Marvel Fanfare (1st series) #60

Issue Date: 
January 1992
Story Title: 
The Mission (second story)

(Second story)
Ann Nocenti (writer), Dave Ross (penciler), Josef Rubinstein (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), Al Milgrom (editor), Tom De Falco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

(Second story)

The teenage Rogue acts erratically, as a result of her mutant power of temporarily absorbing people’s souls and memories through the slightest physical touch. She touches people casually and unreservedly, hoping to derive excitement through her actions, since she reckons she cannot live a normal life and considers herself a freak. Hoping that one day Rogue will mature and be an asset to the Brotherhood, Mystique enlists her in a mission, together with Pyro. Rogue and a disguised Mystique enter a medical treatment center, intent on releasing Jason, a young mutant kept prisoner there. Rogue, however, proves to be entirely unpredictable and begins draining all the guards. Naturally, she becomes uncontrollable and mentally unhinged, struggling to cope with the various psyches that now inundate her mind. Ultimately, Jason touches her and proves to be impervious to her powers. He tells her that touching also entails suffering and she should be grateful she cannot touch. Jason then escapes with the Brotherhood and Rogue clings to Mystique for support.

Full Summary: 

(Second story)

Mystique is in the kitchen, pouring hot coffee into a cup from a coffee pot. She is peaceful, unaware that she is about to be ambushed by her foster daughter… Rogue. Barefoot, dressed in a crop top and a pair of shorts, the teenager moves stealthily, like a predator.

Penny for your thoughts!” Rogue squeals with enthusiasm and sneaks up on Mystique, momentarily touching her face. Startled, Raven drops the cup and the coffee pot, both objects landing on the kitchen bench. Rogue grabs her own head and moans softly, struggling to cope with Mystique’s psyche which she just absorbed through bare skin-to-skin contact. “Oh… whew,” Rogue sighs, as her face beams with devilish joy. She can’t believe Mystique was thinking about that!

“Rogue! How dare you take your power so lightly!” Mystique reproves her. Rogue explains she’s practicing. She’s already discovered that, the shorter she touches, the less she absorbs and the faster she recovers. She barely touched her, one fingertip. “And so I just got one thought! See?” she enthuses. She clarifies that her power makes her a social freak – she can never touch anyone, never live normally. She’s got to get her kicks somehow. And if she goes in Mystique’s stupid missions, she has to learn how to control her power. Raven accentuates that this mission is very important. Rogue can’t fool around tonight. Is she ready? “For anything,” Rogue assures her.

Pleasant Valley

Pyro and Mystique are anticipating Rogue’s arrival. Pyro advises her to cool it out. Mystique, however, wonders where the heck Rogue is. “Hey, you wanted her along!” Pyro gripes. He stresses the Mutant Brotherhood is a class act. Mystique broke her own rules by letting a baby mutant like her tag along. Raven insists Rogue has to be broken in somehow. She’ll be an asset to the team – once she gets past adolescence.

“Okay team… let’s boogie!” Rogue suggests with fervor as she finally arrives to the rendezvous. Shockingly, she is inappropriately dressed in a revealing black dress, high-heeled shoes and jewelry! Stupefied, Mystique asks her why she’s dressed like that; this isn’t a party! “Oh, yes it is!” Rogue laughs: it’s her Saturday night! She then strokes Pyro’s back and tells him he looks hot tonight! “Get away from me, chickie!” Pyro sniffs with disdain and spurns her advances. He reminds her they’re on a job. “Oh, excuse me!” Rogue scoffs. She assures him that if he doesn’t want to she’ll find someone who does! Pyro, though, is convinced she doesn’t know what she fools with. “Cast those flirtatious spells, be prepared for what they bring!” he warns her. “I told you, I’m ready!” Rogue superciliously insists.

Pyro announces he’ll head to his post. Before he leaves, he notes Mystique has got her hands full: Rogue’s a corker tonight. Raven instructs him to just listen to her signal. It should take him three minutes to melt the back wall.

After he departs, Mystique shape-shifts into a blond man in a lab robe. “Oooh, handsome!” Rogue excitedly wails. She loves it when Mystique shape-shifts into men! She asks her who the poor mutant they’re kidnapping is. Will he be used for missions, too? Raven stresses that it’s better to be with the Brotherhood than to be in an institution, where he’ll be poked and humiliated like a freak. She then urges her to remember their covers: Mystique is posing as Dr. Forbes, whereas Rogue is a relative of the mutant boy. Any trouble, Rogue touches the person just long enough to put them out and give them time to get away.

As they enter the McCarthy Medical Treatment Center, the guard unwittingly greets ‘Dr. Forbes’ and notices he is there late. Rogue provocatively retorts that’s the only time he could find her awake! Mystique nervously introduces her as a relative of Jason’s, the mutant in the back cell. She informs the guard they’ll be with him for about an hour. “Fine, doc,” the guard replies.

Rogue and Mystique advance in the building and quickly reach a man guarding the cells. The guard, a man named Jack, comfortably seated on his desk, greets ‘Dr. Forbes’. Mystique informs him they’re going to cell ten. Rogue brashly parks on Jack’s desk and tries on his hat, despite his protests. Jack then asks ‘Dr. Forbes’ to see some I.D. Mystique, who didn’t anticipate this development, retorts why he asks that. After all, Jack knows ‘him’. Jack reminds ‘Dr. Forbes’ that it’s on his own policy that they check everyone’s cards, including his. Rogue returns the hat to Jack and she asks him whether he ever stole anything. No, of course not, Jack replies. “Sure. We’ll just see…” Rogue murmurs and grabs the man, kissing him in the mouth!

Mystique grabs Rogue and together they break into the restricted area, leaving Jack in a state of fuzziness. Rogue, however, has now burst into an uncontrollable, unstoppable laughter. She can’t believe it! The man stole his own mother’s wedding ring and hocked it! Raven tells her to stop it. She realizes Rogue is hysterical; she absorbed too much of the man’s mind! She touched him too long! “So what, gotta get my kicks somehow!” Rogue coldly retorts and gives her a deadly stare.

Suddenly, the two women come across another guard, this one visibly armed. “Oh boy! A big old gun! Hello, big gun! Oooh, shoot on!” Rogue rambles on. The guard thankfully recognizes ‘Dr. Forbes’. Raven assures him it’s okay. The girl is with ‘him’ and she’s harmless. Rogue, however, approaches the guard and grabs his gun-barrel, almost pressing it against her chest and pleading him to get her through the heart – quick!

Her moods shifting by the second, she suddenly asks him if he wants to dance. She wonders where the champagne is – it’s Saturday night! “Miss…” the astounded guard is about to say. “Do you like me?” Rogue asks him. Without waiting for a response, she hugs him tightly and passionately kisses him! Barely conscious, the man collapses to the floor. Mystique seizes his gun and his string of keys. Worried with Rogue’s condition, he tells her to slow down; she’s going to lose her mind! She then grabs her by the arm and tells her to hurry, as he points her to the cell they are looking for.

Mystique unlocks Jason’s cell, while a cloudy Rogue mutters about the last man she drained… his mind… he’s not a good man. Entering the cell, Mystique urges her to pull herself together. Sure, Rogue replies – but then begins blabbering incoherently: her name’s Jack, her name’s Bob… She loves sky-diving, she’s afraid of heights… She splits her sides with laughing: she loves her dog, that’s why she kicks him! In despair, Mystique implores her to concentrate on now. Rogue, locked in her trance, ignores her. She cries out that the old guard kicks his dog… but at least he’s alive! He can touch! He can kick! “Alive and kicking! Hahahaha!” Indignant, Raven tells her they’re going home. “No! Gimme that!” Rogue squeaks and snatches the keys.

She enters Jason’s cell and locks the door behind her, before greeting him. Mystique frantically pounds on the glass door, demanding that Rogue lets her in! Ignoring her, Rogue approaches the mutant called Jason – a young, bare-chested, longhaired man, sitting on a couch with a wire attached to his right arm. Rogue notices he’s handsome. He’s as young as she is. “Do you like me?” she desperately asks him. “Blast it all, girl!” Mystique curses outside and reverts to her genuine form. She again slams the door and demands Rogue opens it! “Who does she think she is, my mother?” Rogue dismissively huffs. She then turns her attention to Jason again: “Hello. Hi, freak. I’m a freak, too”. She asks him to give her some memories; to give her some good times. She asks him to let her touch him. She wants to live!

Outside the cell, Mystique radios Pyro and tells him to begin melting the wall. “Right,” Pyro laconically responds and readily complies. Inside Jason’s cell, Rogue prepares herself to touch him. One touch… and he is hers, she proclaims as she takes off the glove of her right hand. Defiantly, Jason springs up and grabs her by the wrist of her bare hand, ostensibly unaffected by her absorption powers! “Oh!” Rogue exclaims, aghast. “Don’t play with me,” Jason grunts. He warns her not to tease him and pushes her off of him, throwing her on the floor. Awed, Rogue realizes his eyes are hard… he is young but he knows too much… Outside the facility, Pyro presses on with his flames.

Inside the cell, a humbled Rogue finally sees: to touch is not just to live, like life is a party… but it is to know pain. Is that what Jason wants her to know? Jason coldly assures her she’ll find out on her own. She wants to live – but sometimes, she can live only too much. So much she can only seal off and become cold. He calls her to attention: touching is not something to be taken lightly, to fool around with. She is lucky that she cannot touch. She doesn’t know how lucky she is.

Mystique tells them to hurry; Pyro’s almost through! As Rogue and Jason exit the cell and approach her, Raven realizes it looks like that boy calmed her down. She wonders: what did he do? Rogue won’t listen to her. Mystique is not used to having a “daughter.” She contemplates the possibility that perhaps you just have to let them make their mistakes and learn their own way.

Pyro finally melts his way in. He tells them they’ve got to run: he hears sirens. He leads the way as they abandon the medical center. Outside the facility, as they run, Rogue finally breaks down: “Mystique… help me…” Raven’s eyes sparkle, her face as impenetrable as ever: “Of course.”

Characters Involved: 

Mystique, Pyro, Rogue (all Brotherhood of Evil Mutants)

Jason (a young mutant)

Bob, Jack and other guards at the McCarthy Medical Treatment Center

Story Notes: 

The issue also contains the following stories:

First story: “Big Applesauce!” featuring Black Panther

Third story: “The Monkey Never Dies” featuring Daredevil

This is the final issue of Marvel Fanfare (1st series). The series lasted for almost ten years (March 1982-January 1992) and 60 issues. A second, short-lived series followed in September 1996. Editor Al Milgrom explains the reasons behind the cancellation in his editorial: “There are many reasons why this book has been cancelled, but I’ll be honest with you, the primary reason is falling sales. Originally, Fanfare was conceived as a mag which would do away with advertising, be printed on high quality paper and pay the creative people an extra high rate. But, since its inception 10 years ago, virtually all these concerns were addressed in other ways and other formats. That, and the fact of my overwhelming freelance schedule, made it harder and harder to maintain Fanfare.”

This issue includes a pin-up of the Punisher by artist Ken Steacy. The back-cover depicts Daredevil and was penciled by Paul Smith.

Second story:

According to Al Milgrom’s editorial, this story was originally slated for Classic X-Men.

This story is chronologically set before Rogue’s first appearance in Avengers Annual #10.

Jason does not appear to be a previously established mutant. Whatever happened of him following this adventure is unknown, as he has not been seen since.

Issue Information: 
Written By: