Gambit #1


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Gambit #1


  • Words: James Asmus
  • Art: Clay Mann
  • Inks: Seth Mann
  • Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
  • Story Title: Once a Thief
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 8, 2012

Marvel’s kinetically charged mutant is up to his old tricks again, but did he bite off more than he can chew?

Writer James Asmus longs for the heyday when Gambit was a cocksure anti-hero, or so it seems with his debut issue of the character’s new solo series. Seemingly existing between the raindrops of Marvel’s current events (who knows if this is before, after, or during AVX and it doesn’t matter), Gambit #1 is a solo series in every sense of the world.

Like lapsed fans of the mutant, Gambit has lost touch with his roots and what makes him tick. He reflects on the last handful of years and wonders how he went from thief to role model and eventually instructor at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. One quick opening shower scene filled with inner monologue later, and we’re on the trip with Remy as he decides to pick a pocket or two at a charity fundraiser. Except the host isn’t really a stand-up guy, secretly a super-villain arms dealer. So, it’s totally okay that Gambit plans to have a little fun at his expense -- he’s a bad guy, so no harm, no foul. It goes without saying that things don’t go exactly as planned for Mr. LeBeau by issue’s end.

Asmus very quickly captures the cavalier nature of Gambit without falling over the edge into caricature. Countless writers before have relied too heavily on Cajun dialect or his presence as a plot device, making the character either a cliché or a glorified Easter egg. Very quickly we have a sense of where Gambit is and what he wants without being beaten over the head with it.

The real star of this book, though, is Clay Mann’s pencils that make me lovingly recall the best of Phil Noto, filtered through a little bit of Jim Cheung. His art is sexy, kinetic (no pun intended), fluid, and filled with the right kind of detail. Mann’s pencils, with just right inks by Seth Mann and tonally perfect colors by Rachelle Rosenberg (the mystery girl’s tattoos are impressive in their own right), propel the book from pretty good to pretty fun.

Despite all the talent on the page, there’s no guarantee that this current introductory story will sustain Gambit as a solo series. This experiment with his character has happened before with limited success. It will take a deeper mythology or story with higher stakes to warrant sticking with a book like this. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed myself, it was only a few notches above the pleasure derived from a good B-movie that you like, but forget the details of as time passes.

Right now, this book is filled with dormant, kinetic energy, just looking for the right kind of charge. Here’s hoping that this team can successfully raise the bar and make this a worthy book, gleefully skirting on the fringe of major Marvel happenings. You’ve got me for issue #2… after that, we’ll see. 

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  • hairlesscat

    hairlesscat Aug 6, 2012 at 8:16pm

    Wow. This piece is so full of bakhanded comments that I find it hard to take it seriously as an unbiased review.

    Your distaste for the character shines through here - especially in your need to mention his other cancelled ongoing series (a mention which is curiously absent in your review of Hawkeye's solo).

  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Aug 7, 2012 at 7:58am

    I'm not really seeing it, hairless cat. He is just stating the difficult nature of sustaining a solo series for this character that has always proved to be a popular B-stringer. Noel doesn't even mention the cancellation of the previous series but formulates is as a 'limited succes' which sounds quite subtle to me and not biased at all. To summarize, he states it is a fun book but we'll have to wait and see. Doesn't sound half bad to me if you are interested in Gambit as a character.

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