The Slaves of Destiny (Shattershot Part One)
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Jim Lee (layouts), Russell/Stelfreeze/Hughes
/Immonen/Panosian/Capullo /Texiera (pencils), Russell/Stelfreeze/Rubinstein /Candelario/Panosian/Texiera (inks), Orzechowski/Buhalis (letters), Joe Rosas (colors)
On Mojoworld, Mojo’s troops attempt to capture the “toy maker” Arize, the creator of Mojo’s humanoid slaves. They do capture Quark, a rebellion leader who was protecting him, but Arize is able to teleport to Earth. The X-Men are alerted by Cerebro to a mutant “non-humanoid” that has suddenly appeared in Afghanistan. The X-Men discover that this is Arize, who is now comatose after teleporting to Earth. Mojo has Spiral teleport a group of his soldiers, including a brainwashed Quark, to Afghanistan to capture Arize. The X-Men successfully defeat Mojo’s soldiers, and Mojo suddenly decides that he doesn’t need Arize to create his own slaves.
It’s hard to view a comic that has one layout artist, seven pencilers, six inkers, and two letterers as anything but a rush job. The various art styles are distracting, but most of the artists still produce good work. There’s just no smooth way to put P. Craig Russell and Mark Texiera on the same story. The actual plot itself isn’t bad. A lot of fans don’t like Mojoworld stories, but I think they work in moderation. This storyline tries to move away from the broad humor of previous Mojo stories and goes back to some of the dark themes introduced in the original Longshot mini-series. Nicieza also tries to draw parallels between tribal violence in Afghanistan and the X-Men’s battles with fellow mutants, which isn’t the type of thing you would get in X-Force at this time. It’s an okay issue, even if you get the impression that it might have been put together over the weekend. The rest of the annual is filled with pin-ups, Handbook-style pages of the X-Men’s mansion and plane, and a back-up written by Dan Slott. It counts down the X-Men’s greatest foes and, as a sign of the times, places the Upstarts and Omega Red ahead of the Sentinels.