Longshot #4 (1985, December)
Free Comic Book Day is tomorrow. I probably won’t go. No free comics that looked interesting to me. For today, by Nocenti and Adams, “Can’t Give It All Away!”
A news report on Longshot’s theft of the diamonds gets Spider-Man and She-Hulk both deciding to take a look for him. Longshot is looking to find a way to use the diamonds to pay back the people affected by the blackout he caused. Some kids are in a car, playing a game, pretending to be in a space battle. It’s the Fatboys! Their “gang” name isn’t given here, but these kids will end up becoming supporting characters in Daredevil. So yay for the Fatboys! They tumble out of the car, and a couple parents walk over. They’re debating whether TV is worse than books or comics, with the wife saying it’s more subliminal, teaching kids to be violent. She tells the kids to throw away their toy guns, but the husband starts talking about the need to appear well-armed, and goes on and on and on, with the kids sneaking away. They try to pool their money for comics, but don’t have enough for even two.
Longshot tosses them some diamonds. While he talks to the kids, Darla falls in love with him. Another kid, Butch, catches sight of Gog, but Gog disappears. Longshot goes for a walk through the park, thinking about how weird the world is. She-Hulk spots him, and she attacks him.
In another world, we finally meet the real star of the story – Mojo! It’s Mojo, guys! He’s insane, and I love him. Major Domo is great, too, putting up with Mojo’s insanity calmly. Mojo demands everyone have his face. Major Domo suggests Mojo go for some therapy. Mojo locks himself in a room full of mirrors. He ends up hating it, and demands the mirrors be painted black. Then he goes to meet with the guys who had been hunting Longshot, all of whom are wearing Mojo masks. They tell Mojo about the planet of men, and the danger Longshot poses, with his luck. Mojo doesn’t believe them, and gets angry that they’re wearing his face. I really do love Mojo. Mojo tells Spiral to bring him to the world of men.
Back in the park, She-Hulk is still beating Longshot around. He’s trying to talk to her, thinking she’s one of the creatures who was chasing him, but realizes she’s not going to listen. So he flips over her, and throws some knives to pin her to the tree. It only takes her a moment to free herself, but he;s already gone.
He’s running across some rooftops, and Spider-Man finds him. Spider-Man attacks, and makes fun of him, and Longshot wonders why. He jumps off a roof, grabs a jacket, spins around a clothesline, flies back up, throws the coat over Spider-Man’s face, and is gone by the time Spider-Man takes the coat off.
Ricochet Rita’s practising some stunts. In this case, swinging on a rope, while narrating it like a Tarzan story. She’s very playful, talking to her dog, exchanging quips with her parrot. While she talks about Longshot, her plants start dying, and her animals start freaking out. Mojo! And Spiral.
Longshot overhears Butch talking about the monster he found, and drops down to ask about it. Butch says he saw the monster at the Cloisters. Longshot tells them there are no monsters, but Butch says he’s going to kill the monster with a gun. Longshot reads the gun, and remembers a time when guns were used to kill his friends. He was captured, and mindwiped, and left a drooling, mindless slave. When he wakes from his trance, he tells the kids to show him their monster.
They head to the Cloisters, and go inside. Gog is inside. Gog N’Magog, as he calls himself. He’s stuffed dull of magic. The kids all say Gog can’t be real, and Longshot agrees. So Gog bitch-slaps him.
This series was good from the start, but this issue takes it to another level. Mojo is an instantly entertaining villain. His ADHD-like behaviour is very funny, but he’s also a demented tyrant, so as funny as he is, he’s still menacing. Even his insanity, while it’s played for laughs, is still pretty disturbing. The character is, of course, a satire of network executives. Nocenti was in college at the time she wrote this series, and was reading a lot of stuff by guys like Noam Chomsky, Marshall McLuhann and Walter Lippmann. So Mojo is ultimately a comment on media conglomeration and all that. But the important thing is that he’s so delightfully evil. While Mojo hasn’t always been used well since this series – some writers just use him for fun stories with minimal commentary on the media – I almost always enjoy seeing him.
Longshot’s fights against Spider-Man and She-Hulk are fun. They almost seem to be there just to make sure people know the series is tied into the main Marvel continuity, but they do also give a pretty good indication of Longshot’s abilities. We also get some more touches of women all finding him attractive. The interesting thing is that’s not really a “conventionally” attractive guy. He’s androgynous. But Adams does make him look damned sexy. In fact, that androgyny is probably what does it. He has a lean body, rather than a lot of muscles, he’s got big eyes, nice hair, a nice mouth. He’s not “what guys think chicks find sexy,” he’s what Nocenti told Adams she finds sexy.
Adams’ art is otherwise pretty decent. The colorist, Christie Scheele, does still have a weird habit of blue-washing characters. I don’t know why she does it, but it doesn’t look good, and it detracts from the art. For the most part, Adams’ pencils are fine. Sometimes great, sometimes a bit weak. The art can be inconsistent at times. But mostly, it’s pretty good.
This is a great series.