Rogue and Gambit wee my absolute two favorite heroes growing up. I there is an entire generation of people who learned to read in the early 90s for whom this was their first introduction to the idea of “tragic love,” the sort of love that’s doomed to failure and yet still so real, so heartfelt that you still root for it.
There was something… Shakespearean about the setup of it all. A woman cursed to never be touched and a womanizing man who could have anyone, and only wants her. Sometimes I feel the only reason that Gambit was able to stick around long enough to reach an emotional truth with Rogue is because they were unable to consummate for so long. They physically had to wait, so he couldn’t do the”love them and run before they get too close” shtick that would have been in keeping with his character had they been able to do that.
But one of the problems with relationships in continuing media such as comic books is that it’s very hard to maintain. In a novel you can write one book about star-crossed tragic lovers and they can live on in the reader’s minds after the last page is turned forever… in comics, you often have to show what happens after happily ever after as the book continues with new plots and new writers, so Rogue and Gambit have broken up, gotten back together, and not even been on the same team for quite some time now.
In this book, Marvel’s rising star Kelly Thompson offers a unique twist on this when Kitty Pryde sends the both of them to investigate a couples retreat that may be disposing of mutants in an unseemly way, assuming that as they actually are an old couple on the rocks, the cover would be perfect.
What it leads to it some pitch-perfect, funny, awkward dialogue as they hash out the last few years of their bumpy relationship (including a hilarious bit wherein Rogue implies Deadpool is a better kisser than Gambit), that acts not only to fill in the reader but also as a way of airing out the “dirty laundry” between them.
The issue ends on a classic comedic reversal of Gambit saying they should give the therapy a chance, then cutting to the both of them strapped to surgical tables. It’s fun, and the dialogue is very real. I think this book is going to be more of a ‘romantic comedy’ than a book I have have a long discussion about theme regarding, but I look forward to seeing what Thompson has to say about these characters and respect the direction she’s taking.