Humor is admittedly a subjective element, so what one person finds funny another person won’t. But even if you strip out that particular part of the comic from its critique, “Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe” #2 is still somewhat lackluster, as it lurches from one scene to the next in a manner that fails to grab the imagination. But then again, on some level, that’s always been a problem with Longshot: the execution has never lived up to the potential.
Part of the problem is that Christopher Hastings’s script falls into a trap that crops up far too often; what’s going on in his head isn’t entirely making it onto the page. There are sudden transitions and shifts, and it’s hard to keep from feeling like the bridging material and motivations necessary just never made it into the finished product. Why are Deadpool, Scarlet Witch and Ghost Rider suddenly leaping in to help Longshot and Doctor Strange? Why is the In-Betweener working for S.H.I.E.L.D. in this alternate reality? Good questions for which there’s no real answer.
It is a little funny that Scarlet Witch is in this comic, since Hastings’ interpretation of Longshot’s powers is now a mixture of Scarlet Witch’s hex power and Domino’s ill-defined luck power. It makes it a slightly more offensive and showy ability, but it seems to also entirely miss the point of the character. Then again, Longshot’s always been a problematic character, one whom gained a lot of attention in that original mini-series by Ann Nocenti and Arthur Adams, but whose appearances since then (in “Uncanny X-Men” and “X-Factor” to say nothing of the occasional one-shot) have always felt slightly out of place with writers unsure on what to do with him. Considering the long-stalled “Longshot” ongoing series by Nocenti and Adams was never able to become a reality, it raises the question if the problem is that the character himself is better suited as a background figure than a lead. Either you write a comic about a passive character, or you have to alter him hugely to make it a story involving a more active role for the protagonist.
Jacopo Camagni’s art is also not quite there. The big two-page spread with Longshot, Strange, and company attacking the helicarrier is jumbled and doesn’t hold a lot of good panel-to-panel transitions to make it easy to follow. Characters have strange rubbery faces (Dazzler is utterly unrecognizable on the page where she’s reading the anti-mutant report), and the poses are a little awkward too. The one exception is Doctor Strange, who looks great and completely on point here. Unfortunately, the book actually stars Longshot, who looks gangly without being graceful (the latter being the important physical feature for the character), and that’s not even including the attempt to give him a new hair style. (And that’s ignoring the fact that it was unnecessary, since the mullet was long gone by the time he started appearing in “X-Factor.”)
“Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe” #2 makes me think that this mini-series is getting rushed out (with a twice-a-month schedule) before retailers and readers have time to stop and digest what’s going on here. A new Longshot mini-series isn’t a bad idea, but this feels like little more than an attempt to lock in the use-or-lose nature of a trademark. In the end, the only thing that needs saving is this mini-series.