Following Good Omens, this gives us further insight into the team’s new troubled teleporter, Venus Dee Milo, while the Orphan, following revelations from Lacuna concerning the fate of Artie Lund, goes AWOL, and a new character – Bad Guy – turns up. While attempting to stop Bad Guy’s depredations – and establish whether he is the M.I.A. Orphan or not – Venus and Professor Xavier discover a door in her psyche metaphorically labelled “Do Not Open” – and kick it down. In the resulting confrontations, ghosts from Venus’ past are laid, and she discovers a grudging sisterhood with fellow X-Statix Dead Girl, and the relationship between the Orphan and Venus enters a new phase.

Meanwhile, the rest of X-Statix are miffed byEl Guapo, a prefabricated Latino pretty boy added to the cast of the X-Statix movie to give it more crossover appeal, who is subsequently shoehorned into the team proper.

Phillip Bond delivers a flashback tale from the “Diaries of Edie Sawyer” with aplomb, as Venus reads the secret thoughts of her predecessor in the team – and in the Orphan’s affections – and we learn more about the early days of the media-whore iteration of X-Force.

The Wolverine/Doop two-part micro-series is also included here, as our unlikely pairing of heroes goes on a hallucinogenic film noir quest for the mysterious Pink Mink. It makes not a lick of sense, frankly, but with illustrator Darwin Cooke at the height of his powers, it’s all too easy to succumb to the visuals and just go along with the ride.

Despite the disparate art styles of the three stories, the range is delightful, and the uniform quality of this series admirably maintained.

That changed abruptly with the next volume, Back From The Dead. All X-Statix can also be found in decadent hardback as X-Statix Omnibus.