No matter who the writer and artist may be, a comic completely dedicated to one of the most beloved X-Men and Marvel characters, Gambit, can pretty much write itself. Although this statement is true (however way you look at it), Marvel of course needs a writer and artist to bring the ideas to fruition. Therefore, they have chosen James Asmus (Generation Hope, X-Men: Manifest Destiny) to pen the story and Clay Mann (X-Men: Legacy, Civil War: Heroes for Hire) to bring life to those ideas as the artist on the project of “Gambit” issue #1.
“Gambit” issue 1 allows us to take a look at our favorite card-toting, sweet-talking, thieving Cajun, Remy Lebeau AKA Gambit, without having to revisit his complete origin story. “A teacher? Security Guard for mutant teenagers? Sympathetic ex-boyfriend? Gotten to the point where I can’t tell what part a’ me’s the costume…”
Much like the fresh start with “Hawkeye” issue #1, “Gambit” issue 1 takes a closer look at the person, Remy Lebeau, outside of his Gambit X-Men costume. “Call me Remy. I do try to keep a life separate from the Tights-and-Fights friends I’ve acquired.” This particular comic book takes a nice view of our dynamic and charismatic hero outside of the school and his team, but still well within the Marvel universe.
Soloing his first book in quite some time, Gambit has always been a fan favorite. His original characteristics and dynamic personality return despite lost friends, heartbreak, and constant mutant rights struggles. Remy plays it cool. He will steal your riches, charm the ladies, and still pull off the “Good Guy Routine.” The story arc for this issue allows Remy to explore his roots as a thief, summoning back the old adage of “Once a Thief, Always a Thief”, allowing us to have a little fun while showing us that old habits die hard. “Good because if this was going to be easy… I wouldn’t enjoy robbing the place.” Attending a high brow gala event, Remy sees the perfect opportunity to explore the mansion’s vault for some of the rich historical artifacts hidden within. Although Remy’s mutant power allows him to charge items from potential energy into kinetic energy often causing those items to explode, he relies on his sharp tongue, a few high-tech goodies, his thieving insight, and his pension to figure people out in this particular issue.
Even with all the fun, “Gambit” continues to fall consistent within the X-Men philosophy of acceptance and equal rights for all. One conversation during the gala event indicates the idealization that also manages to reflect current issues: “I heard his cousin just came out as a mutant.” To which another individual responds: “I don’t think that’s the right term…”
Although, the first issue of “Gambit” has its fun, it does fall a little short of being great and falls in line more with the mediocre. The writers are really lucky that Gambit/Remy is such a likable guy. It seems like the collaborative consensus between the writing and the art tried to play it too safe for the first Issue without taking many chances. With the first issue of “Hawkeye” releasing one week prior and also being a similar solo comic, it’s difficult to not compare the two. The team behind “Gambit” can definitely take a few pages (pun intended) from the team behind “Hawkeye”. They can dare to be different, take a few chances, especially with a character such as Gambit, and throw him into a story arc that grabs the reader’s attention and puts this comic on the mark. The thievery and tricks are fun, but a thick plot and grabbing story is always needed. The first issue doesn’t completely give you a sense that this series will go too many places, unlike where “Hawkeye” gives you that idea.
With constant name drops, unfamiliar faces (except for that security guard that looked oddly similar to Val Kilmer) that have room for development, and a cadre of Gambit’s allies, this series has a lot of potential if the writers are willing to take a few chances with the story and art. It will interesting to see plots thicken, characters develop, and the direction for the use of Gambit’s fantastic powers in the future of this series. Being such a lovable character, and a personal favorite from my childhood, Gambit has a lot of room to take chances and a lot of potential due to the hard work if his past character developments. “Gambit” issue #1 is available in comic stores now. “I near forgot how much fun a little thievery can be now an’ then.”