Longshot #2 (1985, October)
I’ll post my pull list tomorrow. For today, by Nocenti and Adams, “. . . I’ll Wave To You From the Top!”
Longshot and Pup jump onto a train, which is covered in guns and spikes. It’s on a film set, and the director sends Ricochet Rita to get rid of him. Pup is undergoing some changes. And can also teleport. Rita drives up on her motorcycle and dares Longshot to catch her. He jumps off the train and lands behind her on the bike. The director, Hitch, decides to hire him as a stuntman, though the women think he should be the star, since he’s so dreamy. Hitch explains his movie is about a gang of futuristic pirates. It’s meant as a commentary on unemployment, apparently. Longshot’s hired as the stuntdouble for the star of the movie, which pisses off the existing stuntdouble.
Kimberly Price, an aging actress who uses a ton of make-up to hide that fact, is the co-star, and Rita doubles for her. Rita shows Longshot how to use the jetpacks for an upcoming stunt. Yep, jetpacks. You know, just like the kind that ’80s action movies used all the time. I always find it amusing seeing comic book versions of movie sets. I can only imagine how expensive a lot of the movies had to have been, considering how over-the-top the stunts always were. Rita talks about how she needs danger and a spotlight to feel alive.
Longshot stares at Rita’s jetpack, and has a flashback to him and some dude named Jackson flying around on jetpacks, in a big battle. Jackson gets killed, and Longshot flips out, cursing the “spineless creeps” who force Longshot and his friends to die in wars for the sake of making movies. Rita wakes him up before he crashes, and he says he thinks he used to be a movie star, a warrior and a slave. Longshot and Rita head back to the set, and Price tells him off for keeping her waiting. He tells her fame is a curse, and she imagines herself losing her face. Hitch then offers Longshot a million dollars for a particularly dangerous stunt.
That night, Longshot visits Rita’s hotel room to talk. Rita starts making out with him, then backs off when she finds his skin feels like leather. She says she doesn’t think he’s human. As if the fact that he only has three fingers on each hand didn’t tip that off. She leaves. There’s a crash out back, where they’ve got their jetpacks resting out in the open, because that’s not the least bit idiotic. Some of the creepy alien monster dudes from last issue surround Longshot when he investigates, but Pup kills them all. He’s bigger, but Longshot doesn’t mind. He invites Pup in for some food. Rita comes back and says Pup is either a midget in a fur suit, or he’s not from Earth. Of course, she forgets the possibility of him being a mutant. Or a science experiment. He could be a dog that mad scientist did weird experiments on and transformed. Anyway, Longshot figures that if Pup’s not from Earth, neither is he, and also figures Pup has been keeping secrets from him. Pup agrees to tell him everything he knows about him. Then PUp punches Longshot and says he hates him. Pup also thinks about being a magic magnet.
The next day is the stunt. Longshot and Rita have to fly in, evading laser fire, and pick up something from the roof of a pimped-out power plant. Longshot feels off. He doubts his own motives. He gets hit by some lasers, and blacks out to another flashback. This time, a weird group of weirdos do a weird ceremony to give Longshot his luck, as long as his motives are pure. He wakes up briefly and lands on some wires. Dogs wearing metal armour try to get at him, even though there’s no way a vicious dog would be allowed on a movie set. Rita flies down and helps him to get back over the fence. He smashes into a wall. He’s almost dead. Hitch says he’ll take Longshot to the hospital, but instead plans on dumping the body so no one knows the contract he made Longshot sign was illegal.
Another great issue. There’s the silliness regarding how movies in comic book worlds work. That’s a common problem with comic books with stories set on film sets. Because it’s a superhero comic, the danger needs to be real, and so you get actual frigging lasers. Hitch talks about how he’s revolutionary because the danger in his movies are real, but seriously, real lasers! No! There is absolutely no way anyone would get away with that. Not least because real lasers don’t really exist. Also, why the hell would Longshot and Rita be allowed to take their jetpacks back to the motel? Those things would be locked up tight on the set. They could never be taken off-set.
All that aside, however, there is some good stuff. Rita’s a fun character. We get some slight insight into Longshot’s past. This series has a lot of commentary on entertainment, and especially blockbuster movies. The first issue gave no indication of that, but it definitely shows up here, and becomes more prevalent through the rest of the series.
Adams’ art is also good. He does a good job with the action. Expressions are a bit limited. Amusingly, Ricochet Rita is actually physically based on Ann Nocenti.
Song of the day: Heaven’s Just for Moviemakers by Graham Wright.