Gambit: The Thief Makes A Comeback

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Posted by No_Name_ (16193 posts) - - Show Bio

Gambit is a lot of things. He's debonair, charismatic, manipulative, dashing, handsome -- and so on. Yet, aside from the qualities of his character that make him who he is, he's also a character that hasn't remained static over the years. In fact, Gambit has undergone a whole heck of a lot of character evolution since he first appeared in UNCANNY X-MEN #266. He's been both the good guy and the bad, he's traveled to a different galaxy (Starjammers, anyone?), he's fought against people far more powerful than he. He's been a street thief, a mutant, a husband, a lover and more recently a mentor. He's a complicated character with an interesting past, even if it is, admittedly, a little bit convoluted. In fact, it's sometimes felt like writers just weren't quite sure what to do with Gambit, and didn't really have a good idea of who he, at his core, really was.

Earlier this week Marvel released GAMBIT #1, the first issue in Remy Lebeau's latest self-titled, ongoing series featuring gorgeous pencils by artist Clay Mann. In a recent interview with James Asmus -- the series' writer -- we learned that the creative team planned on bringing the character back to his roots; and if you read the first issue, you may have already noticed some hints of exactly that.

== TEASER ==

We're telling the story of a man with bad impulses trying to figure out a life he can feel good about. We want to make the book easy for fans of the character to jump onto without making them pick up a dozen other books or a huge stack of old arcs. So it's all about building his story forward, and finding new ways to play off the most interesting parts of his character.

The first issue opens with Gambit stepping out of his shower -- a scene that I thought was pretty significant. No, it's not just fan-service, it's a lot more symbolic than that. As he's toweling off, his narrative clues readers into what he's been up to as of late; he outlines how he's been so many different people and played so many different roles over the years " a teacher, a security guard for mutant teenagers, a sympathetic ex-boyfriend…" but he's still, Gambit, at his core. You get the sense that that's the character that James Asmus is going to be dealing with in this series: Gambit, the thief, lover, charmer and the guy that's always getting himself into some kind of trouble. That's what this series is going to be about because at his core, that's exactly the guy that Gambit is.

Gambit has somewhat of a sad past; growing up in the streets after having been abandoned by his parents for his piercing red eyes, he was scooped up by the Thieves Guild in New Orleans after they quickly noticed his talents as a thief. He went on to marry a woman named Bella Donna, the heir to the New Orleans Assassins Guild as a way to quell the rivalry between the two clans. He killed her brother in a duel and was exiled. It was only after this that Gambit the mutant came into play. After he met with Mister Sinister and was operated on by him, he led the Marauders massacre the Morlocks, a group of Mutants living underneath New York City. Then he embarked on adventures with the X-Men.

This isn't the first time that Gambit has gotten his own ongoing. Back in 2000 Gambit got to play in his own book, a series that lasted 28 issues and mainly featured team-ups with other X-Men like Rogue and Wolverine and and fights against Sabretooth, Pig and many more. His adventures were out of this world and perfect for the 90's, stylistically, but there was very little Remy the spy/thief to be seen in this run. Marvel canceled the book after 28 issues and tried again four years later in 2004. This time, writer John Layman took the "Remy the thief" angle. Here, Gambit was under fire courtesy of both his ex-wife Bella Donna and Brother Voodoo, and although he did spend more time stealing things, that wasn't really the main focus of that series. It only lasted twelve issues before it, too, was canceled.

So what's with Gambit? Why can't a prominent character like he have a series that lasts longer than 28 issues? Is it the pink suit? Or the corny kinetically charged playing cards? In previous GAMBIT ongoings we've always seen Gambit the X-Man and mutant before Gambit the thief -- until, apparently, now. According to Asmus, we won't be seeing a whole lot of X-Men and mutants appear in his ongoing series unless it's absolutely necessary to the story, which signals to me that the thief is the identity that Gambit associates with first and foremost in this new book.

As good as many of the stories where Gambit teamed up with different X-Men were, they aren't at the core of who he really is, are they? With the exception of the retelling of his origins in GAMBIT's One-Shot (2009) we haven't seen a whole lot of stories where Gambit plays the thief, going after a big score on his own. That is, however, the story I know I really want to see, which is why I am so looking forward to James Asmus' take on the character. Bringing Gambit back to his roots might be exactly what is needed in order to give him a successful series, something that Marvel has tried to do twice and fared not-so-well in the last twelve years.

What do you think? Did you read GAMBIT #1? What do you think of James Asmus' take on the character so far? Is it a book you are interested in? If you haven't already, check out the full interview Comic Vine did with Asmus where he discusses his plans for the series.

#1 Posted by Baddamdog (2826 posts) - - Show Bio

Great start to the series. IMO they need to stay way from Belladonna and the Sinister stuff in this series. I want something new for Gambit.

But it would be great to have X-23 pop up, I love their relationship.

#2 Posted by DefaultProphet (43 posts) - - Show Bio

Gambit can't have an ongoing because he's a terrible character like Carnage.

#3 Posted by IrishX (2837 posts) - - Show Bio

Love Gambit. Have all his solo series. 
Back to roots is good. I love the Thieves Guild / Assassins Guild and the New Orleans setting and they are part of that, so while that shouldn't dominate the series it shouldn't be forgot either and hopefully will be a part of his story once again... in due time.

#4 Posted by Blood1991 (8115 posts) - - Show Bio

@DefaultProphet said:

Gambit can't have an ongoing because he's a terrible character like Carnage.


I really like Gambit, I hope his series does well and so far I like it.

#5 Posted by jpblair88 (50 posts) - - Show Bio

The second Marvel book i picked up this month. (after Hawkeye) It was better than i expected, I loved the art and storytelling style. i havnt liked much of what Marvel has done in recent years with most characters but i really hope they keep going with this style for Gambit.

#6 Edited by DATNIGGA (1517 posts) - - Show Bio

@DefaultProphet: Carnage is awesome.. but gambit is eh.. I dont really see the series lasting long. like quicksliver's old series

#7 Posted by Nekobaghira (7 posts) - - Show Bio

I want his series to do well. And this is exactly how Gambit should be. While the other solos were good to a degree, this is a much better take on the character. A much more fun book.

#8 Posted by SavageDragon (2257 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks Sara for writing this article, I enjoyed it very much. Ive been telling everyone for about a month now how excited I was for Gambit #1 by Asmus and Mann and I finally had it in my hands yesterday and have since read it a couple times. I love the character so much and am always very excited to see him in any book (except fighting Cap in AvX VS...) and this first issue did not disapoint.


I really enjoyed this take on Gambit. I agree with Sara, hes already fun and interesting but now lets flush him out, get him away from Jubilee Rogue Wolverine or any other X-men and lets get into some awesome crime stuff. Now I don't think it would work to make Gambit seem a cold calculating thief without any flash because...well that isnt him. His dialogue in the 1st issue was great and it seems like Asmus has a great understanding of the character in my opinion. This issue had just enough of everything for me, story, action a few laughs and most of all content to drive it forward. His thief costume was pretty sleek as well. I dig the art a lot, I know some did not like the colors but I liked how bright they were but it could have been a tad less blotchy. Overall this issue was fun and like Hawkeye #1 I would recommend this to everyone, and I'm not even a marvel fanboy.

All I can really say more is that I was a huge fan of this issue and I will be picking this up every month for sure. I would be absolutely shocked if this book doesnt have a long run in it.

#9 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (41784 posts) - - Show Bio

Pepole need to buy this book so wer not stuck with the same old thousand X and Avengers books a little variation goes along way

#10 Posted by Dernman (17785 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that those images were fan service but that's ok. because I have no problem with that. Unless they ridiculous but what constitutes ridiculous differs from person to person I guess.

#11 Posted by Metatron_Da_Don (1152 posts) - - Show Bio

what happened to the Death persona?? He should have Death manifest as his separate persona go back and take down all the assassin's guild, then the X-Men come and put him in an infirmary put him in a coma. And some psychic purges the Death persona while in the coma. Then he can awake 2 or 3 big X-Men events from now.

#12 Edited by judasnixon (9262 posts) - - Show Bio

Keep Gambit out of New Orleans! Each time Gambit comes to New Orleans it turns into K-Ville! 
Nothing but Gumbo, Mardi Gras, and bad Cajun accents! Here's my Gambit New Orleans story. 
Gambit gets drunk in a dive bar. Gambit kicks Ray Nagin in his vagina. The end. That's how you turn a 
K-Ville into a Treme.

#13 Posted by Imagine_Man15 (1809 posts) - - Show Bio

@Dernman said:

I think that those images were fan service but that's ok. because I have no problem with that. Unless they ridiculous but what constitutes ridiculous differs from person to person I guess.

I actually saw that scene as more symbolism than fan service. Throughout the scene, Gambit was analyzing his life, shedding his thoughts and his past, so to speak... and shedding his clothes as it progressed felt sort of symbolic of that. Now, whether or not this was intentional or just how I felt, can be debated.

#14 Posted by Teerack (9739 posts) - - Show Bio

Eh, it was very okay.

#15 Posted by Duchess (6052 posts) - - Show Bio

So excited to read these, Gambit's a badass.

#16 Posted by Mowgli22 (39 posts) - - Show Bio

Hope its good. im gonna pick it up soon

#17 Posted by PaperRonin (1073 posts) - - Show Bio

This is epic. And Gambit haters have no taste. Nuff Said.

#18 Edited by SimonM7 (108 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't get the Gambit suit hate. It is, and has always been, one of my fave designs. I'm noticing a pattern of all the stuff I find cool being "too 90s" though - if commentary on the podcast is to be believed, so maybe I'm just dated.

#19 Posted by Gambit1024 (10217 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm proud to say that this is the first single-issue comic I've bought in a really, really long time. Great way to jump back in for me. Gambit haters, go home. You don't know nothin' ;P

#20 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3627 posts) - - Show Bio

I was never really much of a Gambit fan, and it feels as if Marvel is already over saturated with X-titles. Sort of the same way they tried to make Venom a lead years ago with the LETHAL PROTECTOR series. Could he be a focus of a story within the regular X-Books? Yes. He's a supporting character, at best; and not every supporting character can be a lead.

#21 Posted by Danial79 (2526 posts) - - Show Bio

I really liked this issue until that ending. Up until then, it had a sort of Mission Impossible vibe to it.

#22 Posted by pmvaun (14 posts) - - Show Bio

Venom has his own book now, and it was by far the best marvel book coming out. With Remender leaving Venom for Cap. we will just have to wait and see but any character with a creative team that has a goal in mind, cares about the character, and drives a story can be great.

#23 Posted by Grey56 (802 posts) - - Show Bio

@Duchess: How is the man anything like Cool Hand Luke or McQueen ? Is it because of his power - surely not, right ? I don't get it - and haven't for 20 years. But then, I do have a y chromosome.

#24 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

See that's great if you focus back to what he did best at one point, being a thief. Now I almost HAVE to get this and check it out.

#25 Posted by Suprman (458 posts) - - Show Bio

Gambit is definitely one of my favorite X-Men, I like his power and his personality, and yeah his past is a little convoluted, but so are a lot of comic book characters. I did buy the first issue of this new solo series and I really liked it. I liked what Asmus said about the direction that he wants to take the character. I think it's a good idea to take him away from the X-Men and the thieves guild, it gives the opportunity to focus more on who he is outside of those groups.

#26 Posted by primepower53 (6064 posts) - - Show Bio

well placed picture is well placed.

#27 Posted by DraketheSlaughter (89 posts) - - Show Bio

@DefaultProphet: No Gambit nor Carnage are not terrible but they are Badasss, But if you want terrible Sentry is you're man he's lame.

#28 Posted by Smurfboy (480 posts) - - Show Bio

I got first issue yesterday! I read the book like 3 times already and still loved it! Great story and great art. Keep 'em coming (I will definitely buy every issue of Gambit and hope it lasts a long time.

#29 Posted by Mrfuzzynutz (1321 posts) - - Show Bio

i enjoyed this more then Hawkeye

#30 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1761 posts) - - Show Bio

The magenta suit will awlays be cool and I'm not just saying this cause I'm a girl! I actually don't care for pink much, but Gambit rules in it!

#31 Posted by GREGalicious (544 posts) - - Show Bio

Gambit has always been cool as is his suit and the cards are hardly cheesy. They're his trademark. I have always found him interesting but I felt he was one of the X-Men characters to just all of a sudden get "dumped" or placed in lame storylines (along with Jean Grey, Husk, the former Academy X characters, and a few others). Hopefully they will actually use him well again.

#32 Posted by tobiasPUNK (144 posts) - - Show Bio

the best characters are always so over looked. i'll read this when the trade comes out. gambit's always been a favourite of mine.

#33 Posted by NXH (1031 posts) - - Show Bio

Aside from Wolverine and Cable, Gambit was always my favourite X-Men character. But I felt he had been pushed aside and ignored the last couple of years in the X-Men books. So I'm glad to see he's got a his own solo series and it's gotten to a good start. Might have to check it out.

#34 Posted by drx7575 (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Gambit was the only X-Men I could related to as a kid. Now that I'm 30 and he has his own book I'm overwhelmed. I'm glad they dropped most of the creole from his accent but that did make him who he was. Anyway, I'll keep reading the book. My second tattoo was a flaming ace of spades...

#35 Posted by Chaos Burn (1887 posts) - - Show Bio

are all those panels from the same issue of Gambit?

#36 Posted by GrimRealities (9 posts) - - Show Bio

Gambit is the reason I started reading comics back in my younger days and I was so happy to pick up this issue it was everything I had hoped it would be (hopefully we'll get a good run).

#37 Posted by Green ankh (1083 posts) - - Show Bio

Agree 100%

#38 Posted by natejoseph09 (137 posts) - - Show Bio

Why do they always go on about "failed ongoings", they never seem to mention it when the likes of Punisher, Ghost rider, Black Panther, Moon Knight and Hawkeye seem to have their series cancelled every couple of years. ( i love those characters btw). Gambits only had one series cancelled due to low sales, the second one. (the first one was cancelled along with other decent sellers to focus on the main titles.

#39 Posted by skinnyfu (18 posts) - - Show Bio

@DefaultProphet: Agreed, save ongoings for interesting characters and series that will actually be able to support themselves. Marvel has a terrible business plan when it comes to the comics end of it, too little continuity and waaaay too many avengers books all the time.

#40 Posted by tylerlugowski (123 posts) - - Show Bio

Gambit was one of the only X-Men I really liked or cared to read about. So I'm glad he finally has his own series.

#41 Posted by hazmat103 (63 posts) - - Show Bio

i'm happy to say Gambit has always been my favorite X-Man unless you count Deadpool as one then Deadpool is my favorite but nevertheless i really like this new book. Great to see him as a thief again.

#42 Posted by stumpy49er (673 posts) - - Show Bio

Good first issue. I was slightly disappointed for some reason, I think because I've been looking forward to this issue for months now and no matter how good it was I still would have wanted more. But it was good. I'm just happy to have my favorite character have his own solo book again. Can't wait for issue 2. This and Hawkeye were 2 very good first issues that I really hope have a long ongoing series.

#43 Posted by Queso6p4 (1547 posts) - - Show Bio

@IrishX: Hear, Hear!

Great article, Babs, but how could you not have mentioned his quintessential solo 90s series. :)

They way they did his eyes in Gambit #1 was awesome. They burned with a subtle intensity. I hate using that phrase, btw.

#44 Posted by Botiste (51 posts) - - Show Bio

The character of Gambit has always held a fairly consistent fan base on multiple story boards. He is the (Rogue, Thief, Assassin) character on every role playing, movie, and video game theater. We all love the stealthy flowing, smooth talking Assassin Creed, Han Solo, Robin Hood vigilante not-so-much-hero. Characters such as Grifter, (Jim Lee's Gambit of the Wildcats) and Fantomex (Rick Remender's beloved) all shared the same, shady past, trench coat wearing, smooth silk speaking tongue, and agile combat performances. Even Fantomex's desire to have something that doesn't belong to him, his beloved Besty, or Psylocke, is a nod, even if unconsciously written, to Gambit endless pursuit of Rogue. (With a few exception here and there). Particularly the "Rogue" (not the X-Men Rogue) character is one of the hardest to write, Warrior's like Captain American, Thor, and Wolverine are basically goal oriented purpose met men held together by a noble cause. Rogues have more of a character driven personal goal that at times may even feel a bit selfish. They have an arrogance with a skill set to match that begs you to say "prove it". It takes a certain type of writer to bring out the best is this character. Think of Enzo "Assassin's Creed" the way that he moves, the way his clothes flow perfectly on his frame, his exotic voice, his charm with the ladies, his fearlessness and the skill of his combat. It's easier to capture in a video format and harder to capture correctly such essence within a comic book. You have to in a sense know that kind of man to write about him, and most men don't. In fact most men "writers" hate that kind of man. There are three types of writers here. (As men) we're either trying to be him, we are him (rare case), or we can't stand him and are trying to protect our daughters and wives away from succumbing the charms of these smooth talking heart assassins. Deep down the rogue is better know not for his power set or skill level, but rather his heart of gold. Remender has done great job Fantomex, and Claremont with Gambit. Hopefully the series does well. There's still a lot that can be written in Gambit's story.

P.S. I think that this is the type of man Sara (Babs) is attracted to, only a bit more on the loyal side, though I could be wrong, love you Sara. and love the podcast

#45 Posted by GillaDro (275 posts) - - Show Bio

@PaperRonin said:

This is epic. And Gambit haters have no taste. Nuff Said.


#46 Posted by psynetrix (331 posts) - - Show Bio

Asmus and Mann won my heart with Gambit #1; the character should have been approached this way a long time ago. It even helped me understand the take on Hawkeye #1... these two titles are really close to be on top of my list.

Please read more of my mini-review of Gambit #1 here:

Comments and feedback are always welcome!

#47 Edited by CrimsonAlchemist (412 posts) - - Show Bio

@Duchess:Yea just because you don't like Remy your taste must be horrid right?(being sarcastic)

#48 Posted by RiddlingGambit (205 posts) - - Show Bio

The best Gambit series was the first 4-issue limited. That was an intense story. The 28 issue Gambit series was really a lot of fun, and I wish Marvel didn't cancel it so soon, especially because the 12 issue Gambit series that followed wasn't all that good. I think it's true some writers aren't sure how to write Gambit because has such a range in character, where he can be a dark character, a charismatic and humorous character, a Robin Hood-esque thief, a traitor, a hero, a teacher. I think this new series could last, but the writers need to continue to explore Gambit's psychology and also give him some new, interesting villains to tangle with.

#49 Edited by SarahB (54 posts) - - Show Bio
@RedheadedAtrocitus said                

See that's great if you focus back to what he did best at one point, being a thief. Now I almost HAVE to get this and check it out. 
It really is  and I love this first issue but am a bit sad that Gambit wasn't prepared for the password.  It one thing to have something happen unexpected like the scarb but another to not plan a heist all the way.  That worries me.  The more I read of his interviews he really doesn't seem to think Gambit's that good at thieft and makes stupid mistakes that will drive the plot. .  I want to love this book but I want a master thief not just a guy who gets lucky some of the time.  Gambit being a stupid bumbler is what the dumb Deathbit was all about and is so hated for.  I'm really not interested in Gambit being his own worst enemy.  I hope the rest of the series stays as strong as the first issue and stays away from Gambit making lame mistakes again and again because that will make me drop a book I've seriously been looking forward to.  I love the whole thief who is a hero idea.  I'm worried this is more just hey Gambit's a thief who gets into trouble idea and that is not what I'm interested in.                      


#50 Posted by Sleepwalker570 (19 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope they do the Ragin' Cajun justice.

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