Gambit (4th series) #5

Issue Date: 
February 2005
Story Title: 
House of Cards - part 5: Celebrity Poker

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

Brief Description: 

Gambit is being tortured by Stone, Alphonse’s henchman. When Alphonse leaves to deliver the Inficio Aquilus to Orlean Cooper, Wolverine arrives and slices Stone up. Alphonse delivers the tarot cards, much to Jack Jessup’s annoyance, before being informed that his friend had been killed. Being an avid X-watcher, Alphonse realizes that Wolverine may be involved. This is bad. At Camille’s, Remy thanks both Camille and Wolverine, but is soon saddened when he hears about the death of Dan Downs. He swears revenge and wants Wolverine’s assistance. Using a tried and tested tactic, Remy and Logan tear through the New Orleans underworld, disguising themselves as their fellow X-Men. When the vague stories of these raids reach Alphonse, he believes that the entire team is on his trail, and he doesn’t want that. As Cooper prepares for a ceremony that evening, Alphonse takes the tarot cards and delivers them to Gambit. He asks for forgiveness, but receives a knockout blow in response. Gambit isn’t finished just yet, and is determined to make Cooper and Jessup pay.

Full Summary: 

(Remy’s thoughts)

Gambit is reflecting on how saving the world alongside the X-Men can get old after a while. Every so often, he needs to take a break, and do his own thing. This usually leads him home, for a little R ‘n R… and R. Rest, relaxation and robbery. After this, he likes to hit town with his best girl. Lili Penrose comes to mind, but she quickly changes to his old flame, Rogue.


A voice breaks his concentration. Alphonse’s mutant friend, Stone, looks down at him. “Mr. LeBeau. You’ve gone to your happy place again, haven’t you?” He slips on a glove over his four fingers, and they immediately crackle with electricity. The glove is wired to a small generator, and the glove has one purpose: torture. Gambit screams, as the glove pours electric shocks through his body. Blood seeps from his nose, as he manages to maintain the thoughts of spending time with his best girl.

Alphonse turns to his friend, who admits that Remy will be a tough nut to crack. He’s got a lot of mental resistance built up. Alphonse confesses that he’s an avid follower of the X-Men’s exploits. He tells Stone that the X-Men have, like, twenty telepaths. None of them know how to die and properly stay dead, either. It sets a bad example. Stone is unaware of the X-Men’s existence. Alphonse explains that they’re super-heroes; kinda like the Avengers or Fantastic Four. LeBeau works with them, and uses the codename, Gambit. They’re a formidable bunch, he continues and, how a pencil-neck twerp like LeBeau joined them, he’ll never know.

Remy lays strapped to a table, seemingly oblivious to their conversation. Alphonse wonders what his life would have been like if he’d gone to the Xavier Institute. Stone replies that he’s starting to sound like an after-school special. They’re assassins. He thought they were supposed to be torturing this guy to death. Alphonse reminds him that he’s not supposed to die. Their boss just wants him to suffer. Orlean Cooper is doing his thing at midnight, and he’s got to get the tarot cards they took off LeBeau back to him or he’s gonna have a fit. He asks his friend to ensure Gambit is still breathing when he gets back.

As the door slams shut, Stone whispers, whatever, before putting his goggles back on and continuing the torture. As he whistles to himself, the door creaks open, and he presumes it’s Alphonse again. “I told you not to worry,” he says. “I’m gonna keep him alive… just barely.” Standing behind him, Wolverine pops his claws, and replies that’s more’n he can say for him.

(not much later, and not far away)

Orlean Cooper finds Jack Jessup inside Club Orleans, smoking a cigarette and with his feet up. Cooper isn’t impressed, and asks how he got in. Jessup replies that it’ll take more than a couple of locks to keep him out. He needs to talk. Cooper isn’t willing to listen. Jessup failed him.

Alphonse interrupts them, and produces the tarot deck. Jack Jessup’s face drops a mile, and he informs Cooper that the deck is his. He stole the cards. Cooper corrects him, reminding him that Remy stole the cards, Jessup knocked him out and stole them from him, and Gambit stole them back. They had to take care of LeBeau. Alphonse hands over the cards, and Cooper opens the box, smiling broadly as the cards glow before him. The Inficio Aquilus possess seven hundred years of supernatural power and absolute, unadulterated evil, and it’s all his. He is happy. Alphonse informs him that all eighty-two cards are there. He counted the backs of them, so he wouldn’t be affected by the special cards.

Orlean’s phone rings, and the news he receives isn’t good. He seats himself behind a table in a large corner seat, and tells Alphonse that his henchman, Stone, was found sliced up like a Christmas ham…with his electro-shock glove lodged in his esophagus. A couple of folks spotted one of LeBeau’s pals dragging him away - some hairy runt with claws. Alphonse’s mouth drops open. “Metal claws? he asks, knowing full well it could be Wolverine.

Cooper orders Jack Jessup to leave, and keep his nose out of things. He’s pretty sure Jessup lifted a suitcase of cash from Remy’s place when he killed old man Dan Down. It seems to Cooper that Jessup made a pretty good profit from this venture, for a job he couldn’t even get right once. He adds that if he continues to push his luck, he’s guaranteed to lose his patience. Jessup leaves, looking most disgruntled.

Once Jessup has departed, Cooper asks who Wolverine is. Alphonse seems genuinely worried. He replies that it’s not a what - he’s a who. Wolverine’s a homicidal maniac, with heightened senses, a healing factor and razor-sharp adamantium claws. Cooper asks him to spare him the details. He’s not interested in which super-powered woodland mammal LeBeau is consorting with. He has the cards, and a midnight ceremony to worry about. He tells Alphonse to ensure LeBeau and company keep out of his hair.

(the French Quarter)

At Madame Camille’s, Gambit and Wolverine relax. Remy informs Logan that Camille and her daughter, Ginny, are the finest scammer-hacker-surveillance team in the city. He also says that he owes Logan big time, and Camille too. Camille says she’ll add it to the list. He asks Logan how he found him. Logan replies that you don’t exactly need animal senses to sniff out the cheap cologne he’s wearing.

Remy says that he actually means, how did he know? Logan tells him that he used caller I.D. He got a call from a friend of his. Remy smiles. He knew Dan Down would come through for him. Logan’s doesn’t meet Remy’s gaze. He asks about Dan. “Old fella? Grey hair, shabby suit? Pack of playing cards in every pocket?” That’s him, replies Remy. Both Logan and Camille’s expression speaks volumes. Remy can’t believe it.

Logan places a friendly hand on Remy’s shoulder, and explains that Dan was holed up in Remy’s house. That’s where he called from. Somebody kicked in his door and strangled the poor guy. They tore up the place afterwards, too. He notices the image of Jack Jessup on one of Ginny’s surveillance monitors, and says he’s pretty sure that’s the lowdown swamp-sucker that did it; Jack Jessup.

Remy clenches his fists as he sees Jessup’s face. He’s walking out of Club Orleans as they speak - a joint owned by Orlean Cooper, who just happens to employ that fish-faced freak, Alphonse; the same Alphonse who just spent the last eight hours torturing him. Poor old Dan, he tells them, he never hurt a fly. He’s gonna make sure Jessup suffers for what he’s done, and that goes for the rest of them too.

Camille wonders where Ginny is with the ice pack for Remy. She appears from nowhere and slaps the ice pack onto Remy’s head with a thump. She storms off, and Remy wonders what all that was about. Camille tells him not to play Mr. Innocent. He’d have hurt the child less if he’d stuck a dagger through her heart. Remy asks what she’s talking about. Camille points at him, and reminds him of the fun he had with Lili Penrose at the dinner party - right after he though he’d disabled the videotape surveillance cameras. Remy can’t believe he’s been caught on camera with Lili. Camille tells him he’s a dog, plain and simple; just like all men, and considerably worse than most. “Paris Hilton ain’t got nuthin’ on you, baby.”

Camille leaves Gambit and Wolverine alone. Remy suggests they roust a few bars and turn the New Orleans underworld upside down. Logan’s up for that, though he isn’t sure how it’ll get them closer to Jessup - or Cooper. Remy replies that they’re gonna turn them against each other. There’s no better revenge than that.

He informs Logan that while he was lying on the table, during his torture session with Stone, he wasn’t as far gone as Alphonse thought. He explains that Alphonse isn’t just a mutant; he’s an X-chaser. He follows their team like some people follow the Yankees. They can use this to their advantage, and he has a plan. Logan was afraid he was gonna say that.

(2.33pm - Big Easy Trophy Lounge)

Wolverine, in costume, and Gambit, wearing a black sleeveless top, tear through the bar. The customers in the bar, a noted hangout for the Assassins Guild, don’t stand a chance against the two X-Men.

(3.27pm - Alphonse’s base)

One of the injured customers, Jimmy, meets with Alphonse. He explains that the two men busted up the whole bar, and he doesn’t think they even broke a sweat doing it. They told him to tell Alphonse that they were just getting warmed up - and once they are warm, they’re coming after him. Alphonse asks him who. He replies that it was LeBeau and a guy with claws; maybe a couple of others too. He didn’t get a good look as it happened so fast. He doesn’t think anybody got a good look. “How many others?” asks Alphonse, concerned.

(4.02pm - Tulane University Science Department)

Remy steals a tank of liquid nitrogen from the University labs.

(4.58pm - Shorty’s Bar-B-Q Pit)

As Wolverine smashes his way through his opponents, Remy uses the liquid nitrogen to freeze everything in sight. A guy concentrating on Wolverine’s claws is caught by Wolverine, who informs him that the only reason he’s not gonna carve him into an ice sculpture, is that he’s got a message for a pal of his.

(6.05pm - Alphonse’s)

The hapless guy tells Alphonse that he didn’t get a good look at them, but when he came to, the whole place was frozen solid. It looked like the North Pole. “Iceman,” thinks Alphonse.

(6.26pm - Madame Camille’s)

Wolverine has donned some blue make-up and is having his hair brushed by Camille. He complains that he looks like a flamin’ Smurf. He swears that if this reaches anyone at the mansion… Remy asks Logan to trust him. He produces an old costume of Scott’s from a drawer and tells Logan that he thought it might come in handy sometime. It’s not like he’s gonna miss it - not now he’s got those astonishing new duds. “Trust me,” he adds. Logan says there’s a reason why nobody trusts him.

(and so on)

Wolverine swings from a bar’s light fittings, as he pretends to be Beast. Remy uses charged cards to make it appear that he’s firing blasts from his facemask. In the confusion, no one really notices the difference. All afternoon, all evening, all across town, the two X-Men give people the same warning to give Alphonse. The X-Men are coming for him. He messes with one; he messes with them all. At some point during the evening, Remy even produces a clip on Nightcrawler tail to go with the blue Beast make-up. Logan isn’t impressed.

One after the other, beat-up customers make their way to Alphonse’s and give him the news. After a while, Alphonse is worried out of his mind. He believes the entire team of X-Men is on his case. Orlean Cooper appears, dressed in ridiculous garb for the night’s ceremony. He trusts Alphonse has taken care of their rabble-rousers. The time for the ceremony draws nigh, and he’d prefer not to have to worry about any complications. Alphonse clutches the Inficio Aquilus, and replies that he’s just one more thing to take care of.


Alphonse is kneeling before Remy at Madame Camille’s, pleading with Remy not to kill him. Remy asks him to stand up; he’s embarrassing himself. He thought Alphonse was supposed to be some kind of ice-cold executioner who doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘mercy.’ Alphonse replies that he’s not stupid. What chance does he have against an entire team of mutant super-heroes? The X-Men routinely take down Magneto, and can probably even hold their own against Galactus. He doesn’t want them on his trail. Wolverine says the walking fish-stick makes a good point.

Alphonse hands over the ancient tarot deck, and says that Cooper will probably blame Jack Jessup when he figures they’re missing. He just wanted to be square with Remy, and make sure there are no hard feelings about that torture business. Like he said - it was business. “So..uh, we cool?” Remy strokes his chin. He tells Alphonse he needs him to return to Club Orleans and leave him a little surprise in his office. Then he should get out of town as quickly as possible, and don’t ever look back. Other than that… Remy turns and punches Alphonse in the face with a solid left cross. Alphonse is knocked out, and Remy says they’re cool.

Logan asks what’s next. Does he have a little more payback in store for the guy who killed his friend? Remy sternly replies, “Payback? That’s just the start of it. Dat scum ain’t even gonna know what hit ‘em.”

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Wolverine (both X-Men)

Orlean Cooper

Jack Jessup

Alphonse and Stone

Madame Camille and Genevieve D’Aubigne

Big Easy Trophy Lounge customers including Jimmy

Shorty’s Bar-B-Q Pit customers

Several other bar’s customers

(in Remy’s thoughts)

Beast, Bishop, Cyclops, Havok, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Phoenix, Rogue, Storm, Sunfire (all X-Men)





Dan Downs

Lili Penrose

(on television screen)

Jack Jessup

Story Notes: 

In Remy’s thoughts, he pictures himself wearing a Hong Kong Phooey jumper. He was a classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon character of the 1970s.

Paris Hilton is one of the stars of A Simple Life, and appears on every television show she possibly can. Her infamous sex video (made when she was 19 years old) was released on the Internet. She is the heiress to the Hilton Hotel fortune.

Smurf’s are small blue cartoon characters from the 1980s.

The Cyclops costume Remy produces is the one he wore during Grant Morrison’s run. Now part of the Astonishing X-Men team, he wears a more traditional uniform.

Wolverine has pretended to be other heroes before, notably Wolverine (2nd series) #127, in which he acted like Captain America, the Hulk, the Thing, the Human Torch, Storm, Cyclops and Beast.

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