Review: GAMBIT #16

Written by James Asmus
Art by Clay Mann, Rachelle Rosenberg
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 28th, 2013

GAMBIT2012016_DC11_LRThe Ragin’ Cajun has lost some of his spark in recent years, forfeiting many of his wilder habits in favor of teaching the mutants of tomorrow and saving the world with the X-Men. But while you can take a thief out of the Thieves Guild, you can’t take the Thieves Guild out of the thief, a lesson James Asmus is making sure Remy won’t forget with his soon-ending run of Gambit.

Picking up on last issue’s cliffhanger, Asmus doesn’t dally in giving his readers answers, though the solution to last issue’s predicament may strike some as too simplistic. Threadding Thieves Guild backstory into conversation, Asmus presents both old and new information, and gives Remy the opportunity to air his opinions outside of monologue boxes. He introduces characters first by giving them a page to interact on their own, then by following up with explanations through a character with more information than could be comfortably tucked in normal conversation, using humor to smooth over the cliche of a verbal wiki rundown.

Asmus shows continued care in highlighting what has made the title such an engaging read: Remy’s intelligence and cleverness in finagling his way through even the most complex of situations, and the mutant’s ongoing inner turmoil that has him at odds with himself. It’s this consistent showcase of both sides of Remy’s character even in the midst of continuous action and suspense that has kept the book engaging to its fans, alongside Asmus’s sense of humor.

From the first page to the last, Mann keeps his layouts dynamic, panel styles kept simple when the focus should be on the dialogue and shaking it up when readers’ eyes need to be drawn to the art. The introduction of new characters came on a particularly great page, with the drape of Slips’s boot-clad leg used to section panels. His sketchier art style keeps the book looking fast and sexy, especially with Mann’s intentionally unsteady, scribbled inking being implemented side-by-side with more definitive outlines. If ever a character were personified by an art style, it would be Gambit drawn by Mann.

And equally well-suited to Gambit is colorist Rosenberg, who tackles every scene’s mood with just the right amount of haze, glow, or shadowing, and gives Mann’s art added shape and weight with her busy shadows and highlights. Rich ocean sunsets, star-flecked midnight skies, dank dungeon pits and chilled prison hallways, she tackles all of them with skill and care, giving Gambit its needed atmosphere to carry Asmus’s story. When readers’ eyes instinctively squint against the bright glow of an explosion, you’ve gone from simply giving a story color, to being what tells it.

Fans can ask for no better creative team to tell a Gambit story. And while the story is coming to a likely explosive end in next month’s issue, forcing Remy to make a life-defining choice of just where his cards fall, it shouldn’t be a difficult choice for readers as to whether or not to pick up the final installment from this fantastic team.

Verdict: 10/10


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