Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

10 June 2008

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl

Collects: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1-5 ()

Released: August 2006 (Marvel)

Format: 120 pages / color / $13.99 / ISBN: 9780785120315

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl is, despite the name, neither an X-Statix or Dead Girl story. Instead, it’s more a of a Dr. Strange miniseries.

Now, Dr. Strange miniseries do not tend to go well. I don’t even buy them, and I like Dr. Strange. On the other hand, Dead Girl is written by Peter Milligan, and if there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that Milligan on lesser titles is never boring.

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl coverDead Girl concerns the Pitiful One, a dead character who has found a way to return to the world temporarily, and with his band of dead miscreants — including the Anarchist from X-Statix — goes about causing havoc and claiming it will continue until Dr. Strange resurrects them. Dr. Strange calls upon the eponymous heroine to guide him in the land of the dead in his battle with the Pitiful One.

Milligan casts Strange as an ascetic who is too reserved and wrapped in his mystical pursuits to enjoy life. Despite the efforts of his servant, Wong, it takes the Pitiful One’s challenge and meeting Dead Girl — and oh, yeah, going to Hell — to make him feel alive again. Strange’s awakening is fun to watch, as he chides himself for acting like no other human: “Who the heck says ‘suffice’ nowadays?”

The Pitiful One and his crew are played strictly for laughs, as are the dead heroes, including another pair of X-Statix alumni, the Orphan and U-Go Girl, that Strange gathers to take on the Pitiful One. Strange even reveals the mechanism through which characters are resurrected: popularity. Not a surprise, of course, but stated so baldly — and when a particularly dire / homoerotic character named Player Piano is resurrected over the second Ant-Man or any character from X-Statix — it’s amusing.

Art is by Nick Dragotta, with inks by Mike Allred The effect is something very similar to Allred’s work on X-Force and X-Statix, although Dragotta’s work appears less flat and more blurred on the edges (probably a coloring technique). The similarity is frankly startling, but given how well Milligan and Allred work together, it isn’t unwelcome.

This isn’t an essential volume, and the plot is thin and played entirely for laughs. Buying Dead Girl will most likely not result in a decision to bring back X-Statix. But it’s worth the time and money for the pleasure of reading the unrestrained Milligan.

Rating: Dr. Strange symbol Dr. Strange symbol Dr. Strange symbol Half Strange symbol (3.5 of 5)

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