Gambit (4th series) #4

Issue Date: 
December 2004
Story Title: 
House of Cards - part 4: Bet your life

John Layman (writer), Georges Jeanty (penciler), Don Hillsman II (inker), Tom Chu (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letters), Greg Land (cover), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Morgan Penrose is furious that his precious tarot deck has been stolen. It could be deadly in the wrong hands, and he wants Remy LeBeau to pay for this. Orlean explains that he’s a legitimate businessman and cannot help. His assistant, Alphonse, however, can do whatever he likes. Alphonse walks with Morgan, and informs him that he’s put the word out to his fellow assassins and, by now, Remy should be either dead, or fighting for his life. Elsewhere, Remy has dealt with the potential assassins, and is enjoying a game of Go Fish with Dan Downs. He remembers that he should really be tracking down who’s behind all this, and tries to leave. Dan asks him to stay, and play one more hand. As they continue their game, Dan sees in his cards that Jack Jessup is the one behind their recent mugging. Remy goes after Jack, and disguising himself as a hot dog vendor, easily recovers the stolen tarot deck. As he and Dan wander through the streets of New Orleans, Alphonse appears, alongside a fellow mutant tough guy. Alphonse splits the box holding the tarot deck in two, and the cards fly out. Dan covers Remy’s eyes to avoid him seeing them - they could make him go blind. Dan explains that they’re indestructible, so Remy charges three cards and hurls them at Alphonse. Unfortunately, they don’t retain the charge, and they make no impression on the large assassin, who tells Remy that his power only works on inorganic objects. He should have done his homework. Alphonse and his friend pummel Remy mercilessly, as Dan Downs flees in order to get help. He returns to Remy’s apartment, and spots a deck of cards on the table. He knows he shouldn’t use them, but has little choice. In the cards, he sees a phone number, and calls it. Before he can speak to the person on the other end, Jack Jessup attacks and strangles Dan. On the other end of the line, Wolverine wonders who on Earth is calling.

Full Summary: 

(Club Orleans)

Mutant club owner, Orlean Cooper, is watching CCTV footage with Morgan Penrose It shows Remy’s recent exploits in stealing the Inficio Aquilus tarot deck from the Penrose residence. Morgan isn’t impressed and wants Remy dead.

He asks Orlean if he understands, and Orlean replies that, if he recalls, he was there last night when the larceny occurred. He thinks it odd, because he’s familiar with Remy’s work and he isn’t usually this sloppy. Morgan reminds Cooper that the Inficio Aquilus deck is more that seven hundred years old and cost him plenty. The extent of its occult power could be very dangerous in the wrong hands.

Morgan slams the table with his fist. “I want LeBeau’s head on a platter!” he screams. “I want him to die; slowly, and I want it to be painful.” Cooper tries to calm his friend down, and emphasizes that he’s a legitimate businessman and cannot be seen to be any part of this. His right-hand man, Alphonse, then appears at the doorway. However, he continues, there are advantages in employing a personal assistant who’s also a member of the Assassins Guild. He offers Alphonse’s deadly services to Mr. Penrose. Cooper asks them to take their business outside. Alphonse’s can do whatever he wants during his coffee break.

As the two men disappear down the street, Cooper lets out a little chuckle. Alphonse informs Penrose that he knew what he would want the moment he walked into Club Orleans. He took the liberty of anticipating his request and put the word out to some associates. Right now, every cutthroat, killer, hired gun, hatchet man, goon, gangster, triggerman and torpedo in the state is on the trail of the smarmy little punk. He assures Penrose that if, they can’t take care of it, he’ll do it himself. However, he wouldn’t be surprised if Remy LeBeau, at that moment, is either already dead, or fighting for his life.

(elsewhere, at that very moment)

Remy stares intently at his opposition. The man opposite tells him to give it up. He’s finished. He says that Remy knows he has exactly what he wants, and he’s stalling. He orders Remy to make his move, or is he ready to give up? “Okay, already, okay,” replies Remy. Shuffling some playing cards through his fingers, he asks Dan Downs if he has any fours. They are playing a game of cards, Go Fish, on a park table. Behind him, several hired goons, triggermen, hatchet men etc, lie beaten and bruised, and are either sprawled out on the floor, or dangling from nearby trees.

Unfortunately, their game has been spoiled by Remy having to use several cards in the decks to take out his opponents. Remy suddenly wonders why he’s not making moves to track down the scum that’s behind all this. He asks Dan to play solitaire or something and see what he comes up with. He’s going to figure out who jumped him, and who sicced this assassin team on them. They’re gonna learn real quick that they crossed the wrong Cajun.

Dan looks worried. He grabs Remy and pulls him back by the coat sleeve. He informs his friend that he never talks to the cards on their own, not without back up. It’s bad luck. There are rules for these sort of things, and the cards don’t like it one bit. They’ll turn on you if you try. Try to go one-on-one with the cards and something bad will almost always happen.

Remy sits back down and Dan asks to play just one more hand. They are dealt their cards, and Remy asks if he has any jacks. Dan takes a look at his cards, and replies that he does have a jack… Jack Jessup! An image of Jack zapping Remy appears on his deck. He tells Remy that Jack Jessup is the man that ambushed him and stole the tarot deck. He’s got big plans to unload them to the highest bidder. “Jack?” replies Remy, “You gotta be kidding!”

Gambit remembers Jessup well. He’s a real loser who used to boost pocket change from beggars in Jackson Square. Remy makes his way into town on Jessup’s trail. A beggar points him in the direction of Orlean Cooper’s place. He adds that Jessup’s changed whilst Remy’s been away. Kid’s got ambition. Remy calls in at the Mardi Gras party supply’s shop and then at a hot dog vendor’s. Remy offers him five hundred bucks to take the day off and go fishing. Remy knows Jessup may now have ambition; but he’s got no imagination or vision.

Jessup, meanwhile, is on the phone to Orlean Cooper. He wants to know where the blue man is at, and needs to see him. Jack explains that he’s outside Cooper’s club now, and it’s still closed. He’s been calling Cooper all day and has tried every means of communication possible. He’s become very impatient. He explains to Cooper’s answering machine that he has the cards, and gloats that he told Cooper that he was twice the thief that the mutie wash-up Le Beau ever could be. If Cooper wants the cards, he’d better be prepared to meet his price.

Orlean listens to Jessup’s rant, smoking away on a fat cigar. Also with him is Morgan Penrose’s daughter, Lili. She wonders if Cooper is ever going to pick up the phone. Jessup is practically screaming at him. She plants herself on his lap. Orlean replies that, as much as he wants the cards, it pays to be patient. He informs her that thieves are nothing if not predictable. He’ll give the two of them an hour or so, and one problem is almost sure to take care of the other.

As Jessup speaks, his concentration is broken by a hot dog vending machine knocking into him. He turns on the vendor and warns him to watch where he’s going. The vendor (actually Remy disguised with glasses and a false mustache bought from the supply shop) apologizes, and offers him a hot dog on the house. Jessup knocks them from his hand, and orders him to just leave. As he continues his phone call, Remy returns to see Dan Downs. He’s now carrying the tarot cards. He swiped them in the melee and gloats that he told Dan about Jessup; he’s strictly small time. He’s mostly harmless, thoroughly clueless and definitely not ready for the big leagues. He just wishes he could have seen his ugly pickle face when he figured out what just went down.

Suddenly, in the early evening light, Remy turns to see two other ugly faces staring back at him. One of the guys is Alphonse, and he’s with another mutant bruiser. Alphonse immediately uses a whip and attacks Remy. It splits the box holding the tarot deck in two, and the cards fly out. Dan quickly covers Remy’s eyes, warning him that these suckers are deadly, and one look at the wrong card could blind him. Remy remarks that he hates when that happens.

Dan continues to explain that the cards are indestructible too. Nobody’s completely sure what they’re made of, but he’s heard some pretty crazy theories. Remy thanks him for the info, and reckons he can use this to his advantage. Remy stands, and as Dan tries to deliver another warning, he zaps charges into three cards and hurls them at the two bruisers as he leaps gracefully toward them. He’s stylish, but unfortunately, he’s ineffective. By the time the tarot cards reach their intended target, the charge has dissipated and they flap harmlessly against Alphonse’s chest. Remy realizes he’s now in trouble. Alphonse charges, and as he leaps at Remy, he explains that his kinetic energy only works on inorganic objects.

The big guy grabs Gambit around the neck and adds that, if Remy was hoping the cards would blind him, then he guesses his luck has finally run out. As he tosses Remy effortlessly into a garbage can, he tells him he shoulda done his homework. He picks Remy up again, and this time slams him to the ground. Dan is helpless, and Remy orders him away; there’s nothing he can do for him. He should go get help. Alphonse agrees, and tells Dan to skedaddle. Alphonse’s friend continues to pummel Remy into the dirt as Dan runs for his life.

(soon, at Remy’s apartment)

Dan arrives and wonders if, by getting help, Remy meant the police. He knows the cops won’t cry about a mutant thief getting what’s coming to him, and the Thieves Guild won’t want to be in the middle of this either. Realization dawns upon him, as he spots a deck of cards on the table. As he warned Gambit earlier, one shouldn’t go one-on-one with the cards or bad things will happen. However, he has little choice, and Dan sits down to shuffle the pack.

Slowly, he flips each card, and brings up what appear to be random numbered cards; an eight here, a four there. As each card is turned, Dan doesn’t really understand the significance of what he is looking at. However, when he lays the cards down, he realizes that what he’s looking at is a telephone number. He grabs the phone and dials the number. As he waits for an answer, Jack Jessup suddenly comes crashing through the door. He’s furious, and wants his lucrative tarot deck back.

As the voice on the other end of the line warns that he shouldn’t be interrupted during The O.C., Jack punches Dan, sending him sprawling to the carpet. Dan reaches for the phone, but is unable to speak, as Jack wraps the cord around his neck. Jack tells Dan that he should have killed him the first time he had the chance; him and LeBeau. He isn’t going to let this opportunity slip away from his grasp. Dan chokes as the person on the other end wonders what on Earth is going on. Soon, Dan drops to the ground, and the phone drops from his hand. Wolverine is on the other end of the line, enjoying a beer. “Hello?” Inquisitively, he repeats the question. “Hello?!”

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Wolverine (both X-Men)

Morgan and Lili Penrose

Orlean Cooper

Alphonse and friend

Dan Downs

Several beaten assassins

Residents of New Orleans


Hot Dog vendor

Jack Jessup

(in flashback, in the cards)


Jack Jessup

(on CCTV)


Story Notes: 

This issue was released during Marvel’s ‘Wolverine month,’ so it was almost inevitable he would turn up here.

Remy’s remark about hating being blind refers to another story that took place in the pages of X-Men (2nd series).

The O.C. is a television show set in California.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: