the origin of Longshot’s family?

Longshot title imageIn the 1985-1986 Longshot mini-series written by Ann Nocenti, Longshot was a genetically created human with the specific purpose of being Mojo’s slave-star in the entertainment business. Before escaping from Mojo’s dimension to Earth, Longshot had supposedly had a relationship with another of Mojo’s slave-stars, Spiral, who now hated him.

Subtle hints of Spiral being aware of a past with Longshot, but now hating him from Uncanny X-Men Annual #10

The mini-series ended with Longshot going back to Mojo’s dimension along with stuntwoman Ricochet Rita and Quark to rebel against Mojo’s slavery.

Limited Series end scene with Longshot going back to Mojo’s dimension along with Ricochet Rita and Quark to rebel against Mojo from Longshot #6

In Marvel Age Annual #3, 1987, a Longshot graphic novel by Ann Nocenti and Art Adams was announced: “Longshot will return to his home world where he will start a rebellion to free his people. All his nemeses from his Limited Series, including Mojo and Spiral, will counter-attack. Longshot will discover just how brutal a rebellion can be – and how merciless the forces bent on the rebellion’s destruction truly are.”

However, the graphic novel never appeared due to becoming editor of the X-Men and mutant books and Adams getting poached to illustrate other Marvel titles due to his quickly rising star.

To prevent the increasingly popular characters from her Limited Series getting irrevocably altered by other writers, Nocenti struck a deal with her primary writer, Chris Claremont. He would become their caretakers until such time as she could be freed up to return and write an ongoing Longshot series.

And so later that year came Uncanny X-Men Annual #10 written by Claremont and illustrated by Adams, where they revealed that the rebellion on Mojo World had failed, and Mojo subsequently sent Longshot to the X-Men on Earth as part of a plan to enslave them, too. The plan didn’t succeed, but Mojo decided to leave Longshot with the X-Men to annoy Spiral.

Mojo deciding to leave Longshot with the X-Men to annoy Spiral from Uncanny X-Men Annual #10

However, Longshot suffered from amnesia during his entire time with the X-Men and didn’t even recognise Ricochet Rita when he saw one of her movies in Uncanny X-Men #224 in 1987.

Longshot failing to recognise Ricochet Rita despite seeing one of her movies from Uncanny X-Men #224

In Uncanny X-Men Annual #12, 1988, it was revealed that Rita had become one of Mojo’s slaves…

Rita revealed to have become one of Mojo’s slaves from Uncanny X-Men Annual #12

…and she was next seen as guardian for Mojo’s X-Babies in the 1989 Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem special edition.

Ricochet Rita as guardian for Mojo's X-Babies from the Excalibur Mojo Mayhem special edition

Nocenti’s editorial duties ended later in 1988 so it was after the above special edition, when Adams was similarly freed up, that discussions resumed about the Longshot ongoing series. Plans progressed to the extent that Claremont wrote the character out of Uncanny X-Men to accommodate that.

Sadly, the series never came to fruition and Longshot fell into comic obscurity after Uncanny X-Men #248…

Longshot leaving the X-Men to discover his true identity from Uncanny X-Men #248

…not showing up again until the Scattershot event in 1992’s X-Annuals.

Chapter 3 of the 'Shattershot' event from X-Factor Annual #7

In X-Factor Annual #7, chapter 3 of that event, writer Fabian Nicieza revealed that Spiral was actually Ricochet Rita who had been transformed and sent back in time by Mojo.

Fabian Nicieza reveals that Spiral was actually Ricochet Rita who had been transformed and sent back in time by Mojo from X-Factor Annual #7

In September 2012, I conducted an email interview with Annie where she unsurprisingly explained that Ricochet Rita becoming Spiral was never her intention.

However, despite cajoling she chose to not disclose whom she intended Spiral to be.

So it’s still up in the air.

Or is it really?

Despite not revealing this in her interview after all these years, I am convinced Annie provided the required jigsaw puzzle pieces in her original Longshot six-issue Limited Series for readers to resolve.

Recall in issue #5 of the miniseries, Gog refers to Longshot having a wife.Gog refers to Longshot having a wife from issue #5 of his Limited Series

So if Mojo’s six-armed sorceress wasn’t meant to be Rita, was Spiral instead intended to have previously been Longshot’s wife Gog speaks of above?

There certainly were some subtle hints of Spiral being aware of a past with Longshot…

Hints of Spiral being aware of a past with Longshot from Longshot #6

…while he appeared completely clueless.

Flashback to Longshot having his mind wiped from Longshot #4Longshot was clueless about his earlier relationship with Spiral from Longshot #1

Mojo also made fun of Spiral’s feelings for Longshot.

Mojo often made fun of Spiral's feelings for Longshot, including here from Longshot #6

And Longshot himself realised there had been something going on between them in the past.

Longshot realising something had been going on between them in the past from Longshot #6

This would seem to suggest that Spiral was the lover/ wife to whom Gog referred, and that she too was part of the rebellion Longshot led against the Spineless Ones.

Flashback to the rebellion Longshot led against the Spineless Ones from Longshot #4

Then Mojo has her captured too, perhaps forcing his chief scientist Arize to genetically modify her as a twisted revenge against Longshot for leading the rebellion.

Spiral revealing Mojo was responsible for genetically modifying her so she would have six arms from Longshot #6

This leaves the question of what happened to Longshot’s children, what with Gog referring not only to his wife, but to “his children”.

Gog referring not only to Longshots wife, but to his children from Longshot #5

But again maybe not… maybe Annie provided readers with that piece of the puzzle too.

Recall in the limited series Annie further introduced Butch, Darla and Alfi in Longshot #4.

Butch, Darla and Alfi first introduced by Anne Nocenti in Longshot #4

Later, in New Mutants Annual #2, Mojo ages these three children and provides them with superpowers.

Mojo ageing Butch, Darla and Alfi and provides them with superpowers from New Mutants Annual #2

Butch was given power to telepathically cause strife… Butch with the power to telepathically cause strife from New Mutants Annual #2

…Darla was given the power to enchant through bright lights…

Darla with the power to enchant through bright lights from New Mutants Annual #2

…and Alfi great accuracy with weaponry!

Alfi with the power of great accuracy with weaponry from New Mutants Annual #2

These powers seem reflective of Spiral and Longshot’s own respective abilities.

So what if Butch, Darla and Alfi were Longshot’s children Gog spoke of above, and further to his sick revenge transforming their mother into Spiral, Mojo not only has them mind-wiped, but upon deciding to deposit them with a foster family in “Alphabet City” after he split their parents up…

Butch, Darla and Alfi's parents, who they were perhaps fostered out to by Mojo, from Longshot #4

…realises that he has to first come up with an alternate narrative for them. So the TV-obsessed despot has a little genetic tweaking done on them to make them resemble “The Little Rascals” (also known as “Our Gang”) Depression-era movie characters he learned of from Earth TV broadcasts.


Acknowledgements: Thanks go out to Reverend Meteor of Alvaro’s Comic Book Message Boards and Ricochet Rita for tracking down some hard to obtain images.

5 Responses

  1. What a “little rascal” this Annie – she’ll keep “mum” forever about her former plans! Oh if only we could peek on the large draft she wrote for the unpublished Graphic Novel…

    This is an interesting theory. I obviously agree with the first point. It’s quite explicit through the Limited Series (and further) that Spiral deeply hates Longshot because of some kind of betrayal or failure or neglect (he owes her something). Thus there must have been a good relationship between them in the past. What kind of relationship could be but love, in terms of drama? Longshot and Spiral were lovers, without a doubt, and disgrace came who knows how (dreadful disgrace, to cause such an assassin hate in her). Were they at the beginning together in the rebellion against the Spineless Ones? Probably. Was she captured and forced to work for Mojo? Probably, and probably kicking and screaming, so she lost her hope in getting freedom and she focused her efforts in gaining Mojo’s trust in order to search Longshot… and to take revenge on him.

    This being said, I always took that Gog’s comment about “wife and children” as a simple provocation, an attempt to mislead Longshot since Gog knew about his confused condition and his “weakness” (i.e. feelings). Honestly, children don’t fit in with my scheme because I always thought that it made no sense that those “replicants” (or any other name you like) could breed. I mean, the Spineless Ones build them on machines till they’re grown up, there’s no use in they being fertile. Of course, since Shatterstar joined the equation my belief (and Annie’s?) was out…

    Plus, I’m not enthusiastic about conspiracy theories, especially since the overuse of them through the latest decades in comic-books. I like storylines to be such as they’re submitted, without so many twisted intrigues and disguised characters. I think that making readers believe things which aren’t true must have got some limitations, not everything is acceptable (that’s cheating). So, as funny as the theory about Butch, Darla and Alfi is, I think the story is much more interesting if they’re simple human children who bump into Longshot, since the whole Limited Series is a continuous bumping of Longshot into “strange” people and situations.

    Same goes for Spiral’s six arms. I think she could perfectly have them right from the start, the same way Quark has got a mutton head and Longshot has got pointed fangs and all of them have got three fingers.

    But this is just my opinion about a tale that isn’t already canon, now it’s your turn.

    Great work:)

  2. While I implied Spiral “hated” Longshot because she “loved” him, Rita becoming Spiral was not my intention. So very sharp pick up there;-)

    As for the Bratpack being their children, somewhere I have the Longshot Graphic Novel I wrote, that Arthur did the thumbnails for. Was it there that there was something about Spiral’s hair color, before her transformation by Mojo, being the same as that of a “little darling”;-)

    • Oh Annie you devil you! Always making our mouths water with a new hint, but holding your cards close to your chest! Given that I’ll never be able to know that draft, I think I’ll write and draw “Longshot: Lost years” myself 😉 .

      I’m stunned about this revelation about a “little darling” whose hair is the color of Spiral’s. I honestly always took for granted that Longshot’s people, as the bioengineering product they are, were infertile –and that Mojo and Gog spit their cutting remarks just in order to piss Longshot off. As well as Spiral was clearly someone in his past, and the idea of having loved/cared (and been loved/cared) before was flying over the whole Limited Series, procreating is something that IMO simply doesn’t fit in that WONDERFUL debate Arize and Longshot had about existence, essence, identity and the importance of being or not real.

  3. IMO, the Longshot retcon seems like genius to me, except for FabNic apparently overlooking the fact of Longshot’s marriage and children. Since Mojo had already been shown time travleling + using body-changing tech (both certainly shown during Acts of Vengence), making Ricochet Rita = Spiral is a walkthrough more possible than not. Unfortunately, the idea of putting Longshot in a strange state of ongoing stagnation didn’t benefit him, and the rest is a sad state of history. Longshot was crapped on in the 80’s, very much so, and that filtered down to how IMO he remained a “ghost”. If FabNic stated that Ricochet Rita was Longshot’s wife, then that would be a “cleaner” retcon.

    Since that was never the case IIRC, there’s still the question of who/where Longshot’s wife is.

    And what happened with Longshot and his children anyway is thankfully fairly clear in print, and an incredible story of torture to them all. It seems on par to the Cyclops retcon with Mr. Sinister as well as the Shi’ar. It should have put Mojo on the path of becoming the kind of major X-Men villain that Mr. Sinister ended up becoming, which Mojo never attained. And it also makes the lack of Mojo’s involvment with Psylocke’s transformation a total waste. He really should have played more of a part in that story, especially since he appeared to have worked beyond the Hand’s knowledge.

    I never knew Longshot had a wife and family until checking your article out, to be honest — I was never that into Longshot. But in a way, that makes him more of a parallel to Gambit, who had was retconned into having a “forgotten” wife, along with their other simularities.

    The idea of Dazzler being romantically linked to Longshot and having a child with him is rather interesting given what Darla’s powers are (in New Mutants Annual #2?), as well. Did Ann Nocenti write New Mutants Annual #2?

    However, the idea of Longshot having an established family, but being in some type of love triangle with Rogue and Dazzler looks bad morally (amnesia or not IMO), since Ann Nocenti was established that he already had a wife and children. So to say the least, that’s not a good look for Longshot, unless somehow Dazzler was somehow his wife in his era. In my mind, it’s somehow on par with CC’s Christopher Summers, Cyclops retcons as well, making these powerful male leaders act like cheaters, thus weakening them.


    – DN


    • Surprisingly, I liked very much the Spiral/Ricochet & Fallen Messiah solution, too, because that fatal double loop asserted the feeling of subtle melancholy of the former series. It’s funny that a character created to bring joy to a sulk market had himself such a shadow over him.

      With all the info we got now, I think it’s pretty clear that the “wife” everybody’s talking about is Rita. I mean, she’s his partner –and probably in Mojoworld they don’t took the trouble to celebrate weddings or so (not among the slaves, anyway). Longshot and Rita were primed for being lovers when they walked that gateway hand in hand, she had deeply felt for him, and he…well, I’m not quite sure that Longshot understand “romantic love” the same way that we western people use to. Exclusivity may be a too narrow notion to someone with two hearts (and what a big hearts!), he loves very much and without boundaries. Is this immoral? I don’t know. That’s his glory –and his tragedy.

      As for Dazzler and Gambit, they’re names I wish they weren’t related to Longshot at all ¬ ¬ .

      PS: No, TNM Annual #2 was written by CC.

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