Rogue & Gambit’s latest mini-series got off to a good start. Stephanie Phillips and Carlos Gomez set up a major mystery around a group rounding up various mutants and other super-powered characters on Earth. This appears to not just be tied to what we have seen going on in the X-Men books. Phillips and Gomez are bringing in various corners including the Avengers for this story. How will things go next? Let’s find out with Rogue & Gambit #2.
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Colorists: David Curiel and Federico Blee
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Somewhere unknown Manifold finds himself locked up and told by a member of the Coven Akkaba that the price on their head is useful to the Coven Akkaba.
Elsewhere, after walking through the Nevada desert Rogue and Gambit, with their powers still barely usable, find a town 50 miles away from Las Vegas. While getting a drink of water at a saloon bar Gambit gets everyone to start dancing.
Black Panther suddenly shows up demanding to know where Manifold is. This immediately turns into a fight with Gambit and Rogue being quickly overwhelmed since their powers still haven’t fully returned.
Understanding this Gambit ties a woman to an oven and then lights an oven to cause a fire. Black Panther goes to save the woman, giving Gambit and Rogue a chance to escape.
Pissed that off Gambit would risk an innocent person’s life Rogue takes over the lead in their mission.
Rogue and Gambit then go back to Krakoa to get help from Forge. End of issue.
After a promising start Rogue & Gambit #2 drops the ball with getting the reader further invested in the adventures of Mr. and Mrs. X. The lack of investment comes from how we get tired of the plot point of the X-Men vs Avengers dominating this issue and get very little plot progression.
At this point, if you’ve seen one X-Men vs Avengers fight, you’ve seen them all. Nothing new is brought to the table with Rogue and Gambit vs Black Panther. We just fall into the same superhero must fight another superhero trope of any team-up story.
That is felt right away when Black Panther comes at Rogue and Gambit looking for a fight. There was no time given for these three to even mention what happened to Manifold. Even the explanation for Black Panther’s attitude came across as very thin. Especially since in Rogue & Gambit #1 that Manifold went to take on the Coven Akkaba right away. There was no time gap showing that Manifold would think about what Rogue and Gambit requested. This problem falls on the story structure being rushed just so we get this Rogue and Gambit vs Black Panther fight.
Not helping any is that no one looked good in this. Not only did Black Panther come out looking like a guy just ruled by anger but Gambit also looks just as bad. And it’s not only just putting an innocent person at risk. The entire issue Gambit shows no concern for Manifold being kidnapped in front of their eye. The way Phillips tries to pass it off is Gambit trying to spend quality time with Rogue but it’s one of those read-the-room moments. It definitely makes Gambit come across as the antagonist of the story, especially since we don’t see the face of the villain of the story.
The only one of the three that gets good development is Rogue. We see how she does try to place a focus on saving Manifold. Phillips does a good job at showing how while Rogue still wants to complete the mission Destiny gave them she was prioritizing saving Manifold. We even see her trying to get Black Panther to talk. Her taking the lead and going directly to Forge to help them find Manifold shows that she does come to the story as an experienced leader. It was definitely a needed strong characterization given how Black Panther and Gambit come across in this issue.
What definitely did no favors to this story was how quickly the Coven Akkaba part of the story is forgotten. We do get a couple of pages early in the issue but then this mutant kidnapping story Manifold is involved in is thrown to the side. This falls on the structure of Rogue & Gambit #2 decided to take since when you have a superhero vs superhero fight that ends up being the big impression left on the reader. Right now the only investment on the antagonist side is Manifold being the person needing to be saved. There is nothing to connect the reader to the bigger plot going on since that development has been minimal at best so far after two of the five issues of Rogue & Gambit.
The big positive for Rogue & Gambit #2 was Carlos Gomez’s artwork. The artwork constantly popped. Getting a chance to draw Rogue, Gambit, and Black Panther fight it out did give Gomez the chance to showcase their ability for fight choreography. The artwork in general continues to give this a fun animated look that does make it stand out from other Marvel comics.
Rogue & Gambit #2 is a disappointing follow-up to what was a promising start with the first issue of the series. Devolving the story into another superhero vs superhero fight was just not engaging. The next issue of Rogue & Gambit has a lot of work to do to recover from how Rogue & Gambit #2 dropped the ball.
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10