Gambit (1st series) #4

Issue Date: 
March 1994
Story Title: 
Thief of Time

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: 

Gambit and Jean-Luc make it to the Church of the Lost Thieves in New Orleans, where they attack Julien and take the last vial of the Elixir of Life from him. Gambit is followed by angry Thieves and Assassins, but fights his way through. Julien confronts Gambit, revealing his horribly shredded face and explains that he has the Elixir to thank for it. Though few suffer from the side effects, Bella Donna could end up the same way. Gambit makes it back to Rogue, who is attacked and defeated by the Tithe Collector. Gambit frees her and defeats the Tithe Collector. As he prepares the Elixir, Rogue informs Gambit what happened with her and Bella Donna and that she loves him, but Gambit is so busy that he doesn’t hear any of it. Just as he wants to give Belle the potion, Gambit is attacked by Julien, who wants the potion for himself. Julien breaks the Elixir and small contents drop just near Belle’s bed. Marius steps in and kills his own son. Gambit apologizes for having failed and wants Marius to kill him. Before it can come to that, however, Candra shows up. Both the Thieves and the Assassins now realize the side effects of their cooperation and refuse to work together with her. Candra realizes her defeat and teleports away. Jean-Luc thanks his son for everything he has done, and promises that future generations will see Gambit as a saint. But, for what he has done, Jean-Luc orders Gambit to never come back to New Orleans or to the family. Gambit has noticed small contents drop near Belle’s bed and picks them up. He makes Belle drink them and she wakes up! Unfortunately, Bella Donna seems to have a memory loss and doesn’t even recognize Gambit. Gambit lies for her own good and simply tells Belle that he’s a concerned friend and that she has to go with Marius, her father. Gambit doesn’t now what to think and wants to kiss Rogue, who panics and flies away. Gambit now realizes that he is a thief and thieves can’t hope of the future. Sadly, he lights up a cigarette and decides to walk home.

Full Summary: 

Gambit somberly sits on top of the Church of the Lost Thieves and mourns about ancient times. Remy remembers when he and New Orleans were still young, and how Thieves came to this church to confess their sins. Gambit, however, didn’t come to this church to confess, but to hunt an enemy.

Meanwhile, inside the church, Julien waits impatiently for Pierre to return with the final vial that’s missing to make the Elixir of Life work. Julien realizes that, only when he’s drank the Elixir, shall he have enough time to defeat Gambit, the one who stole his sister away from him. Gambit breaks into the church and attacks Julien, taking the vial from him Gambit informs Julien that Pierre won’t be coming, as Remy caught Pierre when he was trying to steal the Elixir for himself.

Gambit says that he informed the others about this, and they didn’t like that very much, of course. Julien doesn’t want to believe Remy, but Gambit says tells Julien that he hasn’t got much choice. Gambit walks away, but Julien begs him to just have a taste of the Elixir, or else, Julien explains, he’ll die! Gambit doesn’t believe him. Julien takes off his mask and reveals his horribly scarred face, explaining that the Elixir did this to him. And, without another taste from it, he’ll die. Julien reveals that the Elixir could do the same to anyone who drinks from it.

Gambit and Julien walk out and meet with Jean-Luc. Jean-Luc can’t believe the look of Julien’s face, and also sadly realizes that the Elixir has done this to him. Gambit is surprised that his father is aware of this result. Jean-Luc explains that they’ve seen the casualties before, but that very few experience the side effect. But the ones who do suffer and crave to have more of the Elixir, believing that it will take away the pain. Jean-Luc explains that some members of the Thieves Guild have suffered, and all have died. But they were aware of the possible side effects before they drank from it and made their own decisions.

Gambit becomes angry that he has to gamble with the life of his wife. Julien begs to have just a small taste and promises to leave when he has drunk. But then, an explosion takes place and the Tithe Collector appears. He has joined forces with both Thieves and Assassins and told them that Gambit is a traitor after he fought Candra and that only Remy’s death will make things right again. They open fire, and Gambit and Jean-Luc jump to safety behind a statue. Jean-Luc tries to convince his son to hand them the Elixir, so that they’ll be back on their side. Gambit doesn’t want to, because his wife is waiting for him. And besides, he’s got a plan.

Gambit charges up the statue, which makes a huge explosion, causing the Thieves, Assassins and the Tithe Collector to run out of the church. Jean-Luc shows up as well, informing his former friends and enemies that his son is gone. The Tithe Collector commands a pursuit and for them to kill the traitor at sight. Meanwhile, Tante Mattie tries to calm a rampaging Bella Donna. Mattie asks Rogue what caused Bella Donna to act like this, but the X-Man doesn’t answer and just stares out of the window. Rogue thinks, wondering what it would be like if she and Gambit kissed. Rogue has had enough, and wonders where Remy is.

Gambit has made it and stands before the house. He notices that it’s too quiet, even for a calm place like this. Suddenly, the Thieves and Assassins show up and open fire again. Gambit fights back, using his various fighting styles and explosive card tricks to make his way through safely. Gambit takes some time to catch his breath and concludes that, from now one, he’ll never look up to this house again without remembering how much blood has been spilled there tonight. For this, he curses Candra. Gambit walks into the house, doubting if he should give the Elixir to Bella Donna or not, knowing the possible dangers it contains.

As he makes it to Belle’s room, Remy is startled by a devastating sight. The Tithe Collector shows up and, in his arms, he carries the defeated Rogue and Bella Donna. The Tithe Collector informs Gambit that Candra ordered him to kill everyone Gambit cares about, and gives Remy the choice to chose which one he wants to see die first. Gambit wants to attack his enemy, but has no cards left. The Tithe Collector laughs aloud at him, saying that they wouldn’t have helped anyway. The Tithe Collector uses his energies and attacks Rogue and Bella Donna, though Rogue begs Gambit not to listen to him. Gambit acts like he’s groveling, but the Tithe Collector tells him that it won’t have any effect. Gambit says that he has dignity and is instead charging up the Tithe Collector’s trench coat!

When the scared Tithe Collector drops Rogue and Bella Donna, Gambit quickly kicks him out of the window, and the Collector explodes on the fall down. Watching, Gambit says that the pact is broken now and that Candra would never honor it again, plus the Elixir is his now. Rogue gets up, and tries to tell Gambit what happened with her and Belle. Gambit tells her to wait with that, while he mixes the vials together so that the Elixir will work. Rogue doesn’t listen and says anyhow that she accidentally absorbed Belle’s memories, and that she loves Gambit. Gambit hasn’t heard much but, before they can go on, Julien drops in, holding a sword, wanting the Elixir for himself.

Julien doesn’t listen and stabs Gambit through his hand and breaks the Elixir! The bottle the Elixir is in breaks and drops fall on the bed Bella Donna lies in. Gambit becomes mad and takes Julien’s sword from him, saying that they’ll continue their duel but, this time, Julien will stay dead! Gambit stabs Julien a few time, but he’s still alive. Julien jumps at Remy and wants to kill him using his claws. Rogue tries to warn him, but is too late. Suddenly, Julien is killed by… arrows?! Marius steps into the room, telling his son that it’s over. Marius knows that Gambit did his best for his daughter and thanks him for that. But Gambit doesn’t want to accept the thanks, as he failed Marius and, more importantly, Bella Donna. Gambit asks Marius to kill him.

Suddenly, Candra appears, congratulating Gambit on the fine “act” he just played. Gambit gets angry at Candra, saying that he isn’t playing any act and would rather die now, even if it is as a Thief. Gambit points out to the Thieves and the Assassins what happens if they continue to take orders from Candra, making them remember Julien. Candra tells them not to listen to Gambit and promises them all both the powers and the Elixir. Marius speaks, denying the offer, saying that they are all sick of the old ways. He is done taking orders from her. He has now lost two children to her and won’t lose his Guild to her as well… the only family he has left.

Candra realizes her defeat and asks Gambit what he gained from it. Nothing, he says, and Candra teleports away. Jean-Luc congratulates his son, as the old ways are over now. Future generations will see Remy as the cause for it, both good and bad ways. They will see Remy as a saint. However, Jean-Luc orders Gambit to leave and never return to this city, or to the family. Jean-Luc walks away, taking good-bye from his son. Marius goes over to his daughter, wanting to give her a chance to spend her final days with her family. Gambit holds him, explaining that he saw some contents of the Elixir fell onto the blanket. He shreds it off and drops the contents into Belle’s mouth and… she awakes!

Gambit is so happy that he immediately hugs her. Belle pushes him back, as she doesn’t remember who he is. Gambit, hesitating, says that he’s just a concerned friend. Gambit introduces Marius, telling Bella Donna that he is her father. Bella Donna gets up and walks away with Marius, while Gambit stares out of the window. Rogue looks at him, but Gambit tells her not to look at him that way. He knows that he had to lie to her, not to giver her too much information all at once. And, besides, Belle’s life is still there in New Orleans, and he can’t come back after what he has done.

But Gambit says he won’t weep, they have won the day. He grabs Rogue in his arms and wants to kiss her. Rogue asks Gambit if he still loves her. Part of him always will, Gambit reveals. As their lips move closer to each other, Rogue panics and flies away, shouting that she can’t do it.

As he stares out of the window, watching Rogue fly away, Remy says that he knows that he’s a thief and they can’t have loyalties or love. They can’t hope to dream of the future. Remy picks up a wedding picture of him and Bella Donna, charges it up and throws it out of the window. With a sad look on his face, Gambit lights up a cigarette and goes out, deciding to walk home.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Rogue (all X-Men)

Jean-Luc LeBeau

Bella Donna Boudreaux

Julien Boudreaux

Marius Boudreaux


The Tithe Collector

Tante Mattie Baptiste

various Thieves and Assassins (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Though the series end here, the events of this story get their conclusion in Rogue (1st series) #1-4.

It was assumed that Julien killed his father in Gambit (1st series) #2. However, this issue reveals otherwise. However, in the follow-up story to this series, in Rogue (1st series) #1-4, Marius is once more dead, and this time stays that way.

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