Two of my favorite comic books Marvel has published in the last five years is 2018’s Rogue & Gambit and 2019’s Mr. & Mrs. X. Both these series written by Kelly Thompson with artists Pepe Perez and Jan Bazaldua established the strong foundation of Rogue and Gambit’s modern day relationship now that they are married. Since then we’ve seen Rogue and Gambit continue to have a normal, supportive marriage into and throughout the Krakoa Era. Now Marvel is finally giving the fan-favorite couple a new mini-series, this time with writer Stephanie Phillips and artist Carlos Gomez as the creative team. Let’s see how this new mini-series starts off with Rogue & Gambit #1.
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Colorists: David Curiel and Federico Blee
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Someone stops a police convoy transporting Lady Deathstrike and kidnaps the arrested Lady Deathstrike.
Three days later Rogue saves a drunken Gambit from being taken out by the Thieves Guild.
Afterward, Destiny appears and asks Rogue and Gambit to bring Manifold to her as e is needed for something that is coming soon. While not okay with Destiny once again not being clear on what she saw in her future vision Rogue accepts the mission.
Rogue and Gambit find Manifold at a defunct Stark Laboratory in Nevada. Manifold tells the pair he is busy investigating the disappearance of Lady Deathstrike and other supervillains. When Manifold gets a lead connected to British Ambassador Reuben Brousseau, Rogue, and Gambit say they will help him out.
At a private airport outside Las Vegas Manifold, Rogue, and Gambit stop someone from selling Lady Deathstrike, which has a control chip embedded into her neck, off to Reuben Brousseau.
The woman in charge of the exchange activates a device that slowly drains Manifold, Rogue, and Gambit’s powers while they are fighting her security.
As they lose their powers Manifold, Rogue, and Gambit get quickly outnumbered. Using the last of his powers Manifold teleports Rogue and Gambit out of the area.
Manifold is captured and the woman from earlier implants a controlling chip on his neck. End of issue.
Stephanie Phillips and Carlos Gomez deliver on what exactly you want from a first issue. We get a look at Rogue and Gambit’s relationship, the dynamic with Destiny, and a set-up for a bigger mystery they will be involved with. It all comes together for what you want from the first issue of the new Rogue & Gambit series.
The opening sets the tone as a drunk Gambit being surrounded by the Thieves Guild showing that while he and Rogue have a stable relationship it’s not perfect. Their lives as X-Men keep them busy that even taking a vacation isn’t an easy thing for them to do. Phillips is careful to not lead this into a bigger conflict between the two. Instead, Phillips treats Rogue and Gambit as people who are willing to talk to one another rather than bottling things up.
This transitions well into how Destiny ends up factoring in. Phillips works Destiny’s hatred for Gambit well in this issue. Even though she hates Gambit, Destiny knows very well that if she tries to break Rogue and Gambit up it will only lead to ruining her relationship with her daughter.
This quickly leads to Destiny instead focusing on the future vision she saw that she needs Rogue’s help with. It’s a quick way to establish a major unknown threat given Destiny’s previous visions without getting into the weeds about every little detail. Tapping into how Destiny keeps things vague with her warnings sets the story in Rogue & Gambit up to have a sense of discovery for both the series leads and readers.
Manifold being brought in further expanded the scope of this story so it is not strictly tied to being another X-Men exclusive story. With his background with both the Avengers and X-Men, Manifold has the credibility of dealing with things across the Marvel Universe. This latest plot involving supervillains being kidnapped by an unknown force further establishes this being a story with a major scope.
Phillips also does a good job working on recent events to establish why Manifold is working on his own. But while things with Krakoa aren’t the best Manifold understands the bigger picture and knows that Rogue and Gambit would be a big help once he got a lead in the supervillain kidnapping. It’s another example of how Phillips makes sure to be efficient with the pages given to develop a story that naturally plays out by best utilizing each character’s personality.
Because of all that build-up, there is credibility built to how the supervillains are being kidnapped and sold off by a mysterious business. Whoever is in charge is shown kidnapping supervillains when they are easiest to capture, as we see with how Lady Deathstrike was taken when under police custody. This along with the power dampener used shows how well prepared the threat Rogue and Gambit are dealing with in this story.
Carlos Gomez’s artwork throughout Rogue & Gambit #1 adds to how fun this story is. The characters’ personalities shine through as the art compliments what each character is saying. The action we do get also highlights the powerhouses in Rogue, Gambit, and Manifold. This then leads to more drama with how Gomez shows the villains of this story utilize unexpected technology to defeat our heroes. David Curiel and Federico Blee’s vibrant coloring further elevated the artwork done by Gomez.
Rogue & Gambit #1 delivers on what you want from a first issue to kick off a new series. The chemistry between Rogue and Gambit shines with Destiny and Manifold’s inclusion creating fun dynamics to explore. The mystery of supervillains being kidnapped is well done to drive interest in what direction the rest of this mini-series will take.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10