Welcome back, mes amis! This week we’re jumping headlong into a review of the first issue of a new series for a literal card carrying mutant, in more ways than one, and my personal favorite X-Man, Remy Lebeau otherwise known as GAMBIT the Ragin’ Cajun! This new series will focus on Gambit’s “downtime” away from the X-Men and doing his own thing. So of course that will mean a little thieving, a little gallantry, a little bedding of beautiful women, and a whole lot of action!
Gambit #1 is a $2.99 comic book published by Marvel Comics, and it was originally released on August 8, 2011. This issue was written by James Asmus and features pencils by Clay Mann, inks by Seth Mann, and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg, with letters by VC’s Cory Petit. The cover was supplied by the same art team, while Chris Bachalo took care of the variant cover. This issue marks the beginning of Gambit’s third ongoing title and the first since a twelve issue run ended in 2005.
The issue opens with Gambit in the shower with strategically placed items hiding his junk and musing about the current state of his life, in a scene that simultaneously cements and acknowledges the fact that he is the male equivalent of female characters like Psylocke and Emma Frost, who have using their sex appeal at the core of their characters. Gambit is essentially that quintessential rogue-ish “badboy” that every woman wants and every man wants to be like. Remy is getting gussied up all 007 style, to attend a fundraiser benefit for Empire State University students, at the estate of Borya Cich. Our Mr. Cich has a dubious reputation as a financier of costumed bad-guy shenanigans, a financier who keeps their naughty toys should their schemes fall flat and hoards them in a super-vault on his compound. Gambit plans to rob Boyra Cich, but unfortunately, his reputation precedes him, and he is the focus of Cich’s security team from the moment he arrives. While he’s scoping the joint out, Gambit meets and hits it off with a lovely tattooed young lady who seems to be in the same line of work he is. After a bit of sleight of hand, a diversion is set and he’s off to find the prize he came to pilfer. After beating one of the most advanced security systems you’d ever want to see, he enters Cich’s vault, which looks like the inside of a S.H.I.E.L.D. evidence warehouse and is full of gadgets and artifacts from throughout history and across the Marvel Universe. After a bit perusing the aisles, Gambit finds what he’s looking for, BUT things don’t go quite as smoothly as expected when he tries to pocket his loot. The jig is up, Remy, time to get while the getting is good! After giving the Cich’s guards the slip, Gambit is back in the company of the lovely tattooed young lady from earlier, and they wisely decide it’s time they made themselves scarce. They part ways with Gambit, and us, still not even knowing her name. Once back at his place, Gambit gets much more than he bargained for with his newest acquisition, and he’s going to have his hands full when issue number two hits the shelves of your local comic shop.
And away we go, off to the art department! Gambit #1 is a gorgeous book to look at. Clay Mann’s pencils are great throughout, and his wonderful sense of design in his characters and the backgrounds and environments really shines. His characters each have their own look and distinct feel, and I’ve thought he drew a dynamite Gambit, going back to his work on “Age Of X”. I’m especially fond of the look of Gambit’s new tattooed lady friend. Seth Mann’s inks are very solid and subtle, and they do nothing to take away or distract from, his brother, Clay’s pencils. I very much like Rachelle Rosenberg’s color work in this issue. Her colors have sort of a watercolor look and feel to them that helps set them apart a bit and give the book almost an arthouse style vibe, in a way.
Overall, Gambit #1 and the direction of for this new series are both great! The concept of Gambit being a master thief and it being at odds with his more public and heroic nature and exploits is somewhat familiar, but I love the new spin of him using his skills at thievery not just for personal gain and to get his kicks, but also to take from bad-guys and do some good at the same time. This issue reads like a cross between your classic superhero action and adventure & Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible” movies, with Gambit filling the Ethan Hunt role, and with glorious results. This first issue has my interest and appetite for more piqued, and I will surely be along for the ride to see how this caper turns out. You’d do well to follow suit.
I rate this issue a strong 3.5 Long boxes!
All characters and images are property of Marvel Entertainment.