ROGUE & GAMBIT #5 [Review]

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Rogue & Gambit winds to a close this week, capping off this immensely enjoyable mini-series with another great issue. All throughout, Rogue and Gambit have been grappling with their emotional baggage in addition to stopping Lavish from harvesting the powers of other mutants. In Rogue & Gambit #5, they overcome both obstacles and embark on a new and promising chapter for their relationship.

Last we left off with Rogue and Gambit, they were battling a horde of Rogue and Gambit golems; each sporting a classic costume or outfit worn during a notable moment from their past. Whenever one of these golems are destroyed, the stolen memories as well the powers are absorbed by whomever does the destroying. This leads to not only a little power-swapping between the two mutants, but it allows them the opportunity to finally be completely honest and open with one another. And after getting to live out moments from their turbulent past through each other’s eyes, Rogue and Gambit agree to give their relationship another shot. But first, they’ve got to take out the rest of these golems so they can regain their full powers – even if that means reabsorbing the bad memories along with the good.

Rogue & Gambit #5 opens with this battle against the golems still in full swing, as Rogue and Gambit brace for each past trauma they must re-endure as they dismember Lavish’s golem army. But Lavish isn’t giving up without a fight and she sends all of her mutant golems – not just those created from Rogue and Gambit – after them. Unfortunately for her, Lavish has never faced a mutant quite like Rogue before, and if there’s anyone who knows all about absorbing a mutant’s powers and using them to fight back, it’s Rogue.

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Never before have I fallen for a series so hard, so fast. From the very first issue, Kelly Thompson makes it abundantly clear that she is as big of fan of these two as anyone, and her love for Rogue and Gambit’s tumultuous, complicated love comes through on every page. Thompson perfectly captures their voices in her dialogue, having them banter and bare their souls in equal measure. Last issue was where Rogue and Gambit really dug in to how they feel about each other, but Rogue & Gambit #5  works their renewed trust in one another into a beautiful moment of Gambit helping to ease Rogue’s burden. And if this is just a taste of how Rogue and Gambit will work together in the future, I am here for it.

Along with perfectly characterizing her leads, Thompson also crafts a pretty interesting mutant mystery. Sure, the real draw with this mini-series is the romantic drama of Rogue and Gambit, but the mission to stop Lavish from absorbing mutants’ powers and draining them of their memories is intriguing as well. Having Lavish use a couples therapy resort as a front enables the story to organically dissect Rogue and Gambit’s relationship; not too mention, seeing Rogue and Gambit bust up their past selves is as entertaining for us as it is cathartic for them.

Rogue & Gambit‘s art team has been excellent from the start, and with this final issue, they give it their all. Like each issue, there’s a combination of super hero punch-ups and soul-searching moments which Pere Pérez and Frank D’Armata deliver with clear and consistent linework as well as brilliant colors. The real standout moment is Rogue putting the kibosh to Lavish’s scheme (which I won’t spoil here but it’s fantastic and just uniquely Rogue) and the two-page spread is absolutely charged with emotion and heroic intent. From there, though, the issue winds down and Perez gets to play with those quieter moments, giving us a Rogue and Gambit that are a sweet but playful couple. D’Armata’s color compliments this all, making Rogue & Gambit’s final scene heartwarming without being saccharine.

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Rogue & Gambit is Marvel at its best. This mini-series simply has it all – superhero action, funny banter, and at its heart, a couple who’ve been through hell together and are still committed to giving their relationship another shot. It’s often the powers or the plot twists that hook us in superhero comics, but it’s the personal relationships that keep us coming back. Rogue & Gambit understands this better than most comics, and we can only hope the development given to Rogue and Gambit in this series doesn’t fade away now that it’s over.

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