And so, James Asmus and Clay Mann wrap up their run on Gambit, and I have to say, that for a mainstream superhero book, this was actually a very satisfying conclusion, with Asmus wrapping up not only the main plot of the series, but also the theme of the story, of whether or not Gambit is a hero or a thief. The answer he comes to is of course that he’s both, but it was entertaining to see him get there, and to see the various elements of the last 16 issues return.
We pick up right where we left off, with Gambit in the middle of a prison riot, about to be killed by Borya Cich and a bunch of super-powered villains. After an entertaining fight (I loved Icemaster and his Wolverine claws), Gambit does something very unexpected… he calls for back-up. Not only do Pete Wisdom and MI:13 show up, and as a Brit it’s always awesome to see them make an appearance, but Rogue and some other Uncanny Avengers arrive as well! Bringing out the big guns for the finale! Just as it looks like Gambit’s reinforcements have saved the day… he gets shot in the head by Cich. This was a great moment, as this book has always done a good job of balancing the real world of being a criminal, and the crazy Marvel Universe, so having Gambit be taken out not by any laser-beams or superpowers but by a normal bullet was very appropriate.
Of course, Gambit isn’t dead for long, as Faiza brings him back to life (that was a beautifully disgusting panel from Clay Mann) only 2 pages later. Now, that may seem a little cheap, but it’s made awesome by how Gambit defeats Cich. The bullet he was shot with is now inside his mouth, and he charges it up with his pink energy and spits it at Cich. I’ve always thought that Gambit’s powers could be used in many more interesting ways than just charging up playing cards, and Asmus has done a good job at showing just how versatile these abilities can be, and none more so here.
So, with Cich out of the way, all that remains to be answered is where Remy Labeau ends up. He turns down Rogue’s offer of membership in the Uncanny Avengers, and he also turns down the Thieves’ Guild. So he’s back at the Jean Grey School playing basketball with Quentin Quire (on grass for some reason), and all is well. I loved the dialogue between Gambit, Wolverine and Kitty at the end here, and how they made fun of Gambit’s reputation as a ‘sexy’ hero as he chose to be skins in the basketball game. Only, all is not well, as in a cool ending twist, the Thieves’ Guild actually have chosen Gambit as their new leader. I’m not sure where or when this new status quo will be reflected in the numerous X-Men books, but I’m certainly excited by it, having a character balance being an upstanding hero and a teacher, at the same time as being the leader of an international crime syndicate, wow, that’s great, it sounds like the perfect pitch for a Gambit ongoing series! Oh wait, shit.
I’ll miss this series, Gambit has always been one of my favourite X-Men, and it was good to have a solo series for a Mutant that isn’t Wolverine. Asmus always had a lot of fun with the character and the Marvel Universe, and Clay Mann’s art was excellent, even when in issues like this, where it was only layouts. If you ignored this book during it’s run, you should really check out the trades, it’s a cool, interesting look at the character, and it may just change the way you think about the Ragin’ Cajun.