Rogue and Gambit have had one of the more complicated on-and-off relationships in the Marvel Universe. Though it has been a while since they’ve been an official couple the two are still connected with one another as part of various X-Men teams. Now the two are going get to possibly work out their problems with each other in a new mini-series of their own. Though I’ve been let down by the core X-Men comics what makes this Rogue and Gambit mini-series more intriguing is that it is being written by Kelly Thompson. Thompson has a fantastic resume with her work on Hawkeye being one of the shining gems at Marvel. Now given another Marvel comic Thompson can further build on her resume with one of the X-Men’s most iconic couples. Let’s see how things begin with Rogue & Gambit #1.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Pere Perez
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: While revisiting their past Gambit and Rogue are shown getting into a fight.
Sometime earlier several mutants are chased down an alley by a mysterious being. The being uses its powers to knock the three mutants out to complete its program.
In the present Gambit visits Storm at the Danger Room control room. When he hears that Rogue is in the Danger Room training he decides to join her.
As soon as Gambit enters the Danger Room Rogue tells him that it is a closed session. Gambit still joins in and ends up distracting Rogue long enough for the last Sentinel to punch her to the ground. Gambit destroys the Sentinel before Rogue gets killed.
As the training session ends Pixie and Armor comment on Rogue and Gambit’s history, something Psylocke confirms.
Rogue throws Gambit off her saying that she may be looking for simpler times but not the past.
Gambit chases after Rogue and tries to convince her to go to dinner with her to catch up as best friends. Rogue quickly turns him down and reminds him that right now her powers are out of control again. Kitty calls Rogue to her office to end the conversation with Gambit.
In her office Kitty goes over a suspicious resort offering to free mutants from their trauma. Kitty goes on to say she would like Gambit and Rogue to infiltrate the resort as a romantic couple since their past together makes it easy for them to get through without a problem. Rogue can’t believe it and says Gambit won’t go for it, something Kitty bets he will.
Later on a private jet Rogue is still pissed that Gambit agreed before he even saw her. Making things a bit lighter Gambit brings up how Rogue recently kissed Deadpool. Rogue corrects him by saying she didn’t kiss Deadpool, instead made out with him much to Gambit’s annoyance.
Landing in Paraiso Rogue and Gambit are greeted by a resort attendant who tells them about their first session and that they will be sharing a room together, much to Rogue’s charging.
After they get settled in Rogue and Gambit have a quick chat with their neighbors and agree to grab a drink with them later. Once alone Rogue and Gambit comment that their neighbors did seem oddly happy.
Walking to their first session Rogue reminds Gambit they are there on a mission, not to fix their “problems.” Gambit understands since he has been the one carrying their baggage alone for some time. Rogue asks Gambit why he keeps carrying it instead of letting it go. Gambit says he knows they aren’t there for them but maybe the resort can help them work out their issues.
Inside the therapy room Rogue and Gambit are strapped to different beds with Rogue commenting “You Were Saying?!” End of issue.
The Good: It’s easy to forget that while they are an well-known Marvel couple it has been some time since we have seen Rogue and Gambit together. The two have actually been running around in different circles for the last few years, with Rogue splitting her time with the Avengers and X-Men while Gambit has been more of a hero-for-hire appearing sporadically. Understanding that Kelly Thompson uses all that along with the characters history together to deliver a comic in Rogue & Gambit #1 that is a pure delight.
The strength of Rogue & Gambit #1 is that Kelly Thompson treats it as a true first issue that can be enjoyed by fans of both characters and the X-Men in general while also appealing to new fans. That is something not easily accomplished, as we’ve seen with many Marvel relaunches in the past. But Thompson is able to achieve this by peppering the history Rogue and Gambit have with each other and the X-Men for long time fans to get. At the same time she does not use that history to make the reader feel left out.
And even with Rogue & Gambit #1 being heavy on dialogue Thompson writes every scene to read quickly. There is never a sense were you have to stop to think about when a certain reference took place. Just like the characters you as the reader are moving quickly to get to what is going on next. This pacing works perfectly with how Thompson wrote Rogue and Gambit, as the former wanted to end each conversation quickly while the latter didn’t.
Speaking of which, Thompson did a very good job at getting across how Rogue and Gambit are both at different stages in their lives. Rogue especially has gone through multiple changes since they were last a couple. And now that she has been splitting her time between the Avengers and X-Men we do see how she does seem to carry more responsibilities on her shoulders. That sense of responsibility compliments how Rogue’s absorption power are once again in flux, forcing her to rely on her super strength and flight powers, as a way to still be distance from others.
Rogue’s current status makes Gambit’s presence back in her life even more interesting. Because for Rogue we see how Gambit is one of the few people that can throw her off her game. He is able to poke at a side that she may not normally show others. In getting that side out of her we are able to see why she is against teaming up with Gambit for any mission, especially one that involves them acting like a couple.
On Gambit’s side of things, he did bring out the fun of seeing the two teaming up. Thompson did a good job in balancing out the fun of Gambit attempts at flirting and failing with some real talk towards the end. There was a good balance of this throughout Gambit’s scenes with Rogue that kept him from looking like a jerk. And his constant attempts at flirting made Rogue mentioning she made out with Deadpool an even funnier back and forth than what it should’ve been.
While Rogue and Gambit are front and center of this issue it was Thompson does a nice job using various X-Men as supporting cast members. Storm’s scene with Gambit does a lot to show how he has some close relationships in the team that aren’t tied to Rogue. Gambit continuing to push the nickname he has for Storm and her not really fighting hard to keep Gambit from calling her “Stormy” was a good use of continuity.
Similarly, Rogue’s scene with Kitty does a good job of using the current status quo of the X-Men, where Kitty is the Headmaster right now. Though given a lighter tone it was fun to see Kitty pull rank on Rogue as the reason she did not assign the resort investigation to herself and Colossus. It was also a good change of pace for Kitty, who has been acting much more serious since taking over leadership of the X-Men, to have a light hearted conversation with one of her close teammates.
Pere Perez art style was at home with the story that Thompson delivered with Rogue & Gambit #1. For a dialogue heavy issue Perez was able to convey how flirtatious and frustrating things got between Rogue and Gambit during their scenes together. He also help make the more comedic scenes come off better thanks to how he drew the characters during those moments. As this series moves forward it’ll be interesting to see Perez get some action scenes to draw on top of the dialogue heavy scenes.
The Bad: Though it is understandable that Rogue and Gambit would get the lion share of the attention for this first issue the balance did seem off from how the antagonist of this series were built. There was no real sense of who they were or what they are after in the short time we had to learn about what is going in the resort. I’m sure that is going to be fixed in following issue but given how secretive things were, it is hard not to be skeptical on how big of a threat they will actually be.
Overall: Kelly Thompson delivered a comic that was fun from beginning to end with Rogue & Gambit #1. As soon as you open the comic Thompson showed her clear understanding of Rogue and Gambit’s history together. She then took that history to craft a comic that was easy to see where Rogue and Gambit were coming from whenever they shared screen time together. Adding in some classic members of the X-Men added to the history of the two leading characters and pushed the story forward. If you are an X-Men fan this is one comic that should be on your radar to purchase the next time you’re at your LCS, if it wasn’t already.