Comics : Rampage (UK) #18
This story is part of a Lookback Series: British History
This review was first published on: Oct 2011.
Rampage was a UK-only magazine for the teen market. Each issue featured a couple of short out-of-continuity stories with Marvel comic characters. The remainder of each issue contained a few pages of puzzles, posters and fact files, but was generally bulked out by an overly generous helping of comp-ad-titions and promo-mercials for DVDs, video games, sports, movies and other commercial products - some of which was Marvel, but much of which was not.
The creative team from Rampage seems to cycle through the same basic list of UK creative talent that produces the Spidey stories for Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine), so it's perhaps not surprising that the look and feel of the Spider-Man stories is very similar between them.
Spidey appears in the back-up story this month. Let's review both.
Rampage (UK) #18 (Story 1)
Mar 2006 : SM Cover
Summary: 22-Mar-2006 (X-Men, Spider-Man on Cover)
Professor X is out of town with half of the X-Men. The remainder of them are hanging around the X-Mansion when Gambit returns home after attending to some personal business in Louisiana. Except this isn't Gambit, it's Mystique, acting under orders of the brutal leader Magneto. She is impersonating Gambit in order to break into the X-Mansion while the Prof is away, and steal the record files of all the mutants recently discovered by Cerebro.
Shunning the offered friendship of all the X-Men, Gambit/Mystique goes about her task and acquires the data she seeks. However, as she makes her exit, the mansion is attacked by Juggernaut. After overcoming most of the adult X-Men, Juggernaut encounters Rogue, who is attempting to protect the young students. Mystique also arrives upon the scene.
As you may recall, Mystique was actually Rogue's foster mother. Unable to forget her emotional bond, Mystique/Gambit comes to the aid of Rogue, turning the tide of battle. With "Gambit's" assistance, Juggernaut is defeated even though it means the destruction of her precious stolen secrets.
Mystique must return to Magneto's lair and confess her failure. As she endures her punishment for failure, the shape-changing villainous has much spare time to contemplate the huge gap between the brutal techniques of her master, and the warm comradeship of the X-Men.
This is an idea I haven't seen explored too many times before. Sure, we so often see the glamorous aspects of world domination. But let's not forget, being a henchman to an evil super-powered psychopath sure can have its downsides!
I have to give full credit for the plot, even though the implementation isn't particularly subtle. As well as being a relatively novel concept, it's also a well-encapsulated idea which fits nicely into the limited page-count.