Tuesday, July 14, 2009

X-Men Origns: Gambit

As I've said recently, I'm a big fan of the 'X-Men Origins' one-shots that Marvel have published over the past nine months or so, and I was particularly looking forward to reading Mike Carey's vision of Gambits origin: a character and a story that I'm not too familiar with.

This story is told over four chapters: Chapter 1 tells how the Remy LeBeau ('Gambit') meets, falls in love with and marries Bella Donna Boudreaux, daughter of Marius Boudreaux: a marriage that will join the Thieves and Assassins Guilds. Following the wedding ceremony Remy is challenged to a duel by Bella Donna's brother Julien, who considers the marriage an 'obscenity'. In the ensuing fight Remy kills Julien, leading the Assassins to demand recompense for their loss. Whilst Remy is receiving attention for his wounds, and in an attempt to spare his life, Bella Donna pleads with the Assassins to exile the two newlyweds.

Chapter 2 sees Remy high up in the snow-covered mountains seeking help from Mister Sinister. Remy explains that whilst he is able to build up charge inside his body, transfer it onto an object - a playing card for instance - and use this as a weapon he's no longer able to fully control his power. Sinister operates of Remy, modifying the power to allow Remy some control. In exchange for his help, Sinister employs Remy to recruit and lead a team of mercenaries - including Sabretooth and Scalphunter - he names The Marauders.

Chapter 3 sees the group on what Sinister tells Remy will be his last job: to guide The Marauders through the maze of sewers beneath the city. On reaching their destination the Marauders turn on Remy, leaving him for dead. Moments later, having recovered from the attack, Remy follows the Marauders only to discover them slaughtering mutants. Amongst the carnage Remy was able to rescue just one small child called Sarah, before escaping back through the sewers.

Bringing the story to a close, and using Remy's fathers pre-wedding words of advice as narration, the very short Chapter 4 sees Remy in Mississippi, coming to the rescue of a young, white-haired girl before fighting with her pursuers.

Overall, I thought this was a well-told, entertaining story complemented by some good artwork and with a very nice, eye-catching cover.

As well-told as it was the story did feel at times just a little rushed - after-all, there's a lot of ground covered over 30 pages - and I'd have been happy to see this story published over a two- or three-part mini-series.

I'm still not sure I've really learnt the Gambit origin story - I'd have liked to see Remy when he first discovered he was able to generate kinetic energy - but this book has given me the incentive to read more about the character's early life so, on that basis, it was a good buy and is most definitely recommended.

X-Men Origins: Gambit
Written by Mike Carey
Art by David Yardin, Ibraim Roberson, Nathan Fairbairn
Published by Marvel, 2009