Hard to believe it’s been over 20 years since Marvel rebooted the X-Men line for the then freshly born 21st century, ushering in an era of post-modern mutants clad in leather and drenched in Y2K cool/ennui. Morrison and Quitely’s New X-Men was the crown jewel, but the oddest mutant book of the pack for me was Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Force, later X-Statix, and yet again reborn as The X-Cellent.
Every page, hell, every panel from this creative team either makes me laugh out loud (a LOL IRL? positively 20th century) and/or feel a deep unease and dread about the state of human civilization. Not bad for a funny book.
Time has gone on, and the years have turned into decades. Somehow, things are even weirder in 2023 than they were in 2001. Seeing Milligan and Allred return to their hyper-pop mutant celebrity wasteland sandbox is a real joy. A kind of spark that makes you all giddy while half laughing, half crying, and all the time thinking “Thank Christ, I’m not the only one seeing this crazy shit every day.”
The X-Cellent brings it all back home, with the ghosts of Y2K swirling around and colliding headfirst with today, which really just feels like a purgatory of a future, a future that’s never quite been realized.
20 odd years later and Milligan/Allred still feel a few steps ahead of the curve, learing back at our present absurdity and serving it up to us in the form of a Marvel X-book. It’s potent, shocking, and hilarious. Pretty much like 21st century life.
The X-Cellent “Season 2” is on stands now at finer comic shops nationwide.