Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Mike McKone (p), Jon Holdredge (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The book opens by showing us that the television show that Mojo is forcing Morph to participate in is a sketch comedy, and like every show that Mojo puts on it’s the highest rated show on the planet, though it helps that it's the only show on the air, and Mojo forces everyone to watch it. As Mojo reinforces that idea that Morph should stop entertaining any idea of escape, we see that Nocturne didn't get this same message, as she uses her mutant ability to possess the bodies of others to take over one of her guards, and she quickly makes contact with Morph to let him know Mojo has lost the one card he had to keep Morph as his obedient slave. Meanwhile, the rest of the Exiles are busy freeing Longshot from his prison cell, but after the freeing the rebel leader they discover Longshot is tired of fighting Mojo, and he declines the invitation to do so again. However the Exiles drag Longshot's sorry behind to the front lines of the fight against Mojo, but we see Morph is the one who ends up in a heated conflict with the massive tub of lard. When the Timebroker arrives on the scene however, this fight is quickly ended and the Exiles are sent back to continue their world-hopping adventures.
Judd Winick has me a bit worried as the endings he delivers on this title never seem to be quite as engaging as the buildup. This issue offers up another issue where the second chapter was a bit of a let down, as when the big climax comes around, the entire problem is quickly resolved by the arrival of the Timebroker. I mean I can't be the only reader who wanted to see some resolution between Mojo & Morph, but right when the story reaches this point, all the tension is leeched away by the quick fix solution that the Timebroker provides. We then get a question/answer session that basically serves to tell the reader that this problem isn't likely to occur again, and the book reverts back to its world jumping status. I realize that Judd Winick was playing in the big sandbox, when he decided to take the team to the Mojoverse, and as such he lost the freedom he normally has to make big changes, but it's a bit disappointing to have the entire conflict between Mojo & Morph done away with in such a perfunctory fashion. Oh well, I guess I can't complain too loudly though as this story still holds up as the most enjoyable visit to the Mojoverse I've ever come across in my time on the X-books.
I'll admit I'm probably a little overly defensive when it comes to Longshot, as when the character was an active member of the X-Men he was far and away my favorite member of the group. However, I have to say that I was left with the sense that Judd Winick inserted Longshot into this story simply to make his cast look better. I mean sure Longshot's silly hairstyle is indicative of the time he was created, but this issue overplays this look to an extreme level, so that Longshot ends up as almost a parody of a character. There's also his decidedly cowardly behavior, and while I'll concede that Longshot has never been an overly aggressive character who cherished a good fight, his behavior in this issue is quite uncharacteristic. I mean being tired of fighting a fight he never seems to win is one thing, but instead of exploring this idea Judd Winick simply has his Exiles point out how unheroic this behavior is, and then he rubs salt in the wound by having Longshot suddenly become heroic when he's thrust into the spotlight. I realize I'm probably one of the few people who is a confessed Longshot fan, but honestly this issue does not present a very flattering look at the character.
The news that this is Mike McKone's final issue caught me off guard, as I had no idea that he had planned on leaving the book, and most times the online news sites give one a heads up long before the actual final issue. Still, Mike McKone is a wonderful artist and I wish him good luck on his next project, and I guess I should take some solace in the idea that his work on this series has hopefully bumped up his profile, and we'll see his name on some big name projects. His work on this issue acts as a good sample of why I'm going to miss seeing his name in the credit box, as it's yet another story where Judd Winick relies heavily on talking heads, and Mike McKone does a masterful job when it comes to the facial work of his cast. From the look of surprise on Morph's face when he discovers T.J. has managed to free herself, to the almost murderous fury on his face as he takes on Mojo in the latter half of the issue, this book is a wonderful sample of what a good grasp of expressions can bring to a story. The art also nicely captures the slap stick appeal of Morph's comedy, as the various sketches that we are treated to are visually amusing, even if the material is a bit long in the tooth concept wise.
The Longshot fan in me is rather annoyed with this issue, as I got the sense that Judd Winick didn't care much for the character, and he was quite eager for the reader to share in this collective dislike, as he presents Longshot as a goofy looking, spineless wimp. However, I will concede that I'm probably reading too much into this issue, and I really shouldn't have gone in expecting Longshot to ride in to save the day given this is the Exiles book, and as such they have first chair when it comes to being heroic. In any event the disappointing use of Longshot aside, this issue also suffers from a rather weak finish, as we're effectively cheated out of the big finish, when the Timebroker shows up to restore the book's status quo. Now I'll admit there's some funny moments in this issue, and this visit to the Mojoverse has been the best use of this setting I've ever come across. However, this issue came up short given the opening chapter had me entering this issue with such high expectations.
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