Issue Date: November 1985
Story Title: Just let me die
Staff: Ann Nocenti (writer & co-creator), Arthur Adams (penciler & co-creator), Whilce Portacio (Inks), Joe Rosen (letterer), Christie Scheele (colors), Louise Jones (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief), Bill
Frustrated with his drab life, Theo tries to drown himself. However, he lands on the unconscious Longshot, who reanimates and heals rather quickly. Sensing Theo’s deathwish, Longshot tries to convince him that life is worth living. When he learns that Theo feels ripped off by Con Ed, who has recently gotten some experimental diamonds, Longshot decides they will steal the gems back. They sneak onto the grounds of Con Ed, unaware that they are followed by Longshot’s demon hunters, who confront them in the building. They take Longshot prisoner and use the gems to return to their home dimension, leaving Longshot with his questions. Theo, in the meantime, has been kept safe by Pup, who cannot decide between seeking Longshot’s friendship and hating him. Angrily, he runs away. Outside, the two men learn they have caused a blackout in Manhattan. Theo wants nothing more to do with Longshot, who decides he’ll give the diamonds to the people who suffered in the blackout.
It is typical family scene. The father - a small, bespectacled, middle-aged man with a receding hairline – is sitting in his chair, trying to read the newspaper, the TV set is blaring, the kids are chasing the dog and are ignoring his orders to be quiet and his wife, holding the baby and polishing a pan, complains, telling him he has to pay the phone bill. What will she do without a phone? It’s her lifeline. The husband, Theo, argues, that he hates giving Con Ed money. Today, they are boasting about a million dollar diamond shipment, while they just upped his rates. He orders his daughter, Alison, to get out of the way. She and her sister ignore him while they chase the dog, making Theo miss the big play.
Theo gets up and the girls chase over his chair. Inez still complains and he thinks to himself that he is invisible. He might as well be dead. He slams the bathroom door behind him, ignoring his wife’s prattle. He takes a hard look at himself in the mirror, thinking to himself it is unfair. He is ugly and dumb and they tell you man was created equal. Ha! He starts brushing his teeth, willing himself, he has to do this every night and every morning. The rest of his life.
Suddenly he snaps. He opens the door. Inez is still standing outside complaining about all the work she does. He walks past her, strides to a drawer, takes out a gun. He sits down in his chair and his family suddenly notice him and become quiet as he point the weapon at his target… and shoots the TV set. Without another word, he leaves their ramshackle home.
Soon, he has found himself a bridge to jump off of. He wonders how to do this and whether he really should. But then he thinks about the peace. No more pissing puppies… no more bills… no more nagging… no more TV jingles. Here’s to never having to brush his teeth again Theo thinks as he holds his nose and jumps… and lands on something soft.
Can’t even kill himself right, he swears, until he notices that he is sitting on a person who still seems to be alive. It’s Longshot, whose left eye begins to glow. Full of doubt whether he actually should do this, Theo drags Longshot ashore. Noticing his outfit, he asks if he is a superhero, as Longshot slowly comes to. Theo marvels that his face is healing right before his eyes.
Longshot recalls being a stuntman, trying to get some money. He got hurt during a stunt. They probably left him there. He rambles on about monsters chasing him through a portal… or out of a portal? No, that was earlier… and he doesn’t know where he is.
Amnesia? He wishes he had that, Theo replies. Not even a name? People call him Longshot, he replies. Ha, they call him Jinx, Theo remarks. Longshot touches Jinx’s head and gets a psychometric death image. He wants to kill himself? he asks in surprise Who’d want to die? It’s great to live! It is? Theo asks with no conviction. He tells him what he would like on his gravestone. Longshot replies he won’t let him kill himself. He’ll show Theo how great life is. Yeah, right, Jinx replies. Longshot doesn’t have a nag of a wife, too many kids, a lumpy sofa, a busted TV set, huge Con Ed bills…
Longshot remembers his friend, Eliot, the survivalist, talking abut Con Ed. He called them thieves who were ripping off people, right? Jinx agrees half-heartedly. So let’s get the money back, Longshot decides. And he’ll have an adventure, Longshot cheerfully adds, his back turned on Theo, who eyes the bridge.
Longshot announces that he feels great, even though he was pretty smashed up before. Yeah, he can thank his lucky stars. His back still turned on Theo, who climbs up the bridge and attaches a noose there, Longshot cheerfully announces that he may be from the stars. And they tell him he is lucky. He seems to be a lucky star. He wonders where Pup is. He misses him, nasty as he is, he can’t wait to see him again. There is so much to enjoy in life!
Yeah, he loves life, Theo thinks sarcastically, as he fastens the noose around his neck and jumps. Longshot turns around in time. With an admonishing ‘cut that out,’ he throws his knife at the rope, cutting Theo down. Sitting in the mud, he complains that he didn’t want to be saved. want an adventure. Yes, he does, Longshot replies. He’ll get the thrill back in his life. AND they’ll get people’s money back. Now, where would they keep the diamonds?
Theo recalls the paper mentioning an experimental lab. Longshot tells him to blacken his face and believe in luck. Theo doesn’t buy it. Why does Longshot think people call him Jinx? he asks. Cheerfully, Longshot replies he can do anything if he just tries. He just has to keep his motives pure and believe. Caught in the mood, Theo decides to try, as he haphazardly follows Longshot in sneaking across the grounds.
Longshot elegantly jumps over the electrified fence landing on the circuit box that powers the fence. What luck, Theo marvels Theo climbs on a tree, less elegantly and then jumps down on the other side, to be caught by Longshot. Wasn’t that fun, he asks good-naturedly. No, Theo replies. And with the alarms off they can walk right in, Longshot states.
Behind them, Longshot’s demon hunters materialize. The woman, Spiral, suggests they kill him. Gog replies that they need him. His stinking luck will find them a way back. Ignoring Sprial’s protest that she hates him, he tells her to be ready to dance.
Longshot and Theo have made it into a scientists’ office full of experimental equipment, which Theo recognizes from the newspapers. The diamonds should be right there. Longshot studies the machines. All this metal… so many wires… it seems familiar. His eye begins to glow as another memory fragment reasserts itself.
Obese, spineless beings sit in mobile chairs, watching in disgust and amazement the human shapes held by the machinery. Extraordinary bodies, one of them comments, trimmed down to mere skin over muscle. Repulsive. No character. Ugly, every inch. The spine is particularly distasteful.
Another hastens to add that the facial structure is so bland. More practical, the other asks what they need pretty slaves for. They function well, high quality of muscle efficiency, decent teeth… But why did Arize use such a repulsive design? the other Spineless One insists. He selected the worst nightmarish creatures from their mythology and made them come alive.
A third puts it down to Arize’s eccentricism. However, he is disturbed by the idea that the spines will make those beings able to walk. Won’t spines make them better than them? The first one explains that being spineless is better. They expend so little physical energy, leaving their minds free. Those poor creatures doing their labor won’t have a flicker of energy left over to think.
Well, the technology is magnificent, one of them states, taking a closer look at one of the specimen, a blond male. Those beings were first planned in a microscopic genetic map, morphogenetically grown in these delicate machines. He is curious to probe the new warrior specimen for a glimmer of consciousness.
He addresses the blond man, greeting him: this is his new world and he is his first owner. Sweating and glaring, the man, the later Longshot, snarls that nobody owns him. Feisty, isn’t he? the Spineless Ones ask. These days Arize is designing them with some intelligence, not to mention a dangerous element of spunk. They’ll have to remind this one of the facts. He tells the man they own him. They made him. And he is ugly. With that, he shuts off his mind.
Theo shakes Longshot out of his reverie. Puzzled, Longshot asks who created them. Who built them? No one, Theo replies nonplussed. They are born. Is he crazy? He guesses God made them, he adds as an afterthought. Is he their ruler? Longshot asks. He doesn’t know, Theo replies. To some people he is. Does he look like them? Longshot presses on. Well, they say he created man in his image, so he guesses God is like them, Theo replies. Confused as they are, probably a little psychotic.
He stumbles across the diamonds. Longshot touches them. His eye flares as he reads something special about those stones. He sees an opening of sorts. He doesn’t understand yet, but those stones are special. Sure are, Theo replies happily. They are worth millions. You can buy a lot of special with that. No, Longshot mumbles, an older use…
Suddenly, Theo hears a strange noise. Longshot believes it is nothing, though. Neither notices that the strange demon beings are following them. Moments later, Jinx falls hard and loses several teeth. Longshot examines what he fell over, the corpse of a guard. Realizing this is serious, Longshot takes some of the wire for a weapon while Theo still helplessly looks for his glasses.
Theo points at something - it is the still-larger Pup, who sarcastically observes that Longshot has found a new friend. By the way, he had better watch his back. The next moment, Longshot is surrounded by demons. Theo frets over whether he should run or take this as a good opportunity to die. He tries to hit one of the demons and hits the wall instead. Pup grabs him and pulls him upwards.
The creatures hit Longshot, still blaming him for being stuck on this horrible world. But this time all they need are those gems. Longshot shoves one of the critters into the machinery and the power plan goes nuts. The demons have a weird effect on the machinery. The lights go out… over all of Manhattan.
In the offices of the Daily Bugle, Editor-in-Chief Robbie Robertson fears that with Manhattan in the dark the crime rate will skyrocket. Freelance photographer Peter Parker inwardly urges his boss, J. Jonah Jameson to say it already… and he does: Must be Spider-Man’s fault.
Back at Con Ed, Longshot trusts in his luck and throw his knives at the demons, who dissolve. He revels in his luck, until the demon behind him takes him out.
A few dark moments later, Longshot awakes, tied to the wall. The demons surround Spiral, who is doing her dance. Soon, with the help of the diamonds, timespace will open and they are going home, and the sweetest part is leaving the Lucky One behind. Longshot demands they tell him who he is. The demons laugh and Gog tells him that is the beauty of the moment. They are leaving and taking his secret with them.
He further taunts Longshot by threatening he will drop in on everyone Longhsot loved to say hello. He looks around to find his son, who has disappeared, perhaps to stay near Longshot. They leave through the portal, one of them announcing that Quark is missing. Longshot futilely shouts after them to tell him who he is. He is nobody, are the parting words of one demon.
Longshot desperately frets until he sees Pup with Theo. Longshot thanks him, while Theo whispers that he is a bit quick-tempered. Pup just angrily looks at Longshot for a moment before shouting that he didn’t save Theo. He took him to kill him, because he hates Longshot, with his pretty face and stinking luck. But he didn’t kill him, Longshot retorts. He asks Pup to hold on to what’s good him. Pup runs away, announcing that Theo isn’t worth such a grand death.
While freeing Longshot, Theo remarks that Pup seems like a dog, who wants to be a person. Is that why he hates Longshot? Longshot looks out of the window to see the police and guards. They realize that they caused a blackout.
A little later, outside, Longshot wants to hand the gems to Theo, but he slaps them out of Longshot’s hands. He doesn’t want them. They stole them. But he thought Con Ed were the thieves, Longshot asks, uncomprehending. But it is legal for them, Theo explains. They charge for power they supply the people with. Understanding they have made mistake, Longshot suggests they return the gems. Theo shouts at him to return them to the people who suffered in the blackout Longshot caused.
And, he adds, he doesn’t want to hang out with him anymore. Around him, he feels like a chump. Longshot is special, he isn’t. He is ugly and clumsy. Longshot just stutters while Theo continues. Man isn’t created equal. Longshot is bigger than life and reminds Theo of how small he is. He couldn’t even kill himself right. Last thing he wants is to hang out with Mr. Wonderful. Longshot doesn’t know what to say. At least he s king at home, Theo reminisces, as he picks some flowers for his wife, Inez. He misses the comforts of home that drove him crazy before.
As they part ways, Theo thinks that at least he won’t have to brush his teeth anymore, while Longshot tells himself he blew that one. He wishes he knew hot to use the gems to get home, but he figures he’ll give them to the people he hurt in the… blackout. What a complicated world. Maybe he’ll like Manhattan…p>
Later that night, Ann Nocenti and Art Adams discuss the events in a diner. Perusing a Daily Bugle article, they talk about the super-thief who robbed Con Ed and shut down New York City. They wonder about the photo, though, which shows Longshot, fighting, although there is nobody there.
Inez, Alison and other daughter (Theo’s family)
Gog, Spiral and other monsters / hunters
Magog / Pup
Peter Parker, J. Jonah Jameson, ‚’Robbie’ Robertson and more Daily Bugle staff
Ann Nocenti & Arthur Adams
newly created Longshot and fellow human slaves
Issue Summary written by: Ruth