Monday, September 3, 2012

I Reads You Review: GAMBIT #1

"The Remy LeBeau Affair"


WRITER: James Asmus
PENCILS: Clay Mann
INKS: Seth Mann
COLORS: Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERS: VC’s Cory Petit
COVER: Clay Mann and Seth Mann with Rachelle Rosenberg; variant cover by Chris Bachalo
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S.

Marvel Comics superhero character, Gambit, is known as a member of the X-Men (one team or another). Before he was an X-Man, he was Remy LeBeau, a thief. He has the mutant ability to mentally create, control and manipulate pure kinetic energy. The best example of those powers-in-use is when Gambit “biokinetically” charges objects (such as playing cards) and turns them into small explosives.

Marvel has previously published two ongoing Gambit solo comic book series. The third is a new series written by James Asmus and drawn by the team of Clay Mann (pencils) and Seth Mann (inks). Asmus is an actor, playwright and sketch comic (and, yes, that’s what it has come to).

Gambit #1 (“Once a Thief…” Part One) finds our (anti) hero back to his old life on the wrong side of the law. Businessman Borya Cich is holding a fundraiser for the students of Empire State University at his palatial, private estate in Sagaponack, New York. Cich also has a reputation as a mogul who bankrolls “costumed bad-guys.”

With an invitation in hand, Gambit plans to not only attend the fundraiser as a guest, but to also crash Cich’s secret stash of super-gadgets and magical items. Security is tight, but Remy LeBeau, super-thief, can handle it. When the unexpected happens and things go wrong, LeBeau has to avoid being handled.

Having writers who come from outside of the comic book industry write comic books means having writers that inject fresh ideas into the medium. The fresh idea in Gambit #1 is having Remy LeBeau act as a kind of scruffy, superhero version of Thomas Crown (of the film, The Thomas Crown Affair) or maybe even of Danny Ocean (Ocean’s Eleven). I did write just a few paragraphs ago that it has come to that. What I mean is that this is just another comic book trying not to be a comic book, when the creators can make it act like a movie – of the kind you’ve probably already seen a hundred times.

I must also admit that while I didn’t expect much of this issue, I did find it mildly entertaining in spots. However, Asmus writes way too much interior dialogue, and the other characters are mostly empty paper.

When I first flipped through the book, I was appalled by the art. After reading it, I can say that the compositions and storytelling are good, but that murky, fake, watercolor-style color has got to go. I wouldn’t mind reading future issues of this series, but I won’t pay $2.99 again to do it.


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