For years I said my favourite Marvel character was Gambit of the X-Men. Remy Lebeau. He was a risk-taker, a man with a shady past and dangerous secrets, a charmer, a charlatan, a con man who’d put his life on the line for his friends. Be was brave and smart and outrageous. He liked sex. He had a cool Cajun accent and and an independent spirit. He did acrobatics and used playing cards as fiery weapons and wore a long coat, and carried a bo stick - what’s not to love?
I still love Gambit as much as ever - the Gambit of my imagination. Sadly, Gambit hasn’t been vey interesting in the past decade or two. He fell in love with Rogue, and she tamed him. He lost his edge. Writers didn’t seem to know what to do with him… and still don’t. What is he now? A sidekick for X-23.
Disappointing. I keep hoping a writer will come along who has some really snappy, dramatic, cutting edge ideas for Remy, but it hasn’t happened. I also keep hoping he’ll get over Rogue.
So: who else? So much is a function of time and story, and I’ve loved so many Marvel characters so passionately. When I was ten years old, it was Reed Richards I most adored. When I was eleven, it was Nick Fury - Sgt. Nicholas Fury of The Howling Commandos, before anyone ever invented S.H.I.E.L.D. Next it was Thor, God of Thunder - that one lasted a long time, and thanks to the recent movie (Thor), the coming movie (The Avengers), and some brilliant comic books over the past year, my love of Thor has come again to the fore.
In the Frank Miller era, my favourite character at Marvel was Daredevil. For a while, my favourite character was Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. Then it was Magneto - who originally had seemed the lamest of villains, but he gathered complexity and gravitas and personality, and for years has been fascinating - no wonder Rogue loves him.
So… now? This month, this week? I could still name half a dozen favourites, easily, but I think my choice today is Loki, Thor’s brother. Thor’s little brother, currently starring in Journey Into Mystery.