Gambit (1st series) #2

Issue Date: 
January 1994
Story Title: 
Honor Amongst Thieves

Howard Mackie (writer), Lee Weeks (penciler) Klaus Janson (inker) Steve Buccellato (colorist) Richard Starkings (letterer) Bob Harras (editor) Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Though he hates it, Gambit returns back to New Orleans and finds out that the rumors he heard are true: Bella Donna is alive! However, she is comatose. Gambit becomes disturbed and is attacked by his father-in-law, Marius Boudreaux, and the rest of the Assassins Guild. Gambit gets the help of Rogue and, together, they defeat their enemies. Marius informs Gambit that, if he truly wants to rescue his wife, he should let her have a taste of the Elixir of Life the Thieves Guild have. Gambit doesn’t know what Marius is talking about, but he and Rogue do as told and pay a visit to Gambit’s adoptive father, Jean-Luc. As they leave, Julien pays a visit to his father and kills most Assassins and Marius. Julien wants to have the Elixir for himself and rule a new Assassins Guild together with Bella Donna. Gambit disturbs a ritual of the Thieves’ Guild, which causes an upset Tithe Collector to take off and not granting the Thieves their pact of granting them long life. Jean-Luc holds the angry Thieves members from killing his son and informs Gambit that he doesn’t have all three vials needed to make the Elixir work. Rogue agrees to stay behind and take care of Bella Donna, while Gambit gets the vials. Meanwhile, Gideon feels sorry for leaving his partner, Candra, at such a difficult time, but she is confident that everything will be resolved as planned.

Full Summary: 

Gambit stares through a fence and looks at a mansion, which stands glorious on the River Road in New Orleans. Gambit jumps over the fence and walks to the mansion, remembering how he has been breaking into this house ever since he was a “pup.” Gambit breaks the door open, slipping one of his playing cards through the lock. Remy enters the place, going up on the stairs. He remembers how there was always just one person who welcomed him in the mansion all those years back, and Gambit realizes that now probably no one shall roll the welcome mat for him. Remy finds it too quiet in the house, as it was always full of wild events when she was alive. She, who Gambit once loved: Bella Donna.

Gambit prepares himself and charges up some playing cards he holds ready in his hands, and opens the door to Bell’s bedroom. He finds Bell lying in her bed, like she is sleeping. Gambit comes to the conclusion that Bella Donna is the only one who would make him come back to this crazy town. That she was the only reason he stayed in New Orleans so long. And Bell was also the reason why he had to leave.

Gambit takes off his coat and hangs over Bell’s bed, holding her hand. Remy can’t believe it, but it’s true: she’s alive! Gambit doesn’t understand how this can be, as he held her in his arms when the life drained out of her body. Gambit knows that he isn’t alone and throws his charged-up cards away, and orders the Assassins to leave him alone with his wife.

One of the Assassins orders Gambit to leave, as he is the intruder here. Gambit attacks the Assassins, having heard enough that they always mock at him, that he isn’t good enough to marry an Assassin woman. But they can’t understand that the woman herself wanted to marry him. The Assassins open fire, but Gambit dodges the bullets, saying that even their best could never beat him in a fight. Gambit comes to the conclusion that nothing has changed. A voice from behind tells him otherwise, correcting Gambit that everything has changed! Marius Boudreaux is rather angry, as Gambit has taken his two children away from him. His beautiful daughter, Bella Donna, hangs on a thin thread and Julien has already been murdered. Marius proudly takes out his sword and challenges Gambit to a duel.

Gambit tries to tell Marius that he didn’t come here to duel him, but Marius doesn’t want to listen and tells his son-in-law that he shouldn’t have come here then. Marius throws Gambit a sword, ordering him to pick it up, or else he will kill him. Gambit doesn’t do that and Marius slashes with his sword, but Gambit ducks away just in time. Marius says that Gambit doesn’t have the honor the other Thieves do have. But, Marius remembers, Gambit isn’t truly a Thief. Laughing, Marius remembers that Remy is just a mutant outsider picked up… or was it stolen? It doesn’t matter as it happened when Gambit was a baby, and now he is an adopted Thief. And soon, Marius promises, Remy shall be a dead Thief!

Gambit has had enough and picks the sword up and wants to get over this. Gambit fights Marius, telling Marius that he should know that Julien isn’t as dead as Marius believes he is. Gambit explains that he and Julien fought last night, after Julien had murdered Gambit’s brother, Henri. Gambit tells Marius that the outcome to the fight wasn’t to Julien’s advantage, and that it was he who sent him down here, by ordering him to stay away. Marius channels his sword up with energy and tries to slash Gambit again, but he jumps high up. Marius gets angry, saying that that thing isn’t his son, as he was a man made of honor. Marius gets angry and tells Remy that he took Julien’s honor and his life away from him.

Filled with anger, Marius tells Gambit that the creature that walks around like his son would betray his family, his father and his Guild. Marius finds the creature an abomination that must be destroyed! Gambit says that he didn’t come here to argue with his father-in-law about his past, and wants to end the fight. Remy takes out two coins of his pocket and charges them up, and makes them explode. The explosion makes Marius fall back. Gambit jumps to his fallen father-in-law and holds a charged-up playing card on Marius’ neck, threatening Marius to call of his killers. Marius doesn’t obey and orders his servants to kill Gambit. Rogue flies through the bedroom window, saying that she doesn’t like the killing part towards her teammate, and she likes him alive. Rogue defeats two killer Assassins and throws them out of the window.

Gambit joins the fight, telling Rogue to stay out of this. Rogue, attacking her part of Assassins, doesn’t care and gets hit by a powerful beam. Gambit takes out some cards from the pocket of his blouse sleeve and says, as Rogue told him when they were training in the Danger Room: “This is no game!” Gambit charges the cards up, throws them at the Assassins and explains to Rogue that the Assassins always play for keeps. But Remy, smiling continuously, so does he. Rogue fills in, defeating the final pack of Assassins, that so do the X-Men! “Touché” Gambit says, and he and Rogue point their attention to Marius. Gambit moves over to Bella Donna, telling Marius that he is taking her with him.

Marius gets angry with him, telling Gambit that he is now stealing his daughter away from him as well. Marius tells Gambit that if he truly wants to safe her, Gambit should let her taste a part of the Elixir the Thieves hold. Gambit doesn’t understand what Marius is talking about. Marius thinks that Gambit is fooling with him, as he and the Assassins have always known about the Elixir. Marius reveals that many have tried to get it for themselves, but failed to get it. A pact was made long ago. The Assassins get the power. The Thieves get the Elixir of Life. Rogue asks Gambit what Marius is talking about. “Old wives tales and legends”, Gambit claims. Nothing more. Marius laughs, realizing that Gambit doesn’t want to tell his mutant girlfriend to know the truth. Marius believes that maybe it’s time that they all know the truth.

Marius gets upset again, telling Gambit that he knows that the Elixir can safe Bella Donna. Marius tells Gambit that he should take his daughter to his father, as only a taste would be enough to safe Bell. Marius tells Gambit to safe his daughter, and that Gambit should safe his wife. Marius mocks Remy, saying that if it’s too much to ask, maybe? That Remy’s secrets can’t be taken outside the Guild? Or could Gambit possibly betray his family for the life of one he promised to take care for in sickness and in health? Gambit leaves and Rogue asks him if she doesn’t better carry Bella Donna, as they have to move far. Gambit hands Bell over and they leave, without saying a word to each other.

A short time later, the Assassins are attacked and killed by Julien. Julien wants to talk to his father, but Marius doesn’t want to talk to the killer claiming to be his son. Marius tells Julien to kill him instead. Julien grabs Marius by the throat, promising him that his suffering has only just begun. Julien hates the fact that Marius let Gambit take his sister away. Julien wants to get his sister back and have a taste of the Elixir himself. Marius calls him a fool if Julien thinks he can achieve that. Julien laughs and promises his father that he will get what he wants and, when that is done, he and Bella Donna shall sit at the throne of the new Assassins Guild! The old days shall come back. Julien takes his claws out and kills his father.

Meanwhile, in an underground chamber, members of the ten families of Thieves bow and stand ready to the Tithe Collector in exchange for long life, as it is written in their pact. The Tithe Collector agrees and promises to grant Jean-Luc LeBeau and his crew the deal by giving them the Elixir of Life in exchange for the tithe. As, so does the Tithe Collector says, by the grace of Candra, their benefactress, he shall do the honors.

The ritual is disturbed by Gambit and Rogue, who make their way in. Rogue asks Gambit what’s going on, but he simply calls it “family business” and Rogue should leave. But Rogue promises that he shall never leave him alone again. Gambit tells his father and wants to have words with him, but Jean-Luc isn’t pleased to see his son again, as he has disturbed the ritual. The Tithe Collector takes out his walking stick and lifts it high up, telling the Thieves to handle their business quick or the ceremony will not go on. The Tithe Collector takes a briefcase with him and vanishes.

The angry Thieves want to kill Gambit for this, but Jean-Luc holds them down. Gambit puts Bella Donna in a bed and informs his father about the situation and that he wants the Elixir of Life. Pierre, a member of the Thieves Guild, never wants to grand Gambit his wish. Gambit throws a knife in Pierre’s shoulder and orders him to stay out of it. Gambit takes out some of his cards and charges them up, threatening his father to hand him the Elixir over, or else he’ll turn into an Assassin right here and now. Jean-Luc says he can’t do that, even if they had all the three vials, he couldn’t give the Elixir to an outsider. Gambit wants to kill Jean-Luc, but Rogue holds him back, saying that killing isn’t such a good idea. Gambit agrees, but says that Rogue doesn’t know him as well as she might think she does. No one does. Gambit throws his cards towards Pierre, but they pass him and destroy a closet.

Gambit picks up Bella Donna again and calls his father a fool for still leaning on the old ways and hiding in the darkness. That Jean-Luc gave everything away in exchange for long life. Gambit doesn’t find that living. Even his brother is dead now. Gambit and Rogue leave, with Gambit telling Jean-Luc to mourn the loss of two sons now. As they are gone, Pierre gets up, telling Jean-Luc that they need all three vials for the Elixir to be complete, and that they can’t allow Remy to betray them like this. Jean-Luc sadly says that he knows that.

At the same time, surrounded by mist, the Tithe Collector walks through the dark, night streets of New Orleans, alone. He gets attacked by several members of the Assassins Guild, who steal his briefcase from him. Julien sticks his sword through the Collector and he falls down, not understanding why the Assassins broke the pact. Pierre shows up, wanting to make a deal and hand the Elixir to both Guilds as they are stronger united. They bicker, and the Tithe Collector gets up and takes his briefcase back and vanishes through the mists. The Assassins try to stop him, but they are too late.

The Garden District of New Orleans…

Gambit and Rogue have taken Bell to a house. Gambit explains to Rogue that he grew up on the streets and doesn’t remember his real parents. On the streets, Gambit says he survived by stealing and, one day, he tried to steal a man’s wallet. That man was Jean-Luc LeBeau. Gambit claims that he didn’t know that Jean-Luc was the head of the legendary Thieves Guild. Gambit explains that Jean-Luc took him in and taught him everything Remy knows today. Gambit takes Bell up to a room and puts her in a bed. He explains to Rogue that Henri was like a brother to him; the only family he had. And now he’s gone.

Rogue comforts him, saying that he’s still got her… and the X-Men. Gambit thanks her for that. Gambit apologizes, as he knows all this must have been hard on Rogue and tells her that she doesn’t need to stay and guard Bella Donna. Rogue puts her hand on Remy’s shoulder, saying that she isn’t doing it for her, but for him, and wants to guard her. Gambit wants to leave, but Rogue holds him down, wanting to know one thing: what is the meaning of this house? Opening the windows, Gambit explains that he bought the house years ago, wanting to have a place to retire and raise a family in. Gambit smiles, laughing, saying that he’ll probably never settle down. He jumps out of the window and takes good-bye from Rogue, telling her to take care. She wishes him the same. Rogue goes back to the comatose Bella Donna. Rogue says to Bell to answer her a question: is she the dream of a thief?

Gambit returns to Marius, who’s recovering from his wounds. Gambit apologizes for seeing Marius suffer like this, but needs information from him so that he can safe Bell’s life. Marius tells Gambit that, by doing this, he might betray his family. Gambit says he can live with that.

Meanwhile, at their place, Gideon, holding a wine glass, smiling speaks to Candra, saying that he feels sorry for leaving her when her business is going so badly. Looking at an exhausted Tithe Collector, who sits in her chair, Candra tells Gideon to not concern himself, promising that everything will be resolved as planned.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Rogue (all X-Men)

Jean-Luc LeBeau (patriarch of the Thieves Guild)

Pierre and other various unnamed members of the Thieves Guild

Bella Donna Boudreaux, Julien Boudreaux, Marius Boudreaux (the Assassins Guild)

other various unnamed members of the Assassins Guild



The Tithe Collector

Story Notes: 

When they were young, Gambit and Bella Donna agreed to marry in an attempt to bring peace between their hating Thieves and Assassins Guilds. The plan worked, though Bell’s brother Julien hated the pact and challenged Gambit to a duel. Gambit defended himself and accidentally killed Julien. Not wanting to bring the feuds back, Gambit left New Orleans and his wife without saying any word to them. [X-Men (2nd series) #8]

Bella Donna was seemingly killed when she, Gambit and the X-Men were fighting the Brood in X-Men (2nd series) #9. Gambit found out the truth that she is alive last issue.

Julien Boudreaux was seemingly killed in Ghost Rider (3rd series) #27. He was revealed alive last issue when he killed Gambit’s stepbrother, Henri.

The fact that Gambit was stolen as a baby by Jean-Luc and the rest of his street life past is eventually further explored through flashbacks in Gambit (3rd series) #1.

Ironically, Gambit tells Rogue that he met Jean-Luc when he tried to steal his wallet and he later adopted the young Remy. This is kind of like the same origin story to Storm, who met Professor X, when she was a kid and living on the streets, and tried to steal Xavier’s wallet as well. And she didn’t know who Xavier was either.

Gideon is busy holding Sunspot and the rest of X-Force busy.

First appearance of Jean-Luc LeBeau, the Tithe Collector, Marius Boudreaux and this is also the first time actual members of the Assassins Guild are seen, though they are all unnamed. Various unnamed members of the Thieves Guild were previously seen in X-Men (2nd series) #9.

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