Thursday, February 5, 2009

X-FORCE #60 – November 1996

I Know YOU Are But What Am I?
Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Anthony Castrillo (penciler), Bud LaRosa (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Marie Javins & Malibu (colors)

Summary: As Mojo watches on, Gog and Magog brainwash Shatterstar and Cable. Mojo displays holograms, filmed a hundred years in the future, that show Shatterstar killing him. Cable breaks free from his restraints, but is soon struck down by Spiral. After meeting with Dr. Strange in New York, Longshot finds a way to travel to Mojoworld with X-Force. They’re greeted by Dazzler and a group of resistance fighters. X-Force joins them and invades Mojo’s fortress. Inside, they only find a blank television screen. Domino turns it on, and a cartoon show starring Cable and Shatterstar appears. On Earth, the cartoon airs on television and hypnotizes viewers. Mojo brags that he’ll have all the audience he needs on Earth. Meanwhile, Mimic and Blob follow the orders of a mystery man and kidnap Risque.

Continuity Notes: According to Longshot, Mojo has a time traveler working for him, which explains how he’s getting footage of the future. Longshot also believes that this is the start of “the Hundred Year War” which ends in the deaths of both Mojo and Shatterstar.

Why exactly Shatterstar is fighting the original Mojo in the future isn’t explained. His descendent, Mojo V, has always been portrayed as Shatterstar’s rival. Also, Spiral is shown serving Mojo again with no explanation.

Dr. Strange claims that he no longer has the power to send Longshot home, which I assume is a reference to something that happened in his own title before it was cancelled. How exactly the team travels to Mojoworld isn’t explained; Longshot just asks Strange to point them in the right direction, and they arrive a few pages later.

Blob and Mimic tell Risque that they rescued her from Mr. Sinister in X-Force #58. Risque has also been working for their mysterious employer.

Miscellaneous Note: The Statement of Ownership lists average sales of 233,665 with the most recent issue selling 213,123 copies.

Review: Rather than continuing the story of Shatterstar’s confusing origin, the narrative shifts to a confusing Mojo story instead. The last time the Mojoworld characters appeared was less than a year earlier in X-Men #47, which reestablished that Mojo was dead and that Dazzler and Longshot were working towards creating a new democracy. Now, Mojo is back to life without explanation, and Longshot and Dazzler are freedom fighters again. This isn’t the only jarring element, as Longshot’s appearance in the previous issue is unresolved. How and why he ended up on Earth isn’t explained, and what exactly he does to return to Mojoworld in this issue is also unclear. The story spends fives pages on having the team meet Dr. Strange, only to have him reveal that he can’t take them where they need to go. How exactly they get to where they need to go just happens in-between pages with no explanation. Maybe a few of those five pages could’ve been spent on something relevant to the plot?

The rest of the issue mainly consists of X-Force running around while Cable and Shatterstar are brainwashed. None of it’s particularly entertaining, and it feels like the same story could’ve easily been told in half the number of pages. Anthony Castrillo returns as the fill-in artist, fusing his Byrne influence with the emerging manga superhero style. A few pages look nice, but large sections of the issue seem rushed. He also has an annoying habit of not drawing pupils for several of the characters in random panels, which was a ‘90s fad that was already dated by this point.

5 comments:

jim said...

I have a soft spot for Mojo, but I don't know why. Every story is confusing and never seems to match up with the last one. Mojoworld seems to always bouncing back to the status quo of Mojo in charge and Longshot fighting him.

Dr. Strange and Longshot were allies in the Longshot miniseries. But, I think longshot had his memories erased.

wwk5d said...

as much as the jemas era is ripped for ignoring past continuity, it seems it started long before during loeb's run here. then again, the mojoverse universe always seems to get rebooted each year, doesn't it?

G. Kendall said...

This was during Marvel's bankruptcy period, when there were apparently fewer people in the office looking over this type of thing.

HardtravelingHero said...

I think this is the last issue I bought in a run that began around issue 18.

I loved Nicieza's work on the title, even met him at a show in 1993 or 1994 and complimented him.

I guess the Loeb stuff did not interest me as much as it had on Cable and X-Man. I probably only bought two or three issues after issue 60, not even bothering to pick up the two or three Zero Tolerance issues while I'd picked up every part of every other mutant crossover.

ray swift said...

I think on one, including Loeb, didn't really care for the Mojoverse continuity. They just remembered the original Mojo idea, with the television and rating and rebels and just when on with that.
I would also ask - if Mojo can mind control people over the multiverse to watch his programs, why does he need an ace program to begin with? I would ask but if I would think one should mix Mojo-oriented stories with something like common sense and coherence.

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