Longshot oneshot

Issue Date: 
February 1998
Story Title: 

John Marc DeMatteis (writer), Michael Zulli (penciler), Al Williamson (inker), Bill Oakley (letterer), Kevin Somers (colorist), Kelly Corvese (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Longshot is wandering through the Odd and uncharted Regions of the Mojoworld. He’s searching for something, but doesn’t know what it is. He sees a red creature named Thingee trying to eat small humanoid named Nutt. He tries to help the dwarf but fails and Thingee devours Nutt. Longshot jumps in after him, this causes the creature to explode killing all three of them. Longshot finds himself before the Whirl of Light, the gateway to heaven. Longshot isn’t allowed inside because he is no longer pure of heart. Instead he is pulled through a door and wakes up alive, with Nutt, in Kansas. He decides to go to New York to ask the X-Men for help. He reaches the town of Baum and asks two men for directions. They make fun of the naive young man, and tell him New York is just down the road. At night he stops at a house to ask for some food. A little girl named Betty, who thinks Longshot comes from a fairyland, greets him. As he’s leaving and thanking her for hospitality, he sees a ghost. It’s Betty’s deceased brother Garret, who uses him to communicate with Betty. Later that evening, Thingee, who was also brought back to life, attacks little Betty. The next morning Longshot finds himself surrounded by the local sheriff and his men. They believe he attacked the little girl, because she is catatonic and only says his name. Longshot escapes with the help of his luck power and Garret appears telling him Betty is a sanatorium. Meanwhile Thingee consumes another soul, Bea Lillian’s, by morphing into her deceased lover Clifford. In the sanatorium Longshot finds Betty after knocking out two orderlies with the help of a patient named Wilson. Longshot abducts her, but is followed by the resident Doctor and the orderlies. He uses his powers once again to knock them out and escapes along with Wilson and six other patients, who trust in Longshot to help Betty and them as well. In an abandoned barn Longshot tries to use his powers to help Betty. After a failed attempt he tries once more and begins to glow. Betty is restores and he understands that his innocence was not lost, but rather had to be put to the test. Right them Thingee arrives with the local police under his control. Thingee prepares to eat Longshot and his friends. Longshot is too weak to use his power again, but Nutt whispers to him that they only need to show the creature love to stop it. Longshot and his friends join hands and produce a tornado of light. The tornado transforms Thingee back to his original state, a creature of pure light, who got tainted by too much despair. The next day Longshot says goodbye to Betty and leaves for New York with Nutt. Later Wilson and the other patients catch up with him and tell him that they will go with him. Longshot welcomes them and keeps walking.

Full Summary: 

Longshot is wandering the far reaches of the Mojoworld. He is searching for something, but he doesn’t know what. He recalls telling his wife that he has to leave to find something and that he’ll be back once he finds it. His wife wanted to know what he is looking for, but he answered that he’ll know once he finds it. His wife told him to hurry up and to bring it back home once he finds it.

Upon reaching the Odd and Uncharted Regions, he sees a small four-fingered little elf with a moustache, who speaks in rhymes. With him is a four legged, giant, red creature called Thingee, who is about to eat the little man. Because Longshot is of pure heart and clear mind he senses that Thingee is nastiness incarnate. He leaps towards the two as the elf is about to be eaten and throws a couple of daggers at Thingee, but he simply laughs at Longshot's attack; the creatures’ laughter (the words) turn solid hitting Longshot and carrying him away. Thingee then swallows the tiny creature and Longshot jumps in after him.

The Thingee is happy because he has eaten two souls. The creature feeds on goodness and purity and had always dreamed of eating Longshot. However somehow his purity is too much for Thingee and he explodes. Longshot wakes up and finds himself being sucked into a black hole. He realizes he has died and finds himself before a tornado of light with red doors swirling around it. Feeling the goodness around him he moves towards The Whirl of Light, thinking that although he is sad to leave his friends and family, he realizes that they will eventually join him. Suddenly he realizes he’s not worthy of heaven, because you need a pure soul. He knows then what it is he’s been looking for: his innocence. He is then pushed into an open door, setting him free to find his destiny.

Longshot wakes up in cornfield and throws up. This makes him happy because “dead men don’t vomit”. He begins to review the events in his head: he remembers being killed by Thingee, but can’t remember the Whirl, he’s been brought back to life and has a new set of clothes. He also doesn’t know where he is. Suddenly his head begins to spin and he passes out again. He is awakened by a sound from his pocket. It’s the little man he tried to save earlier, his name is Nutt and he asks Longshot where they are. Longshot sees a sign that reads: “Baum Kansas 4 Miles”. He realizes he’s on earth and tells Nutt he has some friends here that can help them. As they walk away he wonders what the purpose is of them being revived together. Nutt answers that he’s happy, as long the creature is dead. Unbeknownst to them, Thingee, who has also been revived, has been spying on them. He comes out of the cornfield and breaks the road sign, but before he goes after them he smells “easier prey” and decides to go after it.

Reaching the town of Baum, Longshot asks two old men, Herb and Ray, how to get to New York City. The old men make fun of his looks and of Nutt, who he is carrying on his shoulder. Herb asks how he plans on getting to New York City, Longshot answers that he will walk, unless it is too far. The old men tell him it’s only a few miles up the road. He thanks them and leaves. Afterwards Herb and Ray have big laugh.

As night comes Nutt and Longshot begin to feel hungry. They decide to stop at a nearby house and ask for some food. A little girl called Betty Fillmore opens the door and invites them in. She tells them that her parents are visiting her older sister who’s having her first bay and that her grandma has always taught her to never turn a beggar away because he could be Jesus in disguise. She also thinks that Longshot comes from a fairyland. They eat cupcakes and drink soda for half an hour and Longshot decides to leave. As his saying goodbye to Betty, he touches her shoulders, which triggers his power to read peoples memories. Suddenly as his left eye begins to glow, the ghost of Garret, Betty’s brother who died the previous year in a swimming accident, appears. Longshot doesn’t know how this happened, he wonders if it’s a real ghost or if Betty’s belief in magic is so big she brought the ghost forth through him. She can fell Garrets presence, but can’t see him. Longshot tells her that Garret says he is always watching over her and that he wants her to be happy. Betty hugs Longshot and asks if she can go with him to the fairyland. He says he’s really going to New York and only wants to know if they’re headed in the right direction.

(30 minutes later)

Betty hears a knock on her door and thinks it’s Longshot , who has come back for her. It turns out to be Thingee and Betty screams. Longshot and Nutt who were sleeping in an open field are awoken and wonder what the sound could be. Nutt thinks it might be a bird and that Longshot is being absurd and needs some sleep. Longshot agrees and goes to sleep.

(the next day)
Three policeman and some locals, including Herb and Ray, awaken the pair. They claim Betty’s parents found her huddled up in ball and very scared. All she could say was “Longshot”. Genuinely concerned Longshot lurches forwards, prompting the officer to cock his rifle. Longshot’s luck powers make the rifle explode as soon as it fires. He then uses his throwing-daggers to knock the other officers rifles from their hands and kicks a local who’s holding a bat, on the head. While fleeing from the sheriff and his men, he trips over a rock and falls. After asking Nutt if he’s O.K., Garret’s ghost descends from the sky and warns Longshot that the Sheriff is waiting for him at Betty’s house. Betty herself has been taken to a Sanatorium in Barrie. Longshot asks if Garret is a real ghost or just a thought projection that’s taken a life of it’s own. Garret answers that it’s not important what he is; the only thing that matters is that Longshot helps Betty.

Meanwhile Bea Lillian, an old woman, is sitting on her porch picking through the beans that will be her dinner. Suddenly Clifford Spalding, Bea’s former fiance, appears. She can’t believe it because he died in 1947 and he looks young. She on the other hand is old and tired. Clifford says she doesn’t look old to him and she suddenly realizes she’s been turned young again too. As they embrace in a passionate kiss, Clifford begins to morph, nails and ears grow and spiked protrude from his back. Bea faints and Clifford shape shifts back into Thingee. Because Bea was so full of faith and dreams, she was the perfect meal for him.

Thirty miles away Longshot is walking on the roof of the Albany Avenue Sanitarium, realizing he has not only lost his innocence, but his faith in himself as well. He also thinks he might be responsible for Betty’s condition. Longshot sneaks in through a window, but a large fat man stops him in the hallway. The man tells him, that sneaking around at night is not allowed. Longshot answers that, technically, the man is also sneaking around. The man tells Longshot that if he doesn’t tell anyone neither will he. As they walk towards the kitchen, he tells him his name is Wilson and that Doctor Joshua Doctor is the director of the sanitarium. Although he was promised to be cured, Wilson has been in there for 22 years. Longshot inquires about the little girl; Wilson says she’s in bad shape. She is on the fourth floor, but Wilson says he can get them in because he’s on “excellent terms” with the orderlies. Suddenly an orderly named Jake Benny busts in and reprimands Wilson on always sneaking in and stealing food. He then asks Longshot what he is doing there. He answers that he is not really there, and that Jake is dreaming. To prove it he shows him his four-fingered hand and his friend Nutt. While Jake is distracted, Longshot knocks him out with a soft punch on the head.

Wilson gives Longshot a nightshirt as a disguise. It’s too large for him and Longshot asks how it is supposed to disguise him. Wilson explains that if somebody sees him, they’ll think he is Wilson, though Longshot points out that he and Wilson are both trying to get into the upper floor. Yet Wilson is not bothered by that fact, as he leads the way to the little girl’s room. Longshot sneaks into Betty’s room, with the help of Nutt who picks the lock. Meanwhile Wilson sits on Elston, the orderly guarding the room, so as to not attract any more attention. Longshot finds Betty in some sort of catatonic state. Feeling responsible, he once again pulls an image from her mind. It was an image of Thingee, Longshot immediately realizes that he must be responsible for Betty’s condition, so he must be stopped.

In the meantime Thingee is walking through town, when two policemen begin to shoot at him in order to stop him. The bullets don’t faze him and he simply uses some tendrils that grow from his belly to consume them.

Back at the Sanitarium, Longshot is carrying Betty away, but runs into Doctor Doctor and his orderlies, who demand he give them back the girl. Longshot feels that the Doctor isn’t a bad man; it’s just that his intentions are misguided. To escape, instead of running for the door, he pushes through them, in order to confuse them. As he’s running he wonders if he should simply give up and turn himself in. Just then Wilson appears and brings him into a room with five other patients: Diane, who danced naked on the courthouse lawn; Tallulah, an old movie star from the fifties; Mikey, who doesn’t talk much; Mr. Berkowitz, who believes to be a direct descendant of Geronimo and Dennis/Denise, a transsexual man dressing in women’s clothes. The doctor and the two orderlies burst in and Longshot realizes he no longer has faith in either his innocence or his luck to help him out. However seeing the trusting look in the others‘ eyes gives him hope. With his left eye glowing intensely he takes out the doctor and his orderlies without breaking any bones. He flees to an abandoned barn with Betty and the six patients, who insist on following him.

Thingee has seen them escaping and plans on eating them. As he hears a siren approaching, he morphs into the two cops he ate before. The sheriff arrives, claiming someone tipped him off that Longshot was coming to take the girl. The doctor comes out and confirms that Longshot is indeed gone with the girl as well as six other patients. Thingee then tells the sheriff that he was the one that called him, by means of telepathy. He then proceeds to take possession of the sheriffs’ mind in order to enlist his help in capturing Longshot.

Inside the barn, Longshot is trying to use his power to help Betty. He begins to glow, but his self-doubt makes him fail. He feels helpless and tells the mental patients that he can’t help her or anyone else; he can’t even help himself. He tries again, just to show them he’ll fail. The glows becomes blinding and in that instance he realizes, that innocence is not enough; it has to be tested by experience, purged and strengthened by the struggles of the world in order for it to attain its full value. Betty wakes up from her zombie like state and hugs him. Suddenly bullets come flying through the wall. Longshot manages to avoid them and tells everybody to go out the back door. It’s raining now, as he steps out to face his attackers he sees the cops surrounding him, but realizes that Thingee has them under his control. The cops refuse to kill Longshot in cold blood; Thingee says that this is the problem with humans, too much independent thought. He absorbs the policeman back into himself and prepares to eat Longshot. He is too weak form helping Betty, but isn’t afraid to die because his sacrifice will mean his friends have enough time to escape. However he is surprised to see the six patients and little Betty standing behind him.

Thingee is elated because he’ll get to eat all off them together and tells them that once he is finished with them, he’ll consume the hearts and souls from everyone on the planet, till they become like him. Nutt climbs out of Longshot's pocket and whispers to him that in order to defeat the creature, they must love it until it can take no more. They all join hands and with the aid of Betty’s ghostly brother, they begin to glow until the Thingee is engulfed in a tornado of light. Thingee‘s true nature is revealed, he was actually a creature of pure light, who tried restore itself from the weight of tears and suffering, by seeking purity in every form. But with time he forgot his true self, until only the black despair remained. He thanks them and dissolves into the light of the sun.

(several hours later)
A now restored Sheriff apologizes to Longshot and tells him he is welcomed to stay. Longshot declines telling him he has to go to New York to find his friends. Betty asks him to come visit soon, he answers that he’ll always be there with her, because he left the best part of him in her heart. As he is leaving, Nutt asks him if his sad. Longshot replies that he feels complete because he found what he was looking for. Suddenly he hears a voice calling him, it’s Wilson and his friends from the sanatorium. Wilson tells Longshot that they want to with him. They are free to leave because they all were committed voluntarily. Longshot asks why they didn’t leave before. Wilson answers it had simply never occurred to them. Longshot welcomes his new friends and wonders what miracles await them along the way.

Characters Involved: 

Betty Fillmore
Garret Fillmore’s ghost

Mr. Berkowitz, Dennis/Denise, Diane, Mikey, Tallulah, Wilson (all sanatorium patients)
Doctor Joshua Doctor
Jake Benny, Elston and other orderlies

Herb, Ray and other residents of Baum, Kansas
Sheriff and cops
Bea Lillian

Story Notes: 

Longshot‘s wife is the former X-Man Dazzler.

Both Nutt and Thingee have only four fingers like Longshot, suggesting that most, if not all creatures from the Mojoworld share this characteristic.

Longshot's good luck power depends on his self-confidence, just like the Imperial Guard‘s Gladiator.

It is unknown if or under what circumstances Longshot found his friends in New York. Eventually he got back to the Mojoverse, at least that is what his wife Dazzler believed when she told the X-Men about the AoA babies claiming to have killed her husband. [Uncanny X-Men #393]

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