Gambit and the Champions: From The Marvel Vault #1

Issue Date: 
October 2011
Story Title: 

Scott Lobdell (writer), George Tuska (artist), Nick Filardi (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Mayela Gutierrez (production), David Yardin (cover artist), John Denning (assistant editor), Ralph Macchio (senior editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer) 

Brief Description: 

Brief Description:
Atop a rooftop in Los Angeles, Remy LeBeau watches the Champions fight Rampage below. He hops onto his bike ready to take off when he is stopped by Spat. Remy is mad that he has a job with Spat that may involve a bumping into with a team of superheroes, but agrees to meet her at a charity auction later for his assignment - to steal an ancient scroll. Meanwhile, a nearby MODOK tells his AIM agents how he has a foolproof plan that will outsmart the humans at the same charity auction later. Later at Warren Worthington III’s auction, Spat corners Warren and knocks him out as attendant Remy stares at the scroll, ready to make his move. He interacts with Natasha Romanov first before suddenly MODOK explodes a wall and demands the scroll. The remaining Champions, sans Iceman, jump into costume ready to fight, but MODOK turns Hercules against them. Remy at first ignores them and leaps over MODOK before stealing the scroll, ready to take off. However, at the last second, he realizes he can’t leave the Champions behind, so he charges the scroll to blast MODOK, thus saving the day. 

Full Summary: 

Remy LeBeau aka Gambit reminisces to a day long ago atop a rooftop in Los Angeles, when he watched the superhero team the Champions fighting the villain Rampage below and how someone much older than him once said, “the world still needs champions.” Remy realizes how, in this case, they were talking about the mutant Iceman, the demi-god Hercules, a former Russian spy called the Black Widow, everyone’s favorite winged millionaire the Angel and something called a Ghost Rider.

Remy jokes how maybe they aren’t Earth’s mightiest heroes but, for a west coast team, they got by. Iceman tells Hercules to give Rampage what for, as Hercules verily assures the iced youth he shall. However, Rampage blocks off Hercules’ war cry of have at thee, saying how all their vaunted power is nothing to him. Black Widow argues her widow’s bite argues otherwise, while Ghost Rider reckons they should just let him fry his soul and be done with him.

Despite their valiant efforts, Remy just mocks them as a bunch of lunatics in costumes beating on each other for the heck of it, joking how he couldn’t be paid to dress like them even though everyone knows the Big Easy’s favorite son would do near about anything if the price was right.

Gambit recalls how, back in those days, he just went by Remy, as it was long before he started calling himself Gambit and it would be a while before he hooked up with Storm and eventually joined the X-Men for as long as they would have him. Remy recalls how back then he wasn’t just a thief, he was raised by the thieves guild in the black heart of New Orleans and there were Interpol agents from around the globe who would attest to the fact that Remy LeBeau was the best he was at what he did. He had skill, class, nerves of steel and he was just young and stupid enough to believe there wasn’t a job that he couldn’t handle.

Remy jumps down from the rooftop to the ground below with ease, ready to go on his motorcycle before realizing, if he had a fault, it was that he could never say “no” to a beautiful woman. Suddenly, just that type of woman emerges from the shadows, asking Remy what he’s doing there. Remy remarks how he’s just doing his job, angry that she didn’t tell him he might be bumping up against an actual team of real-life superheroes. The woman, Spat, mocks Remy, asking if he’s afraid of the Champions. Remy tells her how he didn’t say nothing about being afraid, he just doesn’t like the fact that it slipped her mind when she hired him. She shoots back with asking him if he thinks she’s paying him his ridiculously inflated rate just because of his alleged charm and his past-your-prime boyish good looks, to which Remy lights up a cigarette, joking “ouch.”

Spat angrily tells Remy she’ll spell it out for him: the only reason she hired him at all is because he’s a mutant. Remy angrily grabs her and tells her to be clear and that she needs to smile when she says that. Spat realizes Remy is a closet case and, even if she did realize that, he’s still supposed to meet her at the charity auction in an hour. Spat orders Remy to get back to his hotel and make himself look presentable - or he can drive straight into the Pacific Ocean. Remy mockingly adds that there’s not a chance that he’d miss out on their post-heist celebratory kiss.

Gambit remembers, how at the time, being Homo superior wasn’t nearly as accepted as it is today - today where accepted is supposed to mean all living together on an island off the coast of San Francisco. Basically, it would have been bad for business if people thought they were hiring a mutant, as it wasn’t like he could knock down a mountain with his eyes or control the weather. Or at least that’s what he told himself at the time, even if it didn’t make it the truth. Remy thinks how maybe he just wanted to think being a thief was the only thing that kept him from being one of the beautiful latte sipping and suntanned in-crowd sitting on the streets of L.A. that day.

Remy rides past a truck on his motorcycle and unknown to him from within are none other than MODOK and two AIM agents, to which one AIM agent tells MODOK they might have a problem as their sensors have indicated a bio anomaly. MODOK tells him that that is unacceptable, as he has used his massive intellect to plan their operation tonight with perfect precision. For while, he was designated MODOK – Mechanized Organism Designed Only For Killing - it is still a matter of ease to out-think humans on even the most rudimentary level. The other AIM agent’s thought betray him as he thinks that MODOK has too big of an ego and wonders if he ever shuts his pie hole.

Unfortunately for the agent - Dr. Reyes - when he joined AIM, apparently no one told him of MODOK’s ability to read minds and MODOK tells Dr. Reyes he very rarely shuts up. The AIM agent at the controls asks Dr. Reyes what he was thinking as Reyes tries to apologize to Mr. MODOK, er, sir. MODOK mind blasts Dr. Reyes and tells him now he is sorry, while the other agent purposefully thinks thoughts of how MODOK sure told him, and MODOK is the best leader of AIM they’ve ever had. Dr. Reyes comes to, unsure of who he is, as MODOK tells him he is just another fool who spent a moment in the shadow of his greatness and he will remember nothing ever again! The other agent again purposefully thinks good thoughts about MODOK, thinking how Reyes was an idiot and didn’t deserve to serve MODOK. To this, MODOK tells him enough groveling and to get back to work, as all his plans must be executed perfectly tonight.

Later, at the charity auction, people arrive in limos and fancy clothing to attend as MODOK narrates: “The idiot who now runs the Worthington Foundation is throwing a celebration. Dignitaries from across the globe are invited. After his parents died and his assets were inventoried, he discovered his father had long ago come into possession of the Scroll of Vishnota. He could not possibly understand the sheer power the scroll possesses or he would never have deigned to return it to the Middle Eastern country of its origin. A transaction I have decided will not happen.”

Above the attendees below in a security room, Warren Worthington III thinks how a part of him can’t help but think his dad would be proud of what he’s doing, but another just can’t believe that he would have kept the scroll all these years if he had known it was stolen from those people. Either way, just as Warren thinks he should call one more time to make sure the security details are set, he is interrupted by Spat. She excuses herself for the intrusion, saying she was looking for the ladies room. Warren flirts back that, by the way she fills out that dress, he’s say that was obvious.

Spat laughs back and asks him if he’s Warren Worthington to which he replies that he’s guilty as charged, before asking her for her name as well. She tells him her name is Spat and he offers to show her to her original destination and perhaps, when she’s done, she’d care to join him for a drink? Spat says she’d love to, but quickly knocks him unconscious, saying they’ll talk about it after he wakes up… and then only after he’s tracked her halfway across the world to get the scroll back. Her part done, she hopes Remy won’t let her down.

Below, Remy stares at the Scroll of Vishnota, pondering how it’s hard to believe a few words on an old piece of paper can have so much power but then again, he’s been a mutant long enough to know firsthand that looks can be deceiving. Suddenly, Natasha Romanov appears and asks Remy for assurance that the scroll is striking. Remy recognizes her from her Time Magazine cover the year prior, to which she realizes they haven’t met. Remy introduces himself in a James Bond manner, as Natasha tells him good evening asks if perhaps she may borrow his arm for a while as it seems her nominal “date” for the evening is easily distracted. Remy sees women surrounding Hercules and tells “Chere Natasha” certainly, as there are worse ways to spend an evening. In his head, however, he can’t help but think how it is certainly going to make lifting the Scroll of Vishnota more difficult.

Hercules and Johnny Blaze are nearby, as Hercules tells the women around him how he has not seen beauty such as this since his home on Mt. Olympus, to which Johnny laughs telling him he’s one smooth hombre. Natasha stares at Remy and tells him he has a unique name, and she’s surprised she didn’t notice it when she was going over the guest list. Remy wonders if she may suspect something, as she was an international spy after all. Remy responds telling her he’s from old family money and they have the money to pay for their privacy as he jokes they’re very shy.

Natasha tells Remy she can understand that, before asking what kind of business his family is in. Remy removes his cigarette and kisses her hand, “jokingly” saying they’re thieves, every last one. Natasha laughs this off, apologizing for being too intrusive as she does have a suspicious nature. Natasha then excuses herself, telling Remy she has a conversation with a demi-god that she’s been putting off. Remy smiles and tells her another time, but he can’t help but wonder how he can’t believe he shaved for this. Just as he continues to think how it’s time to get this scroll and then the first plane back to the Big Easy before anyone else shows up, a wall crumbles and suddenly MODOK appears…

MODOK exclaims to all the startled guests to behold his power and, although he is designed only for killing, he will allow those who vacate the hall to live… at least as long as it takes him to tap into the destructive force of the Vishnota! The AIM agent next to MODOK is the same surviving one from earlier and again purposefully thinks how MODOK is a genius and how lucky he is to be working for him. The startled guests are all upset about the crashing of the charity event: how one thinks it wasn’t weird enough that a Greek god was there, how another is upset he didn’t even get his parking validated and another outright exclaims how, ever since the Champions set up shop in L.A., things have gone completely downhill.

However, all guests do manage to leave as the Champions jump into action, ready to fight AIM. Black Widow demands to know who invited AIM, as Hercules tells Johnny Blaze it appears they are needed to fight the big-headed one. Blaze assures Herc he’s one step ahead of him as he lights up his motorcycle - but it won’t be Johnny Blaze the big headed one will be fighting. Black Widow warns her teammates to beware that, although MODOK may look almost comical, few foes are deadlier. Hercules declares, as the Prince of Power, he will vanquish the enemy before he is overcome with laughter. Blaze - now full Ghost Rider - rides into action saying how he may not be one to talk but that MODOK sure is one ugly fella. Remy smiles from the sidelines, as he can’t help but think how all this ruined his only good tux.

Unfortunately, MODOK has overheard their conversation and tells his accompanying AIM agents he’s grown weary of being mocked for his appearance and has a change of plans: they will get the scroll while he deals with the Champion “morons.” Immediately, he jumps into action by sending a brain blast their way, declaring that he will see how hard they laugh when they feel firsthand the power that is MODOK!

Black Widow tells a trying Remy to get down as Hercules jumps in front of them all to absorb the blast, claiming for them to fear not, as his Scion of Olympus shall protect them all. Ghost Rider and Black Widow thank their teammate for working together as a team, but Remy isn’t so sure, asking the big fella if he’s ok. Hercules slams down his fists near his teammates, the two and Remy barely jumping out of the way in time.

Black Widow realizes MODOK’s beam did something to Hercules, although Ghost Rider already noticed. Remy charges a couple playing cards and thinks how everyone being distracted can all work in his favor. Remy takes out the “beekeepers” between him and the scroll, but MODOK is too fast for him. MODOK sends a brain blast Remy’s way, not realizing that he was a so-called “super hero” as well. Remy is shocked assuring him that he’s just an honest man living in a dishonest world.

Remy jumps out of the way and over MODOK’s head, jokingly asking MODOK to forgive him, as he’s just trying to “get a-head.” Remy grabs the Scroll of Vishnota and exclaims how now all he has to do is deliver it to Spat and he can put this night and these people behind him. However, just as he’s about to hop out the window to safety, Black Widow yells at him to wait. Natasha tells Remy her Widow’s Bite is useless against a controlled Hercules and they need his help to bring down MODOK and break the control over their friend. Even though Hercules has cornered the two of them, the Ghost Rider tells the Black Widow that she’s wasting her time with Remy, as he’s clearly only out for himself.

Gambit reminisces on that night; how he paused and looked up, feeling Spat’s eyes on him from the security office above. How he joked that her eyes only filled with dollar signs representing all the money they’d lose if he messed up the job. However, all he could do was shrug that he had to do the right thing, and being that he was out of playing cards he took the next best thing - the scroll - and sent it charged up towards MODOK. Gambit remembers how it managed to stop MODOK and how that was the night he ended up helping a bunch of strangers while missing out on a small fortune in the process. He recalls how it’d be years more before anyone ever mistakenly called him a hero again - not claiming he ever became one - and he had to admit that it felt good to do the right thing.

The Champions later bicker about who should be the one to tell Warren how his charity event was ruined. Ghost Rider tells Natasha how she has to, since Bobby’s at home doing homework and she is in fact team leader, to which Hercules quips rank doth have its privileges. Gambit recalls how he got more than an earful from Spat, telling him how much he owed her and exactly what he was going to do to pay her back. Gambit remembers how he watched the Champions from the office above, part of him wondering what it would be like to be part of a team… someday.  

Characters Involved: 

Remy LeBeau

Angel, Black Widow, Ghost Rider, Hercules, Iceman (Champions)


M.O.D.O.K., Dr. Reyes, other A.I.M. agents (A.I.M.)


Story Notes: 

The story is narrated from Gambit's point of view from the present.

This issue most likely takes place around Champions #5, the first issue that the Champions fought Rampage. 

The "Big Easy" is a nickname referring to the city of New Orleans.

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