A sixth and final piece arrives in a place most didn’t really think existed, a place of old gods and frost monsters. Asgard – where it is musingly examined by Loki, god of mischief.

Later, in their HQ, X-Statix reviews their situation, watching the explosion of Doop’s brain on their television screen. While they have managed to rescue Doop and reattach his cranium, as he is sans brain, Doop maintains a vacant, drooling stare.

Ah, Asgard, Vivisector grins. The very name conjures up romantic images. He always wanted to go there. Protesting, Guy replies that it isn’t a vacation. They have three days to find Doop’s brain, and put it together again. When asked why three days, Guy informs him that Doop has a back-up brain located in his butt… but this only has power for three days. After that… the lights go out in Doopland.

Continuing, Guy tells the team that they each will look for one part of the brain, but it won’t be easy. There’ll be competition. Very tough competition.

Elsewhere, in their mansion, the competition of which Guy speaks – the might Avengers – gather for their own mission. The Defenders, Cap tells the group, when they fought them, it was a more innocent, gentler age. And the Defenders, though briefly their enemies, were not so different from they. They believed in the same things. The same principles. They were warriors. X-Statix are a different proposition.

To this, Iron Man adds that they are preening, vain nincompoops, more famous for being famous than their deeds. Agreeing, Cap states that they are symbols of a less forgiving, more ironic time. They take nothing seriously – even their costumes. They have only glimpsed a fraction of their awesome power of the Doop. X-Statix cannot be entrusted with its security.

Having heard enough, Hawkeye calls out to Cap, telling him to say it. Replying a little annoyed, Cap retorts that he will, if he lets him finish… AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

Characters Involved: 

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

Ant-Man II, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor (all Avengers)

Fydor, Lev & other unnamed red fez-wearing Russian terrorists


(on television)

Doop, Mister Sensitive, Venus


Story Notes: 

Former X-Statix owner Spike Freeman died in X-Statix #16, killed by an incensed Guy Freeman for betraying the team. The issue of the need to “find” a new owner is curious, bring question as to how much of an “owner” Spike was if no one could inherit his ownership.

War and Peace is a Russian epic novel written by Leo Tolstoy in the 1860s.

Chechens are citizens of Chechnya, which is currently a constituent republic of the Russian Federation. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, rebels have fought a bloody war of independence.

Kremlin is the Russian word for “citadel,” though the one in this story specifically refers to the Moscow Kremlin, a fortified structure on Red Square.

Doop is indeed the longest serving member of the team. Actually, he is the only surviving member of the new group.

Though having stared in dozens of successful movies, many of Boston-born Ben Affleck’s detractors accuse him of poor acting ability.

The Berlin Wall was a barrier built by the Soviets in 1961 to separate West Berlin from both East Berlin and the surrounding recently-formed country of East Germany. It stood for nearly 40 decades as a symbol of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, but was eventually torn down in 1989, signifying the waning days of the Soviet Empire.

The Avengers and Defenders both came to conflict during a storyline called by some as the Avengers/Defenders War. The crossover took place in Avengers (1st series) #115-118 & Defenders (1st series) #8-11.

Doop Translation:

As the Russian terrorists are hooking wires to his brain, Doop tells them, “You guys are gonna be sorry.”

When Thor’s Mjolnir impacts into his brain, Doop exclaims, “Skreeee.”

Before his brain explodes, Doop tells states, “Can a brother get some aspirin?” and then, “Okay. Fabeo. You’re toast.” Fabio, most likely, refers to Thor, who in some respects looks similar to the Italian model Fabio Lanzoni.

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