Champions #6

Issue Date: 
June 1976
Story Title: 
Mad Dogs & Businessmen

Tony Isabella (Author), George Tuska & Vince Colletta (Artists), Irv Watanabe (Letterer), Petra Goldberg (Colorist), Marv Wolfman (Editor)

Brief Description: 

Rampage stands over an unconscious Angel, threatening to kill him if the Champions come any closer. The heroes pretend to depart, but then turn and attack in full force. Eventually overpowered, Rampage flees, hiding on a nearby rooftop. Rampage changes into his normal clothes, putting the exo-skeleton in a crate. He leaves the building as if he was a normal workman and passes by the Champions without being noticed, who watch as Ivan is carried into an ambulance. Angel decides the team needs a leader, nominating the Black Widow. The others agree and head off to the hospital. A TV news report shows Rampage at the bank, and Amos Crawley, Stuart Clarke’s ex attorney, realizes that Stuart is Rampage and calls the police. At Clarke Futuristics, Stuart decides to dismantle the suit before he is caught, but at that very moment the police arrive surrounding the building. Stuart panics, deciding to escape by using an experimental jet pack. Now as Rampage, he blasts out of the building, knocking down a policeman. At the hospital, Iceman hears about Rampage on the radio and informs the others. Rampage doesn’t have enough fuel in the jet pack to escape, lands and throws concrete at the advancing police. The Champions arrive and their previous battle with Rampage resumes. After a short fight, Rampage realizes he is overmatched. With no option, Rampage smashes his jet pack to the ground causing an explosion. The wall collapses, trapping a badly injured Rampage. Amos Crawley realizes that he can sell Stuart’s company, paying the creditors and make a tidy profit for himself.

Full Summary: 

Black Widow, Hercules, Iceman and Ivan stand in shock at seeing Rampage stood over the body of an unconscious Angel, threatening to kill him if they move any closer. Hercules challenges Rampage’s threat but Ivan tries to get in his way, knowing that Rampage is not kidding. Iceman, thinking that there is no other method of stopping the demi-god, blasts him with ice to cool him down. Hercules’ anger is now pointed towards Iceman, and the two square off. Black Widow and Ivan step between them trying to calm them both down.

Meanwhile, Rampage is in a rush and, as time is money, tells them to stop arguing and make a decision or he will end Angel’s life. The team turns their back, walking away at the protest of Hercules, but Iceman has a plan, asking the Black Widow and Hercules to be ready to move when he does. Iceman apologies for his earlier actions, but Hercules has already forgotten about it. Lowering his body temperature to near absolute zero, Iceman turns and hits Rampage with a surprise freezing blast, encasing him in a solid block of ice.

Hercules and Black Widow spring into action, knowing that the ice won’t hold rampage long picking up the unconscious Angel. However, before they have time to escape, Rampage smashes free of the ice block, charging towards them. Black Widow stands in the way, ready to deploy her widow’s bite to allow Hercules to carry Angel to safety, knowing that Iceman needs time to recover from creating the icy blast. Ivan is worried that the Black Widow will not be able to handle the ‘bruiser’. The Black Widow fires her widow’s bite but it doesn’t work on rampage in his protective armor and, as rampage brings down his fists on her, Ivan steps in the way taking the full brunt of the attack, whilst the Black widow watches in shock.

On seeing the attack, Hercules comes back and punches Rampage, knocking him into a parked car. Although Rampage is protected by his armor, he still felt the punch and thinks he must be a mad to be taking on these heroes. Worried that he may have killed Ivan, he decides its time he ran. Picking up the car, Rampage throws it directly at Hercules. Surprised at how fast the vehicle flies towards him, Hercules punches with all his might to shatter the vehicle, causing a fire in the process. As the smoke clears, Hercules curses that Rampage has fled and is nowhere to be seen.

Up on a nearby rooftop, Rampage looks down on his foes, cursing Iceman for ruining the boot-jets in his armor. With no means of escaping with the aid of his suit, Rampage contemplates his downward spiral into oblivion. He stores his armor in a crate and believes that he’ll be able to sneak past the heroes in his plain clothes, as no one will notice an ordinary workman carrying a crate.

Rampage is right as he walks past the heroes, who are to preoccupied with getting Ivan into a nearby ambulance. Black Widow is worried about Ivan. Angel tells her, no matter the cost, Ivan will be taken cared of. The doctor tells her that they will do everything that they can but it is a serious injury and that it be in the hands of God. The Black Widow is enraged. She wants to track down Rampage down and show him how deadly the Black Widow is. Angel interjects, telling her that they will stop him, BUT only to stop him from hurting anyone else. After all, they are the Champions, not the Avengers.

The Black widow thinks he is playing semantics, but agrees with him. Angel thinks that the reason Rampage was able to get away was because they went into the fight half-cocked and didn’t plan their attack. Angel thinks the team needs a leader, to which Hercules agrees but is unsure of following someone as young as Angel. Angel doesn’t want the job and suggests the Black Widow, because of the way she took charge in the battle with Pluto. The Black widow is surprised but Hercules vocally agrees stating he’d follow her on any quest.

Iceman also agrees but thinks to himself that, once the Champions are running smoothly, he is going to retire from super heroics and think about his future. Iceman doesn’t think the missing Ghost Rider would disagree, so with all in agreement the Black Widow decides that there first stop should be the hospital to check on Ivan, Hercules agrees and adds that there shall be a reckoning once they find the villain.

Later on the 6 o’clock news, there is a piece on the bank robbery, showing footage of Rampage and stating that there is an all points bulletin for his arrest. Amos Crawley, Stuart ‘Rampage’ Clarke’s recently fired attorney, realizes that the suit looks like sketches Stuart had shown him of an exo-skeleton design. Amos decides that, being the public-spirited attorney that he is, he’ll phone the police, paying Stuart back for firing that very morning.

At Clarke Futuristics, Stuart looks down on his rampage suit mulling over the fact that inflation and unfair competition had sunk the company and forced him down this villainous path. Stuart decides that he was lucky at the bank robbery but he needs to dismantle the suit before it’s too late. As if on cue, the police have surrounded the building and asking for him to come out and surrender. Frightened of going to prison and no way he could fight the police, Stuart wonders what he could do, especially because the boot jets are still damaged.

The police decide to go into the building, as there has been no response. Standing by the door, they here a noise from the other side, only for it to be suddenly broken open by rampage flying out using an experimental ionic jet pack knocking one officer unconscious. Rampage thought that the jet pack would get him to safety without having to harm anyone, but because he hit the officer on his way out, he believes that he may have murdered him. With hardly any fuel in the jet pack rampage doesn’t think he’ll stand a chance of getting out of the city alive.

Meanwhile at the hospital, Black widow informs Hercules and Angel that Ivan was lucky and will recover from his injuries. Outside the room, Iceman hears the news on the radio of Rampage trying to escape. Realizing it was a good decision by the Widow to keep an ear out for any reports on the radio, Iceman informs the others that a second chance at rampage is imminent.

Back on Hollywood Boulevard, Rampage jet pack has run out of fuel, and the only thing he can do is throw blocks of concrete at the police, who are firing at him. Rampage just wants to be left alone, and one of the officers can’t believe that Rampage thinks they’ll let him escape.

Out of nowhere, the Champions arrive, ready to take down Rampage. The Black Widow lets Angel lead the attack, who is carrying Hercules’ golden mace. On getting to Rampage first, Angel smites him with the mace knocking him to the ground. Rampage tells him he just wanted to slip out of town quietly but now he is going to have to fight his way out. He lunges at Angel, but misses, only to be hit by ice daggers fired by Iceman.
Whilst Rampage is distracted, the Black Widow uses her rope to swing down and kick rampage hard with both feet. Rampage is surprised and decides that, if he is going to be treated like a super villain, then he is going to be the deadliest menace the world has ever seen. Rampage goads Hercules, who hits him harder than he previously had. Rampage is surrounded, and the Champions try to reason with him and make him give up, but he believes that he’ll end up behind bars, so rushes at Iceman. Iceman creates an ice wall, which rampage runs straight into. The Black Widow kicks Rampage, telling him that he has had his chance to come peacefully.

Hoping he can squeeze out a little more power from his jet pack, he attempts to fly away but Angel smites him with Hercules’s mace, knocking him to the ground. Hercules then swings Rampage by his arm into the side of a building. With his jet pack no loner functional, Rampage decides he only has one choice. To throw the jet pack to the ground, causing it to explode. Iceman quickly reacts and puts up an ice shield to protect the champions and Rampage. Although badly injured and unconscious, rampage is still breathing, trapped amongst the rubble. The champions decide to leave him for the authorities and go home.

Amos Crawley is watching over the scene and realizes that it turned out to be a pleasant evening after all. If he moves quickly enough, he can sell Clarke Futuristics and make a tidy profit, even after paying all its creditors.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Iceman, Hercules, Black Widow (Champions)

Ivan Petrovich


Amos Crawley (attorney)

Several Unnamed Police Officers

Several Unnamed medics

Story Notes: 

Rampage first encountered the champions in the previous issue.

The Champions fought Pluto in issues 1-3.

The reason why Ghost Rider was not present can be seen in Ghost Rider (1st series) #18.

The car hurled by rampage at Hercules was a classic Beetle with a registration plate of FM-1.

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