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Dec 30

X-Men Blue & Gold #13-15: “Mojo Worldwide”

Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

To the extent that “Marvel Legacy” has a discernible concept, it’s stories that refer back to old continuity as a starting point.  Most books have taken this remit very broadly indeed, and seem to think the box is duly ticked as long as the story makes prominent use of a character or concept that isn’t brand new.  And since that’s pretty much the norm anyway, it’s a bit of a non-concept.

“Mojo Worldwide” enters more into the spirit of the concept – but seems to be doing so mainly in order to put the boot into the idea.

The teen time-travelling X-Men have been invited to the Institute for a baseball game.  Prompted by a “recent ratings decline” (hmm), Mojo shows up on Earth, abducts the two teams, and gets various makeshift groups to re-enact various big fights from X-Men history.  So we’ve got Days of Future Past, Inferno, the Asgardian Wars, Mutant Genesis, X-Tinction Agenda, Avengers vs X-Men, the Mutant Massacre…  Beyond that, Mojo’s plan is to reach a new global audience on the Internet who want to watch this stuff.  Longshot shows up to help, cheerfully keeping up a running commentary to his own livestream followers back in Mojoworld, because a world based on ratings leads to a hero who has to worry mainly about his clicks.  The idea, vaguely, seems to be that Mojo draws power from his audience and has some sort of mind-control element to his broadcasts – though it’s not clear how that fits with the idea that he can lose his audience to Longshot, or anyone else.

People get killed off over the course of the story, which obviously isn’t going to stick, and indeed they’re actually all safe in stasis.  Mind you, they do at least kill Bloodstorm first, since it’s just about believable that she might have been added to the Blue cast as cannon fodder for this arc.  There’s a genuinely fun spot in part 3 where Mojo attempts to convince the readers that the X-Men’s star power doesn’t mean they can’t be killed off, by citing examples of X-Men being killed off before, only to have it quietly pointed out to him that none of those stuck.

After a while, Mojo just resorts to sticking established concepts in a blender and hurling them at the X-Men all at once, and Magneto, Polaris and Danger duly show up to help their team, but that basically leads to them doing the same stuff as everyone else.  By the end of part four, some people have escaped to Mojoworld to take on the big guy.  That leaves two issues of running around before the climax, which is more than it needs.  Ultimately, Mojo loses, which is par for the course.  Slightly less usually, he winds up stuck on Earth with his henchman.

In other words, the whole thing is a literal greatest hits reel – Mojo says so outright – and his concept more or less is to do “Marvel Legacy”.  This seems to be taking us back to the role he played when Chris Claremont first brought him into the X-Men mythology back in the 80s.

It’s worth remembering here that Mojo was created as the villain for Ann Nocenti and Art Adams’ Longshot miniseries, which was only folded into the X-Men mythos later on.  In Longshot, Mojo did have a movie studio, but he was more of an all-purpose crazy emperor; the movie angle seemed more central to Longshot himself, if anything.  But when Claremont brought him into Uncanny X-Men, the studio-boss schtick became far more central, because this was the period when Marvel was owned by New World Pictures, and Claremont used him to satirise dumb editorial mandates.  Hence the X-Babies, who were supposed to have been created by Mojo in a ridiculous attempt to overextend the franchise (which, at the time, stood at three books).

Claremont’s basic tactic was to do Mojo stories which exaggerated the bad ideas to such a point where they became entertaining as absurdist comedy.  That’s where “Mojo Worldwide” seems to go awry.  In theory, using him to subvert a line-wide event isn’t a bad idea.  But the story is only intermittently funny (or even trying to be), and it’s six issues long.  Much of it is indeed just a greatest hits reel, albeit okay on that level.

In fairness, it does seem to be trying to take Mojo (and Longshot) in a new direction, so you could also view this as an attempt to draw a line under Mojoworld.  Mojo is a character in need of retooling for the internet era, and I can see some potential in dumping him in the regular Marvel Universe to try to restore his power by building a new audience through alt-media shock tactics.  Mojo as Breitbart is not a bad angle, and “Mojo Worldwide” seems to be positioning him to play that sort of role in future.

But the operative words are “in future”.  For now, this is a six-part story which doesn’t add enough insanity to crank up the greatest hits into comedy, and which would probably have been better served at three issues anyway.


Bring on the comments

  1. Brian says:

    I feel that a story could be told with Mojo in the era of cable cutting and the move from monolithic cable companies to multiple a la carte style apps, especially if that style of media consumption was compared satirically to the splintering of the X-Men characters into so many different groups and books (without a core Uncanny title to define the line by), but the line seems to just be doing the same story over and over again, with “television” crossed out in the script and “internet” scribbled in in its place.

  2. Mo Walker says:

    Hopefully other writers in the Marvel Universe will utilize Mojo Worldwide. I thought this was a good repositioning of the character. However this arc did not have any real stakes and was too long. Personally I think this could have been a 4/5 part series with an epilogue. I hope we will get some follow-up on Longshot in 2018. The constant artistic shake-ups on the X-Men: Gold issues was jarring. Maybe one of these days the editors will figure out how to better manage talent.

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