Having read and reviewed Marvel Comics collections on a consistent basis over the last year I think it’s safe to say they release books for good reasons. More often than not an old collection may harbor tidbits about a character, team, or organization that is making a comeback in the current comic books. Case in point, X-Men: Gambit Complete Collection Vol. 2 which has quite a few interesting tidbits from Gambit’s 1999 run they don’t want you to miss.
What is in this collection?
This collection was originally published in 1999 with writers Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell and Joe Pruett writing the stories within. This collection houses Gambit #12 through #25 and also the Gambit Annual 2000. This is a great collection if you want to see some major artists before they really hit it big, including Yanick Paquette, Cam Smith, Steve Skroce, Kaare Andrews, Charles Adlard, Thomas Derenick, and Joe St. Pierre.
What do I need to know?
There are a few big reveals that affect Gambit and the larger Marvel universe in this collection. That is if they haven’t been retconned in some way since. Here are the top three:
The Thieves Guild is a magical group that have strong ties to Gambit
The first half of this book is devoted to a time travel mission Gambit is set on thanks to the Thieves Guild. If you’ve been reading Nick Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man you’ll note the Thieves Guild is back and very much alive and well. This story reveals how Gambit’s father was a key component of their development and to save the guild they ask Gambit to go back in time to make sure things go as they should. Why, you might ask? Because one of the members remembers Gambit back in the 1800s! The guild is a magical group and you see some of that here, although they don’t have the power of time travel which requires Gambit to break into Dr. Doom’s castle and use his instead.
Brush up on the guild by reading this collection.
Get a look at Mr. Sinister before his science really took off
The time travel story weaves in Mr. Sinister, or as he’s known at the start of the story Dr. Essex. It’s a fascinating subplot to see Sinister before he’s powered up and dissecting mutants. Heck, he doesn’t even know what a mutant is yet, but is aware of them. As the story progresses we learn Courier, aka Jacob Gavin Jr. is also with Gambit and his powers to shapeshift are exploited by Sinister. It’s one of Sinister’s first mutant powers he ever stole. Coincidentally stealing Gavin’s powers forces Gavin to stay in a female form, which is interesting when you realize Sinister is currently a woman in the Marvel universe. As the story progresses Sinister gets to tinker in Gambit’s mind, which allows Gambit to control his powers even further. More on that below.
Gambit is basically a Dr. Manhattan level hero in waiting
The second half of this book is all about a villain named New Son who wants Gambit dead. He can fly, seems to have unending power, and he’s blue. Does that strike anyone as familiar to a certain Watchmen character? As this character attempts to kill Gambit we learn Gambit has gained a new level of control over his powers. That includes the ability to wrap himself in energy making him capable of kissing Rogue. The melodrama of their relationship aside in this story (which is quite entertaining by Nicieza and Smith) Gambit soon learns this new ability can go even further. It turns out New Son is Gambit from another universe and this flying blue form is something Gambit could be capable of if he just lets his powers loose completely. Anyone who calls Gambit’s powers weak should best read this collection to understand his full potential!
This is a collection that reminds readers if they’re patient and are willing to dig in and read the bloody thing they’ll discover some incredible secrets forgotten to time. I’m not sure if everything revealed in this book is still in canon, but it’s still interesting to find out Gambit may not be just a slick card throwing hero, but may be harboring god-like powers.