Gambit Vol. 2: Tombstone Blues Review

With news of Channing Tatum potentially playing Remy Lebeau in a Gambit solo movie, we chose to highlight the character by looking at some recent comic books. Consider this the day of Gambit, Part II!

Nothing has been confirmed about this movie officially, but we decided to take a look at some Gambit comics anyway. Specifically, we chose to look at the most recent run by writer James Asmus and main artist Clay Mann.

Overview

Volume 2: Tombstone Blues kicks off with a one-off story about Remy saving some kidnapped mutant students from an abandoned city. But the real story starts off in the following issue, where Gambit is tracking down Joelle. Remy thinks she’s in danger and he aims to save her. This involves Gambit having to attend a costumed party for super villains.

Gambit gets more than he bargained for at this party, not only struggling with an avoidant Joelle but villain Tombstone makes an appearance. If you’re not familiar with Tombstone, just know that this is a guy who filed his teeth down into sharp daggers. Oh, and he’s albino with a pig nose. Basically, Tombstone is not a guy you want to mess with.

Analysis

Tombstone Blues really gets going after that first issue and Asmus creates an interesting premise with it, especially with the super villain party. That’s something I’ve never seen done in a comic book before.

One of my favorite parts, though, is when Remy shows up to this party in a 90’s inspired, classic Gambit look as his costume. It’s hard not to delight in this moment as it’s so perfectly rendered by artist Clay Mann – a man who was born to draw old school Gambit.

Like Once A Thief, Asmus weaves a story worthy of the spy and action genres – one where Remy and Joelle travel deeper down the rabbit hole of whatever mess they’ve put themselves in. But it wouldn’t be a Gambit book without some fun banter, and let’s just say Asmus offers us a delightful amount. To write Gambit properly you need to dance a fine line, just like Remy himself does, between playfulness and tempered deviousness. Asmus has this ability in spades and by the time he introduces Rogue all bets are off (warning: puns galore, mes amis!).

The stakes are higher this time around too. Instead of Boyra Cich, Remy has Tombstone on his tail. Asmus throws in a couple appearances of Rogue as I said and, fanfare or not, she doesn’t feel out of place whatsoever. Her emergence in the story is organic and it helps to bring another dimension to Remy’s character.

The only downside with Asmus’ handling of Tombstone Blues is that it doesn’t offer up a very creative conclusion, but such a standpoint sort of misses the point. Gambit isn’t about reinventing the wheel. It’s all about delivering a fun rollicking ride and, in that sense, it can hardly have done better!

My primary complaint lies with the art and its inconsistencies. If all of these pages could have been drawn by Clay Mann there would have been no issue on my part. As it stands, the various artists used to, presumably, help Mann meet deadlines can cause some jarring transitions. It should be said, however, that it is not uncommon for this to happen with monthly comics as the short deadlines can be very demanding for artists. Besides the transition issues, the supporting artists do a fine job.

Score

I’ve become a big fan of Asmus’ Gambit. It’s a sad feeling, though, as with each issue I read there is a constant reminder that it all will come to an end, just as soon as it began. So it’s with that bittersweet feeling that I receive Volume 3 today, the final collection in a great, if short run on Gambit. This should stand as an example, that the only choice we have as fans of cancelled work is to buy up these hidden gems and support the creators who made them and hope someone takes notice.

With Asmus and Mann at the helm, Gambit fires on all cylinders!

9.0

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