Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gambit Classic, Vol. 1

Gambit Classic, Vol. 1

Gambit Classic, Vol. 1 / Chris Claremont & Howard Mackie
New York : Marvel Publishing, 2009
Pencils by Bill Jaaska, Mike Collins Jim Lee, and Lee Weeks
Collects Uncanny X-Men #265-267 and Gambit #1-4
168 p.

When Storm is reverted to a teenage mutant thief, she's rescued by fellow felon Gambit in his first appearance! But befriending even one X-Man means making enemies like the Shadow King, Orphan-Maker and the Hounds! After joining the X-Men himself, Gambit romances fellow southern-born super hero Rogue, but how can a thief steal a power-taker's heart when his assassin bride is back from the dead? Plus: Wolverine, Mystique and more! L'aventure est a l'interieur, mon ami!

Yeah, so a collection of comic books. It's not a book... it's not even a graphic novel in the strictest sense, but when it comes to my blog, you take what you can get. And when it comes to Gambit Classic, what you get is pretty damn good.

I don't know anything about comic books. Outside of Buffy/Angel stuff and the Sandman, I'm pretty much lost, but I've been drawn to it more lately, mostly through my friend Ryan who talks about X-Men a lot and is compiling me an annotated bibliography (as we librarians love to do in our spare time) of all the best stuff to read to kind of catch up. I am promised X-Men and Batman with a sprinkling of Superman. I asked for some about Danger Girl and her breasts, but he doesn't know much about her.

So he handed me this Monday and said "by Thursday." It's basically two story arcs from the beginning of Gambit's... tenure? The first involves Storm who after some purportedly complex string of events, reverted to a teenage version of herself who knows nothing of the X-Men and kinda just goes around stealing things Robin Hood-style until she gets in a bind and Gambit appears for the first time ever and helps her out. Basically this entire story (by Chris Claremont, incidentally, who is credited with some golden X-Men years and some of the best characters like Gambit, obvs) was really confusing to me because it was like coming in during the middle of a soap opera. The Nanny, Orphan-Maker, and the Dark Somethingorother were all over the place, and I had no idea who or what they were, so basically you have to just blow through it saying "Ok, things are bad, Storm is less cool than usual, and Gambit will fix it all!" And then you realize it's a pretty good story except for Orphan Maker, who's pretty lame and the Nanny who looks like a giant robotic Humpty Dumpty.

The second arc in the book is a stand-alone so it makes a lot more sense. All you need to know is that sometime between the Storm story and now, Gambit and Rogue have done a good bit of flirting and are kinda lovey now. There are a couple paragraphs summing it all up. Anyway, Gambit's brother shows up at the mansion and is killed, so Gambit returns to New Orleans to deal with this sort of guild war between the thieves (his family) and the assassins. His wife, who he thought was dead, is dying, there's this other sexy mean woman who he has neat chemistry with, and Rogue ends up following him and taking care of his wife, so there's a lot of boy/girl stuff going on that paints the cavalier, rough, cowboyish-with-a-heart portrait that makes him so generally well-liked by fans. The whole idea of the guilds themselves is kinda lame and doesn't always make sense, but Gambit and Rogue's emotional issues fuel the story.

Aside from the general artistic and story-telling qualities that are always evaluated in book reviews, I feel like comic books have a third dimension among nerds: a sort of Awesomeness Factor. A story can be bad and the art kinda average, yet you still walk away going "OMG COOL!" The art in this book is nice. The stories are pretty ok... but I'm going to posit that any story involving Gambit will have a higher-than-normal Awesomeness Factor and is therefore worth checking out.

In conclusion.... I like the X-Men? Gambit is sexy in the Wolverine movie? Maybe sometimes you're gonna hear more about comic books? The end.

Gambit Classic, vol. 1

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