It has become pretty clear the work of Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg, and Kelly Thompson on X-Men related books were always meant to be wiped away. At least that’s what it looks like, since Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, and R.B. Silva are resetting the X-Men line of books. That doesn’t mean books like Mr. & Mrs. X aren’t a pure joy to read! In this case, we know Rogue and Gambit are going to be on the same team, so maybe it’s too soon to fear the story here isn’t going to matter. Either way, this is a good trade paperback out this week in comic shops.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Gambit and Rogue are throwing a party, and everyone is invited! Guest-starring every X-Man their apartment can fit! Hey, who invited the Thieves Guild?! And stuck in the Mojoverse! Rogue and Gambit are forced to relive moments of their past…but this time for the cameras!
Why does this matter?
This is the end of Kelly Thompson, Javier Pina, and Oscar Bazaldua’s 12 issue run and Thompson herself even says in the letter at the back of the book it’s a bittersweet end. Given the energy and vibrancy of these characters — and their amazing dynamic — I can see why. This is some of the most fun you’ll have with Rogue and Gambit.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This collection contains two story arcs, the first running four issues and the final one running two. Both do well to capture the love and sexual tension between the newly married Gambit and Rogue while also giving each death-defying heroic moments to overcome. Their powers are on full display and are beautifully rendered by Bazaldua for the first five issues and Pina on the last issue. I love the button nose on Rogue and the kind eyes of Gambit. They make a good couple and it’s fair to say Thompson made what was mostly a sexual tension sort of romance into something far more. They respect each other, Gambit will defend Rogue when side characters criticize, and Rogue makes a strong statement in the last arc about how important Gambit is to her. I hope Tini Howard’s take on the characters is similar to what Thompson did as they’re a strong power couple here.
The first arc focuses on Mojo’s kidnapping of Gambit and Rogue in a story about Spiral. It’s an action-packed tale playing around with TV genres, thrusting Gambit and Rogue into different movie scenarios. The noir detective tale, a fairy tale, and even reality TV are used as Rogue and Gambit are totally unaware of who they are and where they are. The story most admirably focuses on Rogue’s newfound knowledge that she can control her powers. It’s a tale about fighting fear, feeling empowered, and growing from hardships. I can’t help but think the character work on Rogue is some of the best in the character’s history here. Spiral also plays a part in the story and she has a nice mini-arc that kicks into gear halfway through or so. She also comes out a little wiser and more interesting by the end.
The second arc is focused more heavily on Gambit and his returning to the Thieves Guild, where he finds a viper in the nest when he arrives. Rogue is a bit absent from the story since she was teaming up with Captain Marvel at the time, but she still plays an important part in it. You get the sense Thompson is building towards something with the Thieves Guild and how that might impact their new marriage, but alas that probably won’t be the case in the coming months.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The last two-issue arc has Gambit sort of rushing through the story. It goes from bad to worse quite fast, and settles on Gambit being a captive. I can’t help but think Thompson had a bigger plan for this or at least a longer arc set up, but they capped her off at 12 issues.
Is it good?
Some of the best writing of Rogue I’ve ever encountered. You also have to love the well-written sexual tension between these newlyweds as it’s handled in an adult and realistic way. I can’t help but think X-Men fans will have a stronger sense of Rogue and Gambit, and their relationship, after reading this series.