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Longshot #6 (1986, February)

June 9, 2015

And now we finish the only non-X-title to get its own series of posts. By Nocenti and Adams, “A Snake Coils. . . .”

A Snake Coils . . .

I have no idea how Spiral’s arms would actually work. Let’s just say “magic.”

Mojo doesn’t remember what he and Spiral are up to. Spiral reminds him they’re looking for Longshot. He decides he’s more interested in the planet. He figures he’ll bring fertility, as everything dies around him, and that he’ll make everyone worship him, since that will increase his power. Mojo and Spiral turn invisible to explore a little town. After killing a cat and knocking down an old woman, they go to a church. Mojo starts thinking about how to renovate it, and hints at Spiral having a thing for Longshot. He twists the minds of the people at the church, making them worship him. He’s going to make them redesign the church into a tower. Spiral reminds him that last time he built a tower it weakened him, but Mojo ignores her.

Longshot returns to Rita’s home and finds her wide-eyed and screaming silently. He tries to read her, to see what she saw. He sees her tied to the bow of Mojo’s ship, being driven insane, and retreating into her mind. Strange and Quark come in, and Quark warns Longshot that Mojo’s on Earth. Strange calls Mojo an anti-nature force, and promises to put Rita in a protective field while they search for Mojo. Longshot tells Strange to focus on healing Rita, and Strange gets an intuition to go along with it.

Longshot and Quark look for Mojo, and keep finding news reports about  a new cathedral being built. Quark dismisses the reports, because of course he does. He also tells Longshot about the rebellions, which were always hopeless, because they always lost. Longshot is confident they can get rid of Mojo and then continue the rebellion, and Quark’s had enough. Longshot’s optimism makes Quark miserable.

Mojo finds them. Longshot jumps to the attack, and Spiral tries to intercept him, but Longshot jumps right over her and reaches Mojo. Longshot can’t kill him, and Mojo and Spiral retreat. Longshot and Quark find a phone to call Strange and let him know about Mojo’s tower. Strange is trying to help Rita – her bird is already healthy again. Hearing Longshot’s voice brings Rita out of her coma.

Mojo is back at his tower, demanding his worshipers create a thousand faces, all his. Then he sees a stone version of his face, and gets angry and kills the people who sculpted it. He demands Spiral bring the sun closer, so it shines only on his tower. Longshot and Quark finish making some bombs and setting up a glider. They’re going to use catapults to fire homemade bombs at the tower, wrecking it, at which point Longshot will force Mojo to retreat to his own world. And Quark plans on killing himself, since he doesn’t want to be stuck in a pen by the humans even if Mojo is defeated.

Longshot sees a horse, and reads it, getting another flashback of his past. Arize tells him to get his people to rise up and rebel and be free, as Arize planned. Then he gives Longshot a robot horse.

Back at the tower, Mojo continues to be insane, while Spiral continues to be annoyed. They have such a fun dynamic. Longshot and Quark begin their assault. Spiral teleports to attack Quark, who’s decided  to be optimistic and live. He floats over to Mojo. Spiral pops back to fight Longshot, and he asks if something went on between them. Mojo knocks Longshot and Quark out, and Spiral prepares for the death blow, but gets shot from behind. It’s Rita! With Strange and her bird. Strange confronts Mojo while Rita and Longshot  reunite. Strange begins to explain his plan, and Longshot catches on quickly, then distracts Mojo so Strange can create a portal to get rid of Mojo. Longshot kicks him into the portal. Spiral jumps in after him. Longshot starts to follow, and Rita asks him not to, but he says he has to. Quark joins him. Rita decides to join him, too.

This is probably the best issue of the series, if only for Mojo and Spiral. They’re hilarious together. Mojo’s hilarious in general. So weird and crazy and stupid, while still being menacing. He’s also used as a way of touching on religion here. He’s gathering worshipers to gain powe. His worshipers are basically mind-controlled into worshiping him. Makes me suspect Nocenti, at least at the time, may have been somewhat sceptical of organized religion. She was certainly sceptical of TV, which was the other part of Mojo’s plan: To control people through TV transmissions. Actually, it occurs to me that Mojo was basically trying to be a televangelist. And to hell with those guys.

Longshot actually ends up being largely overshadowed by all the more interesting personalities in this issue. Mojo and Spiral, of course. But Quark’s cynicism also ends up being a little more interesting than Longshot’s optimism. Optimistic superheroes were nothing new. But even today, heroes who fully expect to lose and keep fighting anyway are rare. There’s something noble about that.

Adams’ art remains solid. There’s still the greyed-out background characters that I find weird and distracting. But there’s some good action stuff. His catatonic Rita is really well-done. Lots of horror on her face and in her eyes.

Sadly, Longshot’s rebellion never gets shown. Apparently, Nocenti and Adams were supposed to do a follow-up about the rebellion, but it never happened. Instead, it fails off-panel. Which is pretty damn bleak.

All in all, this was a fun series.

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