Loaded Deck – Review Of Gambit #1on August 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm
Yesterday saw the release of Gambit #1, by writer James Asmus. Everyone’s favorite Cajun thief-who-also-has-the-convenient-mutant-power-to-explode-objects has had shots at two other on-going series since his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men back in 1990. Heightening his popularity was his on-again/off-again romance with fellow Southern mutant, Rogue. She couldn’t touch anyone without potentially robbing them of their lives and everything he touched had the potential to explode – how would they ever finally be able to do the dirty mutant boogie? It was a fun, soap operatic diversion from the Scott Summers-Jean Grey-Wolverine triangle, with 90% less angst and 100% likelier chance of exploding heads. How could you not get behind that storyline?
Since then, Gambit and Rogue have gone their separate ways and Asmus’s new story begins with the former thief trying to get his head around the man he is today. “A teacher? A security guard for mutant teenagers? Sympathetic ex-boyfriend?”, he ponders as the book opens. Those readers following the Rogue-centric X-Men Legacy (because they can’t just call it Rogue since books titled after chicks don’t tend to sell) have watched as Rogue has entered into an affair with Magneto and put the brakes on things with Gambit. A bad boy Gambit may be, but he’s still a decent human being and has tried to be as supportive of Rogue’s choices as he can. Still, sometimes it all gets to be a bit much. That’s when a man just needs to step out and cut loose, maybe indulge in a few old habits along the way.
So, will this pitch have legs to carry it as an ongoing series?
After the jump, stuff explodes with spoilery goodness!
Gambit sets his sights on a charity benefit for ESU students at the estate of Borya Cich, who just happens to be in the business of funding the criminal activities of the cape and cowl set. Once inside, Gambit is quickly made by Cich’s security detail and has to deal with an added level of scrutiny. No matter – he’s not there with a specific plan. He just wants to look around and abscond with anything that looks interesting. What could possibly go wrong?
Asmus tells his story with the sort of breezy tone that fans of television shows like Burn Notice or Leverage will recognize. While Gambit, so far, doesn’t have the “Scooby Gang” approach of those shows, it seems to follow a similar sort of formula. It’s light fare, narrated from the point of view of a compelling ne’er do well. There’s just enough of a look behind the curtain of a planned crime in progress to titillate the reader; you root for Remy, so you’re a willing accomplice in his eventual theft, but you’re not going to learn enough about how to pull of the heist to go out and try it yourself. Oh, and as is typical with this genre, the crime takes place against a backdrop of wealth and beauty – fabulous mansions, hot cars, and hotter women. It’s your crime fantasy, turned up to 11.
Even penciller Clay Mann’s artistic characterizations of Gambit call to mind the Michael Westens of the high stakes crime/super spy universe:
Yep. Got that characterization right down to the Cool Shades story trope. When Remy is “working”, the shades are on. At least his shades turn out to be a nifty, Bond-like gadget, beyond just upping his badassness quotient. It’s good to multitask.
Asmus is starting strong with this relaunch of the Gambit series. Wolverine demonstrated that there is an audience for loner bad boy characters in their own title. Add in the slick charms of this not-entirely retired badass thief turned teacher, and we’re looking at the potential for an on-going series with legs. Let’s hope James Asmus remains up to the task.