X-Statix #3

Issue Date: 
November 2002
Story Title: 
Good Omens - part 3 : That's Entertainment !

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: 

As the team continues to reel from the revelation that Venus Dee Milo is currently under contract with Solomon O'Sullivan, tensions, old and new, rise among the remaining members. Vivisector, still crushed by the rejection of his friend/semi-lover Phat, has begun to drink and takes his frustration out with snide comments on everything and everyone. Tike, still angry from his recent altercation with Guy, decides to leave the team for a life of live tour shows on the road and takes Dead Girl with him. Having already left the team, Phat returns home and finds that his own family and hometown both consider him a stranger. Over the next few days, Guy tries to persuade O-Force to abandon their plans to stop the renegade mutant, Arnie Lunt, who has taken captive his small Minnesota home town. Unable to do this, Guy tries in vain to re-recruit Vivisector, Tike and Dead Girl to rejoin the cause. Finally, after researching Arnie's history in old newspaper articles, Guy realizes what Arnie is after: he, Guy Smith. Having entered the battle against the young Arnie, O-Force quickly finds itself outmatched by Arnie's reanimated corpses, who explode when approached. As O-Force‘s defeat is almost complete, a new player enters the battle. Parachuting in from a cargo plane, Guy Smith, the Orphan, drops to the conflict below.

Full Summary: 

Introducing herself, Sharon Ginsberg informs Spike Freeman, Guy and Venus Dee Milo that she is authorized on behalf of Solomon O'Sullivan Enterprises to offer the "property" known as Venus Dee Milo a position in the team known as O-Force. Staring at the court order handed to Spike Freeman moments ago, Venus protests stammeringly that she already belongs to a team. After a weak affirmation from Guy Smith, Sharon smirkingly informs Venus that the moment she smudged her pretty little duo-limbed moniker on that contract, she didn't belong to anyone but Solomon O'Sullivan.

Pointing to the signature at the bottom of the contract, Spike asks Venus if the signature is really hers. Did she really sign a contract with the devil? Defensively, Venus replies that it was really dumb. She was young and just starting out and she had forgotten all about it. Sorry. Chiming back in, Sharon states that if Venus does anything that can be perceived as participation in the team, she will be begging in the street corner within a month. Promptly asked by Guy what it is like being her, Sharon retorts by asking if she looks disappointed. Tearing up the contract, Guy says that he doesn't care what she signed. Venus is one of them now and no piece of paper is going to change that. Still smiling, Sharon says that while it was a nice gesture, it was a copy. Putting a cell phone to her ear as she leaves, Sharon tells the group that she will see them in court.

Gathered among the rest of her fellow X-Statix colleagues, Dead Girl comments to Guy that he has had a change of heart. There was a time when he was desperate to find a reason for Venus to not be in the team. Snapping back defensively, Guy retorts that now he realizes that he's an important member of X-Statix and he was wrong to let personal issues could his judgment. To this, Dead Girl adds that Venus has a cute tush. Agape at the remark, Venus asks Dead Girl what she has against her? What did she ever do to her?

Answering in Dead Girl's place, Vivisector tells Venus that she usurped the position vacated by Edie as the "sexy" one in the team, a position coveted by a certain deceased party. Now defending her own self, Dead Girl retorts that she is not that shallow. Right now, Vivisector says to Dead Girl, rising from his chair with a bottle in hand, she is as shallow as a grave. Trying to prevent the situation from degrading further, Guy separates the two and tells them to stop it.

Smiling in gratitude, Venus thanks Guy for believing in her and tells him how much she appreciates it. Seeing Guy reply that Venus is welcome, Dead Girl sticks a finger in her mouth, asking all if they have ever seen a dead person projectile vomit. Still holding his bottle, Vivisector eyes the floating Doop. Rhetorically asking the bulbous floater if he is watching the scene, Vivisector then asks if he is doing more than just watching? Floating silently as ever, Doop simply stares in response.

Placing his arm around both Venus and Dead Girl, Guy tells them that whether they like it or not, they have to pull together as a team. To this, he adds that he wants the Arnie thing sorted out. When Dead Girl does not recognize the name, Spike chimes back in. He explains that Arnie Lunt is a teenage mutant with astounding mental powers and is using them to wage a campaign of terror on a small town in Minnesota. Laughing from intoxication, Vivisector sarcastically exclaims, oh that Arnie!

With the news footage of Arnie suddenly rolling on the monitor, Guy grabs his head in frustration. Stammering, he tells the group that he thinks that Arnie has been beaming images of Edie into his head. Still dripping with sarchasm, Vivisector agrees and adds that freemasons are sending subliminal messages via Cornflakes boxes. Grabbing his intoxicated colleague by his vest, Guy tells Vivisector that he's getting sick of his smart-ass lines. Unimpressed, Vivisector retorts that of course he is. That is the whole point of them. He gets sick, they fight and the world goes round and round.

After his team leader reiterates that Arnie is dangerous, Spike reminds the group that he's already pushed the gig to O-Force, intending them to be seen beating up a kid on national news. They will make the LAPD look like angels of mercy. Placing his arm on his employer's shoulder, Guy tells him that it might be too big for a manufactured team more interested in being popular than getting it right. Walking into the middle of the conversation, the Anarchist asks Guy if he is referring to X-Statix. Speaking in a reconciliatory tone, Guy tells Tike that while they've had their differences of opinion, it was damn juvenile of him to refuse his handshake the other day. Continuing on his way, Tike replies that he doesn't remember saying that he gives a damn.

As Tike leaves, Guy asks him where he is going. Turning briefly, Tike raises his arms dramatically and replies that he's going on tour. It's what his public wants. Now he won't have the irritating necessity of going out and fighting people all around the planet. Turning to Dead Girl, Tike tells her that he's got lots of interest from sponsors; Doke, Newt TV, the NBA. Pointing out that he's going to make craploads of money, Tike asks Dead Girl if she is with him. After looking briefly to Guy and Venus with eyes reflecting her internal conflict, Dead Girl places her arm around Tike and tells him that she is right behind him.

Having lost two members already, Guy follows Vivisector into the hall. Referring to him by his name, Myles, Guy calls out. Stumbling forward in his drunken state, Myles apologizes. He intends to get drunk and write impenetrable prose. After being asked if his state has to do with Phat, fellow X-Statix colleague, Myles informs Guy that Phat, Billy Bob, has gone home. Continuing on his way to his room, Myles tells Guy that it looks like he's the leader of a one-man band. Receiving a stern reprimand from Doop in his unintelligible language, Myles replies that he means no offense.

Walking among the library of the team's HQ and eventually finding his way to his room, Myles ponders dangerous thoughts. He thinks that neither he nor Billy Bob is gay. Rather, they are in a state of gay/not-gay, making them multi-sexual cats in Schrodinger's box. Thinking to other teammates, he thinks that Dead Girl really isn't jealous of Venus and that Tike and Guy like each other. Each just wants to get over the death of Edie Sawyer. Imagining the team X-Statix as an animal, Myles considers it a beast that eats up conflict and needs a constant fresh supply, causing their internal conflicts. Or maybe, he thinks, it's Doop. Maybe he's a sweet little demon who is orchestrating their minds. Turning into his feral form, Vivisector clutches his head in mental anguish. And maybe, he thinks, he is quite possibly going insane.

Calling his parents insane, Billy Bob, aka Phat, asks why after he bought them a cool house and gave them enough money to furnish it three times over, they bought a Morin 818 Superliner trailer home to live in, in the back yard. Sitting on a fence, Billy Bob's mother replies that they just feel more comfortable. Arms outstretched in frustration, Billy Bob points out that they could all have a bedroom each and have private space. Calmly pouring a cup of coffee, Billy Bob's father replies that it would make talking to each other difficult. Propping herself on the windowsill looking outside, Billy's sister apologizes that they don't come up to his expectations. It's not expectations, Billy Bob explains, he is trying to help. Sipping his coffee, Billy Bob's father, asks what are they? Beggars that can't fend for themselves?

With a crowd of others, one "Phat" fan encourages "Pa Reilly". Another bystander, turning to the first, points out that the boy wants to help his family. What's so bad about that? Moving his attention to the unwanted guests, Billy Bob asks them all if they could please go away and points out that this is private property. Speaking up, Ma Reilly tells her son that it might be easier if he went away. Him being there... unsettles everything; drawing the crowd and the press. Having emerged from the trailer, Billy Bob's sister tells her brother that he doesn't rightly belong with the likes of them no more. Taken aback, Billy Bob points out that they are his family. Coldly, Pa Reilly replies that they were.

Somewhat later, having left the house, Billy Bob goes to a local bar and spends three hours buying drinks for all his old friends. Drowning his sorrows, he tells them his little problem, his inability to access his mutant powers. Hours later, those same friends beat Billy Bob up, calling him a rich kid, saying that he thinks he's too good for them and that they hear he's turned gay.

In the O-Force conference room, Solomon O'Sullivan briefs his team on their next mission; a battle against a young boy named Artie. Pointing out that fame, the lifeblood of the American dream, which can be obtained by anyone, has been realized by them. As an afterthought, he tells them to try to not get caught whacking the kid on camera. Strolling into the room unannounced, Guy Smith tells O'Sullivan that it might not be so easy. In fact, he adds, based on his long-ranged experience with Arnie Lunt, he would say it was a highly dangerous mission. Rising from his seat, along with the rest of O-Force, O'Sullivan tells Guy that he and his team are on the way out. Why don't they admit it and lose with a little dignity?

Undeterred from his original subject, Guy informs O'Sullivan that Spike Freeman set them up so they'd take the mission. Sarcastically replying that it sounds very likely, O'Sullivan asks his team if a few of them could be so kind as to show their unwelcome visitor to the door? As Guy deftly evades the entire O-Force team's attacks, O'Sullivan snaps that he knows Guy is just sore because he has the lovely Venus Dee Milo under contract and it's only a matter of time before she joins. Continuing his evasive somersaults, Guy replies that it isn't about Venus; it's about Arnie. Attempting to warn O'Sullivan about Arnie's powers, Guy is silenced when his head is engulfed by Ocean's water based powers. As Guy drowns in a bubble of water floating around his head, O'Sullivan taunts him, asking how tough can this thirteen year old be ?

Since there was nothing on television that day and games hold no more joy, Arnie Lunt blew up a school with a massive explosion. Walking away from the smoldering ruins, Arnie thinks that he must be getting soft. He gave everyone a ten minute warning before he put his mind to the task. As the former students cower in fear, Arnie thinks that they are starting to look up to him. After all, he did just liberate them from another classroom. Deciding not to stay and soak up their adulation, Arnie, thinking of himself as a general, decides to prepare his troops before the long expected attack. Having no troops, Arnie visits a local cemetery and disturbs the peaceful graveyard with a boisterous yell of attenshun!

In a theater stadium in Santa Monica, the estimated one hundred thousand fans cheer in awe at the Tike Alicar and Dead Girl Road Show. As a stagehand uses a machine gun to blow Dead Girl's body apart, Tike cheers him on, telling him to blast away. The gunfire over, Tike points to the pile of body parts and tells the audience that they will see the incredible Dead Girl reconstitute the shattered parts of her body. To this, he reminds the audience to not try this at home. As Dead Girl flesh reforms, rebuilding her entire body, Guy Smith makes his way through the crowd and climbs onto the stage. When asked by Guy what he is doing, Tike responds that he's running the Tike Alicar and Dead Girl Road Show. After this, he tells Guy, they're moving to Las Vegas, then Texas and New York. His agent, he says, is negotiating a tour of Europe as they speak.

Following him to backstage, Guy watches Tike begin busily checking the props for his next performance. After Guy condescendingly remarks that this is no better than a Coney Island freak show, Tike responds that there is a difference; this time they're in control and this time the audience is the freaks. Opening the curtain to reveal a packed stadium, Tike tells Guy to look at them. He could do anything he likes with them. He could take them anywhere and start up a religion. To this remark, Guy retorts that they would end up crucifying him.

Taking the somber idea for what it is worth, Tike replies that they're going to end up doing that anyway, to all of them, sooner or later. Gesturing to the direction of the legion of fans, Tike tells Guy that this is a new age of super heroes. They don't have to fight or save the world anymore. They don't have to do good. Taking the idea to its conclusion, Guy asks Tike what is the point of them then? If they don't use what they are for good, what do they do? Smiling broadly, Tike replies that they entertain!

Returning to his purpose for being there, Guy tells Tike that he wants to go get this kid, Arnie, and needs his help. Uninterested, Tike reminds Guy that Spike said that O-Force is taking care of that. Ending their conversation, asks to be excused, as his public is calling for him. With this, Tike walks through the curtain onto the stage. Having finished her own performance, Dead girl joins Guy as Tike takes her place onstage. Grabbing Dead Girl by the wrist, Guy pleads with her to talk to Tike and tell him that this is crazy. Snapping back, Dead Girl asks if it is as crazy as playing Russian roulette every day.

As Guy tries to stammer a defense, Dead Girl stops him. She tells him that while she's not sure what's going on in Tike's head, she has the feeling that he could explode any minute. And, she adds, she wants to be there to help him when it happens. When Guy replies that holding Tike's hand is not her job, Dead Girl asks him to tell her what is. Reminding him that he is the leader of X-Statix, Dead Girl tells him that if he orders her to leave Tike Alicar, if he insists that she abandon the person who was once his friend, then she will do what she is told to do. As Guy's face reflects his unpleasant decision, Dead Girl tells him that it's his call.

Later in X-Statix HQ, Guy and Spike watch Tike's performance on the television. Recounting his recent altercation with Dead Girl, Guy tells Spike that he told her to stick with Tike and make sure that he doesn't get into too much trouble. Turning to Myles, who is nearly passed out in a chair, Guy tells him to sober up. They have a job to do. When asked says who, by the intoxicated teammate, Guy replies, says he, the supposed leader of X-Statix. Defending his lack of action, Myles reminds Guy that Spike says it isn't their job. Besides, he continues, he doesn't mind risking his deeply troubled irracinated neck for the glory of the team, but not for some personal obsession.

Helping his inebriated employee to his feet, Spike tells Guy that Myles is right. He can't do everything. Rising to her feet from her own chair, Venus tells Guy that she will come with him. Turning to Venus, Spike tells her that she is grounded until they sort out this damn O'Sullivan contract. Undeterred, Venus replies that she doesn't care about that. She's going with Guy. Thanking Venus for her offer, Guy tells her that maybe the rest are right. Maybe he should forget all about Arnie Lunt.

Standing before the camera, Ocean tells the viewing audience that all of them in O-Force are proud and honored to be given the chance to make a difference. Pointing out that these are troubled times for all of us, she says that she sincerely believes that their greatest enemy... is cynicism. Watching the O-Force televised press conference, Myles, sitting with Spike, replies that she is so right. Starvation, AIDS and poverty just pale into insignificance next to bad, old cynicism. Stepping in front of the camera this time, Overkill, the team's leader, is asked what is the plan? Hands placed confidently on his hips, Overkill answers that they hope that when Arnie sees what he's up against, he'll give up without a fight. Watching Overkill on a television elsewhere, Arnie confidently mutters, "right".

Alone and in a darkened room, Guy Smith reads newspaper articles on his computer. Finding an article with the headline "Edie Sawyer Saved My Life" he reads about the young man named Arnie Lunt. According to article, a taped message from the lovely X-Force star, Edie Sawyer, stirred the thirteen year-old Arnie Lunt from a deep coma. Newly awakened from his coma, the young Arnie had said that he loved Edie Sawyer and that she was his favorite X-Forcer. Some day, he said, he would like to meet her in person. Staring at Arnie's deformed faced, the right side shriveled like a prune, Guy feels a wave of hurt and loneliness and the slow, piece-by-piece contamination of innocence.

Suddenly, Guy thinks, he knows what this is about. This is not about doing good or about X-Statix working as a team... it's about him. Arnie is calling for him, Guy realizes. Arnie wants to judge him and Guy will let him. Arnie will decide whether or not he deserves to live after letting Edie die. Arnie will answer the question he has been unable to answer himself.

The powerful explosion knocks Ocean back, leaving Overkill unable to do anything but yell her name. His clothes in ruins, his glasses shattered, the television reporter scrambles to his feet. Bringing his microphone back to his mouth, the reporter tells the audience that it's a nightmare! Some kind of storm has hit the town and strange, terrible creatures are coming at them from all angles. Creatures who explode when they get near. Who or what, he rhetorically asks his audience, are they up against? As if on cue, reanimated corpses from the town's graveyard shuffle and stumble out of the smoke and ash.

Tending to his teammate, Overkill tries to pick up Ocean. Ocean, clearly in shock and stammering, tells Overkill that she can't feel her legs. Examining her legs, one blown off below the left kneecap and the other at the right leg's upper thigh, Overkill tries to tell her that she will be alright, but cannot manage to say it. Still in disbelief, Ocean tries to reverse everything by telling Overkill that this isn't how it's supposed to happen. As the undead emerge from the smoke, Overkill abandons Ocean, who pleads with him to now leave her. As the reanimated cadavers close around her, Ocean asks aloud if the cameras are still on. Are they still on TV? With decomposed hands closing around her face, Ocean screams to the viewers, asking if they are watching? Please, say that they are still watching!

Having just witnessed Ocean's apparent demise, which indeed was broadcasted, Solomon O'Sullivan swears in horror. Approaching his television in disbelief, O'Sullivan cries aloud that he is only a kid! They can handle a kid! O'Sullivan's rant is interrupted by the return of the announcer. Telling the viewers that things have gone from bad to worse, he informs them that it is chaos there. It's hell and no one seems to know what they're doing.

Suddenly changing the tone of his emotion, the reporter tells the audience that something is happening there. Someone is parachuting into town. Moving the camera to the sky, a FedEx plane is flying off into the distance, leaving behind an armored individual, diving in a somersault. Announcing that the person is Guy Smith, the announcer states triumphantly that Guy Smith, aka the Orphan and leader of the X-Statix, has arrived.

Cursing the situation even more, Solomon O'Sullivan kicks the screen out of his television. Watching with contrasting glee, Arnie Lunt, sporting war paint on his face and an Indian feather in his hair, exclaims that at last, he's there. In X-Statix HQ, Venus and Spike watch in horror. As Spike proclaims Guy an idiot, the reporter continues, announcing that there is no sign of any other members of X-Statix. No Anarchist, Vivisector, Dead Girl or Venus Dee Milo. Far away, watching the coverage with Dead Girl in a bar, Tike Alicar closes his eyes and lowers his head in shame.

As Guy Smith, the Orphan, continues to fall, now entering the upper limits of the smoke's rise, the reporter tells the world that the Orphan is going in on his own.

Characters Involved: 

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

Spike Freeman, X-Statix employer

Solomon O'Sullivan

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

Sharon Ginsberg


Arnie's mother


Undead townspeople

Pa Reilly, Phat's father

Ma Reilly, Phat's mother

Phat's sister

Phat's intrusive fans

100,000 Tike Alicar & Dead Girl Road Show fans

Show's security & machine gun wielding stage man

Bar patrons


In photographs :

U-Go Girl


Story Notes: 

The organizations known as the Freemasons began as craft guilds that united in the early 1700s. Their tendency toward secrecy, mysterious rituals and networking with business and political leaders led to allegations ranging from satanic influence to secretly controlling the world. Still existing today, Freemason organizations are mainly regarded as harmless fraternal orders mainly dedicated to charitable work.

The LAPD, the Los Angeles Police Department, was once viewed as of the finest law enforcement organizations in the world. In the last two decades, however, issues of corruption and police brutality have plagued the LAPD.

In the cemetery where Arnie "recruited" his legion of undead soldiers, all of names on the tombstone are characters from the cartoon show the Simpsons. Included are (Montgomery) Burns, (Ned) Flanders, (Waylan) Smithers, (Bob) Terwilliger, (Chief) Wiggum and (Moe) Szylak.

Irracinated, the adjective Vivisector used to describe his neck, does not seem to exist.

The reference of Schroedinger's Box refers to a hypothetical experiment proposed by Erwin Schroedinger in the late 1920s. He spoke of theoretically placing a cat in a box along with a substance that had a 50% chance of killing the cat in an hour. After the hour was up, the cat would either be dead or alive, but one would have to look into the box to make the determination. His example was and is used to describe situations where two opposed states exist at the same time, such as Vivisector and Phat's status as hetero or homosexuals.

While Ocean's statement that she believes that our greatest enemy is cynicism does seem simplistic, it echoes President Roosevelt's statement in 1933 that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Ironically, when Vivisector mocks Ocean's assessment of the danger of cynicism, he is himself being cynical.

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