Catching up: Gambit

Every time the X-Men line hits the switch-it-up button, a few of the characters get a solo book out of the deal.  We’ve seen Nightcrawler, Bishop, Rogue, Cable, Mystique, Jubilee, etc. numerous times and it never seems to be able to stick.  Gambit is one of the ones that gets the solo book going pretty much every time the X-Men line hiccups, and for good reason.  Gambit’s the kind of character that really should work as a solo hero.  He’s a gambler, a thief, and a charmer.  He’s basically James Bond without the government ties and with British couth replaced with Cajun pizazz.

But for some reason, in a storyline sense, Gambit’s been weighed down for some reason,  There’s been something shackled to him that prevents him from using his basic traits and basically watering him down as a character.  What could it be?  Oh I don’t know….

In the past decade or so, Gambit’s existence around the X-Universe has been pretty much to sit around and be a good boy while Rogue goes on and on about her decisions and her problems and her life.  And that’s the kind of thing that happens when you get an X-Men book by an awesome writer tailored completely around you (we miss you, Mike Carey!).  But in the meantime, Gambit has been basically jumping around waiting for Rogue to make up her mind about whatever the hell she’s on about this time, so much so that she finally had to make a decision and DIDN’T choose him.

And now all the Rogue lovahs hate me, but I’ve got an entire Gambit/Rogue entry in the works to fuel that fire.

ANYWAY, I’m not the only one who thinks that helpful ex-boyfriend and mutant teacher isn’t the role for Gambit.  Turns out, Gambit himself is feeling that way too, and decides that he’s going to scratch the thieving itch and steal an evil something-or-other from a really bad person, because that’s what heroic thieves do.

And then all hell breaks loose.

Gambit‘s not going to be the major player book of the Marvel Universe, and it shouldn’t be.  It’s a solo title for a team character.  Gambit’s got a character type, thief, so why not have a heist book about it?  It’s the kind of dumb fun adventure that made the Uncharted games so much fun where reckless adventure for personal gain just gives the player, or reader in the Gambit case, a fun enjoyment.

But of course, the book didn’t completely hold to that.  It got a bit messed up with a thing about a mysterious girl with an ageless curse that was kind of cheesy and took the whole thing in a direction in which the moral path had to be paved in good for Gambit to go down.  And that’s something I really hate that always seems to be done with Gambit.  I want him to be a scoundrel that even with a heart of gold still does some scoundrel things.  He needs that dark edge that would just make the character just shady enough to keep interest in instead of what they seem to always go for which is good deeds because Rogue shows up to put him on the right path.  And that’s what they’ve done here.

Gambit was a fun little romp for a while, but being that the book’s on route for the chopping block, I’m not exactly going to miss it.  What was accomplished in the series could have easily been saved for a mini-series.  Gambit remains a character that could be a bit more if they would just get him out of the cleaned up boyfriend model.

Next up: Uncanny Avengers

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