The Sunset Dawn Book 3: Tomorrow Starts Today
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Anthony Williams (penciler), Andy Lanning (inker), Tom Smith (colors), Comicraft’s Troy Peteri (letters)
Summary: In 1891, the Thieves Guild finds Ozymandias’ chamber. Candra enters, thanking the Guild for showing her the way to Apocalypse’s secret library. She imprisons Ozymandias as the Guild researches the texts of the Old Kingdom. Meanwhile, Sinister stabilizes Courier’s cellular structure, but is unable to allow him to return to his original male form. Sinister uses a drilling device to take Gambit and Courier to Ozymandias’ chamber. There, Sinister defeats Candra, leaving her vulnerable to her fellow Externals, who are angered by her power play. Sinister removes the knowledge of the Old Kingdom from the Thieves Guild and surgically places it inside Gambit’s brain. After Sinister disappears, Gambit reveals to Courier that they’re stranded in the past.
Two subplot scenes set up future events in the series. Rogue is visited by Fontanelle and told to help Gambit’s friends in Latveria, while Archangel receives an assignment from New Son to kill Gambit.
According to Ozymandias, the Old Kingdom predates even Apocalypse’s birth.
Sinister’s ability to shapeshift and seeming immortality comes from the cell sample Gambit allows him to take from Courier. He assumes Courier can kill the sample, as he did in Gambit #9, but Courier is unable to repeat the same stunt for unknown reasons.
Later on, the idea of Sinister implanting secrets of the Old Kingdom in Gambit’s brain is somehow folded into the mysterious vial (or “bullet” as Nicieza used to call it) from Uncanny X-Men #350.
Review: You might remember the first hint of Gambit’s time traveling adventure came all the way back in issue #2, when Tante Mattie had a dream/flashback of Gambit saving her as a little girl. That event never works into this storyline, but Nicieza does throw in a reference to it on the next to last page, assuring us that Gambit will get around to saving Tante Mattie before returning home. If that leads you to believe that the time travel arc suffered from some last minute rewrites, or never really congealed the way it was supposed to, I can’t argue with you. For the first two chapters, I think the art was the major hindrance of the storyline, as the late nineteenth century setting and steampunk elements just didn’t translate. The story had promise, though. This issue, characters kind of pop up when needed, important plot developments occur with little-to-no explanation, and the event that was originally used to foreshadow this storyline finally occurs (we’re told) off-panel.
Plus, Gambit’s still stuck in the past, and if memory serves, the resolution of how exactly he returned is botched. It boils down to “he used his powers in a new way,” which is of course a stretch, but the execution was also hindered by the six month gap that was inserted into all of the X-books in early 2000. Gambit’s stuck in the past, six month gap, bam! He’s back. And he’s leader of the Thieves Guild, so I hope you guys aren’t absolutely sick of those pests yet. In fairness, Nicieza does use Ozymandias in a smart way this issue, playing off his original characterization as Apocalypse’s slave/librarian. And, even if her plan goes nowhere, this is one of the few times we’ve ever seen Candra show some ambition and actually do anything. But as far as Gambit goes, this isn’t a bad place to just say goodbye. You can always look online if you really want to find out who New Son was, anyway.