Friday, January 4, 2008

GAMBIT #1 – December 1993

Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Lee Weeks (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Steve Buccellato (colorist), Richard Starkings (letterer)

Gambit’s brother in the Thieves Guild, Henri, infiltrates the X-Men’s mansion to give him a message. Henri says that it’s “the tithing time” and that all Guild members need to be in New Orleans. He also tells Gambit that his brother-in-law, Julien, is still alive and that the peace between the Thieves and Assassins Guilds is over. Suddenly, Herni is shot with an arrow. Gambit tracks down the Assassin Guild killers and discovers his brother-in-law really is alive. Julien attempts to recreate the duel that apparently killed him the first time, and is once again seriously injured. The Assassins teleport way, as Julien tells Gambit that Bella Donna is also still alive. Gambit leaves for New Orleans to investigate, and Rogue convinces him that she should go along.

Continuity Notes
Julien is the unnamed Assassin in solid black from the Ghost Rider crossover issues. He was believed dead after he engaged Gambit in a duel after he married Julien’s sister.

Gambit’s accent still isn’t very thick in this issue (no “des” or “dats” that I can find). That leaves Scott Lobdell as the only writer during this time giving Gambit such an exaggerated accent.

“Huh?” Moments
Couldn’t Henri just call Gambit on the telephone? The fight scene with Julien and Gambit is also awkward, as it looks like Julien just leaps on top of Gambit’s sword.

This issue has a cardstock foil embossed cover.

Commercial Break
Have you witnessed the sublime beauty of the Dragon Strike VCR game?

Hey, it’s that Gambit mini-series that came out a few years before everyone decided they hated him. Just like Cable’s solo stories, I don’t really remember anything about this mini. I was half-expecting it to be a train wreck, but the first issue at least isn’t that bad. It’s a fairly basic action story that’s setting up future events in the series. The story’s helped a lot by Lee Weeks, a great artist who’s never received his proper credit. Janson’s rough inks also help to distinguish the book from the house style of the era’s X-titles. I’ve mentioned before that the X-titles were becoming even more homogenized during 1993, and this issue is no exception. A large section of this issue is dedicated to Rogue and Gambit working out in the Danger Room while Storm and Wolverine offer commentary. Gambit gets into some action on his own, but then leaves with Rogue at the end of the issue. It reads like it could have been a typical issue of X-Men that just happened to focus on Gambit. Howard Mackie’s able to fit into the faux-Claremont mold of the titles during this time, which probably explains why he’ll continue to work on various X-books until the end of the ‘90s. He manages to keep the story moving and build up a decent level of suspense, although there is an overall blandness to the dialogue.


Fnord Serious said...

I agree that Lee Weeks is a vastly underrated talent. As for Gambit, I was never all that hot on him from the beginning. I think I bought the Sabertooth #1 you reviewed yesterday, but I passed on the Gambit.

LurkerWithout said...

Dragon Strike you say? What an odd coincidence

Luke said...

Dragon Strike? Good Gravy, I remember those ads! *shuddder!*

I was wondering if this series would be close coming, what with the Sabretooth one last week. I distinctly remember both of those being released that summer, as I was working part time in a video rental store/comic book shop at the time. I also remember thinking, 'Dammit, Nightcrawler should get another miniseries!', but maybe I'm lucky that didn't happen.

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