After two decades of an off-and-on superhero romance, Rogue and Gambit are headlining their own X-Men spinoff miniseries. Writer Kelly Thompson is teaming up with artist Pere Pérez and colorist Frank D’Armata to send Rogue and Gambit off to a tropical paradise for couples therapy. However, their true mission is to find some missing mutants and uncover a hidden threat... assuming that they don't drive each other crazy first.
"When we begin, Rogue and Gambit are still best friends that care deeply for one another, but their romantic relationship is basically on pause and has been for a while," Thompson told SYFY WIRE. "There’s tension there too, tension borne of a lot of unresolved feelings and the incredibly complex history they share. But this story is going to take them places that totally upsets the sort of 'reasonably comfortable estrangement' they’ve found themselves in for the last five to ten years. It should be exciting stuff!"
Thompson tracks her love for Rogue and Gambit back to their appearances on the first X-Men animated series from the '90s. She also told us that the X-Men comics from that era also rank highly among her favorite "Romy" moments. "I tend to gravitate to some of their very early stories, which were angst ridden in a very natural way thanks to Rogue’s power set keeping their relationship from going to the next physical level. They had a couple failed dates (X-Men #4 and X-Men #8) that really solidified them as a fun pair to read. But I think X-Men #45, which is all about them dealing with the emotional turmoil of their relationship and the fall out of their first kiss, stands out as a particularly fascinating and complex moment for them."
Despite previous attempts to make their relationship work, Rogue and Gambit have never quite managed to perfect their bond. And yet they keep gravitating back to each other. "Rogue and Gambit have an absolutely magical chemistry together," noted Thompson. "That, plus literal decades of will they/won’t they stories, have kept this pairing more interesting than most. But in truth they haven't’ been together for a long time, which is one of the reasons that the Rogue & Gambit book is so exciting – it’s the first time they’ve ever had a book together, and the first time in a long time that they’ve been paired up in such an official and exclusive way. It doesn’t hurt that they’re scorching hot – especially in our book as realized by artist Pere Pérez and colorist Frank D’Armata."
Thompson also shared her theory about why their relationship continues to have seismic ups and downs. "I think they’re the definition of a tumultuous couple – addicted to one another and unable to let go – people that bring out both the best and worst in one another. That tumultuousness keeps them interesting, but it’s also something that gets in their way. Rogue is afraid of nothing on the field of battle, but she’s absolutely a runner when it comes to relationships. Rogue will say 'let’s talk later' and never come back. Not because she doesn’t care, but because she’s afraid. This has locked them into a pattern of chaser and chasee… but that can’t last forever, and Gambit especially is weary of it, I think."
The following double page spread from Rogue & Gambit #2 revisits several of their most contentious memories. As you can see, that's a lot of emotional baggage to deal with!
With so many bad memories, does the lovely couple have a chance of rediscovering their spark? Thompson certainly thinks so. "Absolutely. Or, more accurately perhaps, they will tap into and unlock how they already feel, and be forced to confront that stuff."
While Thompson was reluctant to hint at the villain behind the mysterious mutant disappearances, she did reveal that Rogue and Gambit #2 will give fans something that they've never seen before. "I think the big thing for issue #2 is that we’re going to see how Rogue and Gambit met for the very first time, which, shocking as it may seem after more than two decades of stories from these two characters together, is something readers have never seen before. So it’s both an exciting and terrifying moment for me…I hope the readers like it!"
Rogue and Gambit #2 will be released on Wednesday, Feb. 7. And if Thompson has her way, this miniseries won't be the last time she gets to put this pair together. When asked if an ongoing Rogue and Gambit series is possible, she replied "Absolutely. Nobody hopes that will happen more than me!"