Marvel has been on a tear recently with new series. With Captain Marvel and Hawkeye being great, could Marvel release another great #1? Hell yes they could. Gambit #1 is a great first issue that is lots of fun, and worth addition to your pull list.
James Asmus has been an unsung hero at Marvel. He kept Generation Hope alive, and wrote a great three part annual story. So it’s about time that Asmus launched a book at Marvel. Gambit #1 sets up the purpose of the book well: that Gambit is trying to stretch out a little bit. He’s getting bored as a teacher. Nothing to jeopardize his job at the Jean Grey School, but something to take up his free time. The set up does seem a tad forced at the beginning, with Gambit conveniently finding a part to go to and steal stuff. That feeling goes once the excrement hits the ceiling fan. It’s nice to see a heist book acknowledge technology, and how hard it makes stealing these days. In the Thief of Thieves #7 review, I talked about how making items easier to steal ruins the fun of the story. Asmsus goes in the opposite, acknowledging how hard the art of stealing has become, and uses it to his advantage. It’s not crazy pseudo-science that breaks the story.
As with any book staring a teacher, Asmus works in how hard it’s going to be for Gambit to keep this up. It seems that a major part of this story is going to be Gambit’s self destructive tendencies. He’s a character who the reader wants to see succeed, but he keeps killing himself. I’ve never been a huge fan of Gambit. His story has never appealed to me, but I picked up Gambit #1 because Asmus and Clayton Mann were attached. After reading the first issue, I’ll be back for a few months. But the biggest point in the win column for this series is that it tones down the super heroics. Much like Gotham Central, it’s firmly in a comic universe, but doesn’t rely on the same superhero tropes that have been written for the last fifty years. Gambit is going to be a series to watch in the coming months.
Clayton Mann was a great penciler on Spider-Girl. His pencils aren’t as superhero-y here, with the fine inks and soft colors giving the book a grounded look. The inking works well for establishing a human story, but we are dealing with super heroes here. I’d like to see Sean Mann’s inks become a tad bolder as the series goes on. With most of the book being banter, Clayton Mann focuses on nailing the facial cues. The eyes can be a little hard to discern, as many are wearing sunglasses. Characters retain their facial features even when the panel zooms out, which has become a lost art in superhero books these days. I’d like to see Mann pencil some of Gambit’s powers more, as the quick appearance of them looks decent.
Gambit #1 gets 4/5.
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