From Marvel Comics, James Asmus, Clay Mann.
I really wanted to like this book. After last week’s Hawkeye debut and Daredevil’s recent run I was hoping for another great solo series from the House of Ideas. Guess I’ll have to look elsewhere.
Gambit enters into a new corner of the Marvel Universe. He’s going to encounter new allies and enemies all of whom have existed all along, just off panel. I love adding new characters and ideas to the larger Marvel Universe. However, I did not expect one of those new characters to be Gambit himself. If this title was called Thief Man or something else it would be much more enjoyable. But its not Gambit, and it doesn’t work.
The story is that Gambit meets a new wealthy player in the Marvel Universe. He is collecting items from that universe – powerful items, and Gambit wants to steal a few. The theft goes wrong, a beautiful girl gets involved, and we’re set up for a 4-6 issue story in which Gambit will be chased by this guy. Oh, and Starro has jumped companies and infects Gambit.
As a Gambit book I hated it. He seems to be the same person introduced over 20 years ago with absolutely no growth. My biggest problem is when he gleefully uses the Jean Grey school as his way in to this house he is about to steal from. The whole point of the split, the schism if you will, that caused the Jean Grey school to form is that Wolverine did not want to put the mutant kids in danger anymore. So what better way to accomplish that but put the Jean Grey school front and center under the nose of a very powerful and ruthless man you are about to piss off.
Of course if this were to take place within established continuity of the Marvel Universe it would be all about the Avengers and the X-Men and the Phoenix and all of that. Also, there are a lot of number ones for a company about to (non) reboot.
This character has fought everyone possible and destroyed and saved and died and everything else. So what else would one do but drop down to petty thievery once again? Gambit comes across as a man who has learned nothing and gained nothing during his time with the X-Men and all related interactions with the Marvel Universe.
Now, lets take the Thief Man example. If this was a story about a brand new character who has amazing gadgets, romances women, steals from the powerful, and has this little explosive power with no connections to any other comic book character pre-existing that would be one hell of a book. No one would be think that the character isn’t true to what has come before, because there is no before for Thief Man! Is this a book about a street grifter, a superhero world or some sort of alien horror? That is a much more interesting angle. That sounds like a great pitch for an Image comic. Slapping Gambit’s name on the title instead of a new character (like Thief Man) guarantees that it sells many more copies, but that does not make for a better book.