Book of the Month
What did the
Art by Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke, Philip Bond, Paul Pope, Nick Dragotta, Sean Phillips and Marcos Martin
Cover by Mike Allred
Size: 1200 pages
One of the most recurring questions we get here at iFanboy is the one asking what stories we think deserve to get the Omnibus or Absolute treatment? Everyone seems to have an opinion on what books deserve the gala collected edition. We’ve seen some timeless classics get the treatment, as they deserved, but we’ve also seen some questionable collections, such as material recently released in issues. If you’re one of the folks who think that the Omnibus treatment should be reserved for great works in comics history that may be hard to track down, then you probably are excited for this month’s book of the month, the X-Statix Omnibus from Marvel Comics.
Best known for the work of writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred, X-Statix is so much more than a platform to enjoy the work of these two excellent creators. In fact, while Allred did the majority of the art chores, some of the other names associated with X-Statix may surprise you, but we’ll get to that in a bit because there’s something about X-Statix that makes it far more important than those involved on the book.
X-Statix represents an important moment in the comic book industry. For those not familiar with X-Statix and why or how it’s important, allow me to recap. Turn the clock back to 2001. Marvel had just started getting their feet back on the ground after their bout with bankruptcy, Joe Quesada had just taken the reins as Editor-In-Chief of Marvel Comics and in doing so, starting bringing in new and different talent, including editorial with the hiring of Axel Alonso, who was best known for his work at Vertigo at DC Comics doing alternative and groundbreaking comics. Alonso should be a familiar name to you as he took over the Editor-In-Chief chair from Quesada last year, but 10 years prior, Alonso was the alternative guy. In coming to Marvel, Alonso brought along creators such as Peter Milligan, who had already built a reputation for being a writer with some out there ideas. Alonso paired Milligan with Mike Allred, another big name today, but at the time was firmly set as an indie darling with his award winning work on Madman in the 1990s. So with his creative team in place, Alonso placed Milligan and Allred on a title that no one expected.
X-Force was the title started by Rob Liefeld 10 year prior as part of the big early 1990s X-Men launch. For 10 years the adventures of Cable, Cannonball and the rest of the X-Force crew went on as an X-Men book would. When X-Force #115 came to an end, I had no idea what was to come next. With no warning, they completely scrapped the original X-Force characters, replaced the creative team and when X-Force #116 hit the stands in early 2001, I was absolutely blown away. Milligan and Allred came in with a bang, with brand new characters, looking like no other X-Men book has ever looked and demanded your attention. It was one of the biggest stunts ever pulled in my history of reading comics and one I would never forget. It was a bold and ballsy move that, despite recent bold moves by publishers in the past year, I can’t imagine this specific type of move ever happening again.
As a loyal X-Men fan and X-Force reader, I had built up relationships with the characters and I’ll admit, I was skeptical of what was happening. But from that first issue of X-Force #116, I knew that we were in for something special. Something unexpected and unpredictable that would challenge me as a reader and entertain me in ways I never could anticipate. Milligan’s take on X-Force was to introduce a group of mutants who were usurping the name X-Force and positioning themselves as celebrity heroes. It’s a concept that had been broached before and has done after X-Statix, but no one has ever done it in such a shocking and amazing manner. Eventually X-Force gave way to a re-titling/re-numbering to X-Statix and for the length of the run, which lasted 39 issues, was truly great comics. Anything could happen in this book and it did. Even as far as to wantonly kill off characters left and right. Truly no one was safe in the pages of this book.
As mentioned, artist Mike Allred moved from his indie roots to mainstream comics and blew people’s minds with his modern, clean style. I cannot imagine X-Statix being envisioned by anyone else. Allred’s unique sense of style and storytelling is was the perfect compliment to Milligan’s out there concepts and defined the look and feel of the book. But Allred was not alone. He was joined throughout the run by Darwyn Cooke, Philip Bond, Paul Pope, Nick Dragotta, Sean Phillips and Marcos Martin as some of the amazing talent that brought the adventures of X-Statix to life.
Weighing in at 1200 pages, the X-Statix Omnibus is the most comprehensive collection of X-Statix stories ever put together. Bringing every issue of X-Force, X-Statix and all the following mini-series and one off stories under one cover, this makes for the ultimate mutant pop experience. X-Statix was one of the most unique and adventurous titles ever published by Marvel Comics and to see it again in this grand collection is a dream come true (It also helps that I ordered it from my local comic book store, Isotope Comics, who provided a limited edition dust jacket to for pre-orders with some amazing Allred art).
With mind bending stories featuring incredibly compelling characters drawn in a style that helped to define a time period in comics, X-Statix is one of those great series that no only deserves the Omnibus treatment, it’s safe to say that it’s long overdue. Marvel did the title right by putting together a beautiful collection, with a healthy amount of covers and extras to make this a must have for any fan of X-Statix, Mike Allred, Pete Milligan or anyone who’s a fan of the comics that changed the world.
If only we knew what we had when it was happening
If you want to pick up the X-Statix Omnibus you can find it on Amazon: