Welcome to the D-List: Dead Girl

Do you remember the X-Force team from the 90s? With big muscles, big boobs, and tiny feet, the badass, mutant strike-force shot first and asked questions later. Near the end of its original run, however, X-Force dramatically changed when a new team was introduced. Rather than fight solely for Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence with humanity, X-Force became a brand, and its mutant members, celebrities. The team’s job wasn’t just to fight evil, it was to entertain the masses. The risk involved, however, was very real; X-Force members often died during missions and were quickly replaced in order to keep fans satisfied. Regardless of the danger involved, many young mutants wanted nothing more than to achieve stardom. 

Geez…Welcome to the D-List, Ms. Buzzkill. (Art by Mike Allred)
Geez…Welcome to the D-List, Ms. Buzzkill. (Art by Mike Allred)

Dead Girl was a mutant with light blue skin, spooky powers, and dreams of fame. Though she appeared regularly throughout the end of X-Force’s original run and its continuation, X-Statix, she was constantly overshadowed by her teammates. Because I love anything even remotely related to zombies, I can’t think of a better way to prepare for Halloween than by welcoming Dead Girl to the D-List.

Dead Girl first appeared in X-Force #125 in 2002. Created by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, X-Force members Orphan, U-Go Girl, and Anarchist went to a graveyard to officially recruit Dead Girl into their ranks. Like a good, (un)dead character, she arrived at her first mission wearing tattered clothes and a rope for a belt (so, undead-casual). However, it was intimated that she was purposely trying to scare her teammates. Though she recounted her past for the team, Dead Girl did not tell them her real name. 

When Dead Girl was alive, she was an aspiring actor, but fell in love with a man who eventually murdered her. Her mutant powers manifested when, after the murder, she regained consciousness in a cemetery and realized that she could communicate with her dead cohabitants. The spirits lured the murderer back to the cemetery for her, so Dead Girl pulled him into her grave and made a mattress out of his bones (like 1-800 M-a-t-t-r-e-s, but leave off the last “s” for “slayings”). 

While an excellent tale of revenge, much of Dead Girl’s origin was still shrouded in mystery. Though she was accepted into X-Force, not even Dead Girl knew the full extent of her powers. She found out quickly, however, that when her body was blown to bits, she could slowly, and grossly, reform. Dead Girl could also control her own dismembered limbs, as she choked an enemy with a detached arm. Adding to the gory list of traits, she was a very feral fighter, as she was shown ripping out enemies’ throats with her mouth (stop it, who are you to judge a woman’s dietary needs?). 

“Sometimes, dead is better.” And, I might add, sexier. (Art by Mike Allred)

This mutant was creepy and gross, and I fucking loved her. It was as if she came directly from a horror movie into a comic book. Though initially a very unsettling individual, she quickly conformed to her teammates’ spoiled, celebrity lifestyles. Drama ensued when she became enamored with Anarchist, and aggressive toward newer, prettier member, Venus Dee Milo. Dead Girl even tried to capitalize on her unique aesthetic by becoming a fashion model, but angry mothers protested. These over-sensitive parents believed that Dead Girl was a bad influence on their daughters and didn’t want their brood to idolize someone who was dead (bullshit – we have monuments to Washington and Lincoln, and those assholes have been dead for years). 

Dead Girl put her modeling career on pause when a local high-schooler decided to bring a gun to school and kill her classmates. Dead Girl stopped the teenager and attempted to talk sense into her, but the shooter, named Brenda, blasted Dead Girl in the torso. Nothing happened to the hero, however, because she’s A DEAD GIRL! IT’S LITERALLY HER NAME (this paints a sadly realistic picture of teenagers as utter morons)! Though a cop shot Brenda in the head, killing her and ending the threat, Dead Girl got a strange feeling from Brenda’s father, a local mortician. The man seemed very eager to get Brenda’s body back to the morgue, and some comments made by Brenda’s mother prompted Dead Girl to investigate the creepy man. The morgue’s deceased inhabitants told the hero about the disgusting things that Brenda’s father had done to them. Dead Girl ripped the dad’s heart out and proclaimed that she was the protector of the dead. What a goddamned badass. 

It was fun to watch Dead Girl strike out on her own and do something (anti)heroic. The members of X-Statix never appeared in other comic books, so this series was the one chance to see Dead Girl in action. Sadly, she typically appeared to be more of a creepy gimmick than anything else. While proclaiming herself “protector of the dead” was a little excessive, Brenda’s father definitely deserved what happened to him, and it was nice to see Dead Girl as a central character for a change.

Because the Avengers are a bunch of mutant-hating jerks, a series of one-on-one battles took place between members of the popular team and X-Statix. I was extremely excited to learn that Dead Girl was going to face Scarlet Witch in a fight, because my hatred for Wanda has burned passionately since “M-Day.” I read X-Statix many years after the “M-Day” event, but the Avengers have always been a popular team, so I assumed that the members of X-Statix would lose their battles. I was happily proven wrong, because Dead Girl terrorized the Avenger by using her ability to manipulate and project an enemy’s memories of deceased loved ones. The creepy mutant showed Wanda her own dead mother and some dead villagers that Wanda accidentally killed when she was a child, causing Scarlet Witch to flee in terror. Unfortunately, shortly after this arc finished, X-Statix ended. It wasn’t a simple conclusion to the series, however, because every member of X-Statix was killed in the final issue – so Dead Girl became an actual Dead Girl. 

She and I have so much in common, except she's a dead girl and I'm more of an alive guy. (Art by Mike Allred)
She and I have so much in common, except she’s a dead girl and I’m more of an alive guy. (Art by Mike Allred)

Although a miniseries titled, X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl, was released in 2006, it seemed like more of a reunion series for the former team of mutants. Dead Girl wasn’t the primary focus, but she certainly received more of the spotlight than she did during the ongoing X-Statix series. While this miniseries didn’t give much additional background on Dead Girl, she did reveal her real name to Dr. Strange when the two were flirting. Considering she was born to two hippies, it’s really no surprise that Dead Girl’s real name was Moonbeam (not to be confused with Frank Zappa’s daughter, Moon Unit). 

Dead Girl has never appeared outside of Marvel Comics, and the end of X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl was her final appearance for years until she recently resurfaced in X-Men ’92. In this alternate universe, members of X-Statix from the 616-Universe were members of Generation X. Dead Girl appeared to be a timid teenager, not an adult who desired a celebrity lifestyle. Unfortunately, I read that X-Men ’92 will be cancelled when “Marvel Now 2.0” launches, and I doubt that Marvel has any further plans of utilizing Dead Girl (so, dead to the world, eh?).

Though overshadowed by others while a member of X-Statix, I was happy to see Dead Girl develop into (at least a little) more than just a strange mutant in the background. Trying to talk sense into Brenda and bringing her father to (painful) justice proved that Dead Girl had the capacity to be a truly awesome hero in her own right. Even though the exact extent of her powers and history were never fully explored, she was a cool, spooky character nonetheless.  

Dammit, Marvel, get someone to write horror stories about this mutant! She certainly has the capacity to be truly terrifying, and would fit perfectly in a Marvel Comics Halloween Special. Whether dead or undead, however, I hope that some writer decides to breathe new life into Dead Girl in the future so she can properly scare the Marvel Universe. 

Jonathan Robert

Jonathan loves comic books and he loves coffee. Jonathan’s mother gave him his first taste of coffee at the tender age of 3 and it was love at first sip. He now needs to wheel around an IV drip of caffeine at all times or else he turns into a dark, monstrous creature that feeds on despair and makes babies cry. The local village-folk have kept him locked away ever since the “decaf catastrophe of ‘06.” When allowed out of his dungeon, he writes various articles for Geekade, including the monthly column, “Welcome to the D-List,” and records the "Mutant Musings" podcast with his geek-tastic girlfriend, Patti.

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