Friday, December 9, 2005

COMICS: I hate Gambit

I have to vent in a nerdy comic-book fashion here. So I watched the trailer for "X-Men 3" the other day, and think it's pretty way cool, even if Brett "Rush Hour 2" Ratner is directing rather than the superb Bryan Singer, it's got a great, apocalyptic feel to it, introduces some new mutants (Kelsey Grammer is … the Beast? Well, it actually seems to work) and promises death, destruction and mayhem galore. That final shot where we see Magneto destroying the Golden Gate Bridge? Geek orgasm, right there. I'll be at the head of the line in May 2006 when "X3" opens.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comBut one thing that cracks me up on the various Internet forums I frequent (far too many) is the strange amount of people bitching about one thing and one thing only -- why isn't GAMBIT in the movie? Gambit. Ye gods. Gambit, quite possibly the lamest X-Men character ever invented, everything rotten and awful and overblown about comic books in the bloated 1990s wrapped into one stupifying character. I loathe Gambit. I don't get the appeal. I certainly don't get why anybody would think this goofball character would be good in an X-Men movie.

There are all sorts of nifty mutant powers out there -- men who fly, teleport, blast laser-beams from their eyes. What does Gambit do? Basically, he throws playing cards that explode. Egad. Oh, and he's Cajun, so he talks in a cheesy accent and says "mon chere" a lot. And he's a thief/assassin with a mysterious past, which makes him interesting to those who favor clich├ęs over actual character. He wears a trenchcoat and a "half-helmet" type thing that lets his hair flow free. He's often drawn by Jim Lee. He's a relic of the time when foil covers, gimmicks and hologram variant editions held sway over comics, a time which thankfully is mostly behind the medium. I'm sure there have been semi-decent stories out there somewhere that may have involved Gambit, but at his core the character brings nothing new or exciting to the saga. He's Wolverine with a Louisiana twist, one of those good guys who's kind of bad but might be really bad but maybe is actually kind of good -- you know, the kind of drawn-out, ridiculously belabored storytelling that drove me away from regularly reading most "X-Men" comic books a good 15 years ago.

The "X-Men" movies have been pretty darned good so far, mostly because they abandon the impossibly labyrinthine continuity of the comic books and the dozens of lesser characters to focus on what made "X-Men" great in the first place. Can't say based on this 2-minute preview if "X3" will work or not, but not having deadwood like Gambit cluttering up the scenery certainly is a point in its favor for me.

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