As Reviewed by John Aston
Publisher: Marvel Comics Sept. 1985
Writer: Ann Nocenti
Pencils: Art Adams
Inks: Bill Anderson, Whilce Portacio
What is this: Longshot No. 1 debuts one of Marvel’s "third-generation" of new mutants with equally vague powers similar to the probability-shifting Scarlett Witch: he changes luck. Longshot, a 6-issue mini-series published ten years out from Giant-Size X-Men and two years after the New Mutants debuted expand the mutant menace known as the X-Men continuity.
So what happens: Longshot, primarily known as the three-fingered hero from the Mojoverse, appears in New York City on the run from enemies unknown and with a severe case of amnesia as he embarks of a fairy-tale like quest searching for a kidnapped infant taking the company of a paranoid survivalist, a mysterious anamorphic dog-like being only the main character encounters and a the missing child's single-mother. Their trek leads them to a clan of demons in their stronghold outside the city.
What’d you think: I’m actually not a fan of Longshot or the whole Mojo thing; having a reality-show themed murder world was extremely ahead of its time in the mid-80s, which is when I first began reading X-Men at the ripe old age of 9-years-old. The biting commentary regarding television network practices was lost on me at the time and nowadays been-there, heard that.
Ann Nocenti, whose comic career revived in DC’s New 52 reboot and authored an extremely underrated and overlooked Daredevil run in the 80s, seemingly cuts the book’s tether to reality. New York didn’t feel grounded in reality and as the issue progresses causing a loss of bearings as to where I am. Longshot has an intentional vagueness of a fable with general settings: city, the woods, demon world. You know you are in New York City but it doesn't feel that way.
Arthur Adams' art is a work-in-progress. He’s not the artist known for slick and beautifully rendered line work he produces today, but the pages drawn in 1985 do show a man evolving from traditional comic figures to an Americanized anime. The hyper detail is there, and at the time, rivaled George Perez. It should be noted the coloring process and technology 30 years ago was stone age quality and takes away from the visuals.
Comic book movies rule, will I like this: Longshot doesn’t seem to be involved in the X-Men films, yet. He’s not really a prominent X-Man either hitting his stride in X-Men writer and creative godfather Chris Claremont’s run during the late 80s and early, early 90s. Longshot sporadically makes appearances here and there but, really, his time was up by the time the X-Men cartoon first aired on Fox. Fans who only partake of comic-related TV and film may want to skip over this one.
Is this online: This particular Longshot mini-series (there are others) at the time of this writing is not available via legal digital download. However the mini-series was collected in a 2008 hardcover and later in 2013 in softcover. The single issues and collections are available at online comic stores and many brick-and-mortar shops.
On a side note: When I look at the 1985 Longshot art, I can see where Rob Liefeld could have been influenced visually. Also, Art Adams will be at the 2015 HeroesCon in Charlotte, N.C.