Story Title: Dead a Long Time
Reviewer: Paul Sebert
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artists: Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
Colorist: Laura Allred
Letters: Blambot’s Nate Piekos
Editors: Michael O’Connor, Warren Simons, Axel Alonso, and Joe Quesada
Publisher: Not Brand Echh!
For years one of the mysteries of life is what happens when we die? The genre of superhero comics offers precious little insight into this controversy as we all know when heroes (and villains) die, they usually come back in some shape or form. The exception for characters with significant deaths like The Green Goblin, Bucky, and Jason Todd. Er… wait a minute. Nevermind… pretty much everyone comes back eventually. Except the really lame characters. Or the ones in legal copyright disputes. Or the ones who have inspired second-generation replacement characters.
But what forces dictate who lives again and who stays dead? A deceased costumed criminal known as “The Pitiful One” wants to find out and in the darkest corners of the underworld he’s stumbled onto a means of temporarily returning the land of the living. Gathering a small group of fallen super villains and former heroes he seeks to strike back at our world until he can return to life full time.
Meanwhile sorcerer supreme Doctor Strange may be the only thing standing in the Pitiful One’s way. Unfortunately the good doctor is not his usual pleonastic self as he’s facing a problem his magic is useless against: a mid-life crisis. Yes it seems the old Eye of Agamotto just doesn’t inspire the sense of wonder in Stephen Strange’s life and in one touching moment the master of mystic arts bares his soul: “I can’t even look at a woman like a normal man. When I see a woman, all I’m interested in is her aura,” he laments.
So just who can Dr. Strange turn to in order to protect our plane of existence from these un-living adversaries? That I can not spoil for the reader, as you will have to wait until the last page of the first issue of “X-Statix: Presents Dead Girl” to find out who it is. Hint: she’s a former member of the X-Statix.
Despite the lack of presence from the real star, this issue has everything that fans loved about Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s work on X-Statix. There’s biting satire, wonderfully quirky artwork, a touch of the surreal, and a willingness to be a little silly. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’ve been missing ever since the original series ended, and precisely what the medium needs right now.