From the House of Ideas: ‘The X-Cellent #5’ Leaves Readers Wanting More From Milligan and Allred

I’ve previously written about The X-Cellent, the fantastic reteaming of X-Statix creators Peter Milligan and Mike Allred when its first issue arrived some months back, but with the first “season” of their book recently completed, I thought it would be worthwhile to consider whether this return to the world of mutant reality show stars lived up to all of our hopes and dreams.

The answer is a resounding yes.

This book, which concluded with issue five and a promise for a return later in the year, detailed the ongoing rivalry between two mutant teams: The X-Cellent, led by the egotistical Zeitgeist, and The X-Statix, working under the auspices of the always sensitive Orphan aka Mr. Sensitive. Throughout these five issues, Zeitgeist has been working up a plan that involved breaking into Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, a bold play for any Marvel team, bad or good. Issue five of The X-Cellent finally reveals his ultimate motivation, which of course I’m not going to reveal here.

What I will reveal is that The X-Cellent is one of the most unique and entertaining books that Marvel has been publishing over the last few months. That Milligan/Allred magic has lost none of its power; it’s as though these two creators were genetically made to work together. Milligan’s writing is so of the moment, and deals with a lot of heavy topics, most notably in my mind gender roles and indentification. There are no doubt many a comic reader out there who might balk at this being part of a mainstream, Marvel mutant book, but to them I think we all flip the bird. Milligan has captured the (pun intended) current zeitgeist and I’m sure that The X-Cellent, much like the X-Statix will be viewed by comic historians as an essential piece of 2020s comic literature.

And then there’s the unparalleled, always eye-popping artwork of Mike Allred, who is working alonside his partner-in-colours, Laura Allred. I often say that Mike is my second-favourite artist, only behind Alex Ross, but I think it’s about time I just call it and say that duo is tied in my heart. I truly think Mike’s work is made for tablet consumption, which is how I’ve been reading The X-Cellent; it just looks so phenomenal in HD.

I highly, highly recommend anybody who loves the medium to pick up all five issues of The X-Cellent, which is full of solid writing and glorious art. The only bummer is that we’ll have to wait some time for the next batch of issues to see what happens, but I know it will be worth it.

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