Comics : Rampage (UK) #8
This story is part of a Lookback Series: British History
This review was first published on: Apr 2013.
This six-page backup story from Rampage (UK) #8 is scripted by Ferg Handley, who was the man behind the majority of the original Marvel UK Magazine stories in the last few years of their existence. Here he is giving the Avengers a bit of an outing against Nightmare, the dream-master.
Rampage (UK) #8 (Story 2)
Summary: Avengers Story (Dream Spider-Man Monster Cameo)
Most of the Avengers are all asleep, and cannot be woken. Thor exposits: "Aye Wanda [Scarlet Witch], 'tis the same across the entire globe, billions of they fellow mortals lie trapped in unwaking slumber."
We then learn that Scarlet Witch, Vision, Captain America, Thor and Dr. Strange were unaffected because they were awake at the time, on "night shift" for the Avengers.
Huh... hang on? The ENTIRE GLOBE is trapped in sleep? Umm... shouldn't that be "The one-third of the globe which happened to be asleep at the time?"
Or perhaps... perhaps it took most people a few hours to figure out what was going on, and lots more people went to bed, not yet realising that nobody was waking up? So maybe half the world fell asleep before the remainder realised that a quick nap would last... forever!
Now there's a truly terrifying thought... the remaining waking population fighting against drowsiness, desperate to stay awake, cities rioting, armed gangs making raids on Starbucks, fighting each other for the last cappuccino with vanilla syrup...
Fortunately, Dr. Strange knows what's going on. Somehow (not explained) he has learned that Nightmare has obtained... THE COSMIC CUBE, and is using it to magnify his own powers. Doc Strange hands out some handy "Tibetan amulets" to his protect fellow Avengers in their journey to come. Then Vision, Scarlet Witch, Thor and Captain America make their way through various dimensions, and into Nightmare's dream realm.
Once in Nightmare's domain, the heroes are attacked by distorted versions of their sleeping former allies - nightmare versions of Spider-Man (hence the "sort of" cameo), Wolverine, Daredevil, Hulk, and so on. But the waking heroes dare not attack the images of thei sleeping friends (presumably because harm in Nightmare's realm would translate into harm in the real world, although that isn't actually explained as such).
Nightmare himself appears to lead the attack against the invaders, with his Cosmic Cube in hand. And with that, Doctor Strange makes his move. You see, Vision is a robot, and thus doesn't sleep or dream, nor can he enter Nightmare's dimension. So the Vision that apparently entered Nightmare's world as part of the team was actually Doctor Strange all along, using a disguise to get close enough to Nightmare in order to cast a spell and transport the cosmic cube safely away to a far-distant dimension.
Which he does, and the rest of the wicked plan unravels pretty quickly.
Fundamentally, there's nothing too far wrong with this story. Yeah, the set-up is a bit sloppy in its thinking, and there are a few subsequent plot points which unroll to quickly, without quite enough justification. But the final twist of having Doctor Strange sneak into Nightmare's presence in the guise of a robot is probably clever enough to counter-balance the other weaknesses.
I've seen many a story far worse than this. Sure, there's no character development, but as a basic action tale, it's maybe almost good enough to rate three webs. Probably. Nearly.
Oh, go on then. Three webs it is.