Graphic Novel Review: Gambit, Once A Thief by James Asmus

Finally the sweet talking, charismatic, enigmatic Gambit gets his own series. Gambit has always been a dark horse when it comes to X-Men, mostly under appreciated, with Wolverine, Magneto, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm and other high end mutants around no one really notices Gambit that much. Well Marvel has finally written him his own series and at best it is an incredibly fun ride.

To set things straight, Gambit: Once a Thief is not an origin story, in this setting he is already known as part of the X-Men and they tell you that he had a past with Rogue, yup ‘had’ as in he’s single. So this is more of a reintroduction to the character.

The plot tells of how Gambit was once a thief and since his X-Men work he moved away from that lifestyle, however once a thief always a thief and in Gambit we see exactly that. He has a time off being a part of the X-Men so to kill his boredom he planned to steal from a notorious collector that goes by the name of cich (sitch). Unfortunately for Gambit he acquired an alien artifact that causes him more trouble than expected and from then on chaos ensues.

The with the pacing of Once a Thief, it is safe to say that we can divide this into two parts. To avoid plot leakage and possible spoilers I’m just gonna call them 1st part and 2nd part. The 1st part is without a doubt the best part of the series. Showing Gambit in mission impossible clothes pulling off heist with style and that sweet smooth banter is also there. The 2nd part on the other hand is not as exciting as the 1st but it had it’s moments. That said it felt like it should have been another volume for it really takes away that the substance that is in the 1st part. And that is the biggest complaint that I have for this Volume.

Once a Thief also brings a lot of good things. For example he is the only character from the X-Men that is present here, and this is Marvel making sure that the readers understand that this is purely dedicated to Gambit and no one else. At that, Marvel did and amazing job isolating him and giving him fun and exhilarating story to follow. Now we also usually see him with his cape and head band, pole and playing cards. But in Once a Thief, the cartoony version of his character is downplayed and we see Gambit in a more simple way and that also works very well.

To sum up, Once a Thief is currently the best reintroduction to the character of Gambit. It is amazing to see him work without the X-Men or any other Marvel heroes. Not only this, but in here we see him as humanly as possible you almost forget he’s a mutant. The interesting characters are there, clever and witty dialogue is there and as usual the artwork is incredible. The pacing however is questionable but it is still a fun read all in all. For people getting into the character of Gambit or Remy, Once a Thief is definitely a recommended start.


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