James Asmus & Clay Mann
With a nod to his past with Rogue, the X-Men, and as a teacher of young mutants, Gambit turns his back on the latest goings-on of the X-Men universe in favor of solo adventures in his new ongoing series. It begins with Gambit naked in the shower and follows him around his apartment as he dries off, the panels and his surroundings strategically placed to keep the title PG. Given what we've seen in some of DC's comics from The New 52, it's a welcome change to see a male character showcasing some skin, and if you know Gambit at all, you know that he's a sexy, suave ladies' man, so this depiction is perfectly in tune to this character. Throughout the issue, Asmus and Mann attempt to remind us of how cool and charming Gambit is, and they do a real bang-up job of it. Aside from the rugged stubble and sexy accent, we get down to the basics on another level as well, as the creators also play up the origins of the character as part of the thieves' guild. No, there's no Bella Donna or any of the sort of thing we've seen creep into his life over and over again, his past coming to haunt him. Instead, Gambit just does what Gambit does best here. He sweet-talks his way into a party, flirts with a girl, and steals something. Gambit acknowledges that he's been out of the loop for awhile, but his connections have provided him with up-to-date technology that allows him to get past the sophisticated security equipment to claim his prize. And armed with these new gadgets, he's almost a suave James Bond-like character, though with a real bad boy Southern edge. Of course, things don't go as planned, as is usually the case with comics like this, and we're left with some questions at the end of the issue to bring us back for more hanging-out-in-his-boxers Remy. Clay Mann's art does justice to the title with his realistic-looking pencils, and moving the story along nicely, with nice action scenes. We really know who Gambit is from this first issue, and Asmus uses elements we've known from the character all along to bring us something new and return the character to form at the same time. It's nice to see Gambit solo again, getting down to the roots of the character and why we like him, and maybe have a little crush on him.