Yes, the mutants of Marvel Comics are in the midst of a renaissance. Now seems like a perfect time to revisit the last time this occurred. And that would be the early 90’s. It was during this time that a thief made his way onto the school grounds. Charming and infuriating, mysterious and even a bit sinister. Remy LeBeau show’s up right when Ororo was most vulnerable. Gambit # 1 begins to explain why a man so used to taking finally started to give.
Gambit # 1 (of 5)
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Sid Kotian
Color Artist: Espen Grundetjern
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
From its very premise, Gambit # 1 works because of an extremely overlooked aspect of stories. The tales that remain untold, until. A brief summary reminds readers this story takes place between Uncanny X-Men # 267 and 270. If you didn’t know, that period saw what may be the top disbanding/disassembling of the core X-Men team - with the original Mutant Massacre as a close second. As this comic opens and we catch up with Gambit and Storm, you may begin to realize that something fascinating is taking place. This isn’t a time travel adventure of Cable or something like Ve’Nam. No this is like Mole’s recent reappearance in Sabretooth. Claremont’s Gambit isn’t asking McKellan’s famous line. It offers readers the chance to discover a previously unpublished issue.
This first issue of Gambit does a good job of attempting to recreate the early moments of the relationship between these two mutants. It’s hard to believe now, especially since Rogue is his wife, but Storm was once Gambit’s X lady. Still, it was always hard to believe he would become so confident in this child in two issues. This comic establishes that their dynamic did not occur in a vaccum, but in New Orleans. And it was one of a teacher and a student, though Storm is quick to point out she does not like “tests”. I did enjoy how the plot from their original story was carried over, while also creating plots that are old because it’s in the past, but are new to us…this really does seem like a Cable comic now Claremont.
The problem I have with this comic stems from something I call the TV Reunion effect. To the unfamiliar this was a trend, that began around the 90s too, of a popular television show returning, but more like a movie. The major changes were both length and filming style/filters, but a character you thought you knew may seem a bit different too.
In Gambit # 1 you notice this initially with the coloring and look of both main characters. This doesn’t mean the artist didn’t capture the look of Gambit and Storm. You could pick up other comics from that era and you would find them almost identical. What this means is they look different than they did during the issues where this comic takes place. The artwork isn’t the only thing that changes in this reunion. Both Ro and Gambit have much different personalities than they display before and after this adventure. At times it feels they are acting as we have come to know them and not the way they were.
It was not until House of X began that I felt such a strong call from Charles. Before that it would have been right around the time Storm met Remy. Though you might think everything this adventure can hold was settled on Muir, don’t be so easily tricked. Don’t forget whose bloodline we’re dealing with. Or the fact that he has a date with Destiny; he even married into the family. And I would never spoil an issue, but I will say there is an external portion of this comic that seems very interesting. Especially if you know the X-Men through the ages.
Yes, it is the name. But is there another Gambit as well?