(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
He’s delightful, he’s delicious, he’s de-lovely ... !
Created by Ann Nocenti and Art Adams for Longshot, Mojo is one of the most fascinating beings in the Marvel Cosmic canon. One of the Spineless Ones, an alien race that is immobile without advanced technology, Mojo is a slaver who rules the Mojoverse, a dimension where all beings are addicted to his gladiator-like television programs.
The character has always been an absurd parody of a network executive, and when I read him, for some reason, Phil Silvers’ voice rings in my head: “How ya doin’? Gladda see ya!” You know! (Youngsters, think Charlie the Tuna.)
I have never really thought of Mojo as a super-villain, although for these purposes I guess he does fit into that column. Certainly he has put Longshot and the X-Men through enough reality-bending adventures to earn the honor of villain. He has had some of the most delightful plots – stuffing a camera in a blind Psylocke’s new eyeballs, for example, broadcasting X-Men adventures into the Mojoverse – and created some great cosmic characters -- including Spiral and the X-babies!
First of all, his whole appearance – the big Jabba the Hutt physique appearing to ride an itsy bitsy spider for mobility – is hysterical! In actuality, though, Mojo's multi-legged flying platform is armed with various particle beam weapons. It also has a large artificial appendage that can be used as an arm or a slicing weapon and two smaller arms. Mojo himself is strong enough to hold a human off of the ground with one arm easily.
Mojo has several powers derived from magic, including the projection of magical energy blasts. These magical powers are strengthened by the “worship of his followers” and hence directly linked to the popularity of his TV programs. He cannot be harmed by the touch of Rogue, for example, no matter how long she is in contact with him.
On a dark note, Mojo has been cited as a force of death and corruption; his touch can wither plants and age humans. His prolonged presence on Earth could cause storms and other natural disasters, according to Stephen Strange.
It was Mojo who sent Longshot, a slave and stunt performer in the Mojoverse, to Earth. Here, he joined the X-Men and shared many of their adventures (and later, their “deaths,” as Roma transformed the mutants and they relocated to Australia). Mojo had planned on enslaving the X-Men by turning them into children, but the New Mutants managed to free them and together they forced Mojo to flee again. Still Mojo found out that the adventures of the X-Men shot the audience level to top ratings; which increased his political power in his dimension.
Eventually, Longshot returned to free the many slaves there and deposed Mojo with the help of Mojo's upright, more human-looking (although yellow) clone, Mojo II: The Sequel. However, Mojo II turned out to be just as bad as his predecessor and Longshot had to defeat him as well. After Mojo II was ousted, Mojo reclaimed his position and became the leader of Mojo-World once more.
Mojo later reappeared along with the previously-vanished Nocturne and Juggernaut, using a “Jean-Bomb” to turn the X-Men into babies, and after his defeat, a guilt-ridden Juggernaut was tempted with the offer of remaining a child, but ultimately refused. Emma Frost made sure that Mojo would be handled by professionals so that he would never bother the X-Men again and was locked away by the U.S. government. But somehow, he is now free once again.
From Galactus to Loki, there are many “villains” in the Marvel Cosmos, but few are as delightful, delicious or de-lovely as Mojo.