Rogue & Gambit #2 furthers the pair’s adventure investigating a mysterious island that’s supposedly a couples’ retreat. Of course, the plot isn’t the point of this series–it’s just a vehicle for the creative team to explore the on-again-off-again lovers’ history and tension. Explore it they do, but does this issue rely too much on nostalgia, or does it tread new ground? Is Rogue & Gambit #2 good?
The creative team touches base with Rogue and Gambit’s pasts in fun ways here. The couples’ retreat plot continues to be a great reason for looking back on days gone while still acknowledging the couple’s more fraught relationship in the present. A lot of the issue consists of Rogue and Gambit sneaking around, quipping snidely at each other, and recounting past events that they feel differently about. By and large, this works–it would be quite easy for a series like this to read as purely nostalgia bait, but writer Kelly Thompson’s dialogue helps make the pair more interesting than they’ve been in literal decades.
With that said, this issue wouldn’t be as charming without its great artwork. Pere Perez does a fantastic job with the characters’ facial expressions, contributing a lot the issue’s visual comedy. There’s an amazing two-page-spread in which Rogue and Gambit are arguing, and all of their dialogue bubbles are filled with images instead of text. The images depict important moments from their relationships with each other as well as other people. The moments chosen run the gamut of nearly thirty years of stories, and the way they’re laid out is creative while still being clean and easy to read. Colorist Frank D’Armata also does a great job making the book bright and fun to look at.
As good as it is, I still have some qualms with this issue. The biggest con is the inconsistency of Rogue, and to a lesser extent, Gambit’s, voice. The dialogue in the flashback scenes is highly indicative of the pair’s early ’90s speech patterns, but their present day dialogue is far less flamboyant. The shift feels intentional and makes some sense given that the creative team is calling back to another time period, but it’s still just too jarring to be charming. The action scenes also suffer from some visual clarity issues; I often felt like I got the gist of panels without having definite, 100% certainty regarding what was happening.
Overall, Rogue & Gambit #2 is a lot of fun. The creative team continues to prove that this series is more than just nostalgia bait, and the titular couple is more fun to read about here than either of them has been in a long time. The artwork is really strong and comical throughout, and the dialogue captures the charm that made the pair fan favorites in the first place. There are some notable cons, but none of them are major enough to hinder the issue’s constant sense of fun. If you’re interested in either lead character, or if you just like comedy comics, I would recommend this issue.