Marvel Fanfare (2nd series) #4

Issue Date: 
December 1996
Story Title: 
Cause and Effect

Jaimie Campos (writer), Steven Jones (penciler), Mike Witherby (inker), Jon Babcock, Caroline Wells and Jeff Powell (letterers), Brian Buccellato (colorist), James Felder (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

In the Mojo II-ruled Mojoverse, Longshot, Dazzler, Quark, and their fellow rebels halt another of the oppressive ruler’s unjust executions. Mojo II, meanwhile, schemes with his aide, Pet, on how to bolster his ratings. A novel suggestion comes from one of his prisoners, Major Domo: why not televise the execution of someone associated with the first Mojo’s regime? Mojo II takes to the idea instantly—and decides to make Major Domo the subject of the execution. Elsewhere, the rebels learn of this plan and decide to intervene. On their way to the arena, Quark comes into conflict with Spiral, Mojo II’s official executioner. Although he defeats her in combat, he spares her life, and she disappears. Meanwhile, Longshot and Dazzler arrive at the execution site in time to prevent Major Domo’s beheading. The reunited rebels save Domo, defeat Spiral—who once again flees—and escape with only a few casualties. Now counting Major Domo as one of their own, the rebels look optimistically toward the future.

Full Summary: 

Welcome to the Mojoverse. Here, every man, woman and child was created for the sole purpose of entertaining their creators. They are amusement, and they pay the price for dreaming of anything else. However, there are some who wish to change the way things are. Some even try to.

A group of ghoulish guards stops a biped man in the streets. He has some explaining to do, they say; he was not at Mayor Driscoll’s ceremony, a ceremony Mojo II: the Sequel arranged in honor of the mayor’s loyalty. One of the ogres lifts the insolent biped man off the ground and holds him in the air. He is to be executed for his disloyalty, the guard captain says. He addresses the onlookers and reminds them that, as citizens, it is their duty to watch and participate in programming. This man’s execution should serve as a warning. A biped man in the crowd named Kragar speaks up and tells the guards that they man they intend to execute is quite loyal—just not to Mojo II and his tyranny. He gives his hidden accomplices a signal. Dazzler, Longshot, and Quark swing down from the nearby rooftops and attack the enforcers of Mojo II’s despotic regime.

Dazzler, an Earth-born mutant with the power to transduce sound energy into light, fights back-to-back with Longshot, the fortuitous leader of the rebel underground. Dazzler can’t quite get to the man intended for execution without possibly causing innocents harm. Longshot commends her prudence, but tells her not to worry; he has it under control. He hurls a throwing knife at executioner, severing his hold on the intended victim.

Quark, meanwhile, chides Dazzler and Longshot for chatting so much during battle. Jovially, he says he can cover them all day if he needs to. Stick to the plan, Longshot says to Quark, reminding him to clear out the civilians while he finds Driscoll. Quark soon finishes with his opponent, however, and asks Dazzler if she needs any help tackling her targets. “Not from you, Quark,” Dazzler says. “But I do notice you’re dragging a bit. Is that your way of asking for help from me?”

Longshot suggests they take advantage of the current upheaval and free all of Mojo II’s innocent prisoners. When his back is turned, the villainous Driscoll approaches Longshot and holds him at gunpoint. He admits Longshot may have found him, but insists that doesn’t mean a thing. Pointing the gun at Longshot’s head, he says that bringing him to Mojo II, dead or alive, would make Mojo II quite happy—in addition to prolonging his own life. As he pulls the trigger, Longshot hurls one of his throwing blades, sending it directly into the barrel of Driscoll’s gun. The weapon explodes, and the backlash knocks Driscoll to the ground. Longshot grabs his stunned enemy by the collar and gives him a message. “I don’t care if Mojo II is happy. I have no intention of stopping these attacks until Mojo II stops this oppression,” Longshot says. “So tell him to be expecting me again soon.” With their mission accomplished, Longshot, Dazzler, Quark, and Kragar retreat before reinforcements arrive.


Inside the Palace, the royal home of Mojo II, the self-proclaimed greatest star of the century, those who lack Mojo II’s supposed perfection of are locked up and put on display. Mojo II, ever the merciful ruler, broadcasts these imperfect prisoners on a television program called The Zoo Highlights Show so the world can laugh at them. Today, his show comes under criticism from his closest advisor.

Pet, Mojo II’s upright, cat/human hybrid slave, recommends his master cancel The Zoo Highlights Show. It has not secured a viable ratings block, and, as Pet reminds him, only the one with the highest ratings can rule Mojoworld. Mojo II calls this news impossible; The Zoo Highlights Show is the only program on the air. Even so, people do not enjoy watching their peers suffer or endure exploitation, Pet says. Mojo II deems this notion nonsense. People have sympathy for these creatures, these imperfections. Besides, what other use can imperfections have? He informs Pet that if he can’t somehow revive the popularity of the show, they will have to kill its subjects. Pet reluctantly agrees to give it a try.

A delivery boy suddenly enters the room and hands Pet a telegram. The cat-man accepts it with anticipation; they have been expecting a report from Mayor Driscoll all afternoon. He hopes its news will cheer up Mojo II. Unfortunately, as soon as he opens the envelope, he realizes that will not be the case. The envelope contains a video recording of that morning’s incident in the Eastern Quarter—a recording broadcast to the whole of Mojoverse just hours earlier—in which Longshot staged yet another coup of a major city.
This series of coups has boosted Longshot’s ratings that month, while Mojo II’s have declined. Cancelling The Zoo Highlights Show certainly won’t help his already falling ratings, Pet adds. Enraged, Mojo II decides he wants Mayor Driscoll executed that night; the incompetence of his staff only works in Longshot’s favor.

Major Domo, one of the prisoners in Mojo II’s lab suddenly pounds on the side of his containment vial, begging his captor’s attention. Mojo II, sneering at his captive, asks if he is enjoying his time pondering where his loyalties lie. Major Domo tells Mojo II he has actually been pondering his captor’s options against Longshot. “Mojo I’s only course of action was a successful, dramatic death scene,” Major Domo says. “Are you prepared for that?” Of course not, Mojo II tells him. If that’s the case, then Major Domo offers that his time spent with Mojo I provided him with a breadth of experiences. Having had time to consider Mojo II’s current dilemma, he now has some ideas he might employ, all of which are much less tacky than Mojo I’s demise.

This sufficiently intrigues Mojo II. Of course, he remembers that his predecessor died with peak ratings, largely due to Major Domo’s services. He asks Domo what he has in mind. Major Domo smiles deviously. He suggests Mojo II stage the execution of someone who has greatly offended his audience, and televise the victim’s death. It will make Mojo II not just a hero in the eyes of his people, but more importantly, a success.

Mojo II takes to the idea instantly. Stroking his chin, he brainstorms whom he should pick as his victim. It must be someone the people despise more than Mojo II himself. Who represents an enemy who robbed the people of valuable screen time, he wonders? Mojo II turns to Pet to ask for help. Who is so hated that not even Longshot would consider coming to help? Suddenly, it hits Mojo II: he already has the perfect execution victim at his disposal. Turning back to Major Domo, Mojo II thanks him for the wonderful idea that will surely lead to a ratings sweep. “Release him at once, Pet! I cannot show my gratitude with this wonderful man locked up!” Mojo II says. “You see, Major Domo, you have helped to restore my power by thinking up this brilliant idea. And you shall help again by being its star.” Major Domo’s face droops in shock. Mojo II assures him his death scene will be one to remember!

The headquarters of the Underground…

Secret and hidden from Mojo II and his men, these tunnels have become a home for all the rebels, despite its rough exterior. Here, those that choose to live outside of Mojo II’s oppression try to start over sheltered in freedom. Inside, a mother with a young child interrupts Longshot during one of his informal meetings and asks for a favor. Longshot gladly takes her child in his arms and gives it one of his usual psychic-imprint readings. While connected with the child, he clearly feels the love of its parents, as well as its happiness. He hands the young boy back to his mother, Nira, and assures her she is doing a wonderful job of raising him. He sees a long future ahead of the child, and promises to do his part to make that future as peaceful as possible. Nira smiles and tells Longshot she has faith in his mission.

After Nira leaves, Longshot resumes plotting with his fellow rebels. Although Nira and the others genuinely believe in their leaders, Longshot has read many of their imprints and seen they are tired of running and hiding. The people need security for themselves and their children. He wishes he had as much certainty in the outcome of their struggle as his followers. Doubting himself isn’t going to help at all, Kragar tells Longshot. He reminds him that every day they fight, they come one day closer to securing the future of their people. It might take time, but they will find it eventually. Dazzler agrees. She takes Longshot in her arms and tells him they do get closer each day. “Now, not to be selfish, but you and I haven’t really had time to ourselves,” she says.

Quark returns and interrupts the meeting with some bad news. It seems Mojo II wants to execute Major Domo to get a ratings boost, he says. Quark would personally let Mojo II do whatever he wants with Domo, as he worked against the rebels while serving the first Mojo. However, Quark objects to Mojo II’s choice of executioner: Spiral. Quark considers Spiral in the same category as himself and doesn’t like idea of Mojo II exploiting someone he openly considers a freak to perform his dirty work.

No one likes it, Longshot assures him. However, he reminds Quark someone’s life is at stake, even if he doesn’t understand why Mojo II chose that particular life to threaten. Quark reminds Longshot of the crimes Major Domo committed against the people during Mojo I’s reign. Mojo II must figure the people will applaud his death, he says. “I hope not,” Longshot says. He considers himself partially responsible for Domo’s current predicament. After all, his good luck powers have a negative effect on the people around him—and his luck in defeating Mojo I directly led to Major Domo’s incarceration. Quark says that doesn’t mean they should feel obligated to save him. “Maybe not,” Longshot says. “But Domo did his job because he was forced to—a slave like the rest of us. He doesn’t deserve to die. And we have no right to let him.” Quark may not like it, but the rebels are the heroes of the people, and right now, Major Domo has no one else on whom he can depend.


Quark, currently scaling the exterior of a colossal fortress wall, is not a happy man. He asks himself why they selected him to perform this grueling task. Addressing him over the radio, Longshot reminds him they chose Quark because his luck powers will prevent him from falling. Quark reminds Longshot they have the exact same luck powers. True, Longshot says, but Quark also possesses superior marksman skills, and they need a sniper to cover their tracks on the ground. Quark grumbles. Somehow, he always gets stuck with the hard work.


Longshot, Dazzler, Quark, Kragar and others storm the base of Mojo II’s fortress. After ordering Kragar to seal the entrances of the arena to prevent innocent civilians from entering, he orders Quark to take the wall. They will need someone on top to give them an overview of everything. He and Dazzler, meanwhile, will storm the palace on the way to the arena. Quark doesn’t argue with his orders. After all, he believes in doing what’s best for everybody.


Quark continues to grumble as he nears the top of the wall. Even though he will be sore all day tomorrow, and even though he doesn’t care for Major Domo, he takes pride in knowing they might save a man’s life. Plus, they should accomplish their mission quite easily—assuming they don’t encounter any major conflicts.

Unfortunately, Quark has that thought a moment too soon. He clears the top of the wall and finds himself staring at the tip of a sword. Lifting his head, he beholds the sword-bearer, Spiral. “Hiya, Quark,” the six-armed mercenary Spiral says. “Hope you’re not too tired. I’ve been looking forward to this all day.” Leaping into the air, Quark hits Spiral in the chin with a flying kick. He regrettably informs her he cannot accompany her to the execution. Spiral tells him he flatters himself. After complimenting his initiative, she informs him this televised execution might help Mojo II regain his status—and maybe help Spiral regain hers as well. She begins to dance. Quark leaps at her, but before he connects, Spiral’s magic turns her invisible. Meanwhile, Quark’s momentum carries him headfirst into the wall. He groans and tells Spiral she is wasting her time; even if she stops him, Longshot and Dazzler will make it to the arena to stop Mojo II. Spiral kicks him in the chest. Right now, Mojo II should be the least of his concerns, she says.

Meanwhile, on the main floor, Longshot and Dazzler run as fast as they can through the labyrinthine corridors of the arena. After a while, Dazzler begins doubting their progress; shouldn’t they have reached the palace by now? Longshot assures her she need not worry; Mojo II doesn’t even know they have entered his domain. Admittedly, that does take some of the fun out of it, he says.

After turning the corner and finding themselves in a wide-open room, however, Longshot realizes his assumption was wrong. Mojo II clearly knows they have entered his palace, as evidenced by his televised, personal address of the two rebel leaders. He presents Longshot and Dazzler with an array of portals, each of which leads to a different location. Some might take them to the edge of the universe, and others, the center of the arena. The question that Mojo II poses, then, is whether the heroes will choose the right portal in time to halt Major Domo’s impending execution. It must be a trap, Dazzler presumes. Longshot agrees. Unfortunately, they do not have time to backtrack. He suggests they jump through a portal together and trust his inherent luck to carry them to their desired location. As they leap through one of the glowing, pink planes, Dazzler asks if Mojo II would have taken such a chance.

Moments later, Dazzler emerges from the portal, all by herself, just outside the arena. She hits the dirt in front of Kragar and some fellow rebels. Alarmed, Krager asks where she came from, and what happened to Longshot. Dazzler looks at him with a worried expression plastered on her face. She only wishes she knew the answer.

Longshot, meanwhile, emerges in the center of Mojo II’s laboratory. He looks around and sees the oppressive dictator’s myriad prisoners, all trapped in yellow containment vials, and asks what Mojo II has done to them. Speaking via broadcast, Mojo II welcomes Longshot to his little zoo. “Pet’s not all that fond of it, but that’s probably because he belongs here,” Mojo II cackles. “But you can understand that, can’t you? After all, you’re just like these creatures here—created by Mojo I. Not really human. Just toys. To be put on display. Locked up for everyone to stare at. And laugh at.”

No, Longshot shouts! He would never let Mojo II treat him that way. Mojo II asks if he can be so sure; after all, isn’t he on display right now? Longshot, leaping at Mojo II’s floating video camera, declares he cannot be on display without something to film him. He hits the camera, but surprisingly, it repels him and sends him soaring through one of the panes of yellow glass. Mojo II just laughs, calls Longshot’s behavior predictable, and asks if his good luck hasn’t suddenly turned bad. Sure enough, Longshot picks himself up amidst the broken, yellow glass, and looks right into the eyes of a hulking monster. He apparently crashed right into the creature’s prison.

Meanwhile, Quark continues his duel with the invisible time-dancer Spiral. He asks how she can let people like herself suffer in her quest for more power. The way Quark sees it, she is no better than Mojo—or his pathetic successor. His left eye glowing, he stares straight ahead and vows to prevent Spiral from hurting any more of the innocent people of the Mojoverse. Spiral merely laughs and takes a swing at him with her sword. If his rebellion succeeds, what happens to them? The freaks will remain outcasts; they’re too different to belong, she says. She takes a swing at the seemingly defenseless Quark.

Much to Spiral’s misfortune, her sword cuts right over Quark’s head, instead connecting with an ambient, spherical video camera. It seems Quark’s good luck allowed him to hear her sword coming in time. While Spiral struggles to pull her sword out of the sturdy recording device, her concentration lapses, and she reverts to her visible form. Quark grabs one of her loose swords and approaches her from behind. “Welcome back to the world of the visible. Your stay will be brief,” he says as he knocks her over the back of the head with the butt of the blade. Quark then lifts the sword over her defenseless head, poised to end her life for good. For some reason, however, he steadies his hand. She may be one of the bad guys, but in the end, she—like Quark—is only trying to survive with the body and mind given to her by the mischievous Mojo. Quark throws down the sword. For once, he will leave things be.

The Zoo…

Longshot struggles with his latest moral dilemma. His selfish motives led him into his current situation, right into the hands of Mojo II, in which he must battle a man whose only crime is not knowing whom the true villain is. Longshot, it’s time to review your motives, he tells himself. Longshot turns to the mouth-less monster and tells him he refuses to hurt him, as they are on the same side. The monster, clearly not understanding, attacks; clearly communication will not work. Instead, Longshot leaps over its head and crashes through the outer window of the laboratory. The window takes Longshot outside and to the arena.

In the center of the arena, Major Domo kneels at the feet of his executioner, surrounded by a roaring crowd and an array of video cameras. If he knew he was about to be rescued, Domo might be pleased to know that Longshot’s confidence has returned—along with his luck. Major Domo might even be impressed by the fact that Longshot doesn’t miss a beat, even when he realizes that Spiral, having been replaced when she failed to show, is not the executioner. But Major Domo doesn’t know any of this. Instead, he watches with the others while the perfection of Longshot’s luck unfolds. Sure enough, Longshot hurls a solitary throwing knife at the cloaked man holding a battle axe high above his head. It connects with the man’s forearm. He screams and hesitates long enough for Longshot to reach the execution dais. The executioner declares that Longshot cannot stop the execution, but he can, however, join it. Longshot flips over his head and erupts in laughter; he wouldn’t dream of stealing the spotlight!

After Longshot lands back on his feet, Spiral materializes directly behind him without him knowing. She slices at his neck, but, thanks to his keen luck powers, he eludes the attack. As he rolls out of the way, he tells Spiral her alliance with Mojo II is ridiculous. It will do her no more good than her alliance with the first Mojo. “Like you know what you’re talking about,” Spiral says as she attempts to skewer him again. Dazzler, meanwhile, asks Longshot why he even bothers trying to talk to Spiral. Spiral agrees; what is he trying to do? Does he always engage in such eloquent conversations during fights with his enemies? Putting some distance between himself and Spiral, Longshot claims he’s trying to give her a chance. They were once on the same side, and believed in the same ideals, after all. “Once! And that was a long time ago,” Spiral scoffs at this sympathetic ploy. She realized after that alliance that the only way to survive was to change her beliefs. It clearly worked for her; she is on the rise in Mojo II’s ranks, and could even become his next big star. Longshot sees it differently; he sees a woman with no friends, nothing to believe in, and nothing to look forward to.
Nearby, Dazzler focuses on fighting a battle of her own, but cannot help noticing Longshot’s worsening situation. “Why do I get the feeling you don’t have things under control, Longshot?” she asks as Spiral hoists the blond-haired rebel leader over her head. Longshot claims it’s all part of his plan—including how Spiral hurls him at Dazzler. Thankfully, Dazzler manages to slow him down using a light cushion; all of Spiral’s whining has given her plenty of sound energy to employ, she says.

Quark leads a group of rebels on a mission to escort Domo to safety, leaving Longshot and Dazzler behind to deal with Spiral. Not a problem, Longshot says; he intends to wrap the fight up in under five minutes. Enraged at his audacity, Spiral lunges at him, but Longshot returns the motion in kind. He gets the better of the collision and somehow disarms her. With her broadsword now in his hands, he forces her to the ground and raises the blade high over her heads. He doesn’t have the guts to do it, Spiral says. Despite Longshot’s seeming objection, he does refrain from slicing Spiral in two. Instead, he holds the sword over her head, and tells her it’s not guts he lacks; what he lacks is Spiral’s twisted desire to hurt and destroy. He gives her an ultimatum: she can leave now and never return, or join the rebel movement. He vows to hold her to whatever choice she makes. “As If I really have a choice,” Spiral says. “I can go, but you and I have gone through too much together for this to be the end. And you and I have too much in common.” She disappears in a puff of smoke.

With Spiral gone and Domo safely in hand, the rebels decide to escape. Longshot asks Dazzler to create an exit. Channeling the sound energy of the arena’s audience—but not all of it, as there is enough noise to blow the entire venue to pieces—she bores a hole through the wall using her laser beam. Before the rebels exit, however, Kragar suggests they neutralize as many of Mojo II’s reinforcements as possible. Longshot, Dazzler and Quark intuitively follow his lead, taking the fight to the arena warriors.

Longshot focuses on removing a trigger-happy, laser-wielding madman before he hits any innocent bystanders. While somersaulting through the air—and avoiding all the laser shots, thanks to his luck powers—he notices an innocent woman on the battlefield wandering into the path of a stray laser. Someone save her, Longshot shouts! Major Domo heeds his call and knocks the woman out of the way. Unfortunately, this puts Domo directly in the path of the laser. It hits his arm, immediately disintegrating it. He collapses on the ground, his arm nothing but a smoky stump.

As much as Quark loathes anyone who willingly worked for Mojo, he cannot bring himself to leave an injured man like Domo to die. He lifts the unconscious man in his arms and carries him to safety, all the while cursing himself for twice displaying such compassion for allies of Mojo I. He joins up with Longshot, Kragar, Dazzler, and the other rebels as they high-tail it out of the arena. Longshot asks for an update on Major Domo’s condition. His arm’s gone, Quark says, before adding that Domo is getting heavy. Longshot tells him to deal with it; Major Domo has earned the free ride.

As they exit the arena, Mojo II shouts hysterically for someone to stop them. Pursue them in full force, he orders! His aide, Pet, suggests otherwise. “Let them go. Right now, your ratings are higher than ever. Another confrontation could bring you even higher,” Pet says, …and give Longshot a chance to escape. Mojo II gives this idea consideration.

Sometime later, the rebels reconvene on a bluff overlooking the frantic goings-on of Mojo II’s domain. Longshot welcomes Major Domo to the rebellion; his valiant actions earlier that day more than earned him a slot amongst their members. Major Domo does not seem as convinced, but he supposes to give it a try. Longshot ensures him it will work out for the best. Although their future remains as uncertain as ever, the events of the day reminded the rebels of their true purpose: to ensure that others will have a future. Everyone, after all, deserves a chance at freedom.

Characters Involved: 




Kragar (Mojoverse rebel)

Mojo II: The Sequel

Pet (Mojo II’s aide)

Mayor Driscoll



Major Domo

Nira (rebel woman)

Nira’s son

Various rebels

Various arena warriors

Story Notes: 

This is the first appearance of Mojo II since the coup he staged in X-Men (2nd series) #11. Jubilee’s ominous musing at the end of that issue proved correct, as Mojo II’s regime, as depicted in this issue, is clearly as bad as that of his predecessor.

In X-Men Annual (2nd series) #1, when Quark last appeared, he was under the influence of Mojo I. He must have overcome his brainwashing in the meantime.

Longshot’s reference to a time he and Spiral fought on the same side could refer to several instances. For one, since Spiral is an alternate version of Longshot’s former ally Ricochet Rita, his comment could refer to his and Rita’s time together fighting against Mojo I. It could also refer to the time just after X-Factor Annual #7 in which Spiral decided to outwardly rebel against her master Mojo. It’s less likely, but still possible, that this comment refers to their brief alliance to save the people of Dallas, Texas during the “Fall of the Mutants” storyline in Uncanny X-Men #225-227.

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