Last March, Marvel’s ResurrXion event relaunched the X-Men and Inhumans lines and introduced new series starring characters who don’t usually get the spotlight to themselves. This week sees the launch of another new title featuring two X-Men who technically have had solo series before, but never seem to strike it out on their own for long. Rogue & Gambit are a classic will-they-won’t-they couple, but is their latest adventure together good?
I’ve seen a lot of comic creators voice their love for this issue on Twitter and, having read it myself, I can happily say that I agree with their sentiments. This is a very nice debut for the series, and one that impresses from the get-go. The first three pages cover a lot of ground with minimal words, as the couple’s history is shown rather than summarized. The second and third pages are particularly great, forming a spread in which Rogue punches Gambit up against glass and the glass breaks into countless pieces, many of which contain images from the couple’s past together. It’s an effective way to reintroduce readers to the classic romance without bogging things down with an abundance of expository text or shoehorning in nostalgia-centered dialogue.
Thankfully, Rogue & Gambit doesn’t just get off to a good start–it keeps that momentum going and delivers a funny romp that promises more greatness to come. The plot here feels very incidental; it’s just an excuse to throw Rogue and Remy into a mission alone together, but that’s not really a bad thing when the character’s relationship — romantic or otherwise — forms the backbone of the book. Kitty Pryde also appears briefly, and has one of her best moments since taking over leadership of X-Men Gold. Overall, writer Kelly Thompson seems to have a strong grasp on the characters thus far, and her interjections of humor throughout the issue add a lot of fun to it. Artist Pere Perez’s work is also a major part of the issue’s success, as his characters’ facial expressions contribute a lot to the issue’s comedic timing. We get a brief hint of his skill at composing action scenes as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing him let loose more as the series moves forward.
Con-wise, this issue could have done a bit more in terms of endearing me to the series’ antagonist-to-be. We get a brief scene in which some unknown mutants are fleeing from a shadowy figure, and then, of course, the figure shows up and takes them down. With so little concrete detail, the scene feels a bit too generic, like a two minute intro preceding the opening theme song of a TV cop drama. The issue’s ending also feels a bit sudden and forced, like it really wanted to end on a zany “What’s gonna happen next?” note but couldn’t find a way to get from point A to point B smoothly enough.
Overall, Rogue & Gambit #1 is a good time, and unlike any other X-title getting published right now. I’ve never been a big fan of the couple personally, but this issue makes me want to be one I would consider that to be a sign of a romance book done right. If you’re into quippy, character-focused romps with good art (and why wouldn’t you be?) then check this issue out.