Uncanny X-Men #265-267 (1990): 1st Gambit; Nanny destroyed

First Gambit.

He’s a mystery man!

Storm was turned into a kid several issues ago by The Nanny, and she’s still stuck in child form with no memory of her adult past.  She’s learning to use her powers and has gone back to being a thief—which is what she was when Professor X first met her in Africa.

Shadow King is now in control of U.S. super-agent Valerie Cooper and orders her to kill Mystique.

It’s a little prescient of the future Brian Michael Bendis series Alias, where Purple Man forces Jessica Jones to “consent” repeatedly to rape.  While not nearly as graphic, Shadow King is also mind-controlling Lian (above), and it is clear (albeit not visually depicted) that she is both his minion and sex slave.

He wants to capture and take control of Storm, in her weakened, child-like state.  He wants her in order to exact vengeance on Professor X—by attacking the ones he loves.

Shadow King lures her into a trap—to steal stuff from a fancy mansion—but she’s not the only thief that takes the bait

And so, Storm and Gambit meet for the first time.  Above is the first time we see him.  He’s not using playing cards at this time, but he already has his ability to put explosive energy into small objects and then use them as weapons.

Interestingly, Gambit immediately recognizes her as Storm, even though she’s a kid, and uses that codename to refer to her.

Together, they escape Shadow King’s trap.  Shadow King’s hounds chase them down and we get to see more of Gambit’s fighting abilities.

Gambit’s taken a strong interest in her obviously, and it’s not clear why (other than that she’s got tremendous power and they’re both thieves).

They spend some time in issue #267 stealing stuff on the streets of New Orleans.

Meanwhile, Nanny and Orphan-Maker are trying to recover Storm, and Gambit helps her escape them as well—killing both Nanny and Orphan-Maker.

And finally, Gambit blows up Nanny.

It’s about time. I’m ready for this character to disappear.

It’s a solid introduction to a new character and, frankly, it’s about time to get rid of the Nanny/Orphan-Maker characters.  Also, Storm recovers her memories—but it still locked in her little girl body

Creators: Chris Claremont and Bill Jaaska (#265), Mike Collins (#266), and “Homage Studios” on #267 (listed as Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, and Scott Williams)
Grade: C+

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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