First Impressions – LONGSHOT SAVES THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1

longshot-saves-the-marvel-universe-no1

Someone or something is killing those who exhibit unusually good fortune, and it’s up to the luckiest man in the world to stop it. But in LONGSHOT SAVES THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1, the titular veteran of Xs, both Men and Factor, may himself be responsible. Has the multi-powered Longshot reached the end of his luck?

First thing to establish is that Longshot is not a mutant. He’s fought alongside the X-Men and X-Factor, but he himself is not a mutant. Longshot was created in 1985 for a self-titled miniseries, where he began life as a genetically engineered artificial human to satisfy the tastes of the residents of Mojoworld. He was endowed with a hollow skeleton and psychometry (the ability to learn information by touching objects), as well as the ability to alter probability to his favor. He rebelled against Mojoworld’s master, Mojo, and traveled to Earth, where he fell in with the mutants. And that’s basically the sum of my personal knowledge concerning the character, having only read a few eighties issues where he appeared.

He also had a mullet and a uniform like from the first Star Trek movie, but we’ll forgive him for that.

LONGSHOT SAVES THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1 introduces new readers to the character and his current goings on. The issue goes as far as starting with a full page of text explaining all one needs to know to understand Longshot. Getting the plot rolling, a mysterious being in a black-and-white mask goes around the world, finding people who have come into unusual fortune, and kills them via brain aneurism. While that’s all going on, Tony Stark and Reed Richards prepare to deal with a sudden, unexpected, and potentially worrying lucky find of their own.

Why not spoil it? It’s a cosmic cube…that they just found.

Meanwhile, Longshot has himself a normal day, for him at least. Getting a new, mullet-less haircut, and causing, then averting, a robbery using his luck powers. Unfortunately, such ultimately good fortune draws the attention of the lucky killer. It would appear that Longshot was the target all along, and has to die. Throw an unstable cosmic cube into the mix, and everything starts going pear-shaped.

It’s a four issue miniseries, and already the plot gets rolling in a big way. Alternate realities may or may not be involved, I’m not sure.

This miniseries is written by Christopher Hastings, the genius comedic mind behind the glorious Dr. McNinja. Apparently the Marvel universe is somehow considerably less crazy awesome than the world where an Irish ninja doctor teams up with a child sporting guns and a mustache to fight a radical king from a radical land, so LONGSHOT SAVES THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1 turns out more grounded. At least in story structure, and insofar as the Marvel universe can be. This was the universe where Captain America fought a secret society led by the unidentified President of the United States, who is totally Richard Nixon. Or was it Ronald Reagan? I can never recall.

Edit: Oh wait, both of those things happened. My mistake.

The writing on this issue, as stated before, doesn’t have a chance to get to the mad heights of absurdist comedy that is Dr. McNinja, but it comes pretty close. We’re definitely on the lighter side of superhero comics, though the book knows how to be serious when it has to. Longshot here is depicted as an upstanding guy, though much of his heroism can be tied to his need to use his luck powers for good or bad things start happening. Can’t even use luck to cover the price of a taco without it being twisted, genie-style, to something that threatens innocents. In brief, Longshot means well, but has his own flaws and temptations. Just like all well-rounded heroic characters.

Art duties are handled by Jacopo Camagni, who does a great job. Nothing much to say on that score, it’s just a very solid penciling job. I like this style, nothing special. Colorist Matt Millia makes everything pop out, being a visually interesting feast for the eyes. I like color in my comics, and this one has plenty. If I seem repetitive always mentioning a book’s color work, it’s only because too many contemporary comics think that washing things out somehow makes them better.

I’ve been waiting for LONGSHOT SAVES THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1 ever since Hastings announced it on his website. In my opinion, the book does not disappoint. Recommended to anyone with a love for eighties characters, bizarre haircuts, and a not-too-serious take of superheroics. It reminds me a lot of The Infinity Gauntlet, a miniseries that is not the event you’re thinking of, but rather a comic written by another webcomic creator who transitioned into the main comics industry, Brian Clevenger. Except hopefully LONGSHOT SAVES THE MARVEL UNIVERSE will remain on the subject of the titular hero eponymously saving the aforementioned universe. As opposed to spending a couple issues bopping around with entertaining but irrelevant romps with minor characters.

Then again, I do love space blimps.

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