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Gambit: House of Cards

July 3, 2009

I’m thinking about adding another writer to the blog. This isn’t because I’ve run out of things to write about, more it’s to up the amount of content on here and make it more interesting with newer stuff more often (i.e. my off days Tues, Thurs, Sat). My idea is still just a kernel but if I start putting feelers out there you’ll see it on here.

Anyway, lets get to today’s review.

Background: This is one of the only series that I know of where the X-man Gambit is the main character. It’s focused on him and his adventures when he’s not with the X-men. More-or-less it’s about when he goes back home to New Orleans.

The trade I have is written by John Layman a former editor for Wildstorm Comics. He’s been writing for Marvel since 2002. I think his most well known work is Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness. You can take that or leave it.

The book I have is comprised of issues 1 – 6. It has two different pencillers, Georges Jeanty and Roger Robinson. Jeanty has worked all over, underground studios, DC, Marvel. I know him from the Buffy series, I don’t personally read that one but I have a friend that does.

I couldn’t find much information on Robinson, one site said that someone with that name worked for DC on Batman and Superman comics. I do know that he worked on issue 6 for this series.

The Comic: This particular collection follows Gambit on his first visit home since he became an X-man. He meets up with some old friends including a club bouncer who is a mutant and an old black man that tells the future with cards, or something like that.

Pretty much Gambit finds himself in trouble relatively quickly and is already working a job to steal something for a young woman. Backstabbing, intrigue, action, and lust quickly follow.

The art is well done and the story is decent. It’s about a guy who’s a thief with powers and gets caught up in an occult problem. Boom, done.

I bought two of the Gambit collections #1 and #2. Personally, I’m disappointed in the series.

Gambit has been my favorite X-man since I was a little kid, we’re talking back when the old-school X-men cartoons were on in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I’ve read most of his stories and know a good deal about his background and it always disappoints me how the character is treated by writers.

In most of the cartoons—save the 80’s/90’s cartoon—Gambit is a secondary character who just kind of appears at random, sometimes with the X-men and sometimes with the Brotherhood of Evil. They never really explore him, and yet fucking Kitty Pride gets tons of exposure. I hate Kitty, she is boring and uninteresting and yet better, lesser X-men are pushed out of the way for her. It’s crap.

The comics aren’t much better. There have been stints in the X-men series where Gambit has been treated well, the Antarctica story-line is pretty good and his involvement in the mutant massacre is what really opened up his character to me. It’s a great arc if you ever get a chance to read it I recommend picking it up.

His story is just as convoluted as any X-men’s, save Wolverine and Jean Grey who take the cake when it comes to ridiculous story arcs but the basic tenets of his backstory are filled with enough drama, character development, and incidents that it always surprises me that no one has taken the time to sit down and explore them. I think that the character is cheated.

The particular series that I’m looking at leaves him as a shallow, violent man with nothing to really redeem him. Even in his most basic good gestures Gambit comes off as a shallow, selfish human. Had the writer explored that some and really developed that it would have made a great series. As is…it’s just another broken promise that is a Gambit comic.

If you want a pretty comprehensive bio of Gambit check out this place.

Tell me that his origin story wouldn’t be a pretty cool arc to explore with a good writer. The character needs it.

My Recommendation: It’s a simple comic with my favorite X-man as the lead. I’m both drawn to and pushed away by this comic.

If you really like Gambit I’d say pick it up, but if you want something a little deeper steer clear. It’s not that kind of comic.


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