Back in Black (Not Pink)
Honestly, I never really intended to give this title a look at all. Sure, Gambit was always enjoyable in the X-books that he would use to grace us with his presence, but he always felt like one of those characters who could never really support his own book, and so was best left as a supporter for books like X-23, X-men Legacy, and of course uncanny X-men.
Then I read Hawkeye #1. And like everyone else who seems to have picked up that book, I started to be a bit more optimistic about a character who up until now was completely incapable of holding his own without an iconic supporting cast.
And so today I left the comic shop with my own, shiny new copy of Gambit number 1. And it was by no means a bad comic.
The story manages to avoid all the general gripes one may have with a Gambit solo book. The Cajun accent is THANKFULLY brought down a bit,so that we don't have to deal with every 2 panels ending with the word "Cherie". His french mannerisms are much more subtle, and feel like someone who in fact had a Louisiana upbringing that spent most of his life in an English country. Good touch.
The story itself is also well done. It's made clear that the man Remy is targeting is by no means an innocent man, which preserves our image of Gambit being a hero while also keeping true to his thief roots. We also get a few lines near the end that take us to the next logical step in a story like this: Is monsieur Lebeaux more interested in his life as a thief or his duty as an X-man? His outfits were all we'll suited to his task, and I liked how he decided to shun his old pink suit (at least for this mission). Finally, the actions he takes in order to commit his crimes feel well thought out and logical, and much like Hawkeye we see his skills and powers used to his advantage during this heist. Not to mention the author addressed fairly well the fact that Remy is a publicly known Super in this universe. The plot itself is well paced and, thankfully, pretty linear, which is always a good sign.
Really, the only problems I had with this issue was Gambit himself. While I stand by my statement that the conflict between his role as a thief and a hero was well done, in the end we have to ask ourselves if Gambit has the kind of striking personality required to sustain his own title. Right now we haven't been given enough character moments to make this call. Not only that, but the suspected love interest hasn't been quite fleshed out besides being "mysterious" and possibly devious, and other than her there is no supporting cast to speak of at all. This would be fine as maybe a 6 issue mini-series, but a lot more effort needs to be put into fleshing out Gambit's setting to keep us hooked.
Still, this is a decent enough book. I'll give it an issue to win me over with the cast, but right now I don't particularly care for the story told, the genre (super-crime) or the character (in the sense that I'm not certain he can support a book himself). Still, the theme of choosing between thief and hero is a classic, if somewhat overdone, theme, and Remy is the perfect character to explore it. Here's hoping it'll get better.