The GeeksverseGambit and the Champions: From The Marvel Vault

Gambit and the Champions: From The Marvel Vault
Published on Saturday, September 3, 2011 by

From the vault is a less than classic Gambit tale that showcases the last offering from artist George Tuska. When this Gambit and Champions team up was found, Marvel decided to finish and release it as the tribute to George Tuska. This one shot tribute is similar to the recent Dwayne McDuffie Static Shock. Both are stand alone tales highlighting the contributions of a creator.

Wcott Labdell Writer
George Tuska Artist
Nick Filardi Colorist
Dave Sharpe Letterer
Mayela Gutierrez Production
David Yardin Cover
Dedicated to George Tuska (2009)

The Story: X-Man Gambit joins the Champions to take down the Mental Organism Designed Only For Killing! From those halcyon days gone by when the Champions were L.A.’s premier super-team comes this amazing assemblage featuring: Ghost Rider, the Black Widow, Angel, Remy LeBeau and the demi-god Hercules! The Champions are in a desperate race to stop the malevolent MODOK from coming into possession of the Scroll of Vishota. With such a parchment in your control, world domination is but moments away. Looks as if the ragin’ Cajun showed up just in time!

The story was a later addition, a much, much later addition. As the forward explains, the art for this book was lost in the vault without a script. So a script writer came in to recently to finish this book.

The cover too was a more recent addition to prepare this comic for printing. It was the cover that sold this book to me, a 90s looking Gambit being followed by the Champions. Ghost Rider has his large front motorcycle and Hercules is always fun. The cover is the only time in the comic that Remy looks like Gambit. Otherwise he looks fairly generic as a ruffian that slips into a fancy dress party and helps fight M.O.D.O.K. After reading the comic I went back through to double check if this generic looking guy ever did anything Gambit like, and he does throw cards in two panels on one page during the fight with AIM. Other than two cards his mutant abilities could have been the result of creative, recent, coloring and not the original intent.

The script sets this entire issue as a flash back. Gambit, living on an island post-X-Men, reminisces about his first brief team experiences. Apparently before the X-Men the thief Remy once paired up with the Champions on the West Coast. While being paid to steal an artifact Gambit helps take down M.O.D.O.K. by using the artifact as a weapon, although the expected Gambit explosion is not included. The last page layout rushes the ending. Otherwise the late inclusion script works fine. With a little humor, some jumping around, and the Champions working as a stereotypical team of misfits this is an okay book. We bought it because it was a one-shot, a taste of the Marvel Universe without becoming committed to the latest company cross over events.

As a throw back comic this is fun. The one shot is no better or worse than the Ghost Rider: Fear Itself mini series. In the Champions tale Johnny Blaze has a healthy dose of hick talk, which was a problem in the recent spirit of vengeance scripting. Luckily, Ghost Rider, Blaze, and the Champions in general have very little dialogue in this issue. Most of the text is monologue from Remy. He controls this pace and viewpoint of the story. This is not a good issue for promoting the flame headed character before his next movie comes out.

The foreword never cliams when this comic was supposed to take place. Tuska passed away at 93 after a long life and a long career in comics. Tuska might be far from a household name. Marines in Battle, Masters of the Universe, Luke Cage, Marvel Comics, Atlas, and others are on his long resume. This art must have been created sometime after Tuska’s brief assistance on the 1973 Ghost Rider run, although it could have been part of 1977’s What IF, it could have been created at any time. While Black Widow and Hercules may be timeless, Angel and Ghost Rider appear fairly dated.

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