Smoke rises high above a burning Minnesota town. Collapsed on the ground, her legs severed from explosions, Ocean begs the reanimated corpses surrounding her to leave her alone. To her amazement, the undead zombies are pulled back and summarily strangled by Guy Smith; X-Statix’s leader, the Orphan. Babbling and nearly incoherent, Ocean tells the Orphan that they didn’t know what they were walking into! It shouldn’t have happened like this! And, Overkill, he just left her to die! Having dispatched the last of the undead, the Orphan tries to comfort Ocean, telling her to be calm. Everything is going to be okay. Crying uncontrollably, Ocean tells him that he’s so wrong. Nothing’s ever going to be okay again. Looking back and seeing Doop filming the whole situation, the Orphan replies that he guesses that’s another way of looking at things.
Sitting with Dead Girl in a diner, the Anarchist casts his eyes downward as he listens to the television. The reporter, on the scene of the battle in Minnesota, informs her viewers that there is still no sign of Guy Smith, who parachuted into town. And the question everyone’s asking, she says, besides who is the winner of tonight’s mega X-Statix lottery, is where is the rest of the team. Without looking up at the monitor, the Anarchist extends his hand and fires his acid blast, shattering the set.
Sitting in the X-Statix HQ’s TV room, Vivisector rhetorically asks his teammate, Phat, if he has come back. Standing some distance away, his hands in his pockets, Phat replies that he has. He had no place else to go. Gesturing to the television, Vivisector asks Phat if he has seen this? Does he know that Guy is there, alone? Turning away, Phat replies that it’s not like there’s anything he can do to help. What about Venus Dee Milo? Where’s she when Guy needs her?
Appearing from one of Venus’ teleportation portals, she and Spike Freeman arrive in the office of Solomon O’Sullivan. In the room and having witnessed Venus’ actions, Solomon lawyer Sharon Ginsberg yells at Spike, telling him that he is in breach of contract, which states that Venus shall not teleport for anyone but Solomon O’Sullivan Enterprises. Giving back as good as he gets, Spike tells Sharon to go to hell. Examining the visually intoxicated O’Sullivan, Venus tells Sharon to take her lousy contract with her.
Turning his attention to O’Sullivan, Spike tells him that they need to talk. Trying to pull Spike back, Sharon exclaims that there’s nothing to talk about. Arms outstretched in disbelief, Venus asks about how the massacre that’s taking place in Minnesota? Opening his shirt and revealing his tattooed chest, O’Sullivan tells the group to look… it’s spreading! Showing his messages, now all incoherent words, O’Sullivan asks what does it mean? What does any of it mean?
Cutting through the sorrow, Spike tells O’Sullivan that he is a mutant and has to deal with it. When Spike then draws O’Sullivan’s attention to what is happening, O’Sullivan stammers that O-Force can handle it. O-Force, Spike retorts, is an ex-force. That is why Guy Smith has gone in there to clear up his mess. A ray of hope penetrating his drunken stupor, O’Sullivan asks if everything is going to be all right?
Getting through finally, Spike answers that he needs help. He needs the rest of X-Statix. Chiming in, Venus says that he needs her. Handing O’Sullivan some papers and a pen, Spike tells him that it overrides his existing contract with Venus. If he signs it, they might just be able to save what’s left of his team… and his career. As Solomon O’Sullivan signs the contract, Sharon turns her back and calls him a loser.
When the Orphan removes his hand from hers, Ocean begins to plead for him to not leave her too, like Overkill. Telling her that he’s got to stop this, Guy promises that he will come back. Beginning to walk away, the Orphan is stopped by a familiar voice. Turning to its origin, the Orphan sees Edie Sawyer, U-Go Girl. Speaking accusatorily, Edie tells Guy that it figures. He always was good at leaving women to die. As Guy tries to stammer a defense, Edie asks him what kind of hero is he? What kind of man?
Reeling in emotions and holding his head in his hands in disbelief, Guy mutters to Edie that she isn’t real. Moving closer, Edie tells Guy that she is as real as he is. Arnie, she tells him, is so powerful that he brought her body back down from space and gave her life back. Speaking confidently, she tells him that she is back. Edie’s back. Removing his helmet, Guy looks into Edie’s eyes and asks if it is really true. Explaining further, she tells Guy that Arnie is obsessed with her. He would do anything for her.
Beckoning Guy on, Edie tells him to touch her, see how real she is. As Guy’s hand passes through her phantom form, the apparition of Edie Sawyer smiles, calling him a sucker. After a moment of realization, the Orphan turns and runs. Taunting the fleeing Guy, the Edie phantom mockingly encourages him to run, to run away from the truth. The only thing that he can’t run away from, she tells him, is his guilt heart.
Speaking to the Anarchist and Dead Girl, who are lounging in the X-Statix HQ, Venus reminds them that Guy is supposed to be their friend. His eyes closed and lying on a bed, Tike tells her that you can’t afford to have friends in this game. Firing one of her concussion blasts, tossing the Anarchist across the room, Venus tells him that you can’t afford to wallow in self-pity either. Sitting up in the Jacuzzi where he has been thrown, Tike asks Venus why is she picking on him? Why not Billy Bob White-Boy and Myles the weird fur coat? When she responds that if he comes back then they will follow him, Tike reminds her that he is the Anarchist. He doesn’t believe in no herd instinct and don’t want no mutants followin’ his butt.
Finally entering the conversation, Dead Girl tells Venus that Tike is faking it. All this wild man anarchist thing is a front, an easy way out. Continuing, Dead Girl explains that she thought that he would open up and she would see the real Tike. He did, and what did she see? A scared self-denying, guilt-ridden, washed-up excuse for a mutant. As an after thought, she adds that he’s not even fun anymore. Wiping the water that had splashed beneath his goggles, Tike protests, claiming that the last statement hurt.
As he kicks down the door leading to Arnie’s room, Guy tells the young boy that he doesn’t want to hurt him. Sitting innocently atop his bed, Arnie reassured himself that Guy is really there. After commenting that Guy is a little taller than he imagined, Arnie adds that he’s heard a lot of stars wear platform shoes. Tom Cruise. Cyclops…
Moving to the young mutant, Guy points to the smoke-ridden town outside the window and tells Arnie that this has to stop. People are really getting hurt our there. Rising from the bed, Arnie points to himself and tells Guy that people are getting hurt in here. Chiming in, Arnie‘s mother informs him that she is sorry. She told the gentleman that he wasn’t to be disturbed in his room. Arnie tells his mother that it is okay and that he can take care of himself. Turning to Guy, Arnie swiftly and forcefully grabs him and tosses him out of the window. This one’s for Edie, he tells Guy. He should have taken better care of her.
In freefall, Guy asks himself in thought if this is what he came there for? Pain? Judgment? The death penalty… not handed down from the indifferent office of a cold gun, but from Arnie. Crashing into the windshield of a car, he thinks Arnie the prosecution, acting on behalf of Edie Sawyer, deceased. Rising to his feet, the Orphan eyes the approaching legion of undead, acting under the power and influence of Arnie. And who are you, he asks them. His jury? Answering in a ghostly voice, one zombie informs Guy that he is Nathan Malloy, born 1888, dead 1911. A second claims to be Bud Corby, born ’32, died ’73. A third announces that they aren’t there for introductions; they’re there to make him on of them.
The battle begun, the Orphan uses all of his fighting skill to tear the reanimated corpses apart. As he fights them, Guy thinks of what they are; the dead brought back to life. After a moment, the thought hits him… could Arnie really do it? Could he really bring Edie back to life? Finally deciding that his thoughts are madness, he realizes that these creatures are not life, but bone puppets… rotten mannequins, reanimated by Arnie’s sick mind.
As he finds himself overwhelmed, brought down by the sheer number of his foes, Guy curses at the way he is about to die. Suddenly, the undead over him explode into pieces. Looking up, the Orphan sees Venus Dee Milo, her hands still glowing with her primal energies. Floating above her is Doop, as always holding a camera to one eye and filming everything. Smile, she tells him, he’s on camera.
Almost in disbelief, he tells her that she shouldn’t have come alone… it’s too dangerous. Pointing out Guy’s error as he blasts a zombie, the Anarchist asks who said anything about being alone? Joining the battle are a super-powered Phat, Vivisector and Dead Girl, who mockingly comments that all of the dead people around really devalues her currency. As Arnie look on in anger, Guy comments to Billy Bob that he got his Phat back. Trouncing an undead, Phat replies that he and his homie, Myles, had a rap, and now everythin’ is cool. Tossing a few more undead, Vivisector translates, saying that Phat means that they discussed their sexuality and came to the conclusion that they were both homosexual. Blasting the head apart from another zombie, Venus informs Guy that the two went on live TV and said as much. Marketing, the Anarchist explains, is already seeing an upswing in their pink dollar merchandise sales.
What they realized, Vivisector says, is that, after their initial mistake, though they’re both gay, they are not attracted to each other. Word, Phat says in agreement, he’s more into brothers. Surprise, the Anarchist says in response. Voicing his own preference, Vivisector admits that he hankers for someone more intellectually challenging. Halting his part in the battle, Phat turns to his friend and asks if he’s saying that he’s a dumb white boy? Snapping back, Vivisector tells Phat to drop being so melodramatic. They’re in a pastiche of a zombie movie, not some prepubescent soap.
Taking a moment in the lull of the battle, Guy notes the current altercation and suggests to Venus that maybe the mutant team who argues together, sticks together. When Venus asks him what next, Guy instructs her to evacuate the civilians and those ridiculous amateurs from O-Force. Having finished his own part in the battle, the Anarchist asks Guy what he will be doing. Eyeing the house he was all too recently in, Guy responds that he’s going to see Arnie. They still have some issues.
In front of his downtown office, Solomon O’Sullivan finds an angry mob descending upon him. Reporting from the scene, a television reporter announces that the public feels duped. There are even rumors, he says, that the contestants who became O-Force members weren’t really mutants and their so-called powers were created by special effects. Watching the scene nearby, Sharon Ginsberg curses. As leathery wings emerge from her shoulder blades she reminds herself that she didn’t want to do this, not in public anyhow. Flying over the crowd, Ginsberg picks up the accosted O’Sullivan, much to his surprise. When O’Sullivan states the obvious, that she is a mutant, Ginsberg replies that she is a lawyer first, mutant second. Nonetheless, O’Sullivan says, she is saving his life.
As she carries O’Sullivan away, high above the streets below, Ginsberg tells her employer that she is doing this because he and she are going to make it their joint mission to bring down X-Statix. And if he doesn’t agree, she adds, she’ll drop him. Hanging limply from Ginsberg’s hands, O’Sullivan repeats his agreement emphatically.
Staring at a seductive photo of Edie Sawyer, Arnie tells Guy that it’s just not the same without her. Replying that he knows that, Guy asks in turn if Arnie thinks that it doesn’t hurt him too. Remember, he tells him, he used to be Mister Sensitive. Still staring at the photo, Arnie replies that he should change his name back. Mister Sensitive, he tells him, sounds cooler and is kinda more appropriate. Especially now that they know that he isn’t even an orphan, which makes his name kind of dumb. Taking a look out of the window, Guy replies that if he changes his name back to Mister Sensitive, the cultural analysts and gossip writers will read it as a way of running from the pain he felt as the Orphan when Edie died. So, Arnie replies, give them something to talk about.
Turning away from the window and back to Arnie, Guy says that they’re supposed to be talking about Edie. They’re supposed to be talking about him putting a stop to what he’s putting the town through. They’re supposed to be talking about whether or not he deserves to live. Changing the subject, Arnie asks Guy what she was like? What was Edie like? Staring dejectedly at a X-Force poster on the wall, Guy answers; difficult, bright, moody, sometimes downright impossible. Still atop his bed, Arnie comments to Guy that it doesn’t sound like he liked her much. Turning his head and speaking through clenched teeth, Guy snaps back that he loved her. Calling Arnie a ridiculous freak, he tells her that he loved her more than he ever loved anyone. Not as much as he did, Arnie spits back. When Guy points out that he never even met her, Arnie responds that you don’t need to meet someone to love them. Ever heard of Internet romance?
Moving into Guy’s face, Arnie then tells him that if he ever calls him a freak again, he’ll make his skin peel off and his muscles scab over and his eyes turn into runny eggs. Defiantly, Guy repeats the word freak, over and over again. Suddenly, pain erupts throughout Guy’s body, and he collapses on the floor. Concentrating on his projection of pain, Arnie tells guy that he’s not nice. Letting up on the pain, Arnie sits back on his bed. Calmed down, he tells Guy that it’s only because he’s famous and the leader of what used to be his favorite super hero team that he’s going to give him another chance to be nice.
Nice? Guy asks, before he grabs Arnie by the neck. Lifting the youngster off of the ground, Guy tells Arnie that he could kill him right now. One squeeze and… Arnie interrupts Guy, completing his sentence. He will make sure that he explodes like a bomb and takes him with him. As Guy considers his words, still pressing him against the wall, Arnie tells Guy that if he thinks he’s that bad, that he poses that much of a threat, he should be willing to die to stop him. Isn’t that what people like him do? Die in the line of duty? Pressing him on, Arnie tells Guy to show him how much of a hero he is… “Mister Sensitive.” Lost in the word Arnie has just said to him, Guy can only stare in silence.
Leading the town people out of the former battle zone with the rest of X-Statix, Venus comments that Guy must be getting on really well with Arnie. At least, she says, he seems to be keeping him preoccupied. Carrying a little girl, who is rising on his shoulders, the Anarchist suggests that they get the people out of there before he gets “re-occupied.” Passing a group of cameramen and giving them a thumbs-up, the Anarchist then adds that, with any luck, they will make the evening news.
The standoff between Guy and Arnie is broken with the sound of a clearing throat. Looking to the sound’s source, the two mutants see Arnie’s mother. Holding a tray of cookies and two glasses of milk, she asks if they want any. Still being held two feet off of the ground and by the neck, Arnie chides his mother, pointing out that they’re just on the point of deciding whether or not to kill each other! Replying innocently, Arnie’s mother asks the two why they would want to do something so silly?
Taking a moment for her question to seep in, Guy lets Arnie back down, replying that she has a good point. Speaking to Arnie, as much as to himself, Guy states that they’re not X-Force. They don’t have Edie Sawyer. They don’t have Zeitgeist or Bloke or any of the others who have died on the team. But maybe, he says, they deserve a chance. Still holding her tray of milk and cookies, Arnie’s mother adds that maybe they all deserve a chance.
Her eyes clenched shut, Ocean screams in pain. Beside the cot in which she is laying Arnie rests on one knee, his eyes closed in concentration. Watching the fibers of Ocean’s leg fusing and her atrophied tissues stirring like Lazarus, Guy asks himself if the kid has any idea just how mind-shatteringly powerful he is? Does he know the limit of his powers? Is he aware of that little problem he has, the one he picked up in his bedroom? Seeing the legs of Ocean restored and fully healed, Guy tells himself that they shall see.
Running her hands along her legs, Ocean smiles in delight. She exclaims that she can feel her legs! It’s like nothing happened to them! Referring to Guy’s exit earlier, Ocean admits that she thought he was a cowardly jerk like Overkill. She thought that all men were cowardly jerks. But he was right all along. Everything is going to be okay! Glancing over at the young mutant who just performed the miracle, Guy only manages to mutter a feeble, yeah.
Walking Arnie out of the Red Cross tent, Guy presses the youngster on; telling him his work isn’t finished yet. Encouraged by the experience, Arnie tell Guy that mending things can be just as much fun as breaking them. Careful, Arnie, Guy responds. That’s a very dangerous idea.
It is in the early hours of the next day that Arnie has finished. As the young Arnie tells his mother goodbye, Guy stands by the limousine, which will take them away. As he holds the door open for Arnie, Guy thinks that all he wants is to never see that sad, ruined face again. Stopping Arnie briefly, Guy tells him that Professor Xavier is expecting him. He will be able to help him as he has done with so many of them in the past. Now, says Guy, they will tell the media that he died last night. It’s the only way to keep the media and law off of his back. It’s the best he can do.
When Arnie exclaims that he’s got a better idea, Guy immediately begins to protest. Stopping Guy in mid-sentence, Arnie reiterates that he said that he has a better idea. And, he adds, he knows that Guy doesn’t want him to get mad by not liking it… right, Mister Sensitive?
Looking out of the windows of the X-Statix HQ to the adoring crowd below, Spike comments that it look like they love them again. In a funny way, he says, O-Force was the best thing that could have happened to them. It’s always difficult, starting again with a new name, especially without your name being the most popular team. But, he continues, having O-Force around meant the public could compare them, their substance and dignity to a synthetic, just-add-water kinda outfit. His eyes examining Spike’s demeanor, Guy remarks that it’s almost as though he planned all this to happen. Smiling innocently and half-covering his mouth, Spike replies that that would make him some kind of manipulative mastermind.
Turning his attention to the rest of the team, Guy tells them that he knows how tough things have been, so he wants to thank all of them for coming through for him. Turning to Venus, Vivisector counters that he should thank Venus. She pretty much threatened and bullied them all into being a team again. Chiming in, the Anarchist explains to Guy that the only reason he saved his butt was to prove that he was “fun.” Smiling broadly, Dead Girl tells Tike, as if he needs to prove anything.
Always bringing the team back on track, Spike reminds the group that they have to choose a new member for X-Statix. Holding out a small stack of papers, Spike informs all that he’s had some focus groups canvassing opinion as to what kind of mutant would prove most popular… Interrupting Spike in mid-sentence, Guy announces that he’s got something to say on that subject. Walking to the door, Guy states that, as leader of X-Statix, he’s already decided whom he wants as their new team member. Really, remarks Vivisector snidely. How very autocratic of him.
Opening the door, Guy reveals a young man with a face half-shriveled and clad in a X-Statix jumpsuit. Addressing the young man as Arnie, Guy tells him to say hello to his teammates. Addressing his fellow teammates in turn, Guy tells them this is Arnie.