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Longshot #1 (1985, September)

March 17, 2015

I’m actually not really in the mood for this post, but oh well. By Ann Nocenti and Arthur Adams, “A Man Without A Past.”

A Man Without A Past

It’s Longshot!

We start with Longshot being chased by some guys who are trying to shoot him. He doesn’t know why. All their shots are missing, which is pretty impossible. He comes across some glowing lights, and he decides to take his chances jumping into the portal that appears. The others follow him.

He ends up in Upstate New York, where he’s just in time to rescue a woman from being hit by a car. The car slams into the corner of a building, which causes a bag hidden behind a gargoyle to fall over and start dropping coins on people. Everyone starts asking Longshot who he is, but he doesn’t know his name. A cop is about to arrest him, but he runs away. He takes a look at himself in the window of Nocenti’s Deli, and meets a guy named Eliot, a survivalist who mistakes Longshot as another survivalist. They quickly split up, and Longshot escapes the crowd before collapsing against a Ladie’s Leather Goods store, and tries to figure out who and where he is. He sees a couple manikins, and thinks they’re real people, and gets angry when they don’t talk to him. He goes inside to yell at them, and meets the girl who runs the shop. She gives him a leather jacket, and he walks out without paying, since he has absolutely no idea what money even is.

He goes up into the woods to do some thinking, but a slight sound catches his attention, and he throws some knives, which surround a furry little critter. The critter talks, and asks if Longshot knows where home is. The critter leaves when Eliot comes out, and Eliot shows Longshot around the house he’s set up. Longshot looks at a newspaper, and sees a story about a baby having gone missing. He wants to find the baby. Eliot is reluctant, but agrees to it.

Elsewhere, the baby’s mother, Hester, is sitting in a corner crying. Longshot and Eliot arrive, and Longshot asks what happened. She says monsters came, killed her dog, and took her baby, leaving a doll behind. Longshot takes the doll, and gets a reading from it. The three follow the trail, and Hester thinks about the colours and smells being off. They find an old windmill, with monsters and a crazy lightshow. Longshot attacks.

On top of the windmill, the creatures are trying to open a portal back to their own world, by sacrificing the baby. Down below, the creatures yell at Longshot. He wants to know who he is, and forgets about the baby. Spiral wants to tease him, but is told to continue her dance. The guard monsters manage to knock Longshot away, where Eliot chastises him for getting distracted. Longshot realizes Eliot’s right, and that he needs to keep his motives pure. He bounds up the rocks beside the windmill, throws a grappling hook across to it, and walks across it. The little furry guy from earlier tightens the rope for him. He doesn’t seem happy about having to help Longshot, but he has reasons. Longshot makes it across, grabs the baby, and starts running back. The rope gets zapped, but he grabs onto it and swings back to safety.

Longshot’s finally actually given the name of Longshot – and takes his leave of Eliot and Hester. He wanders off with the furry guy. Whose name is Magog, by the way, and he’s the son of Gog, one of the monsters who almost sacrificed the baby.

This is a fun issue. I guess this isn’t technically an X-Men comic, but Longshot does eventually join the team, Spiral becomes a major X-Men villain, and the mini also eventually introduces Mojo, who’s another major X-Men villain. So it qualifies, I figure. Plus, Ann Nocenti was the editor of Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants at the time. (Though the editor for the Longshot mini was Louise Jones, since Jim Shooter’s policy forbade writers from being their own editors. Shooter also had a policy that editors had to also do some writing, which I think is actually kind of a neat idea.)

Anyway. The comic. It’s good. It’s interesting. It’s got an interesting set-up, with the whole amnesia angle. Longshot’s luck is also really interesting, and a power that hadn’t been explored very much prior to this series. I also like the idea of women all being attracted to Longshot. There’s something weirdly cute about it. The women don’t turn into babbling idiots or anything. They just think he’s really cute, and he has no idea about it.

Nocenti’s writing is tight. So is Arthur Adams’ art. This is actually his first mainstream comics work, and it’s very good work. I’m not a fan of his more modern work. I don’t like how his style’s developed. I think it looked a lot better here. It doesn’t have the same sharpness to it. Everything looks a little softer, a little rounder, a little more like, you know, how things actually look. He does a good job at mood, action is choreographed well, and characters are expressive. It’s solid work from Adams.

Song of the day: A Lucky Life by Clare Bowbitch & the New Slang.

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