Sometimes I find myself in a nostalgic mood. Comics nowadays are entirely too focused on story progression and character development—okay, that was a bit of a lie but bear with me. You can’t pick up an issue of “Wolverine” without him grappling with his own inadequacies and about half the ninja population of Japan. Remember the old days where heroes would stride off on a banal mission of little universal importance? That’s what “Gambit” brings back to this world of cross overs and world shattering events.
In the days of old, Gambit went around the country stealing jewels and hearts. Somewhere we lost that and Gambit became a character of the ether. There was no team for him and he kind of drifted in and out of existence. But now he’s come back in his own series where he goes on crazy adventures. He met Pete Wisdom and nearly got expelled from England and he took a crazy trip to some future island in the pacific—which brings me to my first point.
In this issue, Gambit doesn’t really have any motivation or drive. Sure he decides to do something but there isn’t anything that is overarching. He doesn’t have a grand quest that he’s been laboring at for years or someone he’s chasing down who he almost catches up to before they escape. No, in this issue, Gambit is bored. He’s taking a shower and thinking, “I don’t wanna be an Avenger with my ex. I don’t wanna be a teacher at Logan’s academy for the perpetually destroyed classrooms. What do I wanna do?” This is good and bad—more bad than good. It’s bad because if he’s not interested in where his life is going, why should we be? However, it’s good because then he can decide to do something completely random and nobody will berate him for it.
Gambit happens upon a news story—and by happen upon I mean a ghost wrote a message on his mirror (not an actual ghost it’s… well, spoilers be damned, let’s just say it’s a familiar face). The message gets him to turn on the TV and notice that somebody stole the bell on Wall Street. It’s a brilliant con because the bell isn’t worth jack crap, but any mess up on Wall Street causes huge dips in value on stocks and commodities. This was Gambit’s perfect crime and now somebody else has pulled it off. This means a CSI super hero team up with a cyborg police man that looks a lot like John Goodman from “The Big Lebowski”. They even throw in a cute trick where Gambit flashes the authorities Hawkeye’s Avenger badge in order to pass and whose art did they use in the photo of Clint? David Aja’s that’s who. Yeah, yeah, I was impressed that they referenced their short team up in “A+X” awhile back. Things like that make geeks like me foam at the moth for the cross reference.
The art was weirdly beautiful. It wasn’t from anybody that I recognize and it made me feel this weird sense of déjà vu. It looked so familiar, the art was so good and—it looks like Oliver Copiel. Relax guys, he’s not on the book but the art here is astonishingly similar. It was strange because all of the characters looked astonishing and the power affects were well designed to really pop from the page. A lot of time the art over shadowed the actual adventure.
Remember how I said the bad part of a character without focus is that we don’t care either? Well, one of the most laughably bad parts in the book came when Gambit got between a fight amongst gangsters and fish aliens. Nope, this is a thing. This happened and Gambit had to be the one to solve the problem. Don’t get me wrong, the book was a fun read. But I have never seen something so shamefully adding padding to a skimpy book. Yeah, the effects were cool but that hardly justifies three pages where nothing relevant happens.
The whole book together? It’s entertaining. I don’t know what else to tell you. Those of you who weren’t big Gambit fans to begin with won’t want anything to do with this book. It doesn’t have nearly the strength of story as “Invincible”. Yeah, from time to time “Invincible” has a silly, directionless issue. But Mark Grayson has a major arc that he is always experiencing and it is always informing what he does, like that time his character was powerless and he just floated into Comic-Con. Gambit is definitely for true fans of the character only and is 65% INVINCIBLE.