I’m Starting to Warm to these ‘X-Club’ Guys

The X-Club are a team of scientists formed by the X-Man Beast in order to fight science-based problems. The team consists of Kavita Rao, Beast, Danger, Madison Jeffries, Dr Nemesis and some Japanese scientist guy who owns a Godzilla. Created by Matt Fraction, they were ultimately another group of characters in a strange game of “catch ‘em all” to be brought into the comics and then discarded. See also, Cloak & Dagger. Over time, Fraction killed off the Japanese Scientist, and had Beast quit the team in protest at Cyclops, leaving only four members of the team remaining, for smaller-and-smaller cameos in Uncanny or X-Men Legacy or whichever title needed some sciencebabble that week. But although their first few appearances didn’t catch on with many readers, there was one man for whom the X-Club signified something interesting and important. That One Man was Si Spurrier.

And ever since he first set eyes on these four, Spurrier has set out to make something from them. He’s written their tie-ins to ‘Second Coming’ and ‘Curse of the Mutants’, among several other pieces, and now has his own five-issue miniseries for them to run amok. And here’s the thing that nobody is talking about: this miniseries is REALLY REALLY GOOD. Drawn by Paul Davidson, whose art has been gracing several lucky X-Men comics over the past few years and is intricately put together, Spurrier has managed to take two unlikeable characters, a dull Canadian and a syringe-wielding antihero, and make them into a convincing and enjoyable team. The story is mad and runs all over the place, and really only exists in order to throw new weirdness at the cast.

As we head into issue #3 this week, Doctor Nemesis has been possessed by a telepathic starfish and is on an oil rig with some Nazi clones, Danger has been overwhelmed by SCIENCE and is attacking everyone in sight, Kavita Rao has made friends with an Atlantean Priestess who is dying from mutant fever, and Madison Jeffries is struggling with his sexuality. This story is called WE DO SCIENCE and yes, that is almost certainly some kind of sex thing. Spurrier writes some FILTH into this comic, from Dr Nemesis shouting “I WILL PUT MY SCIENCE IN YOU” through to Danger’s storyline, which I won’t spoil here but seems technologically improbable. Every single page of this issue seems designed to appear, out of context, posted online. Especially the Dr Nemesis appearances – he first shows up here riding a mutated hammerhead shark while the starfish symbiote connected to his brain compels him to hum TV themetunes.

It’s mad, it’s funny, and it’s completely unique. There are whole sections of this miniseries which make absolutely no sense to me, most of them connected to some kind of sentient computer void which makes friends with Madison Jeffries. And while the two men go about being incoherent and trying to one-up each other in the crazy stakes, it’s actually Kavita’s rationality which makes her the strangest of all. At least Danger has the excuse of being infested with a parasitic algorithm – how do you explain a woman who looks at all these things and doesn’t bat an eyelid? Kavita is the craziest one of all.

I’m really enjoying writing about this mini. Almost as much as I’ve been enjoying READING it. When this mini was first announced, I’ll admit that I wasn’t too excited for it. But who would’ve thought it? X-CLUB is the most entertaining X-Men comic around. Spurrier even manages to write a funny bit of dialogue for Warlock! This is a strange new World we live in, you guys.


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