I HOPE NOBODY MINDS TOO MUCH BUT I HAD TO GO AND GET AND SHARE THIS BEAUTIFUL MOMENT WITH ROGUE’S TWO LESBIAN MUMS
This is a super deep cut, a story in Marvel Fanfare #40, published October 1988. (This story written by Chris Claremont, penciled by Craig Hamilton, inked by Rick Bryant, lettered by Jim Novak, and coloured by Petra Scotese, with editor Allen Milgrom and EIC Tom DeFalco). Marvel Fanfare was never a huge title for Marvel, more a collection of “between the lines” style, slower, character-based stories for individual issues around the Marvel Universe, which was a much smaller place in the 80s than it is today.
This specific story takes place just prior to Uncanny #185, published a little over a year before this issue. In #185, Storm tracks down Rogue, who is Going Through Some Shit, and winds up taking a hit intended or her and losing her powers for the next … five years, or something. It was a long time. Anyway, this story in Fanfare answers the question of how Storm knew where to find Rogue.
And that answer is that Mystique sent her right the fuck there, knowing that the government was after Rogue, knowing that they had this weapon and planned to use it on her, and entirely not caring so long as her daughter was safe.
THIS IS JUST A FRACTION OF WHY I LOVE MYSTIQUE SO FUCKING MUCH. She’s not a good person. She kills. She’s a mutant terrorist. And not one bit of that makes her love her adopted daughter a single drop less.
Then we have Irene, the love of Mystique’s life and partner in crime, who never seems quite cut out for the life she leads with Raven, but who never once hesitates to be at her side. Who, as we see here, knows that what they’ve condemned Storm to wasn’t right, but who makes the choice anyway, even as she feels the weight of it in a way Raven never will.
I LOVE THEM
This issue is the most concrete canonical YES THEY ARE LESBIAN LOVERS IN LOVE WHO ARE ALSO LESBIANS as they were able to get for a very long time. Claremont never shied away from confirming they were as much as he possibly could, both within the comic and in interviews. But it was the 80s, and as always, the times were what they were. I still remember some pushback about this at the time, from people claiming that because Mystique turned into a man to dance with Destiny, that they lived as a het couple and BLAH BLAH YOU CAN IMAGINE.
It was never anything of the sort. This female form was always Mystique’s default. They lived their lives exclusively together for untold years (implied to be most of Destiny’s adult life from youth to senior, and that as a shapeshifter Mystique simply doesn’t age the same). They adopted and raised a young girl together, and loved her, and the three of them were a family.
This short story is one of my all-time favourites, up to and including how Mystique transforms at the end into a dapper old man to match Irene’s eternal sense of class, and managing still for the two of them to be, by appearances for the time, more “socially acceptable”, but still completely outlandish and drawing every eye for being an aging couple of implied wealth and class in a shitty punk dive bar.
gambit is the kind of guy whos chill with long hair but then hes like “yah ill get it cut” cause maybe he wants it to be more manageable. but then it just turns out terrible. like rly fucking bad. but he doesnt want to admit it. so he just goes with it and acts like nothing is wrong even tho hes dying on the inside.
All the Risty stuff, you guys, holy shit. I remember when she was first appearing, before we knew who she was, and our favourite theory was that she was Psylocke. English, purple hair, acting a little weird sometimes (we thought maybe it was a Mojo thing).
Mystique, befriending her own daughter, in part to gain access to her enemies, and in part because she just loves Rogue and wants some kind of connection with her. BUT SHE’S TERRIBLE AND ALSO KIND OF EVIL AND THIS IS HER BEST SOLUTION.
They laid the bricks for all of this so well throughout multiple seasons of the show. Risty first appears and befriends Rogue in the beginning of Season 2. Their friendship builds until Rogue discovers it was really Mystique the entire time (this episode, which is mid-way through Season 3), leading Mystique to make EVEN WORSE CHOICES leading to catastrophic failure between them, and by the time of Season 4′s opening, Rogue isn’t just damaged by the experience, but FURIOUS, and not coping very well at all. One of my greatest regrets with the show is that we’ll never get to see her try and come back from that. It makes my heart sad, it truly does.
But yes, point being that the creators sowed the seeds of this storyline for Rogue for OVER TWO SEASONS, and were developing it out so far, they didn’t even get a chance to really finish it. I can’t say enough how much I love that kind of slow, nurtured growth, and that it directly revolved around my girl?
YOU CAN ONLY IMAGINE
Risty’s accent is really terrible though. Come on, Mystique, we both know you can do better than that.
I think I said this when I last did Evo for Holligay Birthday Week, but that Rogue’s first shot in the credits is her radiating attitude at the principal-slash-her adoptive mother gives me life with every single viewing.
I always loved how Evo brought in this very simple, very sinister piano refrain for Magneto whenever he showed up or there were signs of him being somewhere. I’m not aware of them doing it for anyone else (MAGS IS SPECIAL), but it was just so evocative and perfect. One of those little touches that made Evolution such a fantastic show.