Marvel Fanfare (2nd series) #5

Issue Date: 
January 1997
Story Title: 
Life Lessons

Jaimie Campos (writer), Stephen Jones (penciler), Mike Witherby (inker), Brian Buccellato (colorist), Sue Crespi and Caroline Wells (letterers), James Felder (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Some time after the rebels of the Mojoverse rescue Major Domo, Mojo II and his troops arrive at the top-secret rebel base in an ambush. While Longshot, Kragar and Quark stave off the enemy forces on the surface, Dazzler and Brahams investigate a possible security leak inside. Brahams reveals himself as a traitor and incapacitates Dazzler and Quark. On the surface, Major Domo switches sides and joins Mojo II, who then incapacitates and buries Longshot and Kragar. The two rebels wake up, trapped in their base and seemingly doomed. Spiral soon arrives, and after a passionate fight with Longshot in which she insists she came to help, she teleports them out of the tunnels and to the sight of Dazzler and Quark’s impending execution. Now united, Longshot, Dazzler, Quark, Kragar and Spiral convince Major Domo to switch sides again, after which they defeat Mojo II. Spiral takes the fallen Mojo II for punishment, while Major Domo decides to join the rebels in their fight for freedom for good. The rebels finally accept him as one of their own.

Full Summary: 

In the Mojoverse, inside the incredibly new underground hideout of the rebellion, three of the rebellion’s most celebrated heroes—Longshot, Quark, and Kragar—stand alongside the rebellion’s most recent, reluctant recruit, Major Domo. Their fellow rebel Coran comes running up the side of the bluff with urgent news. They ask him what happened, but Coran, out of breath from the climb, struggles to form his answer. Longshot and the rebels suddenly hear an ominous buzzing noise. Something explodes in the distance. Mojo II and his forces arrive from all sides, completely surrounding the rebels.

This is how it goes in the Mojoverse. The man with the highest ratings rules all, and Mojo II hopes to boost his own plummeting popularity with this program. At this time, this particular broadcast’s credits introduce the cast of characters, starting with Mojo II: The Sequel and his number-one servant, Pet. These two figures lead the army in the destruction of the rebel hideout. It certainly makes for a beautiful opening shot, the announcer says. He then introduces the special guests for the day: Longshot, whose mysterious power to perform the impossible—no matter how dangerous or unlikely—makes him Mojo II’s greatest nemesis; Kragar, the tactical expert; Quark, the goat-headed animal man with abilities similar to Longshot’s; and finally, Major Domo, whom the audience surely recognizes from his recent, failed execution. “Once servant to the late Mojo I, will Domo serve the traitorous rebels who saved him?” the announcer asks.

Now, with the viewers brought up to speed, the actual program begins. As Kragar begins firing at the enemy troops, he scolds Quark for seemingly failing in his simple task of fixing the perimeter’s sensory detectors; the rebels should have seen these guys coming two days ago! Quark snaps back and reminds Kragar that the sensors only prevent people from finding the rebel base by accident. Its location is top-secret, after all; these assailants must have known exactly where to go. If that’s the case, Kragar asks, then who leaked their location? Does Quark mean to suggest they have a spy in their midst? Kragar runs with this assumption and immediately begins listing their group’s loyalties. Each of them has proven themselves to the rebellion—everyone, that is, except Major Domo. Kragar turns toward him accusatorily.

Domo, terrified, asks if they cannot table this particular discussion until they get to safety. In the meantime, he suggests to Kragar and Quark that they pay attention to their own backside. Good try, Quark tells him, suspecting a diversion. After Krager tries to assure Domo they do not truly suspect him, Quark cuts him off, asserting Domo has worked against them since day one. Unfortunately, at this point in time, Major Domo is indeed trying to help by warning them of the axe-wielding madman immediately behind them.
Lucky for them, Longshot intervenes and incapacitates the brawler with a kick to the face. Wake up, he tells his teammates! They can easily win this fight if everyone pays attention! Longshot also reminds Quark that just because he doesn’t like Domo, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is a traitor. Kragar agrees; they must not lose faith in their teammates during a battle. Besides, they have more important problems they must deal with, such as the fact that half their forces are currently underground with the civilian families. They must alert them for help immediately. In response, Longshot orders Quark to find Dazzler, scout for backup, and spread word of the attack to everyone. They have come too far to lose now, he adds.

Meanwhile, two levels below the planet’s surface, Major Domo speaks with an unknown party via computer. “Soon,” Domo says. “No one will suspect anything. You have the coordinates, don’t you? You know the plan? Even the part about—” The shadowed figure on the other end tells Domo not to worry; their plan is in motion. Domo wishes the mystery person good luck, ending the transmission.

At that same moment, in the base’s security quarters, Dazzler and her fellow rebel Brahams observe this intercepted transmission. Brahams explains that Kragar had him set up an alert system to catch any possible security leaks. All calls made or received to Mojo II’s palace trigger an alert to Brahams, who is then supposed to retrieve Longshot. Because Longshot is currently engaged, he settles for Dazzler, who seems less-than-enthused. She asks Brahams if he has a point in showing her this transmission. “Isn’t it obvious?” he asks. “Major Domo’s been leaking information!” Dazzler reminds him he only has a portion of the message. The exasperated Brahams asks how much proof Dazzler and Longshot would need to finally admit to Major Domo’s treachery.

“A lot more,” Dazzler tells him. Admittedly, this recording makes Major Domo look bad, but Dazzler refuses to jump to conclusions. She suggests they confront Domo about it—but not accuse him. Suddenly, the two rebels hear a deep, rumbling noise. Before they have a chance to react, Quark comes crashing through the ceiling, followed by tons of rock and rubble. Quark apologizes. After checking on Brahams, Dazzler asks Quark for a sit-rep. He tells her the rebels have come under attack; Major Domo betrayed them. “Domo? Are you positive?” she asks. “Admit it—you’re just not willing to give Domo a chance. You’re ready to find him guilty without hearing his side.” Quark begins to argue with her, but Alison insists he is wrong. She cannot believe Domo would betray them, especially after Longshot showed such faith in him.

Unbeknownst to Dazzler and Quark, behind their backs, Brahams reaches for a loose-lying gun. Quark tells Dazzler to drop the topic; they need to focus on getting back to the surface. Alison agrees, but suggests they ensure everyone in the base makes it out all right. Quark thinks otherwise; they have competent people in the base who can find their own way to safety. He would rather get Dazzler to the surface and ensure Domo does not get away with his treachery. Dazzler begins to argue that they first need backup, but an electrical jolt to her back cuts her off mid-sentence. Quark suffers a similar electric shock and collapses to the ground right beside her.

It seems the rebel leaders have a bad habit of always believing the best of their people, no questions asked. Tomorrow, Dazzler may feel the sting of betrayal, while Quark may feel a moment of regret for having missed the real traitor when he had the chance—if they live that long. The treacherous Brahams stands over them, his gun smoking, and proclaims his allegiance to his master, Mojo II.

Meanwhile, on the surface, Longshot and Kragar continue their battle with Mojo II and his troops. Longshot decides they need to close the distance between themselves and Mojo II, as the entire conflict centers around him. Kragar agrees. However, they only have one chance to get it right; they need their backup more than ever. While leaping over the battlefield, Longshot begins questioning whether the backup will arrive at all. He vows to end this fight before anyone else gets hurt. Innocent people should not have to suffer simply because Mojo II wants him dead. As he lands, he sees a straight-shot to Mojo II on his floating dais; as long as the tyrant remains distracted, Longshot thinks he can neutralize him. However, he notices his ally Major Domo standing near Mojo II, and implores him to initiate the attack instead.

Mojo II hears Longshot calling to his rebel ally and looks on with glee. The battle finally seems to be getting interesting, he says. Pet is at a loss for words. It seems the fate of the rebellion rests in the hands of a man who has worked to destroy it since its inception. Now, this man’s words will decide the outcome. Major Domo looks up at Mojo II and Pet. He sighs and apologizes to Longshot. He thinks it has become apparent his place is with the ruling party of the Mojoverse, where he can truly be appreciated.

Longshot’s heart sinks. How could Major Domo betray him and the rebellion after they had so much faith in him? He informs Domo that he no longer sees any reason to treat him any gentler than the rest of his foes. Longshot, whose luck is the one thing Mojo I didn’t instill in him during his creation, lashes out at Major Domo, forgetting that his luck deserts him as soon as he attempts to act with selfish motives like personal vengeance. When these powers desert him, the results can be ugly—as they are now. One of Mojo II’s gun-toting men knocks Longshot out of the air with a surprise blast. After Longshot hits the ground, Mojo II stands over his unconscious body and rejoices. He tells him men to dig a hole in the ground for Longshot’s body—but not kill him. After all, the rebels will be much easier to control if they think their cooperation might keep their precious leader alive.

The storage tunnels…

Longshot wakes up to darkness. He makes out the face of Kragar at his side. After Kragar welcomes his return to the land of the conscious, he explains that Mojo II barricaded them inside the storage tunnels. It could take them weeks to find their way out. Great, Longshot says; he asks Kragar to remind him to thank Major Domo for the unexpected vacation. Kragar reminds him they have no proof Domo betrayed the rebellion. He thinks there is more to the story than what they saw on the surface. Easy for him to say, Longshot says; Kragar never fully trusted Domo the way he and Dazzler did. Look at where that trust got them!

“Yes, Longshot,” an unexpected third party says. “Look at you. Clawing your way out of your own home. And to think, this could’ve been me.” Longshot and Kragar look up and witness the arrival of their time-dancing nemesis, Spiral. She once fought alongside Longshot and the rebels. Lately, she has fought against them. Longshot has no idea which side she stands on as of today. Deciding not to take any chances, he reaches for a blunt object and tells Spiral she is not welcome among the rebels, especially since her desertion. “How little you know,” she says. “But what do I expect from a man who gets imprisoned in his own home?”

Longshot, attacking Spiral with his makeshift club, tells her she can insult him all she wants, but her words mean nothing. They begin brawling. Kragar implores his ally to stop; they have no time to rehash old vendettas. Stay out of this, Longshot shouts at Kragar! He reminds him they never have time to hash it out with Spiral and insists they make time for it now. He turns back to Spiral and, while punching her in the face, asks how much Mojo II paid her to kill him. Spiral tells Longshot not to be stupid; she didn’t come to fight him. Ignoring this defense, Longshot tells her he hopes her price is worth the pain she will feel tomorrow.

Using her unique power to open portals between dimensions, Spiral begins to slip away into the space between space. Longshot hurls a knife at her as she goes; he wants at least one of their fights to remain fair. His blade plunges into one of Spiral’s robotic left arms. She screams, loses her concentration, and fails in her teleportation. Longshot approaches her in anger. She should have stayed with the rebellion, he says! She was once one of them! Instead, she chose to fight for whomever paid her the most or made her into the biggest star. She started fighting for the wrong reasons, he says, taking another swing at her.

Spiral ducks his punch and grabs onto his thigh. While throwing him to the ground, she claims to remember a different version of what led to her secession from the rebels. The way she saw it, Longshot’s fight wasn’t for everyone—he and his perfect friends only fought for those who looked as perfect as them, such as his glowing girlfriend Dazzler. Spiral now fights only for herself. After recovering from his tumble, Longshot tries to trip his opponent, while explaining that the rebels fight for all people under Mojo II’s oppression. “Really?” Spiral asks with disbelief. “Then why would Domo make contact with me at the Palace?”
Longshot blocks her punch and hits her in the stomach. Answering her question, he supposes Domo contacted her so they could plan their treacherous attack against the rebellion. She corrects him: what happened on the surface wasn’t an attack, but a massacre. Regardless, he is wrong again; Domo had no preference whether the rebels succeeded or not. He contacted her simply so she could break him out of their base. “Domo only wants to leave, not bring down your silly rebellion,” Spiral says as she wipes the blood from her chin. “Your traitor is someone else.”


Mojo II addresses his viewers. “Ladies and gentlemen of the Mojo Universe, sit back and relax—have I got a finale for you,” he says. He directs the camera to his two prisoners, Dazzler and Quark, whom he intends to execute. Pet, bearing an oversized halberd, stands behind the two shackled rebels. Tonight, for the viewing pleasure of the denizens of the Mojoverse, Mojo II intends to present a death that rivals even that of the first Mojo. Watch as these two rebels breathe their final breaths! he says.

Before that begins, however, he reminds his viewers that the rest of the rebels will not get off the hook either. He directs the camera’s attention toward their position, encircled by the legions of Mojo II’s armies. “They’re in some serious trouble, now aren’t they?” Mojo II asks. “What are they to do? Who can help them?” Directing the camera’s attention back on himself, Mojo II reminds his viewers of all the quality programming he has brought—and continues to bring—to their living rooms. This time, however, he admits he had a helping hand. He presents his double-agent Brahams, whom he personally credits with the inevitable capture and execution of the rebel leader Longshot.

The tunnels…

Longshot continues brawling with Spiral. Longshot now asks why he should believe anything she says. Because it’s the truth, Spiral quips. Longshot raises a good counterpoint: if Spiral only came to save Major Domo, why, then, was she so eager to indulge in his execution? In response, Spiral grabs onto Longshot and flips him over her head. “Enough,” she says. “Domo’s execution failed for a reason that has nothing to do with you. Stop and think about it—I’m not here to fight you.” Confounded, Longshot asks Kragar for his opinion on everything. Kragar admits Spiral makes sense; no one has ever treated Domo fairly, including the rebels. How could they expect him to find happiness while living among them?

“At least one of you has some intelligence,” Spiral says. She acknowledges that Longshot perhaps has no reason to trust her. She empathizes with Domo’s accusation that Longshot and the rebels only fight for themselves. She and Quark are so different from them, after all, that they must fight twice as hard for acceptance. In a similar vein, Domo cannot change who he is either, including his past. She asks Longshot the question again: for whom does he truly fight?

Although Kragar thanks both Longshot and Spiral for actually discussing their conflict rationally, he reminds them all the people they have been discussing—including Major Domo, Quark, and Dazzler—are still trapped on the surface with Mojo II. He recommends they start doing something. Longshot turns to Spiral and asks what she can do to help. She suddenly claims indifference. Longshot tries to convince her to help; can she truly let innocents suffer simply because Mojo II wants Longshot dead? At this point, Spiral informs them that Mojo II also wants Dazzler and Quark dead—both of whom he plans to execute first. Longshot’s jaw drops; this is news to him. “Did I forget to mention that?” Spiral asks.
In desperation, Longshot asks Spiral to help just this once. She alone can transport them all to the surface. She claims to want to help Domo, just as she claims to want to overthrow Mojo II. He dares her to prove it. After giving him a stern look, Spiral begins dancing her dance—but makes sure to remind Longshot she is not doing this for him.

On the surface, Brahams stands over the two rebel prisoners, holding the massive halberd. “All is ready, O Exalted One. All that awaits is your signal,” he tells his master. Dazzler asks Brahams if he isn’t laying it on a little thick. The rebel traitor claims she’s just bitter because she lost. Suddenly, a vortex opens up in the air, out of which come Longshot, Kragar, and Spiral. Longshot hurls a pair of throwing knives at Brahams and advises him to not tally the score just yet. His knives sail past Brahams, instead connecting with—thereby destroying—the shackles of Dazzler and Quark. They are now free.

Mojo II looks on in horror. He orders Brahams to do something—the entire world is watching them! Frantically, he orders the whole of his forces to start attacking. He wants Longshot and the rebels dead! Longshot’s mere presence, however, reignites the spirit of the rebels. They begin fighting with everything they have, hoping that if they as much as believe in their right to freedom, they might have a chance to protect their future.

While dueling with one of the opposing troops, Quark engages in a conversation with an enemy he assumes is another one of Mojo II’s androids. He pins the man to the ground and prepares to slice off his head. To his surprise, he sees his opponent is not a robot at all, but a living, breathing man. He grants him mercy and reports to Longshot their opponents are not simple droids as they once thought. In that case, they stay alive, Longshot says. He refuses to kill his enemies simply for living under the control of Mojo II.

Speaking of Mojo II, Longshot finally clears a path to the overlord and declares his time to rule has come to an end. Don’t count on it, Mojo II laughs. While Longshot tries to get a man in close to extract Major Domo, Mojo II turns to his number-one aide, Pet, and orders him to fire at Longshot. This is their chance to end the rebellion once and for all, Mojo II says! Pet feigns compliance, but secretly, he hopes to miss. Killing Longshot means the death of the rebellion—an unpleasant prospect for the imperfect Pet. He hesitates.

Domo, meanwhile, uses the pause from Pet’s reticence to ponder his own allegiances. Can he really just let Longshot die? After all, Longshot tried to save him, continues to try to save him, and believed in him when no one else would. Mojo II, on the other hand, would sacrifice Domo without giving the matter a second thought. Major Domo realizes that while he gave Mojo II a chance, he never gave one to the rebellion. He decides at this time to test out the artificial arm the rebels grafted onto his body. Sticking it into Mojo II’s light equipment, Major Domo becomes a living electrical conductor. He directs a stream of electricity at both Pet and his master, Mojo II. Both creatures fall to the ground. Major Domo’s action leaves him in pain but, for the first time in ages, not in regret.

Mojo II’s troops watch in horror as their master falls before the eyes of the entire world. Meanwhile, Longshot commends Major Domo on a job well done. With Mojo II out of the picture, they can easily defeat the rest of the army. Major Domo asks what they intend to do with Mojo II. “Well, now, that’s where I come in,” Spiral says. “Miss me, Major Domo? Your chariot awaits.” Domo smiles at her and tells her she never changes. He regrets to inform her he will not be leaving with her—he has decided to stay with the rebellion. Spiral expresses her disappointment in Domo. She hopes he is not getting soft. Regardless, she tells him he can stay, but she intends to leave with Mojo II and his army in tow. After all, the world would love to see Mojo II punished during a major broadcast. “But I wouldn’t want any of you thinking we’re on the same side,” she adds as she begins her teleportation dance.

As Spiral dances away, Longshot implores his men to let her go, much to their collective objection. He reminds them that without Spiral’s help, they never would have won the battle. He then tells his people that the time has come for everyone to accept Major Domo as one of their own. Domo deserves everyone’s respect, as well as a chance to find his place as a part of their future. “A future that starts today,” Quark adds. “Saving Longshot’s life was your choice, Domo, and that means you’re one of us. Welcome to the rebellion.” Major Domo thanks him; he thinks he may just begin liking it there.

Characters Involved: 




Kragar (Mojoverse rebel)

Corna (Mojoverse rebel)< p>

Brahams (Mojoverse rebel and traitor)
Major Domo

Mojo II: The Sequel

Pet (Mojo II’s aide)

Various rebels

Various arena warriors

Story Notes: 

Editor-in-chief Bob Harras is billed Mojo Harras in this issue’s credits.

Both Longshot and Spiral next appear in Wolverine (2nd series) #102.5, before popping up in X-Force (1st series) #59-61 for Shatterstar’s origin arc. Dazzler, on the other hand, next appears in X-Men (2nd series) #47.

Mojo II appears once more, in Wolverine (2nd series) #102.5, but then disappears from the X-books entirely.

Issue Information: 
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