After the success of “Deadpool Vs. Hawkeye” and “Deadpool Vs. Thanos,” Gambit is definitely the next best purple-themed Marvel character to throw at the Merc with a Mouth. In “Deadpool V Gambit” #1, comedians Ben Acker and Ben Blacker put together a fun story that’s full of madcap action and comedy but doesn’t yet capitalize on throwing the pair at each other directly, while Danilo Beyruth illustrates the whole story with expressive and lithe character work that plays to each of the title characters’ strengths.
Acker and Blacker are very funny writers, so it’s no surprise this setup is full of jokes, both visual and character-based. The story picks up as Remy and Wade wait in line for a new coffee joint and continues with gags like Spider-Man wearing a suit while in costume, a hundred different variations on vegan culture and Matt Murdock and Peter Parker teaming up to go antiquing, not to mention a very funny bit featuring Alexander Hamilton playing Lin-Manuel Miranda. I laughed a lot while I was reading this issue, so it certainly succeeds on that level.
If you’re coming to the book to see Deadpool face off against Gambit, though, you may have to wait a bit longer. This debut is a flashback to an earlier run-in between the two, where they are in disguise as Spider-Man and Daredevil respectively. It’s a funny bit of trolling to have an issue-long fight between two heroes that aren’t the focus of the book, but I was excited to see these two characters go at it; the issue ends with the real setup of the series, though the flashback establishes why, exactly, they’d consider throwing in with Chalmers at the end. The story lifts off whenever these two appear as themselves. As a sales pitch for the series, this first issue is a success, but it feels like a zero issue more than a first issue.
Beyruth’s art is perfect for the story the writers are telling; his work is clean and encapsulates that Brooklyn Marvel vibe. His panels are filled with detail and his characters all have great physical acting skills; my favorite scenes, aside from the Hamilton cameo, came towards the end, like the splash of Gambit and Deadpool sitting in the park as the real Spider-Man and Daredevil duke it out thanks to the chaos the titular duo created, or the moment they realize they’ve been triple double-crossed.
Acker, Blacker and Beyruth set up a really fun concept, portraying Deadpool and Gambit as a “Beavis and Butt-Head” pairing with a few more brain cells and a lot more firepower. This first issue only scratches the surface of that potential; as a standalone, it’s fun, but a little unsatisfying. Fans looking for a buddy action comedy will find the start of one here, but they’ll have to wait a little longer to see the real story.