The Marvel Rundown: That old X-Statix magic in X-Cellent #1

Plus Fantastic Four: Life Story, Sabretooth, and X-Men: Legends in the Rapid Rundown!
The return of the X-Statix creative team! Does X-Cellent recapture that X-Statix magic? This review includes X-Spoilers, so proceed with caution.
If you’re looking for spoiler-light reviews, scroll down to the Rapid Rundown, where we cover Fantastic Four: Life Story #6, Sabretooth #1, and X-Men Legends #1 in a slightly-less spoiler-y fashion.
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Michael “Doc” Allred
Colorist: Laura Allred
Letterer: Nate Piekos
First and foremost, let’s get one thing out of the way: X-Cellent #1 is decidedly an opening issue. This isn’t a critique, just a fact: there’s a lot of setup to get through to re-establish X-Statix and introduce X-Cellent, which is actually the name of a new team (and one that plays an antagonistic role for our “heroes”… assuming they can even be considered to be such).
This is all narrated by Mr. Sensitive, whose tone is about on par for a character who once felt relieved that his super-team’s coach was a child murderer, because it meant that the moral relationship between Mr. Sensitive and Coach was clearly defined, with Mr. Sensitive in the “good” position.
When you’re operating from those sensibilities, the machinations of X-Cellent, which frequently amount to social demonstrations or bizarre, super-powered performance art, are just about as terrifying as you can get. Worse still, if Mr. Sensitive thought that it was hard to find your way in the superficial world of the early 2000s, imagine how he’s going to fare in 2022, when he can easily see how many more followers X-Cellent has than X-Statix on social media.
And speaking of social media, when Mr. Sensitive gets a “Zeitgeist Notification” informing him that X-Cellent has started a new livestream, he and the rest of the X-Statix team members stop everything they’re doing to stare into their cell phone telephones and raptly absorb the video stream (rather than continue to work on filming their own, more “traditional” television narrative). In moments like this, it feels like X-Force and X-Statix had been waiting for the social media era all along.
However, while the social media world may have been updated to match where we’re at in 2022, the world inside Marvel Comics has changed a lot, too. Although a couple more famous mutants do have single-panel gag cameos, this first issue doesn’t mention Krakoa. While I can generally take or leave the Krakoa books, I do find myself genuinely interested to see how X-Cellent would approach the living island utopia for mutants, even if only for a single issue or two.
Ultimately, it’s hard to pass too much judgement on this issue, as it is very clearly an opening salvo, and it’s impossible to tell just what direction the series might go from here (which, to be fair, is just where we should be at the end of a certain kind of first issue). However, wherever the story goes from here, this first issue does present a satisfying chunk of story, and one that will raise plenty of questions for you to mull over as you wait for X-Cellent #2 to arrive.
You know what to expect from the art and colors of the Allreds as well as from the lettering of Piekos, and each delivers on that expected excellence (OK, look, I had to use the pun once in this review; I promise I’ll avoid any further obvious wordplay if I end up blurbing subsequent issues of the series for the Rundown).
Here’s the thing: X-Cellent, like X-Force and X-Statix before it, is either going to be something that is right up your alley, or something that you just find unpalatable. If you’re the former, then X-Cellent will provide just what you’re looking for, and if you’re the latter, well. There are plenty more “conventional” superhero books on the shelves of your local comic shop this week. Maybe one of those would be more your speed.
Final Verdict: Strong Browse, although if you already know you’ll enjoy the book’s tone from your experience with X-Statix, just Buy it.

Next week: Secret X-Men #1 arrivesplus the Moon Mission returns in Moon Knight #8.


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