Issue 158 – Gambit

Issue 158 – Gambit post thumbnail image


  • Intro
  • Background
    • Gambit, Remy Etienne LeBeau, created by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee in Uncanny X-Men #266 (Aug 1990)
    • You know how we’ve done a lot of characters whose circumstances have come back around to “it’s not his fault, but it is his problem”? Gambit’s definitely a twist on that. Let’s run down the list. Kidnapped as an infant and raised by a society of thieves who brought him up with a moral compass that was most certainly not in line with the rest of the world, wound up homeless, captured by an immortal mutant and sold into slavery, got roped into an arranged marriage with Belladonna to end a centuries-old blood feud between the Thieves’ Guild and the Assassin’s Guild and wound up killing the brother of his bride-to-be in a duel on his wedding day, was exiled from his home in New Orleans, found out he had a mutant power that grew so powerful it wouldn’t let him touch anything without blowing it up, had no choice but to go to Mr. Sinister to give him brain surgery to save his life, gets a simple innocuous job to do in return, assemble some mercenaries to locate the Morlock community, has no idea the mercenaries have orders to kill all the Morlocks
    • Encounters a powerless Storm, who brings him to meet the X-men – Logan didn’t trust him, so the two had a duel, which Gambit won
    • Served as a X-Man for some time, until he was captured by Magneto and Sabretooth, and Rogue’s kiss revealed the memory of the Morlock Massacre – the fallout led to him being kicked off the team
    • Later rejoined the team after Rogue went searching for him
    • After a battle with Destiny, he and Rogue were depowered, so they moved to California to explore their relationship 
    • Both regained the powers and joined the X-men, but when Gambit was temporarily blinded, he began lashing out at Rogue, who left him
    • Mystique joined the team undercover as another shapeshifter, and revealed herself to Gambit as a version of Rogue that he could actually touch – although Rogue was angry, Gambit never pursued it
    • He submitted himself to Apocalypse in an effort to infiltrate the team, but the transformation brainwashed him, and he became the Fourth Horseman, Death – after Apocalypse’s defeat, he is returned to normal with the help of Mr. Sinister
    • Yada yada yada, he & Rogue get married after Kitty backs out of her wedding to Colossus, and Gambit proposes on the spot – they spend their honeymoon protecting the bio-engineered daughter of Charles Xavier & Lilandra, and then get teleported to the Mojoverse, where they have to fight their way out for the amusement of Mojo & his viewers
  • Issues
    • That is a lot of really bad luck for one person. But Gambit tortures and blames himself for way more of it than he should. He didn’t want to fight Belladonna’s brother, but was bound to by the traditions of the clans. He didn’t want to leave Belladonna and New Orleans, but had to or there would be all-out war. He didn’t want to get in bed with Mr. Sinister’s, but he was the only person he knew that could save his life. He certainly didn’t want to play any part in a genocide and tried everything he could to stop it when he was happening, but at the time, he genuinely believed the job was just to locate them. With regards to everything he did in his past, most of it is not his fault, and way less of it is his problem than the amount he tends to torture himself with. On a scale of zero to Cyclops, his moral culpability for the things he’s done with his life doesn’t even come close to the level of guilt he feels for it. 
    • Second issue, deflection and evasiveness. Oh my goodness, Remy Labeau raises keeping people at arm’s length with deflection and evasiveness to an absolute art form. And when you’re a monument to male fanservice streetwise slick-talking bad boy with a mutant power that lets you kinetically excite the heart rate and neurotransmitters of other people and charm the metaphorical and often literal pants off of them, that is really not a hard thing to do. Remy is one of those people you can have a hours-long conversation with, tell all sorts of personal details, and walk away not even realizing he didn’t tell you a single thing about himself. His teammates (Wolverine and Bishop in particular) are the wisest to the act and treat him with the most suspicion. But really, all of the X-Men know it to some extent. He’s closer to some of them than others, everyone likes him, no one really seems to have a problem with having him on the team, but apart from Rogue, obviously, no one really implicitly trusts him, especially after the truth about his connection to Mr. Sinister and the Marauders comes out. 
    • Third issue is related to the second one, Remy’s own massive trust issues with other people. It’s completely, 100% understandable given everything Remy went through in his childhood and teenage years that he’d be extremely wary about making himself vulnerable around anyone. It’s a lot. The man didn’t have the loving supportive upbringing most of us have. He’s understandably a jaded cynical man who expects the worst from people until they show him otherwise. But the only person he’s ever really, genuinely let into his life is Rogue, and it was a long, very rocky, and very painful road getting there. Gambit guards his heart tighter than Fort Knox, and seems very comfortable with the fact. (24:42)
  • Break (32:51)
    • Plugs for Bedknobs & Broomflicks, Geek Peak, and Jeremy Whitley
  • Treatment (Theme: Truth in Deception)
    • In-universe – I have to play games
    • Out of universe – Not really a stretch to find real-world equivalents to this man, I imagine most people who go to treatment can be intensely guarded and wary about sharing details about themselves. I imagine a lot of patients have things in their past they’re not proud of and that they torture themselves with. I also imagine it can be like a chess match where one person is playing for a stalemate and trying to frustrate the other person into surrender when you’re trying to get through to them. (37:22)
  • Skit (49:02)
    • Hello Gambit, I’m Dr. Issues. – Bonjour, doc.
    • So, what can I help you with? -Nothing. *pause* haaaa, just joshin’, I figured you’d like that one.
    • *playing straight* Sometimes. -I was told you were cool.
    • Not exactly the life of the party, sorry. -*pause* Something’s off…*whispers* you wearing a wire or something? I can short it real quick 
    • *sigh* No…no, I’ll admit, you’re right, but not for any nefarious reason. I was told things, too. – *wary* Nah, she told me she told you nothin’.
    • Not anything bad…this is tough. I’m being vague because lately I’ve been too loose in my descriptions of others, and in your case, I was told to keep quiet, but then I can’t discuss a relationship if I don’t talk about the other person, but THEY probably don’t want me telling everything, but I know that you know so…it’s complicated. -Cher? She knows better. If you tryin, I’m buyin. That’s why I’m here. She clearly only told you what you needed to know. Sorry for snappin like dat.
    • I’m trying to say that I’ve been told you value your privacy. I should have just done my usual introduction about confidentiality, but noooo, I had to play it off like I’m some sort of mastermind interrogator. I get like this when I don’t think someone will open up to me. -You got me in the door, that’s more than most. You ain’t comin round my parts anytime soon. I just got things on my mind.
    • Go ahead. -How do you get things out of your head without surgery?
    • *pause* Say again? -I don’t like talking about all of the…evil business, if you know what I mean. I just gotta get rid of it. So if Mister can’t get it done *quick angry tone* an he aint tryin again yahear! *back to calm* then I figured I should go to someone…of the mind, but not REALLY of the mind like Charles, c’est tou?
    • *misunderstands* I’m not sure I say anything…in fact, I tend to listen. -Nah I mean it’s simple. I need you to help me so I don’t let stuff I want to forget bother me so much. Or make me forget it. Either way, I’ll be happy.
    • If it were that simple, would you have gone through all of the effort to deal with it in the first place? -Touche
    • Anyway, your natural tendency seems to push things down, suppress them so much that it accomplishes the opposite effect; you don’t have the memory itself in your daily conscience, but the amount of energy necessary to keep it that way with even the tiniest reminder has to go somewhere. It builds up until -*finishes the sentence* Boom.. I know. Just like my powers. It’s funny how the physical and the mental come together like that. Synergy.
    • Psychosomatic -PsychoKinetic
    • *simultaneuously* PSYCHOSOMATOKINECTIC SYNERGY *both laugh*
    • *trails off with laughter, then pause* Man, I think we just added to the mental health lexicon. -Glad I could help. What else can I do for you?
    • Well work has been…wait, YOU want the help, not me. Why are you trying to make it sound like you’re giving me therapy? -I’m just trying to loosen you up. You’re so uptight, man. It’s good to see you laugh. You should do it more.
    • You realize that for you to make progress you’re not going to be able to rest on a good moment with a stranger as the ultimate win. -*pause* Worth a shot.
    • Alright, it’s obvious you came to that conclusion about your powers and your psyche a long time ago, and I gave it validation. You’re trying to play me like a puppet and just get along with you so I can rubber stamp your style. Don’t get me wrong…your style has flair, charm, and wit. But there has to be more. -Man, and I thought you had no gator in you, tryin’ a bite my head off. Look atcha! A real backbone.
    • I’m serious! *exasperated* are you always this…way? Just charming and conning your way through life? -It’s only a con if I don’t believe it. 
    • So…you’re happy anyway. Then what’s the point of forgetting something that you’re now acting like it doesn’t bother you but then you said it’s what really does…I can’t play games like this… -You need a better poker face.
    • *pause* You know, I actually enjoy poker. The logic, probability, psychology, uncertainty…only way the story gets told is if at least two people are willing to see the hand through to the end. -That’s deep, really philosophical. You have a sharp mind on ya, doc.
    • And so do you. That’s why I know you’ll let me lose a few hands to you. -*surprised* You…what, you? Me? Play? *belly laugh* COME ON, you know you don’t want the smoke! You gonna lose your office, you ain’t careful. I figure it’s fake chips?
    • Yes. -All right, low stakes, I’m in. I hope you keep up with Omaha Hi-Lo because
    • *interrupting* Nope, you don’t choose, I choose. Blind man’s bluff. -So it’s just face reading, one card, on the forehead each, huh? Well…let’s see it.
    • *sound of card shuffle* Just to let you know, 2 rounds of betting. Each turn, you have to give me one fact about yourself. -Cool, because I’ll get to know you mo
    • *interrupting* and I don’t say anything. – *pause* that’s not fair. For real, that’s not FAIR! You can’t rig a game and expect me to play. 
    • The real pot isn’t the chips; if you win, you can end the session, and never come back. After all, you wouldn’t want to hang out with a loser like me, right? -Bet. And if I lose?
    • I give you feedback on what may actually help you, because I’ll take your information as genuine. -So no matter what, if I play this the way that I want, I’ll get what I want, even if I lie and it hurts? Laissez les bon temps roulez.
    • Funny how that works out. -*sound of chips* All in, no second bet. *pause* Fact for the only round is, if I didn’t trust her, you would see you put the equivalent of a bomb in my hands.
    • *immediate* Call. And…I had a Queen -Jack. *annoyed grunt, pause* you would have called with anything, right? Even with a threat like that?
    • What threat? It was the truth. And yes, I would have. -*snaps fingers* see, I KNEW it. You have too many tells.
    • I guess we have a lot to learn from each other. Want to call the next game? – We really gonna make this a thing, huh?
    • Only if you’re willing to be a regular at the table -Better than a couch, you can bet on that
    • *pause* Huh, I thought you’d say “I guarantee” or something -Doc, no Cajun says that. ‘Cept mebbe Justin Wilson, res’ his soul. 
  • Ending
    • Recommended reading: Mr. & Mrs. X, or any of the Rogue & Gambit minis
    • Next episodes: Mystique, Poison Ivy, Namor
    • Plugs for social



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