It is quite apt that James Asmus and Clay Mann opt to begin the “Rajun Cajun’s” latest ongoing series, “Gambit”, with Remy being completely nude, and soon after, pondering the impracticability of his iconic pink chest plate. It is very clear from Asmus’s first issue, that this is Gambit stripped.
Along with the cerise costume, headpiece and trench coat, gone too are the French dialogue flourishes that have defined Remy LeBeau since his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #266. As a lifelong Gambit fan – I even have the tattoo to prove it – it is somewhat unsettling on first read because of this. Where is the character I love?
The story of a heist on a university benefactor come crime lord could be told with any smart mouthed ladies man, and for a while, it almost seems like this is the case but in the middle of the caper Asmus ramps up the intelligence and style of Remy LeBeau (not to mention the sheer luck of the guy) and it is very clear that this is Gambit on the page.
Asmus succeeds in delivering a well paced escapade, and you are left wanting more (well, this Gambit fan was at least) but still feeling you got some bang for your three bucks, and whilst the writer has said that he doesn’t want draw upon the familiar story beats that other writers have in the past when tackling LeBeau’s past, it’s comforting to the fanboy that it’s not completely forgotten in the first couple of pages.
Where the book really shines however, is in Mann’s art. Ever since Clay Mann redesigned Remy LeBeau for Mike Carey’s Age of X I’ve known the man can draw Gambit the way I believe he needs to be drawn. Gambit should be sexy…really, really sexy. Mann draws a very handsome Gambit both in his costume and in more formal tuxedo too. It feels very fashion magazine in parts, but it works, and this adds to the more street level feel of the book.
It goes without saying that I’m in this for the long haul, being a fan of Asmsus’s previous work, and Clay Mann’s visual interpretation of Remy LeBeau. And I do think both of the key creators have it in them to make this the definite portrayal of Remy LeBeau. However, I am hoping that more familiar character traits do find their way into Gambit’s new adventures, as I’ve always loved the man the way his is.
Advance Review by Antony Ellis
Writer: James Asmus
Penciller: Clay Mann
Inker: Sean Mann
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit