Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe # 1

Issue Date: 
January 2014
Story Title: 

Christopher Hastings (Writer), Jacopo Camagni (Artist), Matt Milla (Colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letters), Manny Mederos (Production Design), David Nakayama (Cover Artist), Jordan D. White (Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief), Joe Quesada (Chief Creative Officer), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)

Brief Description: 

An old man gets lucky on a scratchcard but is killed by the In-Betweener moments later. The cosmic being leaves, seemingly looking for someone. Elsewhere, Reed Richards and Tony Stark find a mysterious object and decide to store it at Tony’s storage facility. Somewhere else, a group of robbers, pretending to be cable guys, try to break into an inventor’s safe. After getting a new haircut, Longshot walks along a street and spots a taco van. With no money left, he decides to use his powers to get some money but it backfires and the house nearby explodes. Though money rains down on him, he dives into the house to see if everyone is alright. He meets a young woman and the two go upstairs to see what caused the explosion. They see the woman’s father, an inventor, being held hostage by the cable guy robbers, who are stealing money out of his safe. Longshot confronts them and, through a lucky break, manages to take them out. Unfortunately, his luck has drawn the attention of the In-Betweener, who has come to kill him. The In-Betweener captures Longshot and prepares to kill him but is stopped by Chip, the inventor, who shoots a laser gun. Unfortunately, the laser also accidently hits the lorry Reed and Tony are using to transport the mysterious object. The lorry explodes and the case holding the object lands at Longshot’s feet. Longshot ends up in possession of a cosmic cube and, before anyone can stop him, he inadvertently warps reality. In the new reality, things starts out the same as before, with Longshot getting a haircut. However, as he goes to use his power to get money for tacos, he is captured by SHIELD, which is being led by the re-imagined In-Betweener. Longshot is sentenced to death for being an unregistered magical being. 

Full Summary: 

(Lower East Side, Manhattan)
An old man leans against the counter of a convenience store, using a coin on a freshly bought scratch card. The clerk at the store asks the man, Santiago, how the ladies are treating him these days. Santiago replies that he is in trouble and if he doesn’t win today he won’t be able to afford all the dates he’s going on. As he scratches the card, he tells the store clerk it isn’t the card he asked for. However, before he can object too much, he sees he has three hooks on the winning row and tells the clerk it is perfect.

Suddenly, a man appears behind him and tells him that’s incredibly lucky of him. Santiago turns around to see the man is wearing a mask, one side is white and the other is black with a horn sticking from it. It is the In-Betweener, who is also wearing a sharp suit. The In-Betweener stares into Santiago’s eyes and the old man collapses to the floor. He walks away from the body, adjusting his black and white tie, and apologizes as he wasn’t the person he was looking for.

(Avengers Tower, Midtown Manhattan)
Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, finishes telling Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, a story. Because the portal accidentally opened up to fifteen minutes in their future, he was able to reach his hand through and grab the object without detection. Reed has opened a box, just enough for a brilliant light to radiate from it. Tony looks into the box, mesmerized by what he is seeing. He tells Reed that he can’t believe it was in the Sphinx in the middle of the Met for who knows how long without a single Kang, Doom or Thanos trying to grab it. Reed adds that he only noticed because he left his cosmic-vibration sensitive goggles on. Tony says there is no way those guys have them but Reed points out they probably have equivalent technology.

As Reed closes the box Tony tells him it was a joke that humans make to relieve stressful situations. Reed says that he believes it has only recently appeared there and just looks like it has been there longer. Tony tells him they have a carrier they can put it in that can shield it from any form of divination. Then they can drive it to a secure storage facility he has on Staten Island. 

(Dr. Chip Dipson’s Home Laboratory, Park Slope, Brooklyn)
Four men dressed like cable repair men tell Dr. Chip Dipson that there is a cable outage in the area and they need to do some rewiring to fix it. Chip, who was working on one of his inventions when they disturbed him, doesn’t notice that his cable TV is still working and that one of the men has a gun stashed behind their back. He tells them to do whatever they have to do, which surprises the men, given there is a news report blaring out on the TV about a man passing through forty-seven green lights before suffering a brain aneurism.

(Humans of Interest Barbershop, Park Slope, Brooklyn)
As Longshot sits in the barber’s chair after being given a new haircut, the news report sounds out over the shop’s speakers. It continues and says that the incident is another in the string of “fortunate mort-unates” that follow a path from upstate New York, through Manhattan and is now heading into Brooklyn.

Noting the theme, Longshot asks his barber if the deaths of lucky people have been happening a lot. The barber tells him that it seems recently if you are lucky enough to get a trivial pursuit question right you get an aneurism. As Longshot hands his credit card to the cashier, he hopes that whatever it is isn’t coming after him. The cashier hands Longshot his card back and looks annoyed as he tells him it was declined. Longshot smiles and tells his barber he could never get the hang of money in this dimension anyway. The barber laughs and tells him not to worry as handsoming him up was a public service. As he walks towards the door, Longshot tells the man that even his bad luck works out for him and it’s kind of his superpower. He has to look out when using it selfishly though as it gets all twisted. The barber winks at him and tells him he gave it him free because he is cute.

(Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Lower Manhattan)
Tony and Reed are dressed in civilian clothing and are driving a large truck. The security guard at the ferry terminal tells them they cannot drive something that big on the ferry but Reed says he swore he read that the terminal was expanding to accommodate more commercial traffic. Tony tells him he must have read it in an alternate universe and that before he listened to him he was going to drive the truck down through New Jersey to get to the storage facility. He tells Reed that he doesn’t want to backtrack and proposes a different route to get to Staten Island.

A little way off, a man who is late for a job interview rushes towards the ferry. He manages to get through before the guard closes the gate and marvels that it is the fifth day in a row he has barely managed to catch the ferry. As the lucky man boards the ferry and wipes the sweat off his brow, the In-Betweener appears behind him. The cosmic being tells him that every other person will be late and asks why he should profit from it. He reaches out and touches the man, who collapses dead on the floor. The In-Betweener walks off still, continuing on his quest to find the one he seeks, but a little closer now.

(Park Slope, Brooklyn)
As Longshot walks down the tree-lined street, he wonders if it is lucky or unlucky for someone to win the lottery and then die. It seems unlucky but it was good luck that started it off. So then it might not affect him because he is so lucky. He is suddenly distracted by a taco van, but when he opens his wallet he sees it is empty. He is so hungry and decides using a little luck won’t hurt. His left eye glows yellow, which startles the taco van owner. Suddenly, the building behind Longshot explodes and money rains down on him.

On a subway station, the In-Betweener picks up on something and looks at a subway map. Figuring out he needs to use the R-train, he plots his course towards Longshot.

(Red Hook, Brooklyn)
Tony and Reed’s truck is stopped again, this time by a construction worker. He gives them directions to get to the BQE, which will get them where they want to go. As the truck drives off, another construction worker approaches the first and asks why he told the men to turn around, as this entrance is fine. The first worker apologizes and tells them he is new and he really needs the job.

Back on Park Slope, Longshot looks up at the building that just exploded and decides he had better fix it as it was his fault. As passersby grab for the money that continues to rain down, Longshot throws a knife through the bottom floor window and jumps through it. As he lands inside the room, he is met by a frightened woman, who asks if he is one of the cable guys who are here to rob them. He introduces himself and tells her he is there to help her not get robbed, hurt or killed. She asks if he is with the X-Men and then tells him she knew there was something fishy about the cable guys, as there are scams all the time. Longshot tells her he was with X-Factor but she doesn’t know who that is. She asks what his mutant power is but be replies he isn’t a mutant; he just got involved with the X-types because they just assumed he was. He tells her he is a genetically engineered orphan from another dimension with magic luck powers.

She seems a little taken aback and he apologizes, as he was probably responsible for the money explosion at her house. She points out the cable guys did it but he explains that whatever circumstances came together to craft the moment, they culminated when he wished he had money for tacos. He must be pure of heart when he uses his luck powers; it must only benefit others or else it turns. She summarizes that he wanted some money for tacos and as a result the top floor of her building exploded. He adds that it blew money all over him and tells her that luck is capricious. She points him in the direction of the stairs and, as they leave, she asks him if he wants to grab a drink afterwards. He informs her that if he used this as an opportunity to get a date then his luck might turn again.

When they go upstairs, they see Dr. Dipson’s laboratory in ruins with a huge hole in the wall. One of the cable guys is holding him at gunpoint whilst the others pick money up off the floor. One of the men tells the others they need to go, as they ruined the safe cracking. The man holding the gun tells him that Chip saw their faces. Longshot and the woman walk in and the robbers immediately point their guns at them. Longshot asks if they guns are Defender 8’s and one of the men confirms they are, not that he will care in a second. The men pull the triggers, but Longshot’s luck activates and his eye glows yellow. The guns explode in the men’s faces and Longshot, remembering a newspaper article he saw earlier, informs them there was a recall and they should ask for their money back.

As Reed and Tony drive through the city, Daft Punk’s “Lucky” plays over the radio.

Longshot walks over to the shaken Chip and asks if he is okay. He says he is and he has other safes. Longshot asks if he ever thought about a bank but the man tells him he doesn’t trust them. He used to have one but it was turned over by the Green Goblin. The woman tells them she called the police and asks Chip if he is okay. Chip replies that the robbers didn’t even try to mess with his equipment, as they just wanted his money. When Longshot asks about it, Chip tells him he is trying to produce constant radiation that might nullify the random cosmic rays that bombard them from space. The woman puts her hand on the man’s shoulder and tells Longshot her dad is a scientist and he has provided independent work on all sorts of advancements. Chips adds that he sold Hank Pym the patent that allows him to talk to ants without using pheromone signals. Nobody wants to talk to the amazing fart-man.

Longshot hears a voice coming from outside and he peers through the hole in the wall to see the In-Betweener standing below. The woman asks if the police are there but Longshot tells her they aren’t and asks the In-Betweener if he is the one killing all the lucky people. The In-Betweener looks up at him and tells them he is but he will be done with that after him. The woman tells dad she doesn’t see anyone down there but Chip replies that Longshot is talking to a god. He can see him because he accidentally left his cosmic vibration-detecting contacts in.

The In-Betweener uses his powers and forces Longshot out of the window. As he struggles in the energy grip of the In-Betweener, he asks why he is doing it, to which the cosmic god tells him that he is throwing off the balance of the universe. Struggling to breathe, Longshot tells him that, if he wasn’t there, Chip and his daughter might have been killed. But then again he might have caused the robbery too. The In-Betweener tells him that he doesn’t mean this incident; he is talking about the others. Longshot guesses he means the haircut and the In-Betweener realizes he doesn’t remember. Suddenly, Chip appears on the doorstep with a huge gun. He tells the In-Betweener to leave Longshot alone and to go back to whatever unimaginable maddening space he came from. He fires the gun and the In-Betweener vanishes, musing on the fact the man can see him.

He immediately reappears a few steps away and tells the man he has a job to finish, although he’s dropped Longshot now. Unfortunately, Chip’s gun fired a laser beam that just happened to hit Tony and Reed’s truck as it was driving past. The beam hits Reed, who begins to writhe in pain. As he starts to contort out of shape, he tells Tony the laser must have been parallel to the cosmic radiation that originally altered his DNA. He is unable to control his form and so he grows and grows until the cab of the lorry bursts open, sending Tony flying into a fire hydrant.

The lorry explodes and the case containing the mystery object is catapulted out. The In-Betweener tells Longshot that if he does not let him act then everything is doomed. Longshot points out that if he hadn’t been there then the lorry wouldn’t have exploded. As the case bounces along the floor towards the two arguing men, Tony activates his Iron Man suit and demands Longshot step away from the case. With water pouring down on him, though, his suit cannot properly form and he ends up malfunctioning and slapping himself in the head. The case lands at Longshot’s feet, pops open and the object lands in the lucky one’s hands. Longshot looks down to see he is now holding a bluing blue object that the In-Betweener immediately recognizes as a cosmic cube.

As Mr. Fantastic struggles to contain his form, Iron Man, in his half-formed armor, tells Longshot not to do anything, as the cube is unstable and could destroy the planet. The In-Betweener calmly tells him not to be selfish and to release the cube to him, as he has to die. As everyone looks on, Longshot tells the In-Betweener to get lost. The cube activates and a bright light shines out.

Longshot is sat in the barber’s chair having just received his new haircut. A news report comes over the stereo that talks about the Supreme Court’s decision on SHIELD’s expansion.

Elsewhere, Chip’s daughter turns away the cable guys who have come calling at her door.

Longshot walks down the street and spots the taco van. He decides to use his powers to get some money but suddenly armed men drop from the sky and tell him to put his hands on his head. A man, looking like the fully white version of the In-Betweener appears and tells him he is giving off a magical aura but is not a registered magical being. He isn’t even a citizen and so it is his duty to inform him that, according to the SHIELD anti-unlawful magic program, he is to be purge from existence and executed on sight.

Longshot takes a step backwards and bumps into the steps leading up to Chip’s house. His psychometry suddenly kicks in and he gets flashes of images of the things that happened before. He thinks something lucky is about to happen but instead he eye doesn’t glow and nothing happens. With guns pointed at Longshot’s head, the soldiers are given the order to fire at will.

Characters Involved: 


The In-Betweener

Tony Stark/Iron Man
Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic

Store Clerk

Dr. Chip Dipson


Construction workers
Ferry passenger
Ferry guards

Story Notes: 

This is Longshot’s 3rd solo title. The first was the self-titled mini-series from the 80’s before he joined the X-Men. The second was a one-shot in the 90’s.

Before this, Longshot was a member of X-Factor Investigations. [X-Factor (3rd series)). In the final arc of the title the team was scattered after battling and defeating the Lords of Hell.

The song constantly playing on the radio is “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk.

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