Runaways #14

July 2, 2015

Runaways 2-14Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
May 2006
****

#14 checks in with the whole gang (including the space-romance of Karolina & a transsexual Skrull) before flashing to backstory. Even before running away in vol. 1, the late turncoat Alex Wilder had made a backdoor plan for his MMORPG pals to resurrect him in case of death!

last issue: Runaways #13
next issue: Runaways #15

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Daredevil #83
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
New Avengers: Illuminati #1 of 1
The Pulse #14
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5
Young Avengers #11

Runaways #13

July 1, 2015

Runaways 2-13Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
April 2006
*****

Molly Hayes (AKA Princess Powerful) gets pressganged into the kid-crime org of a Fagin-ish wizard. It’s indebted to Dickens, obv, but also to Claremont’s seminal X-run: the break for a lighthearted adventure, the visit to the sewers, and a tease of anonymous villains prepping for an attack.

last issue: Runaways #12
next issue: Runaways #14

also indexed for Apr. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #13
Daredevil #82
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5

Runaways #12

June 30, 2015

Runaways 2-12Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
March 2006
****

Molly pounds the New Avengers, who do little to help rescue damsel Dagger from a fan-boy rapist on superdrugs. This is a fine baseline arc, with guests Cloak, Dagger & Spidey adding an ’80s Marvel tone that’s amplified by the story length (4 issues), a charitable churchman, & NYC snowfall.

last issue: Runaways #11
next issue: Runaways #13

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Daredevil #81
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
The Pulse #13
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5
Young Avengers #10

Runaways #11

June 29, 2015

Runaways 2-11Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
February 2006
****

#11 reverses convention by having the kids chat with Spider-Man first & then fight him. What’s more notable is how, tho’ he’s the poster boy for Marvel’s teen heroes, Spidey is set up as a contrast to the Runaways: a lonely kid but a solid home life. Plus Chase bluffs info from a drug-dealing pimp!

last issue: Runaways #10
next issue: Runaways #12

also indexed for Feb. ’06
Daredevil #80
Drax the Destroyer #4 of 4

Runaways #10

June 28, 2015

Runaways 2-10Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
January 2006
***

BKV leads his charges into the center of the contempo Marvel U.: BMB’s New Avengers in NYC. The guest cast should goose sales but the mag stays focused on its own superheroes, in that chat-heavy/plot-lite style that’s so fashionable. Alph has fun with the change of climate & cityscape tho.

last issue: Runaways #9
next issue: Runaways #11

also indexed for Jan. ’06
Daredevil #79
Drax the Destroyer #3 of 4
The Pulse #12

Runaways #9

June 27, 2015

Runaways 2-09Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
December 2005
****

Cloak, the ’80s super-runaway, avoids a ‘New’ Avengers manhunt after his GF Dagger ends up hospitalized. It’s up to our plucky LA outsiders to clear his name! On art, Alphona uses computers to draw (not photoref!) his fine lines. His comic timing also adds to the Buffy vibe.

last issue: Runaways #8
next issue: Runaways #10

also indexed for Dec. ’05
Daredevil #78
Drax the Destroyer #2 of 4
House of M #8 of 8
Secret War #5 of 5
Young Avengers #9

Runaways #8

June 26, 2015

Runaways 2-08Brian K. Vaughan // Takeshi Miyazawa
November 2005
****

Evil alien parents had betrayed their homeworld & betrothed their daughter to the Skrulls. Now it’s time for Karolina’s arranged marriage to an aristo—& since she’s a lesbian, the Skrull is game for adopting female characteristics! Coince, Young Avengers also has romance w/ an alien princeling.

last issue: Runaways #7
next issue: Runaways #9

also indexed for Nov. ’05
Daredevil #77
Drax the Destroyer #1 of 4
House of M #7 of 8
The Pulse #11
Young Avengers #8

Runaways #7

June 25, 2015

Runaways 2-07Brian K. Vaughan // Takeshi Miyazawa
October 2005
****

With status quo established & relief artist Miyazawa on hand, BKV restarts some of the mag’s soap elements. Psychedelic Supergirl makes a pass at Nico M. in a no-big-deal coming-out scene, then learns she’s affianced to a Skrull! Plus the newbie defeats a local LA villain: a mad Nazi made of bees!

last issue: Runaways #6
next issue: Runaways #8

also indexed for Oct. ’05
Iron Man #4
Daredevil #76
House of M #5 of 8
House of M #6 of 8
Young Avengers #7

Runaways #6

June 24, 2015

Runaways 2-06Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
September 2005
*****

My misgiving that Ultron was too far above our kids’ weight class is finessed by the post-teen cavalry saving their hides. Turns out Vaughan has written a backdoor pilot (to use an LA term) for a team of New New Warriors (AKA Excelsior—nice name!), financed by Marvel’s original c-lister, Rick Jones!

last issue: Runaways #5
next issue: Runaways #7

also indexed for Sept. ’05
Daredevil #75
House of M #3 of 8
House of M #4 of 8
The Pulse #10
Young Avengers #6

Runaways #5

June 23, 2015

Runaways 2-05Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
August 2005
****

The kids face the secret father of a new superfriend: Dr. Doom! or maybe a Doombot! …nope, it’s Ultron! I’d usually call foul on this bait-n-switch reveal, esp. as facing a rogue Doombot would be perilous enough, plus BKV nails Doom’s voice. But AA draws the fight exceptionally well, which earns a few points!

last issue: Runaways #4
next issue: Runaways #6

also indexed for Aug. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #12
Daredevil #74
House of M #1 of 8
House of M #2 of 8
Young Avengers #5

Runaways #4

June 22, 2015

Runaways 2-04Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
July 2005
****

A ’90s d-lister is suffering PTSD from his darkling powers, while a new castmember (Hispanic son of a single mom!) learns pop is a supervillain! Tho the mag is slowing back down, it’s got enough plots & characters—and sketches them out well enough—that the decompression isn’t a drag on momentum.

last issue: Runaways #3
next issue: Runaways #5

also indexed for Jul. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #11
Daredevil #73
The Pulse #9
Young Avengers #4

Runaways #3

June 21, 2015

Runaways 2-03Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
June 2005
****

The story of teens & 20-somethings reaches the trad Marvel beat of heroes pounding on each other w/o talking first. But w/ the rebooted numbering, Alphona has upped his game. His art has taken on a supple quality, his physiques & faces moving further from figuration to lovely expressionistic forms.

last issue: Runaways #2
next issue: Runaways #4

also indexed for Jun. ’05
Daredevil #72
Young Avengers #3

Runaways #2

June 20, 2015

Runaways 2-02Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
May 2005
****

BKV plays an interesting game with the margins of the Marvel U. A team of washed-up ’90s heroes suggest one prospect for this mag’s protags; an Avenger from the future—Gert, all grown up—points toward more successful careers. The time twist has them out to reform a kid before he turns supervillain.

last issue: Runaways #1
next issue: Runaways #3

also indexed for May ’05
Astonishing X-Men #10
Daredevil #71
Fantastic Four #524
The Pulse #8
Secret War #4 of 5
Young Avengers #2

Runaways #1

June 19, 2015

Runaways 2-01Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
April 2005
*****

After half a year hiatus, Runaways returns reinvigorated! The remit is evidently not only to speed up the action (hurray!) but to tie the mag more tightly to the Marvel fabric. So the kids foil a heist by post-Kirby bruisers while a support group of ex-superteens hint at life after caped heroics.

continued from Runaways #18
next issue: Runaways #2

also indexed for Apr. ’05
Daredevil #70
Fantastic Four #523
Young Avengers #1

Runaways #18

June 18, 2015

Runaways 1.18Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
November 2004
****

Hey, Vaughan can write normal-paced comics! The kids slip out of their foster homes for a sentimental reunion, then break into an Avengers warehouse to liberate their stuff. Not only is it a done-in-one coda to Runaways‘ first ‘season’, it sets up a new status quo for a renumbered mag.

last issue: Runaways #17
continued in Runaways #1

other issues indexed for Nov.  ’04
Astonishing X-Men #5
Daredevil #64
Daredevil #65
Fantastic Four #518
The Pulse #5

Runaways #17

June 17, 2015

Runaways 1.17Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
October 2004
****

Even in the first arc, Alex Wilder drew interest for his braininess and tactical ability; plus he was a comics nerd, an obv ID figure for the reader. Here he sides w/ faux-Kirby Gods over humanity! It prefigures Cabin in the Woods, but does his reasoning convince? No, so he gets zapped by the gods!

last issue: Runaways #16
next issue: Runaways #18

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517
Secret War #3 of 5
X-Statix #26

Runaways #16

June 16, 2015

Runaways 1.16Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
August 2004
****

Last month, as Whedon himself began his Runaways-influenced X-run, Vaughan set up his Whedonesque climax. In #16 the kids finally fight their parents, but they’re betrayed by their nerdy leader! He seemed the obv choice for a mole, but it’s still disappointing since he’s the cast’s best character.

last issue: Runaways #15
next issue: Runaways #17

also indexed for Aug. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #2
Daredevil #61
Fantastic Four #515
Thanos #11
X-Statix #24

Runaways #15

June 15, 2015

Runaways 1.15Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
July 2004
***

Vaughan continues to maneuver his pieces into place for the endgame. The teens follow their parents into an underwater superbase, hoping to stop a black ritual. Alphona does his best work in this art nouveau lair, part of his infusion of mainstream comics with a steampunk style that’s very trendy.

last issue: Runaways #14
next issue: Runaways #16

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
Daredevil #60
Fantastic Four #513
Fantastic Four #514
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10
X-Statix #23

Runaways #14

June 14, 2015

Runaways 1.14Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
June 2004
***

The decompressed pace is the Achilles Heel of Runaways, but it looks like the momentum is shifting. The teen not-a-team (a la the Defenders) take the initiative and head off to spoil their parents’ next magic ceremony. Fortunately for them, the cabal has begun to show signs of discord.

last issue: Runaways #13
next issue: Runaways #15

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Daredevil #59
Fantastic Four #512
Thanos #9
X-Statix #21
X-Statix #22

Runaways #13

June 13, 2015

Runaways 1.13Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
May 2004
****

A(n original) pantheon of six-fingered elder gods plan to restore utopia by exterminating humanity. Their servants on Earth, the mag’s supercabal, arrange to save their children (the superteens). One year in, the creative team comes through with fun backstory. And Alph does astonishing Kirby gods.

last issue: Runaways #12
next issue: Runaways #14

also indexed for May ’04
Daredevil #58
Fantastic Four #511
New X-Men #154
The Pulse #2
Thanos #7
Thanos #8
X-Statix #20

Runaways #12

June 12, 2015

Brian K. Vaughan // Takeshi Miyazawa
late April 2004
***

After visiting the hellscape of Cloak’s cloak, the team convinces him & Dagger that they’re innocent. I actually enjoy this short arc more than the previous ones, simply for its pacing! But calling foul on C&D’s mind-wipe by the evil parents. In post-Buffy comics, events oughta have ramifications!

last issue: Runaways #11
next issue: Runaways #13

also indexed for Apr. ’04
Daredevil #57
Fantastic Four #510
New X-Men #153
The Pulse #1
Runaways #11
Secret War #1 of 5
X-Statix #19

Runaways #11

June 11, 2015

Runaways 1.11Brian K. Vaughan // Takeshi Miyazawa
early April 2004
****

Guest art by Canadian Miyazawa, who outdoes Alphona in manga influences. Other guests: Cloak & Dagger the original superteen runaways-turned-vigilantes! A corrupt cop has asked them to find our team, which leads to the ol’ Marvel scenario of having the superheroes fight before cooperating.

last issue: Runaways #10
next issue: Runaways #12

also indexed for Apr. ’04
Daredevil #57
Fantastic Four #510
New X-Men #153
The Pulse #1
Runaways #12
Secret War #1 of 5
X-Statix #19

Runaways #10

June 10, 2015

Runaways 1.10Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
March 2004
****

The new kid reveals he’s a vampire; when he preys on Psychedelic Supergirl, her solar-fueled blood dusts him. A nice twist: her strategy is actually a death-wish! Glad to see BKV pays his debt to Buffy so early in his run! Alphona’s line is lovely, physiques too, but his layouts frankly are dull.

last issue: Runaways #9
next issue: Runaways #11

also indexed for Mar. ’04
Daredevil #56
Fantastic Four #509
New X-Men #151
New X-Men #152
X-Statix #18

Runaways #9

June 9, 2015

Runaways 1.09Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
February 2004
***

A newcomer upsets the (recently-established) status quo by creating a love triangle with Nico & Alex. The psychedelic alien also kisses him for good measure. Soap opera is especially fun in teen super-teams, and Alphona uses his characters’ faces & postures to provide great ‘acting’.

last issue: Runaways #8
next issue: Runaways #10

also indexed for Feb. ’04
Daredevil #55
Fantastic Four #508
New X-Men #150
X-Statix #17

Runaways #8

June 8, 2015

Runaways 1.08Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
January 2004
****

The son of supercriminals quickly insinuates himself into the gang. But BKV glances at teen issues as he & Nico talk about self-mutilation—you see, the goth girl must cut herself to activate her magic staff. Runaways ticks the boxes on the superteen checklist, tho it moves at a snail’s pace.

last issue: Runaways #7
next issue: Runaways #9

also indexed for Jan. ’04
Alias #28
Daredevil #54
Fantastic Four #506
Fantastic Four #507
New X-Men #149
X-Statix #16

Runaways #7

June 7, 2015

Runaways 1.07Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
December 2003
****

This team is unique in concept, multi-culti cast, & superpowers. In #7, they finally fight crime, a hold-up at a convenience store—the sort of petty crime that Ditko’s teen would stop every ish or two. Similarly these thin-lined bodies look like actual kids, not steroidal superheroes.

last issue: Runaways #6
next issue: Runaways #8

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
Avengers/JLA #4 of 4
Daredevil #53
Fantastic Four #504
Fantastic Four #505
New X-Men
#148
X-Statix #15

Runaways #6

June 6, 2015

Runaways 1.06Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
November 2003
***

BKV & AA do yeoman’s work setting up a status quo after one arc. The titular non-team has been framed for the murder they saw their parents commit. Now they’ve holed up in one of Cali’s, um, hotels buried in an earthquake…? The influence of Buffy/Angel is strong, but not in plotting or momentum.

last issue: Runaways #5
next issue: Runaways #7

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
Daredevil #51
Daredevil #52
Fantastic Four #502
Fantastic Four #503
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147
Runaways #5
X-Statix #14

Runaways #5

June 5, 2015

Runaways 1.05Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
November 2003
****

Although little continues to happen in this decompressed arc, the character do continue to reveal shades (if not surprises) to their personalities. In an update of ’80s Marvel style, one good bit has the runt of the Runaways develop mutant powers after she’d asked the gals about her period.

last issue: Runaways #4
next issue: Runaways #6

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
Daredevil #51
Daredevil #52
Fantastic Four #502
Fantastic Four #503
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147
Runaways #6
X-Statix #14

Runaways #4

June 4, 2015

Runaways 1.04Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
October 2003
***

BKV finally gets to a fight scene: the grown-ups attack the kids in a super-tech backyard shed. Not sure why they shot first rather than acting like parents, and god this mag moves slow. The sense of LA is great tho. So are the characters—I esp. like Alex Wilder, an ordinary boy w/ a knack for tactics.

last issue: Runaways #3
next issue: Runaways #5

also indexed for Oct. ’03
Alias #25
Avengers/JLA #2 of 4
Daredevil #50
Fantastic Four #501
New X-Men #145
X-Statix #13

Runaways #3

June 3, 2015

Runaways 1.03Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
September 2003
****

The mag starts to play its cards and finally takes a few tricks. The Pretty Girl learns that she’s a Supergirl type; the Smart Girl finds she’s mentally linked to a robo-dino (!), courtesy of her steampunk chrono-criminal parents! Note also how casually Runaways adds diversity to Marvel comics.

last issue: Runaways #2
next issue: Runaways #4

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
Daredevil #49
Fantastic Four #500
JLA/Avengers #1 of 4
New X-Men #144
X-Statix #12

Runaways #2

June 2, 2015

Runaways 1.02Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
August 2003
***

A team book with a new hook: teens learn that their parents are a low-profile cabal of successful supervillains! Vaughan writes dialogue in the trendy Bendis style—all bratty attitude. It works as well here as in Ult. Spidey; the decompressed storytelling less so since we don’t know these kids yet.

last issue: Runaways #1
next issue: Runaways #3

also indexed for Aug. ’03
Alias #23
Daredevil #48
Fantastic Four #70
New X-Men #142
New X-Men #143
X-Statix #11

Runaways #1

June 1, 2015

Runaways 1.01Brian K. Vaughan // Adrian Alphona
July 2003
****

I’m a sucker for superteens, so I already like this book about kids who can’t appeal to authority for help against their supervillainous parents. But IMO Alphona’s under-hatched style is better read in digest form, which accentuates his manga-influenced use of open space and emo directness.

next issue: Runaways #2

also indexed for Jul. ’03
Alias #22
Daredevil #47
Fantastic Four #69
New X-Men #141
Wolverine/Doop #1 of 2
Wolverine/Doop #2 of 2

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 of 5

April 22, 2015

Dead Girl 5 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
July 2006
****

A charming conclusion to the X-Statix title, lacking teeth but giving the protags closure (except Doop!). It also reveals a love for Ditko, slipping several of his characters in. Allred pencils the hell out of them, esp. Dr. Strange in a fabulous duel of magic with his late mentor.

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

also indexed for Jul. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #2 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2 of 4
Civil War #1 of 7
Daredevil #85
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

April 21, 2015

Dead Girl 4 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
June 2006
***

Dr. Strange & Dead Girl carry a nice flirtation on as they lead a team of dead superheroes into hell. It contrasts well with the too-wimpy Mr. Sensitive getting on U-Go Girl’s nerves. Moments like these show Milligan’s fondness for his characters as he gives them a real ending instead of satire.

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 of 5

also indexed for Jun. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #1 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #1 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #14
Daredevil #84
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #4

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5

April 20, 2015

Dead Girl 3 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
May 2006
****

Hard to say why Dead Girl’s in the title—it’s more like “The X-Statix reunion tour featuring Dr. Strange”. Romance buds in the nether realms, as 1940s heroine Miss America gets over her racial prejudices with Tike Alicar. Also cleverly, some of Marvel’s late women are happiest in a man-free heaven!

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Daredevil #83
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
New Avengers: Illuminati #1 of 1
The Pulse #14
Young Avengers #11

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5

April 19, 2015

Dead Girl 2 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
April 2006
****

First the late Dead Girl visits the mortal plane by possessing a host made of deli meat; then she takes Dr. Strange to heaven to recruit a team that will, in turn, storm hell. The cosmology is full of unhinged dead characters & surreal deep-focus perspectives on all three planes of existence.

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’06
Daredevil #82
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

April 18, 2015

Dead Girl 1 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
March 2006
****

Readers hoping for a real end to X-Statix get wrongfooted by Milligan with #1 of this mini. Dead Girl only cameos, with Dr. Strange getting the focus. Ditko’s mage visits a shrink for depression before attending to an undead invasion. Note: Allred ghosts over rookie Dragotta’s breakdowns?

continued from X-Statix #26
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Daredevil #81
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
The Pulse #13
Young Avengers #10

X-Statix #26

April 17, 2015

X-Statix 26Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2004
***

A fairly blatant ripoff of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, as the team gets KIA with Mr. S & Tike A. gunned down in a suicide charge. It would’ve worked better if they hadn’t held each other at arm’s length since the retitling. Or if the run’s last two years had been compressed into one. Ah well.

last issue: X-Statix #25
continued in X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517
Secret War #3 of 5

X-Statix #25

April 16, 2015

X-Statix 25Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
September 2004
***

The Avengers/X-Statix War ends in détente before a bigger enemy (of course it does). Milligan’s heart isn’t in this arc, whose guest stars smack of editorial edict. Even if not, the last-minute acceptance of X-Statix by the Avs feels rushed. Anyone else disappointed that Doop can speak English?

last issue: X-Statix #24
next issue: X-Statix #26

also indexed for Sept. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #3
Daredevil #62
Fantastic Four #516
The Pulse #4
Thanos #12

X-Statix #24

April 15, 2015

X-Statix 24Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
August 2004
***

It’s the ol’ JSA formula: members split off on solo missions. The final face-off is Iron Man v. Mr. Sensitive, mano a mano and nude! Milligan has them strip their protective armors in a contrivance involving French holy nudists. Silly, plus Allred doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity for beefcake!

last issue: X-Statix #23
next issue: X-Statix #25

also indexed for Aug. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #2
Daredevil #61
Fantastic Four #515
Thanos #11

X-Statix #23

April 14, 2015

X-Statix 23Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
July 2004
***

Milligan rips off the Avengers/Defenders War, pitting two teams of heroes in a race to collect maguffins. This ish pairs Hawkeye & Vivisector in a post-colonial Africa, and Venus DM v. Ant-Man in Antarctica. Pairing #1 displays a Silver Age charm but #2 can’t suss out the heroine’s Kirbydot anatomy.

last issue: X-Statix #22
next issue: X-Statix #24

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
Daredevil #60
Fantastic Four #513
Fantastic Four #514
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

X-Statix #22

April 13, 2015

X-Statix 22Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
late Jun. ’04
***

X-Stat‘s finale pits the team against the Avengers on a hunt for Doop’s brain! Milligan doesn’t ‘get’ Cap, so the face-off w/ Tike Alicar disappoints. Not so the Scarlet Witch, who also inspires Allred’s pencils. She’s outweirded by Dead Girl while swimming in toxic waste on a haunted freighter.

last issue: X-Statix #21
next issue: X-Statix #23

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Daredevil #59
Fantastic Four #512
Thanos #9
X-Statix #21

X-Statix #21

April 12, 2015

X-Statix 21Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
early June 2004
****

When Doop’s lobotomized brain gets weaponized, our heroes must ask the Avengers for help with its recovery. Rather than contrast our super-celebs with a team of noble heroes, this ish shows a classic roster that’s just as venal & arrogant. Plus it hints that Doop is the product of Cold War science!

last issue: X-Statix #20
next issue: X-Statix #22

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Daredevil #59
Fantastic Four #512
Thanos #9
X-Statix #22

X-Statix #20

April 11, 2015

X-Statix 20Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta
May 2004
****

Aside from the Princess Di arc, this team mag has been slack since the retitle. Spotlight issues like this one focusing on Vivisector are clever & fun but they don’t move any greater plot or theme forward. Here, however, Dragotta’s newsprint-cartoon style adds to the Universal Horror vibe.

last issue: X-Statix #19
next issue: X-Statix #21

also indexed for May ’04
Daredevil #58
Fantastic Four #511
New X-Men #154
The Pulse #2
Thanos #7
Thanos #8

X-Statix #19

April 10, 2015

X-Statix 19Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
April 2004
***

Milligan intros a ‘cure’ for mutancy as a metaphor for odious anti-homosexual ‘therapies’ less than half a year before Whedon. It’s actually a juicy bit of mad science meant to steal Vivisector’s superpower (& results in a mopey Spider-Man No More sequence) so the basic concept remains unexplored.

last issue: X-Statix #18
next issue: X-Statix #20

also indexed for Apr. ’04
Daredevil #57
Fantastic Four #510
New X-Men #153
The Pulse #1
Secret War #1 of 5

X-Statix #18

April 9, 2015

X-Statix 18Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
March 2004
****

In a riff on The Ring, the team’s pop princess haunts & kills anyone who sings her posthumous single. Grisly deaths demo the morbid glee of a ’50s crypt comic, esp the skating accident that befalls el parapalegic Guapo! But happily the funeral for Phat (also KIA last issue) has emotional resonance.

last issue: X-Statix #17
next issue: X-Statix #19

also indexed for Mar. ’04
Daredevil #56
Fantastic Four #509
New X-Men #151
New X-Men #152

X-Statix #17

April 8, 2015

X-Statix 17Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
February 2004
****

Some good focus on Mr S, whose quick thinking, strong leadership, super-senses, & ability to levitate nearly win the day as he & the team face Mr. Code, a Ditko-like baddie (= suit & generic mask). Also cool is Dead Girl’s trip into the afterlife to barter with the team’s sleazy late employer.

last issue: X-Statix #16
next issue: X-Statix #18

also indexed for Feb. ’04
Daredevil #55
Fantastic Four #508
New X-Men #150

X-Statix #16

April 7, 2015

X-Statix 16Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
January 2004
****

If this mag’s losing a bit of steam, its satire is also getting darker & so are its heroes. Their craven owner has implicated them in arming S. Hussein so they snap his neck! Meanwhile the glam super-princess fouls up as Director of Homeland ‘Defense’. Gleeful politicking, so rare in caped comics!

last issue: X-Statix #15
next issue: X-Statix #17

also indexed for Jan. ’04
Alias #28
Daredevil #54
Fantastic Four #506
Fantastic Four #507
New X-Men #149

X-Statix #15

April 6, 2015

X-Statix 15Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
December 2003
*****

Grant that, in this arc, Princess Di plays Supergirl in a gorgeous raven wig. You’ll read a great arc of cynical British leftie politics. Taking aim at the current fiasco in Iraq, one squaddie gets a leg blown off! X-Statix bickers in X-soap style, but they’re fighting over whether to kill a member!

last issue: X-Statix #14
next issue: X-Statix #16

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
Avengers/JLA #4 of 4
Daredevil #53
Fantastic Four #504
Fantastic Four #505
New X-Men #148

X-Statix #14

April 5, 2015

X-Statix 14Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
November 2003
***

The heroes rescue the ersatz Princess Diana and see her usurp their trademark superstar egotism with her superceleb status. Frankly I’m curious about her approach to heroism, since this satire has run its course. Plus Spidey’s guest appearance is disappointing, esp. his too Kirby-like rendering by Allred.

last issue: X-Statix #13
next issue: X-Statix #15

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
Daredevil #51
Daredevil #52
Fantastic Four #502
Fantastic Four #503
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147


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