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Stuff for the Teen Age, Biblio File

"X-Men: Longshot" — A Graphic Novel Review

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Imagine being lost in a strange place with no memory of who or what you are. The only thing you know? That luck seems to somehow be on your side. This is life for the mysterious man known only as Longshot.

Destined to become one of the iconic X-Men, Longshot's first self-titled graphic novel details his first trip to Earth. It turns out he ended up here by accident.

From another dimension, Longshot escaped from the mad tyrant Mojo and the time-twisting witch Sprial in a world based on a multimedia conglomerate. There, he was both a slave and a star, forced to entertain the masses whether he wanted to or not. Rejecting this destiny, Longshot flees to make his own fate — and he crash lands on Earth with Mojo's hordes right on his tail. Innocent and childlike, he struggles to learn the ways of our world. Aiding and hindering his progress is his semi-loyal "Pup," a strange, doglike creature named Magog. Longshot fails to realize that his new pet is really one of Mojo's lackeys waiting for the right moment to strike. Longshot soon falls in love with a stuntwoman named Rita, and is also singlehandedly responsible for a city-wide blackout in New York City, eventually putting him in conflict with heroes like She-Hulk and Spider-Man. Not bad for his first vacation, huh?

Longshot meets Spider-ManLongshot meets Spider-Man

Longshot owes his creation to his "parents" — really his creators — writer Ann Nocenti and artist Art Adams. A new editor at Marvel Comics, Nocenti was trying to leave her mark in the Marvel universe by creating a new and different kind of superhero. Originally created in 1985, Nocenti recalls in the introduction how many different inspirations went into Longshot. At a time when heroes were all about big guns and gray morality, she wanted to create a happy, naïve, and carefree character, one who relied on his luck. Longshot is a character who often believes that things will just work themselves out; when he takes his luck for granted, he nearly dies.  

Even more lasting than Longshot was the introduction of the villainous Mojo, an obese despot powered by the fear and worship of his people. In this story, people and plants literally start to decay when they are in Mojo's presence, a testament to his dastardly poisoneous nature. Serving him is the less-than-enthusiastic six-armed Spiral, an armored warrior woman who can literally dance through time and space. In this story, both Mojo and Spiral eventually become personally invested in retrieving Longshot back to their home dimension. Retracing his steps, they find his one-time love Rita. Kidnapping her, they bring her through time and space, eventually warping her mind in the process. In a paradox, it's actually Rita who Mojo transforms into Spiral, meaning that Spiral had a direct hand in creating herself.

While several elements of this title may seem dated — after all, it was written over 25 years ago! - there are some elements of it that still ring true today. Like, what New Yorker isn't worried about their ConEd power bill? As multimedia permeates our society more and more with each passing year, the idea of a Mojo-esque individual rising to power isn't such a crazy notion. We can only hope that heroes like Longshot, with a little luck, will be around to save us all. Reserve X-Men: Longshot today!

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