Displaying his most serious face, Spike Freeman squints at Guy Smith sternly. Beginning by telling his employee that he likes him as a friend and respects him as a team leader, he wants him to consider what he’s going to ask him very carefully, because it could have a long-lasting effect on their relationship. Why are they in the john together?
In the cramped space of the bathroom stall, Spike sits on the closed lid of the toilet. Standing in front of his sitting employer, Guy replies that this is the only place to talk around here without Arnie hearing. Pointing to Doop, who floats silently as ever above them as he holds his head in concentration, Guy informs Spike that he can emit a short-range signal that blocks out Arnie’s radar. But, he continues, it works best in confined spaces.
Shaking his fist in anger, Spike tells Guy that there is nothing to talk about. He doesn’t want that little monster on the team; he’s a killer! Speaking in a calm counterpoint to Spike’s rage, Guy tells Spike that Arnie is unstable and until he finds out the full extent of his powers, they’ve got to play along with him. Still enraged, Spike asks Guy what the media are going to say when they learn X-Statix has recruited a murderer? Smiling thinly, Guy tells Spike that he’s got a great idea… it’s so out there it might work. They will fix him up with a costume and mask… and keep his true identity a secret.
Standing before the X-Statix headquarters, Arnie, introduced as the mysterious Fan Boy, poses of the cameras of the paparazzi. Clad in a green X-Statix costume, which covers all of the shriveled parts of his face, Arnie smiles with glee. Watching the event on her television, Lacuna contemplates the newest addition to the X-Statix family. Listening to the commentator, she hears that the X-Statix spin machine is keeping quiet about their new member’s identity. Does this herald, the commentator asks, a more somber, less commercial image-obsessed team?
Gyrating his posterior before a mirror, the Anarchist asks the rest of the team if his butt looks big in his costume? Examining the reflection closely, Dead Girl replies to Tike that he has high buttocks, that’s all. When Tike theorizes that perhaps they have dropped, Dead Girl retorts that he could eat his dinner off of them. Addressing the unmasked Arnie as Mysterious Fan Boy, Vivisector tells him that he will notice the level of discourse tends to be fairly lofty… A little confused, Arnie asks if the Anarchist isn’t, like, vain is he?
Growing irate, Tike informs Arnie that this isn’t a vanity thing! His mutant powers are linked to the muscles in his butt! Puffing up with his “phat” power, Phat chimes in, saying that going by the stuff Tike says, so is his mouth. Turning to his sarcastic teammate, Tike raises his hands, his mutant acid dripping from them. Eyeing the fleeing Phat, Tike asks what that says to him, “milk boy.” Staring in shock at his two new teammates, now in a wrestling hold with each other, Arnie comments aloud that they are fighting! They’re fighting each other! His arm around the young Arnie, Guy replies that it isn’t fighting! That isn’t real. They do this to keep themselves razor sharp. It’s like… play, with a deadly purpose.
Growing calm, Arnie asks Guy if they really dig each other? They’re one tight-knit team? As he distracts Arnie from seeing Tike toss some of his acid into Phat’s eyes, Guy tells Arnie that they are like brothers and sisters. Moving the youngster to the window, Guy tells Arnie to look at his fans. Why doesn’t he give them a wave? They can go and do some autographs later. Reeling from the coolness of the idea of him giving autographs, Arnie glowingly waves to the people below, oblivious of Vivisector pouring a bottle of scotch down his throat.
Hearing Arnie think aloud that the crowd loves them, Vivisector decides to correct him. They don’t love them, he tells Arnie. They hate them, envy them and fear them. They put them on a pedestal so they don’t have to live alongside them. But, he says, they can’t wait for them to fall off and crack their mutoid craniums wide open. Reeling from Vivisector’s cold words, Arnie tells the group that he doesn’t like this. This is not what he wanted the team to be. He’s never been in a team before and this is starting to be a big disappointment. The level of Arnie’s disappointment begins to be immediately felt by the rest of the team, who begin to feel pain under Arnie’s powers.
Spitting out his words like the pain he is making them feel, Arnie tells the group that it is starting to look like the rumors about them being spoiled, squabbling, ego-driven mutants were true. Through the pain, which is visibly apparent on his face, Guy, through halting words, suggests that they all go out for lunch. A non-disappointing idea now suggested, Arnie’s mood, as well as the pain he was projecting, changes. Excited by the idea of lunch, he asks Guy is he meant somewhere… trendy?
In the cramped bathroom stall, the entire X-Statix team, save Arnie, discusses their situation. Guy tells the group that the kid’s been an outsider all of his life, picked on, bullied, everything. Now, he continues, he’s finally part of a team… so they’d better start acting like one. Reaching around the mass of flesh that is Phat, Tike flushes the toilet and asks Guy how do they do that? By spending quality time wrapped around a bedpan? Whatever it takes, states Dead Girl plainly. Voicing her own idea, Venus asks why doesn’t she ‘port him somewhere far away and dump him there? Her face contorted in loathing, Dead Girl replies that coming from the most beautiful and perfect goddess in the world, that’s really evil. Snapping back, Venus tells her teammate to drop dead.
Telling the two to knock it off, Guy points out that that is just the kind of testy exchange he’s talking about. Thanking Venus for her idea, Guy tells her that they can’t dump Arnie; he’s their problem. Getting into Guy’s face and pointing his finger into Guy’s chest, Tike corrects Guy. Arnie is his problem. Turning it back, Guy replies to Tike that it makes it his problem as well. They’re a team, he tells Tike, as well as the rest of the team. They’d die for each other. They’d like nothing better than to spend their hard-earned down time together. If anyone has a problem with that, Guy tells the group, he’ll break their necks!
Sitting with the rest of the team in the center of an upscale restaurant called the Chimpanzee’s Dinner Party, Arnie draws the group’s attention to Julia Roberts and states that he didn’t know stars like her haggled over their check! Dead Girl explains the occurrence with a maxim, the more you got the less you like to give. After Arnie wonders aloud if he could ask her for a date, Tike points out to him that he’s X-Statix now. He dates anyone he wants. Leaning into Guy, who is sitting next to him, Tike whispers that he wishes. Whispering as well, Guy tells Tike that Arnie is calming down; he can feel it. He’s so into being there with them that his radar is lowered. When asked by Tike why they don’t jump Arnie right now, Guy replies that it’s not the way. The way? whispers Tike. Who the hell is he all of a sudden, he asks Guy, Obi-Freakin’-Kenobi?
A female voice draws the attention of the team when it asks if she may join them. Turning to the new arrival, Arnie exclaims in delight. Identifying the woman as Lacuna, Arnie informs her that she is a babe before realizing his faux pas. Crouching down to Arnie’s level and calling him by his codename, the Mysterious Fan Boy, Lacuna asks him how would he like to appear on her show? Lacuna and the Stars, he asks? You bet! Smiling at her coup, Lacuna tells the Mysterious Fan Boy that they can publicize it as the forum for him revealing his true identity.
Jumping into the situation, Guy tells Lacuna, no way. When asked by the startled talk show host why they are starting with the secrecy stuff, Guy snaps a quick no comment. Informing Lacuna that he didn’t say she could join them, he tells her to get lost. Turning to Venus, Guy tells her to get them out of there. When Arnie informs him that he hasn’t finished his Crème Brulé, Guy points a finger at the startled youth, informing him that he’s in X-Statix now. These are the kinds of sacrifices he has to make.
Much later, Lacuna is waiting outside of X-Statix headquarters. After waiting for two hours for someone to turn up, Spike Freeman appears. Although she is planning to do a show about Spike, digging up some pretty hot stuff about where some of his money comes from… and goes to, she decides to stick with the story about X-Statix’s new member. Using her mutant power to slip in and out of moments, she easily bypasses the headquarters’ security and follows Spike inside. Watching the team for a while, Lacuna is amazed at the team’s behavior. They are all being nice to each other, no squabbling or bitchy back-biting. It’s about as interesting, she thinks, as synchronized Scrabble. Seeing a moment to “step into,” Lacuna freezes time and approached the Mysterious Fan Boy. Unmasking the frozen youth as he is taking a bite from a slice of pizza, Lacuna quickly learns the Fanboy’s identity… as does the world.
The photograph of the time-frozen, pizza-eating and very unmasked Mysterious Fan Boy, which Lacuna had taken, is displayed on the television screen. The commentator identifies the youth as Arnie Lundberg who, contrary to what X-Statix has them believe, is very much alive and well… and wearing an “X!” Now standing before the camera himself, the reporter informs his viewers that it was only recently that Arnie terrorized his hometown with his weird, mental powers. Though he undid many of the sick mutilations he inflicted upon his neighbors, the reporter continues, there remains two deaths and a hatful of trauma.
As footage rolls of a moment caught with Guy outside the X-Statix HQ, viewers hear Guy tell them that Arnie has seen the, ah, error of his ways and wants to make amends. The best way he can do that, he continues, is by serving X-Statix. When one reporter asks what about the law, that little one about homicide, Guy replies that the law doesn’t cover things like this. Following up with the question, the reporter asks Guy if he means X-Statix is above the law? As Guy stammers a clarification, another reporter asks Guy if Osama Bin Laden had super powers, would he consider him for the team?
Watching this painful exchange on the television, X-Statix, including Arnie, sits dumbstruck. Finally speaking, Arnie asks why couldn’t those bastards minds their own business? He was really digging being part of the team and now they have to go and spoil it. Exclaiming that he knows what he wants to do, Arnie tells the rest that he wants to go right around to that TV station and teach those creeps a lesson. Seeing Arnie’s anger reflected in the television, which explodes in a fireball, Tike tries to calm him. Asking who gives a damn, Tike tells Arnie that as long as they stick together…
His spirits lifted a little, Arnie asks if they don’t want him to quit? Even though people know who he is? After Tike gives a resounding no, Arnie suggests that they need a mission, something where he can show the American public that he’s using his powers for good. When Guy voices that the idea isn’t bad, Spike announces that he’ll see what he can do. Something nice and uncomplicated. As Guy begins to leave, Venus asks him where he’s going. Replying enigmatically, Guy replies that he’s got a mission of his own to deal with first.
In her dressing room, preparing for her show, Lacuna asks the enraged Guy Smith to not ask her to do this. Telling her that because she couldn’t leave it alone and has made the situation worse, Guy informs her that she’s going to help him sort it out. When she begins to protest, Guy silences her, telling her to get used to the big bad world. As Guy grabs her by her wrists, Lacuna tells him that he should have told her about Arnie. Informing Guy that she is called the Eighth X-Static, Lacuna tells him that he should have trusted her. Replying that he’s through trusting anyone, himself included, Guy asks Lacuna if she is going to help him with this?
Slipping between the moments, effectively freezing time for everyone but herself, Lacuna considers her options. Initially intending to punch Guy in the nose, for which he richly deserves, she decides that she can’t do it. Slipping back into real-time, Lacuna sits at her make-up table. When she asks if she has any option, Guy bluntly replies, negative.
With retractable razor-sharp bone-claws and horns, a titanium-enhanced exoskeleton, tectonic plates of macromolecular concrete for flesh and liquid nitrogen for blood (perhaps that is a slight exaggeration) the mutant known as Razorhead is a sociopath devoid of all feeling, conscious or shame. Having recently escaped from his high-security prison in Louisiana, slaughtering six guards and a prison chaplain in the process, Razorhead is now holed up in the swamps, living off of the flesh of alligators and the blood of search parties sent out to catch him. Having received this briefing on their “nice, uncomplicated mission,” X-Statix, care of Venus’ teleportation portal, arrives in the Louisiana bayou.
Emerging through her portal, Venus comments that it was strange; the ‘porting seemed slightly heavier than it should have been. Dismissing Venus’ concerns, the Orphan suggests that is must be the swampy old air. It makes everything seem weighed down. Taking in their surroundings, Arnie is overjoyed. Exclaiming that this is excellent! He cannot believe that he is actually on a mission with X-Statix! Taking stock of the situation himself, the Orphan reminds Arnie that this isn’t a game. Razorhead, he tells Arnie, is a very dangerous individual.
Getting the mission into gear, Guy asks Arnie if he can pick up where Razorhead is. Stammering that he thinks their quarry is close, Arnie clutches his chest and tells the others he doesn’t feel too good. When Dead Girl comments that Arnie does look a little pale, Venus snidely tells Dead Girl to look who’s talking. As the Orphan tells Arnie to sit down a while to settle his light-headedness, Vivisector gathers the attention of the team, telling them that they’ve got company.
As the monstrous Razorhead approaches, the Anarchist fires a steam of acid. Sarcastically thanking the Anarchist for the “shower,” Razorhead belts the X-Static, knocking him down. Seeing this, Dead Girl jumps into action, declaring that Razorhead is dead. However, with a swipe of his claws, Razorhead disembowels Dead Girl, nearly carving her in two. Attempting to choke Razorhead from behind, Vivisector is quickly dropped by an over-the-shoulder punch. Jumping into the fray next, the Orphan declares that Razorhead is his. His arms transforming into tendrils, flaying about like rotating windmill fans, Razorhead knocks down the Orphan, joking that he says the nicest things!
Clutching the Orphan by his throat, Razorhead gloats, informing him that he always wanted to kill the leader of the pack. Instead of dealing the mortal blow, however, Razorhead gurgles. Suddenly doubling over in pain, Razorhead cannot even manage to form a coherent word. Nearby, his hands at his temples in concentration, Arnie tells Razorhead that you don’t… mess… with… X-Statix. Arnie’s concentration reaches an apex, which causes Razorhead to explode into a mass of bloody pulp.
Recovering from Razorhead’s blow, the Anarchist comments that he was one tough mutant and almost opened him up. When Dead Girl asks if he is okay, Tike jokingly states that it’s better for seeing what he had for lunch. Tending to Arnie, the Orphan tells him that he saved their lives. He saved X-Statix. Reeling from the strain of his feat, Arnie asks Guy if he will tell them, won’t he? He’ll tell them that he did good. Staring off afar, Arnie informs the Orphan that his heart is real bad. It’s funny, he tells Guy. He could do all this strange stuff, change folks around and blow them up, but he couldn’t do anything about his heart and his face. Arnie begins to ask Guy again if he will tell the others, but trails off and collapses.
As the youth collapses into his arms, the Orphan tells him that he will. He will tell them that X-Statix was saved by Arnie Lundberg, otherwise known as the Mysterious Fan Boy. Laying Arnie to the ground, Guy removes his battle helmet and informs the rest of the team that Arnie is gone. Approaching Guy and the departed Arnie, Tike asks if they are really going to tell everyone that he saved their butts? A harsh look on his face, Guy asks Tike in turn what does he think?
As the team watches the Mysterious Fan Boy Funeral Special on television, Tike remarks that it’s turned into a media circus. Eating from a box of Chinese food, Vivisector comments that it was because some clown leaked it to the press that they’d be there, which summons an observation from Phat that you can’t trust no one these days. Almost lost in though, Tike tells the others that it’s weird, but these last few days with Arnie, while they’ve had to act like a real close-knit team with no flare-ups or clashes of personality… maybe they were a better team and better people when they were forced to live up to Arnie’s expectations. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if they could keep on acting that way? The rest of the team takes a moment of silence to consider the Anarchists comments before pelting him with food and exclaiming that he is crazy.
Standing over the open casket of her son, Arnie’s mother thanks Guy for making his last days happy days. She also thanks him for coming along. His eyes transfixed on the eternally slumbering Arnie, Guy tells his mother that he would attend the funeral, but it’d turn into a media circus. Silently, audible only to the dark recesses of his mind, Guy adds that they are trying desperately to distance themselves from Arnie.
Wrapped in sorrow, Arnie’s mother tells Guy she should have warned him that Arnie had a bad heart. Too much running around and excitement was always likely to put a strain on it. Again silently admitting only to himself, Guy recalls that he sensed the weakness of Arnie’s heart the first time he met him. The hole… the malformed left ventricle. The arrhythmia. When he had agreed to let Arnie join X-Statix, he had just hoped that his ticker would explode before he did any real harm.
His countenance not betraying any of these thoughts, Guy tells Mrs. Lundberg to not blame herself. It was enough to make the strongest heart give out. He just wishes, Guy tells her, that he could have killed Razorhead before he managed to attack Arnie. With her heart overburdened with both grief and happiness, Arnie’s mother hugs Guy, thanking him one last time for letting her son be a part of his wonderful team.
As he and Lacuna walk on the beach, Guy tells Lacuna that Arnie was going to die sooner or later. It was a matter of waiting for it to happen. Waiting for it to happen was one thing, she replies. But what he made her do in that swamp, she tells him, that was murder. Defending his actions, Guy replies that they were hurrying up a process that would have happened soon anyway. She didn’t have to slip between the moments and push that needle into the kid’s chest just as he was saying how excellent it was to be there with X-Statix!
Recalling that moment in the swamp, Lacuna tells Guy that she couldn’t get the syringe in at first. She hit a rib. Her hands were shaking. You see, she tells Guy, she’s never actually killed anyone before. Unlike he, who seems to take that kind of thing in stride. Grabbing the syringe in question away from Lacuna, Guy heatedly asks her if she thinks he likes killing? Replying with the same fervor, she tells him that she doesn’t know. Maybe he does. Maybe she had him all wrong. Or, maybe he’s changed. Maybe the old Guy Smith wouldn’t have browbeat her into getting a young man’s blood on her hands.
A short distance away, another couple walking on the beach recognizes Lacuna. Drawing closer they recognize Guy Smith as well, whom the woman declares is even more handsome in the flesh. The male promptly tells the two that they are their biggest fans and asks for their autographs. Still enraged from their recent exchange, Lacuna tells the two to leave her alone and begins to storm away. As Guy follows, calling out Lacuna’s name, the male is taken aback at their behavior. He tells his wife that these mutants get a little fame and they act like they’re freaking royalty.
Finally catching up to Lacuna, Guy tells her that maybe she is right. Maybe he has changed. Maybe watching your comrades die changes you. Maybe watching the only person you ever really loved die changes you. Or maybe he’s just not equipped to do this job anymore. Turning around at this news, Lacuna asks if he is kidding. He loves that job! It’s the only thing he cares about. Eyes downcast in reflection, Guy thinks that maybe it’s time he did something about that.
When asked by Lacuna what he is saying, Guy emphatically replies that he quits. He quits X-Statix. He quits “Mister Sensitive.” He quits being “the Orphan.” From now on, he tells her, he’s just Guy Smith. As Guy walks away Lacuna shouts that he doesn’t mean that. Without him, X-Statix would fall apart. Turning his head just enough to yell back, Guy tells her that it’s too bad.
Digging into her pocket, Lacuna mumbles to herself that he really means it. Pulling out a cell phone, Lacuna dials it and places it to her ear. Getting her intended party, Lacuna tells Frank to cancel tomorrow’s show. After hearing a response, she tells Frank that she doesn’t care how pissed off Spielberg will get. Something way bigger has come up.