In last week’s X-Factor #35, oft-forgotten X-Man Longshot debuted in the title, apparently set to join the cast. As he had not been seen in several months (since the end of Exiles), a bit of exposition came forth in a conversation between him and Strong Guy. It was there that Longshot explained why he was no longer in a relationship with Dazzler (as they had last been seen) and commented that there was really nothing between the two of them – that the whole thing seemed forced. It was (in my eyes) a well-deserved comment on the part of Peter David on the longtime relationship between the two characters. I found it to be quite amusing.
The explanation is not exactly simple, and a history lesson of Longshot and Dazzler is forthcoming to help get you through it. You’re welcome.
Longshot debuted in a cult-classic self-titled mini-series, and was quickly shoehorned into the X-Men in an annual that also featured the debut of the X-Babies (and that’s all I’m saying about that one). He briefly vanished during the Mutant Massacre, only to show back up in its aftermath, in which he quickly became a member of the new team. An amusing trait of the character was his attractiveness to the opposite sex (mullet notwithstanding), and his naivity to the matter due to his nature. However, that was quickly abandoned in a suddenly developed relationship between him and his teammate Dazzler.
The Longshot relationship always puzzled me during the “Australian Era” of 80s X-Men. The dialogue would have you believe that there was a love-triangle going between him, Dazzler and Rogue, but this really never was touched upon in the stories themselves. Dazzler and Longshot were just sort of a couple until he left the team right after Inferno. All right, to be fair, they did get a bit physical at one point, but they were possessed by demons at the time.
It was sort of out-of-sight, out-of-mind once Longshot left the team, as Dazzler began hitting on Havok (chicks dig moody depressants, after all) and then got her mind wiped by a journey through the Siege Perilous. Wherever writer Chris Claremont was planning on taking either story (Longshot’s departure and Dazzler’s amnesia) didn’t come to anything by the time he left the book. It was plotter Jim Lee and scripter John Byrne who actually finished the Longshot story, pulling in Dazzler and restoring her memories in the process. The battle left Longshot in charge of the Mojoverse, Dazzler pregnant, and the readers feeling that the relationship was much more than earlier stories had ever implied it to be. So they lived happily ever after.
Or not so much.
Turns out that a universe-ruling Longshot and an expecting Dazzler weren’t too interesting. In fact, the few writers that did use either character often didn’t use them together, with an obligatory reference to how the other one was doing just for fun. Dazzler was given an implied miscarriage by Fabian Nicieza just after the Age of Apocalypse and the two were sort-of broken up when Dazzler showed up to help the X-Men apparently unaware of where Longshot might be. She settled into random guest appearances here and there and he ended up in Limbo (the unused kind, not the demon kind).
Eventually, Longshot was brought into the Exiles, though he had no memories of his past life. This was a welcome attempt to get him back to the basics of his character that had become lost over the years of sort-of romances and universal uprisings. He stayed with the team until the title ended with a Chris Claremont written crossover between the Exiles and New Excalibur (of which Dazzler was a member) and almost all of the characters were shuffled so an all-Claremont-created team could relaunch Exiles. For Longshot, this meant heading back to Earth with Dazzler in an effort to rekindle their romance. So they lived happily ever after.
Or not so much.
Turns out the Longshot/Dazzler coupling is still not interesting, and really hasn’t ever been. The effort to put them back together after all of their convoluted non-use felt like a forced issue. They were together in X-Men, they should be together now. That’s exactly how it was presented in Longshot’s X-Factor appearance when he flat out said it felt more and more awkward trying to make it work when it really didn’t. So finally, Dazzler and Longshot have both returned as usable characters in the X-World. Let’s just hope they stay away from each other this time.