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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

An Aimless Gambit Hate Post

I'm sure by now it's not a shock to readers of my blog that I pretty much hate Gambit.

Truth is, it's kind of hard for me to pinpoint why. I mean, sure, he's done a lot of assholish things, but let's be honest here, my favorite X-Man is Cyclops. My favorite DC characters are Sandy Hawkins and Guy Gardner. Assholishness is not a deal breaker to me.

I could claim it has to do with his skeevy backstory and how I think he unfairly gets a pass for that whole Belladonna mess when Scott (unfairly, IMO) gets Maddie and Jean thrown into his face every chance he gets. But that's not really GAMBIT's fault. He didn't ask for that double standard, and to be fair, I don't really recall a whole lot of glaring hypocrisy on his part in the comics (though I may just be forgetting/haven't read something.)

I don't like his relationship with Rogue at all. I find it unhealthy and skeevy. But I don't think that's it either. Though I maintain that Rogue could totally do better.

Part of it is just his character design. He always looks like he needs a shower to me and I hated the magenta body-armor trenchcoat combination from the 90s. I have a high tolerance for awful costumes (I still love Cyclops's stupid condom-head suit) but that didn't work for me.

I suppose ultimately, my biggest problem is that, IMO, he's all style and no substance. All talk and no show. He's a cool concept (mutant thief in the bayou) that barring a miniseries or two never really went anywhere. His angst was never particularly notable to me, Mr. Sinister's presence aside (I do love me some demented Victorian geneticist) and always struck me as more a set of cool shit thrown together than a cohesive persona. Trenchcoat! Bo-staff! Cards! Black-on-red eyes!

That said, I was pretty amused by Claremont's The End, where he turned out to be a clone made from Scott and Sinister's DNA (presumably hyperaged since he's visibly older than Scott). Mostly because while the narrative kept insisting he's a brother, I'm pretty sure he counts as the closest thing to mpreg (male pregnancy fanfic) that the X-Men will hit in a long time. God willing. (Though I still vote that Scott's next kid from the future should be Wolverine's. Just for shits and giggles.)

I really don't understand the fangirl love for Gambit. I mean, he's got the accent. But let's be honest, the accent in the comics is about as far from actual cajun as you can get. His voice actor had panache in the awful 90s cartoon, but even then what I remember most about the 90s cartoon is where his incompetence almost got Cyclops killed in the Danger Room. And even then he was creepy in the way he kept pushing his attention onto Rogue. Back off a little, dickwad.

I don't get the appeal. I mean, sure he's got the dashing renegade thing. But Wolverine plays his "honorable renegade" thing much better, even if I think he's vastly overrated. He's rarely drawn particularly attractive, even making allowances for ...less aesthetically pleasing actors. And, while this is definitely a Your Mileage May Vary thing, I can't really think of any point in any story where I was like "I totally appreciate what value Gambit adds to this particular storyline."

Except maybe that one time in X-Men #1 where he hit on Jean and she turned out to be an exploding robot. And that's again, more to add to my internal "why I love Cyclops" thing because dude, he made an exploding robot of his girlfriend/fiancee/whatever they were at the time. That's just awesome.

Heck, I can't even think of any situations where I read a story and got immense satisfaction out of hating him/being horrified by him like I am with Professor X. I'd never want Professor X gone because he provides me with such great ranting material. Gambit doesn't even do that. When he's gone I do not feel his lack.

And Rogue still deserves better.


  • At January 04, 2011 2:14 AM, Blogger kiragecko said…

    They both deserve better. Rogue is kinda terrible to him.
    Wasn't the whole Belladonna thing not his fault. At all? He gets stuck in an arranged marriage, decides he likes it, kills a guy in self defense, gets exiled from the woman he loves, the city he loves, and his family. Moves on because he can never see her again. Could be entirely wrong, never cared enough to check.
    He was nice to kid Storm, though.

  • At January 04, 2011 2:32 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Eh, I'd say it was about as much his fault as marrying a girl and having the love of your life come back to life and having to sort through that mess. I don't recall him telling his later love interests that he was still, sort-of, married until it blew up in his face.

    It's not an unsympathetic scenario, but the perceived double standard annoys me. I'd probably give him the same pass I give Cyclops except that I think most people already have. :-)

    I did like him being nice to kid Storm, but who wouldn't be? Kid Storm was adorable. :-)

    Rogue can be pretty bad to him, but I give her more of a pass because first, she was like 18 when they met. I tend to give younger people more of a pass than late-twenty-somethings/early thirty-somethings, because I remember how assholish I was at that age.

    And there is some double standarding on my part here (I'm a hypocrite that way), but Rogue is like Scott for me in the sense that while she does do some pretty wretched things, I can easily see where her issues are coming from. Gambit's got his share of trauma, but I tend to find him less consistently characterized.

  • At January 04, 2011 2:36 AM, Blogger Diabolu Frank said…

    I like Gambit, but I have the same trouble in articulating why exactly.

    I stopped reading X-Men comics a year or two after Claremont left, so Gambit and Bishop were the last exciting new characters full of potential before the whole line got ground up in the Bob Harras sweatshop, pushing out brown leather bomber jackets.

    I kept expecting Gambit to go somewhere-- to be the X-Traitor or to be some kind of Lothario or something equally kewl to flesh out his back story. I could have done without the speedo, but I totally loved his Donatello bo-staff action and boss trench.

    Unfortunately, like most every other x-person, Gambit's personality went into a holding pattern for most of the decade, freezing one of the most fluid and unpredictable teams in amber for a time. Worse, all that stuff with the guilds and the arranged marriages directly conflicted with his whole loner stud swagger, not to mention Lee week's art was so not sexy.

    Basically, I still like my perception of Gambit from when I was first introduced to him. I didn't have to suffer through too many of the crap stories between then and now, so he's like someone you had a crush on in high school that you need never know lost all his hair and married his second cousin. Also, I'm pretty sure that accent would have driven me to murder by now. I can barely handle the cast of True Blood as it is.

  • At January 04, 2011 11:21 AM, Blogger kiragecko said…

    I always found Gambit easier to related with. And my problem with Scott used to be that Maddie was so very easy to relate with while he was all repressed. Now that I'm married to someone similar, it's easier to understand him.

    Commenting on what Mr/Mrs Frank said, the fact that I like Japanese Betsy, Gambit, and Jubilee is mostly based on Claremont opening up so many possibilities that my abandonment of the series soon after lets me pretend are developed excitingly. It wasn't the writing so much as the unrelenting gloom. I couldn't stand reading about one more Pyrrhic victory.

  • At January 04, 2011 3:15 PM, Anonymous D said…

    Gambit is one of those characters that while I liked the IDEA of them, the actual presentation does nothing. I think you sumed it up pretty well.

  • At January 04, 2011 3:34 PM, Blogger Maxy Barnard said…

    You're pretty much right about everything here...

    ... BUT HE'S SO GOD DAMN GOOD LOOKING! I just can't help but love the man. Especially when drawn by Becky Cloonan.

    But that's just my inner man-love speaking, as a character he's hella flawed

  • At January 04, 2011 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Gambit, to me, is utterly disposable. Other than perving on Rogue (what's he, like 15 years older than she is), he contributes nothing to the team that isn't already present. His actions and character role could be seamlessly assigned to some other X-Man in every situation I've read him in. Granted, I haven't read the X-Men since the 90s, but he's one big reason why (Wolverine's another).

    -- Jack of Spades

  • At January 04, 2011 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Finally, a like minded comics fan. I too can't stand Gambit and Cyclops is my fave x-man. Rogue is better off with someone else ( not Magneto though, hell no to that. I t irks me to no end that many gamers want Gambit on the roster of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

  • At January 04, 2011 6:18 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Truth be told, anonymous, I always thought Rogue should meet Pete Wisdom.

    I know some folk don't care for Wisdom, but he always struck me as Gambit done right. i.e. cool concept (British secret agent instead of cajun thief, granted), moral ambiguity, dark-ish past, relatively minor yet effective power in a projectile form, and has macked on jailbait.

    Difference is, I always thought Pete had a lot more concrete a personality. He isn't always likeable, but he's very consistent.

    Also, his relationship with Kitty was very equal, and when they broke up they broke up. Occasionally they bicker or flirt, but there's none of the on-again, off-again irritation of Rogue and Gambit. (I like Rogue much more than Kitty, so it annoys me that Kitty managed to be more equal in her pairing than Rogue.)

    He seems like a much less hateful version of her type so it'd be neat to see if it worked.

  • At January 04, 2011 6:58 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Urg. Gambit. Skeevy is exactly the right word to describe him. It is as though Claremont had a list for creating a character, and Gambit has all of those characteristics to make him just so bloody hip and cool. Except that he's not.

    I can't even really put my finger on it, but he annoys me unspeakably. And my oldest daughter loooooved him.


  • At January 05, 2011 10:53 AM, Blogger notintheface said…

    I think people liked Gambit because of stuff like this:

  • At January 08, 2011 1:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    notintheface – Nope. That just made me think Gladiator had fallen so far...

    – Jack of Spades

  • At May 11, 2011 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yawn... I really can't take a Cyclops fan seriously since he's the biggest douchebag in X-men currently tied up there with southern-fried braindead Rogue. Gambit is awesome when written well and this is coming from an X-fan since the beginning, he has flaws sure, but unlike other hypocritical holier-than-thou X-men he tries to be better than his past actions and has regrets, the Morlock massacre doesn't really count since it's a total Marvel retcon, it was Tommy who led the Marauders to the tunnels.

  • At September 09, 2011 3:11 AM, Anonymous Kristina said…

    Scott Summers is a total douchebag, Rogue is a disgusting piece of shit surprised they haven't hooked up, birds of a feather and all that. Gambit totally deserves better than that skunk haired fatass, he was married for like what less than a day? BIG FUCKING DEAL! Hitlerclops had a wife and child whom he abandoned for his ex and if I remember correctly even Jean disapproved of that, then the idiots in charge at Marvel had Maddie go all evil to justify Scott's actions. If anyone is the skeevy bastard it's your beloved one-eye.

  • At September 09, 2011 11:53 PM, Blogger kiragecko said…

    Thank you, Kristina. I've been depressed lately, and for some reason an unexpected, insult-laden, email about the X-Men appearing in my inbox made me laugh uncontrollably. I love the internet.

    (previously k)

  • At September 22, 2011 1:14 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    As a Cyclops fan, I'm amused that someone doesn't take me seriously enough to reply to an 8 month old post.

    And somehow fail to list ANYTHING legitimately cool about the character.

    In contrast, for all of Scott's douchebaggery, he managed to become an internationally known benevolent dictator, and grandfather, by his mid-to-late twenties. That's impressive, even if you don't like him. :-)

  • At September 22, 2011 1:17 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I really must check my old posts more often. :-)

  • At November 29, 2011 5:44 AM, Anonymous said…

    This won't succeed in actual fact, that is what I believe.


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