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X-Statix Omnibus by Peter Milligan & Mike Allred (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

There’s been a lot written about how fiendishly clever Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix was when it was published by Marvel in the early part of the last decade. Spanning two titles (beginning in X-Force and then spinning into its own title in X-Statix), it offered a forty-issue re-examination of the core X-Men thesis. Published at approximately the same time, it actually serves as something of a spiritual companion to Grant Morrison’s equally controversial, challenging and provocative New X-Men run. Both series dared to consider that Chris Claremont’s once revolutionary idea, casting mutants as a feared minority because they were inherently “different” might need revision in the early years of the twenty-first century. Both series have been attacked by critics for not conforming to the model that Claremont designed for the franchise three decades earlier. However, I’m going to be controversial, and I’m going to state that both Morrison and Milligan were more faithful spiritual successors to Claremont than any X-Men writers since the nineties.

Nobody’s Doop…

Note: You can read my review of Milligan and Allred’s initial X-Force run, collected in the hardcover “Famous, Mutant & Mortal” here. This is a review of the recently-published omnibus, which collects all their work on the characters, so I won’t go into too much depth on that initial run.

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Peter Milligan & Michael Allred’s Run on X-Force – Famous, Mutant & Mortal (Review/Retrospective)

For the past few months, I’ve been taking a look at Marvel’s sometimes convoluted crossover chronology as a sort of lead-in to The Avengers, arriving in cinemas in 2012. Later on today, I’ll be reviewing Messiah War, a crossover between two of the series relaunched in the wake of Messiah Complex so I thought I might take a look back at some of the series leading into it beforehand. However, the two series – Cable and X-Force both have roots in the “darker and edgier” period of X-Men history known as the nineties. Driven by Rob Liefeld, the two series became by-words for ridiculous violence, convoluted storytelling, shallow characters and lots of guns. Lots of guns.

That is not the version of X-Force I’m going to look at today.

British writer Peter Milligan apparently laughed pretty hard when he was asked to write X-Force. However, the early part of the naughties was a different time at Marvel. Perhaps the financial collapse of the company in the nineties had made the company bolder, more willing to take creative chances. Perhaps they figured that, with Grant Morrison working on New X-Men, there wasn’t anything that much more radical that Peter Milligan could do. Either way, the author was granted incredible creative control and the chance to do something truly different. He took advantage of it, and produced one of the most fascinating comic books of the past decade.

At least he’s honest about it…

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