Cover of Exiles #74. Pencils by Paul Pelletier.
|First appearance||Longshot #1 (September, 1985)|
|Created by||Ann Nocenti
|Species||Mojoverse slave race (Freemen), mutant|
Longshot is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in books published by Marvel Comics, usually those featuring the X-Men family of characters. Created by writer Ann Nocenti and artist Art Adams, he first appeared in Longshot #1 (September 1985), the first issue of a six-issue miniseries that represents the first major work of both Nocenti and Adams. That series established Longshot as an amnesiac fugitive from another dimension who discovers that he has superhuman good luck that protects him when his motives are pure, and that he was a genetically engineered slave who led a rebellion on his dystopian world against his former master and archenemy, Mojo.
The character subsequently becomes a recurring fixture in the various X-Men related books, which see him as a member of the X-Men from 1986 to 1989, and a member of the third incarnation of X-Factor from 2008 - 2013, as well as in his own solo adventures. Versions of the character have also appeared in the Ultimate Marvel line of books, and television and video games.
Ann Nocenti wrote the story for the Longshot limited series. After most of Marvel's artists had declined to take on the project, it was offered to aspiring artist Arthur Adams, whose samples had been given to editor Carl Potts and Nocenti, his assistant editor, by editor Al Milgrom.
Explaining the concept of the character, which Nocenti borrowed from existentialist writers, she states, "Longshot is the idea of stripping someone of everything that they are. I never read comics, so the idea of a hero to me was different. I couldn't think of it in terms of a 'super hero' hero. I thought of it more as a conceptual hero. Not having a comic book background, I tend to come up with the metaphysics before I come up with the characters. I knew that I wanted to deal with the metaphysics of luck. It was a concept that interested me...what luck is, what probability is, how you could shift probabilities towards yourself. What are the repercussions of that? So, I did a character centered around that idea." Nocenti describes Longshot's state at the beginning of the miniseries by referring to him as "a clean slate. He has no memories, no past, no name, no nothing...In a sense, what I was trying to do was strip someone down to where he had none of the crutches that we normally have. Memory, in a way, is a crutch, or your name, or what you believe you are. So, Longshot's odyssey begins with some very basic questions: Who is he? Why is he here? Ultimately, he goes on a quest for his past and finds it in search of him."
A design for the character of Longshot was put forward by Carl Potts, who outfitted the character in a jumpsuit that Adams thought to be reminiscent of the Starfleet uniforms from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Nocenti, suggested that Longshot look distinct from other superheroes. She prescribed that he be an alien, have only four fingers on each hand, and has an unusual spine, though this last trait was not mentioned in the comics. Adams created his own design, and wanting to distinguish the character visually, based his mullet haircut on that of musician Limahl, as no other major Marvel character had such a haircut. Adams, who disliked the practice of having characters produce weapons and other devices from their boots or secret pockets that had never before been established, decided to include some pouches on the character's belt, a practice that influenced the artwork of the founders of Image Comics.
Longshot debuted in a six-issue, eponymous 1985–1986 mini-series. The series featured the "Mojoverse", an alien dimension whose residents are addicted to televised gladiator-like entertainment and ruled by the tyrannical network head Mojo. Longshot possesses probability-altering or "luck" powers, and is an action star who escapes enslavement by Mojo. A Longshot ongoing series with Nocenti and Adams as the creative team was announced in 1988. According to Nocenti, "every issue is going to throw him into a completely different universe. So one issue, he's going to enter the world of the dead, and one issue he's going to go into a future world where he meets ageing heroes..." However, the series never materialized. Mephisto was to be the central villain; shortly after the series was cancelled, Nocenti began using Mephisto as a major villain in Daredevil.
After the miniseries, Longshot joined the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men Annual #10 in 1986, and remained with them until Uncanny X-Men #248 (September 1989), appearing in various Marvel books occasionally, such as Exiles, the 1997 one-shot Fools and X-Factor, a book whose cast he joined in issue #35 (November 2008). He remained a part of that cast until that book's cancellation in 2013.
In November 2013 Marvel premiered Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe, a four-issue miniseries written by Christopher Hastings and illustrated by Jacopo Camagni.
Fictional character biography
Longshot is an artificially created humanoid life-form, with the ability to defy probability. He is from an alternate dimension known as "Mojoworld" or the "Mojoverse". He is one of many slaves created by genetic engineers in the employ of Mojoworld's masters, the grossly obese, virtually immobile Spineless Ones, who are ruled by the media-obsessed delusional maniac named Mojo. The head geneticist, Arize, gave Longshot and his other creations (such as the ram-headed Quark) free will and a conscience, hoping that one day they would rise up against their masters.
Longshot and many of his fellow slaves rebel against the slave-masters. They undergo a mystical ritual that gives them the power to create good luck for themselves. Despite this power, their masters win the war due to their superior weaponry and the limits of the slaves' luck. Longshot is rendered amnesiac by the Spineless Ones, but he manages to flee from Mojoworld to Earth. A number of Mojo's servants, led by the hound-like Gog and Magog, pursue him, but get stuck between Longshot's world and Earth. Unable to remember his real name, Longshot becomes an adventurer and takes the name "Longshot" after several humans call him that due to his incredible good luck. While recovering, Longshot befriends the human stunt-woman named Ricochet Rita and works as a movie stuntman himself. He also adopts the docile Magog, who he renames "Pup". Finally, Mojo and his assistant, the six-armed sword-wielding assassin named Spiral, follow Longshot to Earth. Longshot battles Spiral, and defeats Mojo with the aid of Ricochet Rita, Quark, and Doctor Strange, who then send Mojo and his minions back to the Mojoverse. Longshot, Quark and Rita return to the Mojoverse to free the other slaves.
Member of the X-Men
After an unsuccessful rebellion, a once-again amnesiac Longshot is sent back to Earth by Mojo, where he joins the X-Men. With the X-Men, he battles the Juggernaut and the Marauders. Longshot dies with the rest of the X-Men while defeating the Adversary, but is then restored to life by Roma. Longshot and the X-Men fight the Reavers in Australia for the first time. He battles the Brood. With the X-Men, he rescues his captured teammates from the island nation of Genosha, which uses mutants as slave caste. He soon becomes Dazzler's lover. However, he suffers a severe identity crisis, and eventually leaves the X-Men.
Before long, Longshot is reunited with Dazzler, and is teleported with her to Mojoworld. For a short time, they live in Mojoworld, until they are captured by Mojo. They, with the X-Men and Mojo's temporary successor, "Mojo II: The Sequel", lead a revolt against Mojo. Longshot and Dazzler also learn that Dazzler is pregnant with their child, who was hinted to be Shatterstar, the member of X-Force. The pair also care for the X-Babies, a group of Mojo-manufactured child clones of the X-Men. One of the many X-Babies created is a young version of Longshot himself.[volume & issue needed] Dazzler's pregnancy was initially suggested to have resulted in a miscarriage. The outcome of Dazzler's pregnancy was resolved many years later, in the storyline "The End of X-Factor". Dazzler returned to Earth separately from Longshot suffering from memory loss, believing that Longshot, the X-Babies and everyone in the rebellion had been killed by Mojo and his followers.[volume & issue needed]
After being "killed" by the Thingy and denied entrance into Heaven, Longshot realizes he has lost his innocence, the main source of his luck power. Ejected from Heaven and Mojoverse, Longshot finds himself stranded between Baum and Barrie, Kansas, pursued by the vengeful Thingy. When a child who has befriended the broken hero is damaged by the monster, Longshot, helped by a group of mental patients, rediscovers his faith in himself and his own purity despite the suffering of his life to restore her to health. In the end, the unlikely group sets out for the big city, searching for adventure, secure in their luck and their innocence.
Again suffering from memory loss, Longshot is recruited for the Exiles by Heather Hudson to help against Proteus. Mojo claims that he and all the other inhabitants of Mojoworld are "unique" in that there is no parallel counterpart to his realm. This would extend to Longshot, though what impact this will have on his membership in the Exiles is unknown. Morph reveals that Longshot's abilities cancel Proteus' reality warping powers, making him a perfect candidate for the team. He is brought aboard to replace the dead Mimic. Longshot saves Blink from Proteus in 2099, and saves Blink, Morph, Sabretooth, Star Brand, Lenore Fenzl, and Nightmask from Proteus in the New Universe Approximation. When the Exiles visit the future, Longshot tries to stop Maestro's rampage and stop Proteus from taking over Maestro's body. The Exiles finally corner Proteus at the Heroes Reborn world, and trap Proteus in Morph's body. With the hunt for Proteus at an end, Longshot remains an Exile to continue fixing damaged realities. During their last mission, Longshot is seemingly brainwashed into attacking Blink by Madame Hydra and the Hand. Afterwards, Longshot leaves the Exiles during a mission on Earth-616 where he is re-introduced to Dazzler, whom he has no memory of nor their time together in Mojoworld.
After failing to rekindle his relationship with Dazzler due to his loss of his memories, Longshot shows up in Detroit after reading an article about his supposed appearance there during the events of Secret Invasion, thanks to a Skrull impostor. After a small fight with Guido, he helps X-Factor find out what happened to Darwin and his father, leading them to the Karma Project. During that time, he is seen commenting that women are too friendly towards him, and reveals that his memory losses are so severe that he doesn't even understand his powers anymore.
In X-Factor #47 it is once more hinted that Longshot and Shatterstar are related. It is not until a one-shot issue during the final X-Factor story arc, "The End of X-Factor", that their connection is explained. After Rictor and Shatterstar are transported into Mojoworld's past, they and the audience learn that Shatterstar is the only Mojoworld rebel who was not created by Arize the Creator, as he in fact mysteriously appeared from the sky one day. Arize then used Shatterstar's genetic material to create Longshot, making Shatterstar the father of Longshot genetically. Mojo later attacks Arize's sanctuary, so Shatterstar time-teleports himself and Rictor to a time in Mojoworld's history when Dazzler and Longshot are married and fighting a war against Mojo. Dazzler, pregnant with Longshot's child, goes into labor, and gives birth to a young Shatterstar, who Shatterstar explains to Rictor he will deliver to the future of Mojoworld to be raised by the people that raised him, but not before he erases Dazzler and Longshot's memories of their having a child.
Powers, abilities and equipment
Longshot was created through genetic engineering by Arize. Longshot has only three fingers and an opposable thumb on each hand. He also has leather-like skin, and two hearts. He is superhumanly acrobatic (speed, agility, dexterity, flexibility, reflexes/reactions, coordination, and balance) being able to evade blows by Spider-Man. He also has advanced healing abilities. In Longshot #3, these abilities automatically healed him following several hits with high-powered laser beams and falling out of the sky and impacting a barn when his jetpack malfunctioned.
Ann Nocenti, who co-created Longshot, says of his primary superhuman trait, "Longshot has access to probabilities and luck. He's lucky, he's miraculous in a way...he was born with this talent to have access to being lucky, and the problem is that he finds out that there's a flip side to luck. There are repercussions. If you pull probabilities towards yourself, you're probably taking them away from other people, so it's actually something that he shouldn't even be doing." He was genetically engineered and augmented by magical means to have certain superhuman abilities. The mystical augmentation gave him the ability to affect probability fields through psionic means in order to give himself "good luck" in his activities. This allows incredibly unlikely events to happen in Longshot's favor. This power operates even when Longshot does not consciously will it to do so. This ability is tied into the positive aspects of his personality: should he attempt to use his powers for a selfish or evil act, or should he give up hope, his powers will fail to function or even backfire, giving him bad luck. Echoing Nocenti's words on the adverse side effects of his powers, Longshot's luck is fickle, and can backfire if he overuses it, creating an equal and opposite "bad luck" effect elsewhere, that can affect others or even Longshot himself. Longshot's left eye glows brightly when he uses his superhuman powers.
Longshot can read "psychic imprints" that people leave on objects that they have handled, and thereby learn the thoughts that an individual had while handling the object, a phenomenon known as psychometry. He can also read a person's future in this manner as well. He can also telepathically "read" the recent memories of a person by making physical contact with him or her. Nocenti elaborates on the psychometry thus: "If you picked up a hammer and used it to bang nails every day and Longshot went to read it, he may not read much of it, but if it was used to kill somebody, that would leave a bigger psychic imprint, even if somebody held an object and cried over it, he would feel that too. If someone's emotional or intense enough around an object, they'll imprint it stronger, so he can read that."
A recurring aspect of stories he appeared in was the strong, spontaneous attraction that women exhibited to him, a trait with which he was genetically engineered.
Longshot carries cleaver-like blades, stored in a bandolier, which he hurls with inhuman accuracy or in some cases, completely dependent upon his luck powers. He is also shown as proficient in other types of bladed weaponry. During his X-Men years, Longshot also carried a folding grappling hook and rope either carried looped around one shoulder or stored in his shoulder bag, and a set of throwing spikes which produced net-like wires between them to restrain a target.
Longshot is an extraordinary acrobat, and has superhuman agility due to having hollow bones but musculature like a human's.[volume & issue needed]
Ultimate Longshot first appeared in Ultimate X-Men #54, written by Brian K. Vaughan. In the Ultimate Universe, Longshot is not an alien but an ordinary mutant named Arthur Centino. His name is a tribute to creators Art Adams and Ann Nocenti.
Centino is accused of murdering a Genoshan politician; as punishment, he is sentenced to forced participation in a reality show where he will be hunted for sport. The show is run by Mojo Adams, and Longshot's first opponent is Arcade.
The X-Men journey to the island Longshot is on, assuming he is innocent and was framed and thus offer to help him. During the course of their time together, Longshot spends time charming Colossus. It is later discovered that he is guilty; he had stumbled upon his girlfriend Spiral with the politician and killed him in a fit of rage. Later, Longshot is in the Savage Land foraging for food when he runs into the Ultimates' Scarlet Witch, who captures him and has him imprisoned in their Triskelion base. Longshot later successfully escapes from the Triskelion. During the escape, he seemingly kills Lady Deathstrike, saving the lives of two of the X-Men who had freed him before. One of the others who escaped is Magneto, who admits that he had tipped the authorities onto Longshot's location in the first place, as part of Magneto's own escape plan; Magneto wanted Longshot and his luck power present as an "edge" to guarantee success.
This version of Longshot despises normal human beings; he regularly uses the epithet "flatscan" when referring to them, introducing the term to the Ultimate universe.
When Longshot is last seen, the death of Charles Xavier is announced, the news reaches "Somewhere Else," apparently Magneto's latest stronghold. Longshot is seen, still bearded from his time on the run, seated on his own low stool at Magneto's right hand side, suggesting that the sociopathic young mutant holds special favor with the Master of Magnetism. This story by Robert Kirkman is entitled Aftermath: Part 1.
It is later revealed that Longshot was somehow tortured and killed in the Savage Land under orders from Magneto.
In the alternate reality future seen at the end of the 1992 "Shattershot" storyline (which ran through the 1992 annuals of the X-Men-related titles), a mysterious hooded figure appears in the background when the former slaves and the Spineless Ones finally make peace. The hooded figure throws back his hood, revealing himself to be an aged Longshot. He makes a philosophical pronouncement, then says "Gotcha!" as he did while he was with the X-Men.
In other media
Longshot appears in the 1992-1997 X-Men animated series, in which he is voiced by Rod Wilson. In the episode "Mojovision", Longshot quits his own hit TV show, leading Mojo to kidnap the X-Men to replace Longshot in a new action series that has the X-Men literally fighting for their lives. The X-Men and Longshot foil Mojo's plans. In the episode "Longshot", the titular hero develops a strong rapport with Jubilee, and by the end of the episode, he returns home to continue leading the rebellion against Mojo. This relationship is referenced in a brief cameo in the fantasy-inspired episode "Jubilee's Fairytale Theatre", in which Jubilee, is placed in a Robin Hood-type role of saving a peasant Longshot from being execution at the hands of Magnus the Magnificent, a fairytale version of Magneto.
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