ROGUE & GAMBIT #1
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Pere Pérez
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 1/3/17
One of Marvel’s most iconic couples, Rogue & Gambit, must team up again in order to help mutantkind in this first part of a 5-issue miniseries.
Plot: Mutants have been going missing and the X-Men have tied the disappearances back to a retreat offered for mutants. Kitty asks Rogue and Gambit to pretend to be a couple once again in order to go undercover and investigate.
Story: Marvel has been releasing a lot of 5-issue miniseries lately, and many of the ones I’ve read seem to struggle with pacing. While other series spend too long setting up the concept or introducing the team up, writer Kelly Thompson wastes no time diving into the story. By the end of the first issue, the two main characters have already started their mission and the issue ends with a cliffhanger that makes you want to keep going.
In addition to the great mystery plot posed, it’s obvious that the book isn’t going to just be about solving why the mutants have gone missing. Thompson examines the relationship problems between Rogue and Remy (Gambit), exploring the tension between them. While both characters recognize the difficulties of their past, they differ on their current stances. Rogue has all but given up on their relationship ever working, while Remy continues to push that they can make it work. This aspect adds a gripping emotional layer to the book that prevents it from being just another solid albeit mundane X-Men mission.
However, don’t let the relationship drama aspect deter you from reading this book if you’re looking for something fun. While they do have their serious moments, Rogue and Gambit have plenty of quippy dialogue and playful jabs to make the book lighthearted at times. There’s even a funny bit about Rogue’s past encounters with Deadpool that’s sure to make any reader laugh.
Art: Pere Pérez adds in tons of details to each panel to really build a world for this comic, both at the resort and in the Xavier Institute. I also enjoyed the way he draws movement in the training simulation, which was a sequence just as dynamic as any “real” fight sequence in a comic.
I would have however liked to see more chemistry between the characters through the art. How they’re presented on the page and their facial expressions don’t always match the emotion of the dialogue. While the extra background details in each panel work well for action scenes, it can distract from scenes where it’s just the two of them talking.
Frank D’Armata does a great job making focal points pop off the page with extra saturated colors. It’s a good reminder of just how colorful the X-Men universe can be, especially regarding the costumes (for example Psylocke’s purple outfit and energy blasts, Rogue’s green suit). Once the setting switches to a tropical paradise the pages become even brighter.
Verdict: With a great balance between heart and mystery, I’m looking forward to more of this story. Kelly Thompson has a strong grasp on the characters and it’s obvious she has taken a lot of time to try to understand the psychology of their relationship. While there are aspects of the art that can be improved upon, the action sequences are very good and the coloring is especially fantastic.