Thursday, August 23, 2012

GAMBIT #10 - November 1999

Waiting for the Princess
Credits: Fabian Nicieza & Steve Skroce (story & art), Rob Hunter (inker), Shannon Blanchard (colors), Comicraft’s Troy Peteri (letters)

Summary: In 1943, Gambit’s father Jean Luc helps Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos prevent Baron von Strucker and Candra from obtaining a magical jewel called “the Momentary Princess.” Today, the jewel is scheduled to materialize again in Germany. Gambit answers his father’s request to retrieve it, which leads him to a society party attended by Fenris and Sekmeht Conoway. Gambit correctly discerns where it will appear, but is too distracted by Conoway and Fenris to retrieve it. Meanwhile, Courier takes Silent Bill to meet New Son, and Fontanelle invades Archangel’s nightmare about the Mutant Massacre.

Continuity Notes:
· According to the narrative captions, Jean Luc Lebeau was a young boy undergoing his Ceremony of Tilling when the Princess first appeared in 1887.
· Two scenes set in the future continue the story of the Princess. In 2028, a married Gambit and Rogue retrieve it while hiding from Sentinels. In 2084, the Witness’ team of scientists is using the Princess to study time travel.

Review: Not to be outdone by John Francis Moore’s X-Force, Fabian Nicieza is determined to cram as much story as possible into Gambit. The story of Gambit futilely searching for a plot device could easily be dismissed as filler, but Nicieza gives you the sense that the Princess truly is a Big Deal, and the selection of characters he’s placed in the jewel’s path is interesting. (I can’t honestly say that the Momentary Princess really did amount to anything, though.) The main draw of the story is watching Nicieza effortlessly merge modern X-characters Candra and Jean Luc, Claremont-era X-characters Fenris, and Silver Age classics like Nick Fury and Baron Strucker into the same plot.

The subplots also offer some promise, as Nicieza continues to handle material the main X-titles have foolishly ignored. Less than a year after revealing Gambit’s connection to the Mutant Massacre, Marvel expected readers to buy Gambit’s reunion to the team as if it was no big deal. The members of the X-Men who were maimed and/or horribly tortured during the Mutant Massacre -- Nightcrawler, Colossus, Shadowcat, and Archangel -- apparently just shrugged their shoulders and accepted it. And let’s not forget Marrow, who’s a) a psychopath, and b) an orphan due to Gambit’s actions. Ignoring the ramifications of the Gambit/Marauders retcon was sheer incompetence on the part of the editorial staff. Nicieza isn’t able to make all of this right, but he does thankfully put in a real effort in the coming months.

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