Issue Date: January 1986
Story Title: Deadly Lies
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)
Longshot confronts Gog, who blames him for being stuck there and having grown into this monstrosity. Unsure about his own role, Longshot’s heart isn’t in the battle. Help arrives in the form of a ram-headed warrior, whom Longshot recognizes as one of Gog’s pals, even though he appears to share Longshot’s luck power. Longshot leaves to let them fight it out. Outside, he unhappily again tries to remember and has a memory flash of meeting his creator, Arize, who told him that they shouldn’t be slaves and urges him to lead a rebellion. Longshot decides to look up Rita. Rita has, in the meantime, been kidnapped to another dimension by Mojo and Spiral and is being driven mad. Mojo and Spiral’s arrival has been noticed by Dr. Strange, who also leaves for Rita’s apartment to investigate. There, he meets Longshot, who is only interested in helping Rita until Strange reminds him of his duty to clean up his own messes. They return to the Cloisters, where together they destroy Gog. The ram-headed being, Quark, is revealed to be an old friend of Longshot. They swap tales and Strange points out that the two beings who entered this dimension are still unaccounted for. Quark has his fears over their identity and Longshot finally decides to take charge.
Manhattan, the Cloisters museum… Nighttime:
Gog n’ MaGog has become a monstrosity and stands gloating before Longshot and the kids who led him there. Gog explains that, ever since Longshot tricked him there, he’s been attracted to this world’s magicks. They fill him up. He is bloated with the power of this world and still hungry.
The kids are scared out of their wits. Longshot shoos them back. He calls Gog ‘Pup’ and tells him he always knew he had secrets. He wants them now. One of the boys wants to attack Gog and Longshot shoves him back. He is called “Longshot,” he tells Gog, and people claim he is lucky. Is that the truth? His mind feels hollow. He has only the echo of memories. But Gog knows. Is this his world? Gog interrupts him, telling him that he knows this is not his world. He knows that he doesn’t fit in. This is a great place if you have an appetite… and Longshot bugs him. He stuck around to kill him.
Butch with his gun sneaks up on Gog, while Longshot asks why Gog hates him. He is sorry if he stuck him there and will try to help. Too late, Gog announces. Longshot calls him a puppy, but Longshot is the puppy… leaving messes everywhere… walking off, wagging his tail… assuming someone will pick up after him. He is oblivious. And as for why he wants to kill him. Maybe… Butch aims and Gog slaps him. … he just doesn’t like his face.
Longshot reacts with righteous anger and his eye begins to glow. You don’t hit children! He attacks Gog, who just slams him to the ground and tells him to listen. Longshot was a slave, who rebelled. Gog was a tracker, just doing his job. He was tracking Longshot when he got lucky and pulled him through a dimensional portal into this miserable world. Gog lost his home, his world and began to grow into this monstrosity. The kids begin to cheer Longshot to fight, while Gog accuses him that it is his fault Gog is this way. Longshot realizes that he is right and wonders what to do.
Meanwhile in upstate New York, Rita entertains unwanted houseguests: Spiral and the monstrosity known as Mojo, who examines Rita and notices the similarities between her and the slave species created by the Spineless ones. He is not happy at the idea of a whole world full of the beings they thought to be myth. If the slaves knew, they might do something real obnoxious, like want rights and freedom… doesn’t Spiral agree? Spiral points out that she is one of those slaves and considers staying there. Grinning, Mojo points out that she will be a freak here as well with all her extra arms. He turns back to Rita demanding to know where Longshot is or he will turn her young again. Mistakenly, he ages her instead. He orders Spiral to begin her dance that is to take them across dimensions. He takes the struggling Rita along.
Back at the Cloisters, Gog keeps on hitting Longshot, as he announces that, whenever Longshot uses his luck, somebody else gets unlucky. Like him. Gog mocks Longshot and lures him to use his luck, his crutch and screw up somebody else. Longshot refuses to fight back. The kids get disappointed, even his groupie Darla.
Longshot realizes that he cannot disappoint them. Gog is evil and has to be stopped. He attacks, threatening to kill him with a snap. A tentacle grows from Gog and holds him fast, as he mocks Longshot’s unwillingness to kill. He also states that, if he does die, Longshot will never have a chance to regain his memories. His family… his lover… doesn’t he remember that he loves somebody very much? And his children… doesn’t he want to see them again? Longshot hesitates and Gog grows a claw to sever the tentacle and toss Longshot to the ground.
Suddenly, a ram-headed humanoid appears and orders Longshot to get up. Longshot recognizes him as one of the demons he fought before. He hopes he and Gog will kill each other. Gog recognizes the newcomer as well and asks what he can do. Logshot’s famed luck has run out. Maybe, but his hasn’t, the stranger replies as his eye begins to glow. Calling Longshot a coward, he orders him to get up and help him finish Gog off. Without waiting he attacks.
The kids asks Longshot to act. Disappointed they announce that heroes are supposed to know who the bad guy is. Crouching in the corner, a dejected Longshot thinks that he knows who he is.
The kids head outside following the fight. Quark evades Gog’s attacks, announcing that he stayed on this planet to protect Longshot. Gog grabs for Quark’s head, but Quark is stuck between dimensions and can dematerialize. He disappears.
Elsewhere, Dr. Strange is sifting through dimensions with his mind, watched by his admiring manservant, Wong. Strange realizes that recently a portal opened to Earth and several beings slipped though. In his scrying glass, he witnesses the Ritual they performed to create a doorway, which failed, and a later attempt that met with success. Strange senses the evil involved in their rituals. The last portal opened north of New York City. More otherworldy beings entered this dimension a mere hour ago. He flies outside the building, prepared to meet them.
Longshot walks away from the Cloisters, still ashamed of his cowardice. He doesn’t know whom to trust. The new one talked like a friend but so did Pup once. Did he just leave another mess for someone else to clean up? When he first arrived there, everything was so clear and simple. He had no visions, no dreams. Stripped of memories, past, identity – all he had was his life and it was the ultimate freedom. It was so uncluttered. He sinks down. He doesn’t want his memories back. The more he finds out, the less free he is. He wishes he could have his mind wiped again. He wants to be a man without a past. Rita liked him that way.
He empties out the junk from his bag. The doll he got from Hester, the diamonds, some tools, trash. He wonders why he is collecting that junk. What clues does it offer? Did such trinkets have any meaning where he came from? As if objects had answers. He knows the answer. He lost his luck, his faith, his friends. He is a displaced nobody, heartbroken and homesick for a world he can’t remember.
Mojo, Spiral and their prisoner, Rita, have arrived between dimensions. It’s a mad place where a huge ship is sailing. On Mojo’s order, Spiral binds Rita to the prow. Hating the other woman for looking normal, Spiral gleefully complies. Mojo babbles on, wondering how he and Spiral can be joined together in their magic when he is the one who does all the twisting. Mojo asks Spiral how Rita is dong as their navigator. Rita is uttering a silent scream, as she is being driven mad by the sights. Spiral informs Mojo that she is screaming with delight. Content Mojo announces that she must be in love with him already. Does he own this dimension? Spiral replies he does and suggests they go see everything. Rita wants to see everything.
Back outside the Cloisters, Longshot wishes he could start all over, be a baby again. But he doesn’t remember being little. Or being born. Except when he came to awareness a short time ago, already a grown man. Maybe he should start reading the origins of other things. He reaches out for a statue and reads its history. Its creator was proud. He formed beauty where there was nothing. These emotions strike a familiar cord… and he remembers.
A foreign landscape. A younger Longshot with shorter hair, dressed in a cloak evades a guard and then runs towards his goal, wondering why his creator should even speak to him, should he find him. He is a nobody. He makes his way across the dangerous land, the barren bogs and ink lagoons. Suddenly, he sees a lovely elf with butterfly wings. Delighted, Longshot greets it, only to notice a moment later that it is mechanical. Fake like him and his kind… or so the only ones tell them. But he exists, he feels and thinks, isn’t that alive enough, he wonders. Should it matter to him if they say he isn’t real? Does it matter to the elf? The mechanical creature just giggles.
Longshot is amazed, as he sees the citadel the elf and others of its kind have emerged from. He has never seen such beauty. Passing a pile of junk, he suddenly runs into a giant caterpillar, who asks if he can be of help. Longshot hesitatingly explains that he heard rumors… he is following a dream. Wonderful, the caterpillar enthuses and urges him to go on. Longshot reveals that he heard of a man who taught all men how to walk… who built his works… and perhaps even built him.
He thinks someone built an exquisite creature like him, the caterpillar scoffs. If he didn’t already exist, he could never be imagined. A door opens from the caterpillar and out steps an odd, tall being, with a bristly beard and a long shock of hair. He looks like an emaciated version of the spineless ones, with the difference that he clearly has a spine as he is walking upright.
Taking a closer look at Longshot’s face, he states that Longshot is definitely one of his designs. He explains that he is a creator. He has the right temperament. Impatience for the way things are and an angry desire to make them better. Longshot kneels in the presence of Arize, his creator, who actually isn’t interested in adoration. He wants to know why Longshot has sought him out. The young man blurts out that he is a slave. They are all slaves and they need Arize’s help.
His creator explains that he is one of the special ones. He built powers into him. He asks Longshot to “read” him… Longshot does so and sees Arize’s memories.
In the beginning, all creatures were spineless, Arize recounts, and could only crawl. They dragged their spirits through the muck and hid their eyes to the ground. Arize was the man who woke up in the dark; he built himself an exo-skeleton. He taught men to stand tall and look to the spitfires above. He dragged the whole helpless race out of the mud… he raised the dead. Some refused spines, though, a matter of integrity, they claimed, and somehow those Spineless Ones became the rulers who required slaves to maintain them. So Arize took images from myth, evils from their collective mind and designed Longshot’s kind. Next, they wanted galaxy spanning super-weapons and Arize refused. The turned him out.
Now Arize only builds amusing beautiful trinkets. Now it is the turn of Longshot’s kind. The slaves must rebel. Longshot protests that he is just a nobody. Arize agrees, but adds that within Longshot there is the possibility of miracles. He was lied to. He wasn’t built. He was genetically engineered. The slaves are living breathing creatures.
Longshot awakes wondering what all that meant. Did he lead the rebellion? Did it fail? What went wrong? He must have left a big mess and ran away. He must get back. He decides that Rita will help and decides to go visit her.
He arrives at her home, smashing a window, and is surprised how ruined everything is inside. Dr. Strange addresses him and dryly informs him that the door was open. In his hands is Rita’s parrot and, at his feet, lies her dog, both of them seemingly dead. Strange muses that while there is no sign of violence – and their lifeforce seems to have been drawn out of them. And Rita? Longshot asks agitated.
Strange illuminates the Eye of Agamotto to find out who Longshot is. He sees that Longshot is more than he sees to be and inform him that he detected several timespace rifts. The last such disturbance was here. What does he know about that? Longshot hesitates, then admits that he dragged some creatures there with him. But he doesn’t want to talk. He must find Rita.
Picking up one of her belongings and reading it, he finds that he can only read the past. That means she will never touch these objects again! There’s no future here for her! Agitated, he shouts that she has no future.
They don’t know that, Strange tries to calm him and asks if he can lead him to one of those otherworldly beings. But he must go find Rita, Longshot protests single-minded. So he will leave him to fight his demons for him, Strange asks pointedly. Longshot realizes that Gog is his mess and agrees to take Strange to him. However, he asks the sorcerer not to kill him. He owes Gog that much at least. Dr Strange teleports them both to the Cloisters.
Back there, Gog feels his hunger growing. He plans to consume Longshot’s magic as well, unless Longshot releases him. He senses his foe’s arrival. Longshot asks the disturbed Dr. Strange not to kill Gog. He promised… Strange interrupts to point out that he promised to see if he could salvage what was once good, but Gog is beyond salvation. The danger is too great. He cannot wield such power. It wields him.
Longshot is torn. He cannot kill Gog. He was his friend! He knows who he is! He addresses Gog as ‘Pup,’ then tells himself that he mustn’t be selfish. Strange told him to keep Gog busy, while he could weave his spells. He has to do it. Gog mockingly greets Longshot as ‘dear pal’ before attacking him. The monster shout at Longshot to kill him, kill his past, kill himself. Does he remember yet, how hated he is? Strange begins his spell while he urges Longshot not to believe the demon’s lies. The spell doesn’t seem to work, as Gog just swallows the magic tossed at him. Longshot kicks him in the face, while Strange keeps up his spell, his intention being to fill Gog with magic.
Gog mockingly asks Longshot where his luck is now. He doesn’t need it, Longshot replies in mid-jump, as he keeps on evading Gog’s blows. Strange tells Longshot that Gog is now full to burst. Now, Longshot has to lance this festering sore, before it infects the whole world. He tells him to banish Gog to another reality. Longshot draws one of his small blades and Gog asks if he would destroy him considering he brought him here… considering he created him. He would destroy his memories… his past?
He doesn’t want his memories. He doesn’t need his past! Longshot shoots back. Power took Gog and he welcomed it. Longshot does not. He throws his blade at Gog, who literally explodes with all his power. Moment later, he is gone.
Strange inquires how Longshot feels and the young man confides that he feels as though he lost something. Gog was his buddy… even saved his life once. He thought the good in him could be salvaged. Strange sighs that Longshot truly is an alien. He has his eye on an ideal. He believes in the best a thing can be. Quite unrealistic, Strange begins to lecture, but perhaps something quite astonishing could result. Many arcane principles of magic are based on just such a ratio between the real and the ideal. If one focused on the ideal… perhaps he could make the ideal happen.
Longshot warns him of someone coming. It is the ram-headed creature that fought Pup before. Grimly, he reminds Longshot that he left him to die but he didn’t. He is Quark – he and Longshot are from the same side of the track. Can he helps him sort out the lies? Longshot asks. Quark remarks that Longshot was created to be a slave, but as he can see from the people on this planet… Longshot finishes his sentence. There is a race of man here and they are free. Where they came from, he rebelled against being a slave, and was mind-wiped.
Quark tells Strange that they had to suppress him. Longshot was special, some said miraculous. And they suppressed his Messiah complex as well, Strange observes wryly, though he fears it is returning. Longshot remarks that he tried to wake the people up, but they were all asleep from slavery. But now, if only they could see this planet of men… he must get back.
Strange reminds him of the entities he brought there with him. He has some cleaning up to do in this dimension first. Quark explains that most of those went back through a portal. Gog stayed to have some private revenge. He stayed to make sure Longshot was the victor. Strange points out that one last being, two perhaps, entered this dimension mere hours ago. Longshot remembers that they have Rita. Quark realizes that only two can move freely through space and time… they are doomed.
Strange suggests tracking them with his magic, and Longshot replies he can use his luck. Quark explains that their luck is fickle. It has a flipside. They call on a force that suspends the laws of probability for them. They ask that force to ignore all other possibilities and just do for them what they need it to do. There may be a backlash effect… repercussions… Longshot has been forcing his luck pretty hard. Strange understands, this may result in an equal opposite elsewhere… bad luck… He warns Longshot that his luck may turn on him. Use a force and it uses you.
Longshot doesn’t care anymore. He is done hiding from his past. And he can’t stumble along leaving messes in everyone’s lives. He has to clean up after himself. And he has to do it his way.
Alfi, Butch, Darla and other kids
Gog n’Magog / Pup
Issue Summary written by: Ruth