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Oct 17

X-Men: Black – Mojo

Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

There are certainly some interesting creator choices for the X-Men: Black one-shots.  Mojo gets artist Nick Bradshaw (always welcome, and his detailed cartooning is a good fit for the character), and comedian Scott Aukerman.  I’m… vaguely familiar with Aukerman’s name?  I see there’s three seasons of Comedy Bang Bang on UK Netflix, but yeah, never watched them.

But Mojo’s a comic relief villain, so a comedy writer makes sense.  And this is indeed… well, wacky.  Much depends here on how much tolerance you have for wacky, and how relaxed you are about people being wildly out of character for wackiness’ sake.

Mojo is stuck on Earth after X-Men Blue (presumably this is before they went back and captured him in the final issue), which feels like it could be a neat new angle on him.  Mojo can wear thin after a while, but updating his TV gimmick to the internet age, and putting him in the real world, seems like it could work.

And the story kicks off with Mojo planning some scheme or other to beam some X-Men story back to the Mojoverse.  In some way or other, Mojo is planning to kill off the newer X-Men and get back to the classic team: “the group of mutants I grew up with have been overshadowed by new, characters designed to appeal to changing demographics, at the expense of true fans like myself”.  That’s a slightly off note – Mojo isn’t a stand-in for fandom (reactionary or otherwise), he’s a stand-in for Marvel.  Or at least for publishers and TV networks in general.  In modern terms, he’s a living clickbait factory.  He doesn’t care what the content actually is, as long as somebody’s watching it.

But never mind – the story here is that Mojo is distracted from his plans because he’s fallen in love with a regular at his favourite coffee shop.  Being Mojo, he’s attempting to blend in by wearing a big hat and coat, and he’s gloriously oblivious to the fact that he’s fooling nobody.  But it’s Manhattan, so everyone’s just indulging him anyway.  Bradshaw does this stuff really well; Mojo trying to act normal, with his usual misplaced glee, is a lovely idea.

Glob Herman turns out to be a regular as well and, um, strikes up a conversation with Mojo to encourage him to ask out the object of his affections.  Since this is the sort of neighbourhood where everyone turns a blind eye to Mojo, it’s also the sort of place where Glob can be relatively comfortable.  Glob’s a tough character to draw with emotion, and Bradshaw’s always had the hang of him.

So where all this is heading is that Mojo kind of loses track entirely of his big plan, and a deeply unimpressed Major Domo winds up putting the plan into operation anyway.  There’s an artist change for the final act (in a one-off story?!) with André Lima Araújo taking over; it’s inevitably a step down, though the style change isn’t as jarring as you might expect.  The colouring helps smooth it over, I think.  But you can probably guess where this is heading; Mojo is more interested in his girl than in actually beating the X-Men.

The actual Mojo stuff is pretty good; the idea of sticking in him the real world and letting him flounder as he tries to sit in is funny, and it’s not really been done with him before.  The trouble is that pretty much everyone else is either a cypher or acting a bit out of character.  The girl is a bit of a blank; what personality she has comes almost entirely from Nick Bradshaw’s costume design.  Glob Herman as the relaxed guy at peace with his weird appearance makes sense as a take on the gimmick, but it’s pretty much 180 degrees from the way he’s been written as a supporting character in Old Man Logan, and on top of that, it doesn’t seem to occur to him that Mojo might be worth capturing or something.

And Major Domo… I mean, Major Domo’s whole routine has been that he’s the loyal but long suffering organiser, doing his best to indulge the whims of the crazy guy and keep the show on the road.  I could buy him losing his mind if Mojo was messing up some critical detail, but I don’t get him dragging Mojo back towards a villainous plan that he’s lost interest in – if anything, you’d think Major Domo would jump at the chance to shelve some of Mojo’s nonsense and have an early night.

So the centrepiece is pretty good, but a lot of the stuff around it doesn’t work.  Still, when the focus is on Mojo himself, it’s decent.

Bring on the comments

  1. Paul F says:

    “I see there’s three seasons of Comedy Bang Bang on UK Netflix, but yeah, never watched them.”

    It’s probably better known as a podcast, which has had 550+ episodes since 2009.

  2. Si says:

    I don’t know how I feel about Mojo being comic relief. He’s supposed to be absolutely terrifying. Plants and small animals die just from being too close to him. He commits horrifying atrocities on a whim. He’s Murdoch and Briebart and Putin and Trump. And he’s beaten all of the X-Men together more than once, just with sheer power. But funny fat guy with a sitcom is his role now, I suppose.

  3. Brian says:

    I won’t read this book until it arrives on Marvel Unlimited, but it strikes me from reading the review that Mojo’s turn here is the part of the same meta-take on what folks think comic fans are like: they either spend too many years trapped in nostalgia of how books used to be, or else they read them for a few years in their youth then give them up when they discover girls.

  4. PersonofCon says:

    @Si: I think for a significant number of people, Mojo is best known in his 90s X-Men cartoon incarnation, and that guy is really entertaining, and really stands out from all the other repeat villains, but also absolutely a sitcom funny fat guy. (The Major Domo in this clip somewhat close to what Paul describes from the comic too, as this whole thing is his idea that he manipulates Mojo into doing)

  5. Brodie says:

    Mojo being more interested in his girl than the X-Men makes a ton of sense based on the Uncanny Annual I read in the Mutant Genesis Epic Collection part week where he rejected a summarised history of the X-Men for being too ridiculous.

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