Cyclops and Jean may be the X-Men’s first real couple and possibly the franchise’s most important. The offspring produced from their union, in one way or another, are responsible for some of the most important stories in all of X-Men. That indeed may be so, but they aren’t the X-Men’s most popular or storied couple. That honor belongs to none other than Rogue and Gambit. A match that their creator never intended to happen. Chris Claremont had designs of having Gambit seduce Kitty Pryde and would have ultimately betrayed the X-Men. After he left the franchise that’s obviously not how it went down.
Thanks to their nearly universal appeal as a forbidden love in the ‘90s animated series, Marvel made sure writers kept Rogue and Gambit within each other’s orbit to capitalize on the popularity. This practice created a plethora of moments between the two. After the show ended, however, writers attempted to pair them with other characters- well, they threw Rogue at other men and wrote Gambit as a sad pining mess of a “lady’s man,” but nothing ever stuck quite like Romy. For your consideration, here are their 10 greatest moments.
***We’re excluding the Mr. and Mrs. X series, otherwise, that might take up a sizable chunk of the list by itself. These are the moments that made that book possible.***
10. A Ride in the Park
X-Men #24, 1993
Rogue and Gambit’s first official date was both intensely romantic and ripe with drama. Behind what is quite possibly the most famous Romy cover of all-time, Gambit finally got Rogue outside of the mansion alone without being attacked by Bishop or Omega Red (yeah, that happened). After surviving waves of Gambit’s overtures from a dinner table in the city, the couple capped off their night with a quiet horse-ride through the park. Ever the suicide candidate, Gambit attempted to kiss Rogue and almost succeeded before she pulled away at the last moment. What followed wasn’t more attempts to make physical contact from Gambit, yet it still became the couple’s most intimate moment for years to come.
9. 1st Declaration of Love
X-Men #33, 1994
During the ‘90s there was this period where X-Men kept Victor Creed as a prisoner in an attempt to rehabilitate the villain. Before he eventually got himself poked in the brain by Wolverine, he made the best of his time with the heroes. By that, I mean mentally screwing with anyone that dared to talk to him. He especially enjoyed playing Gambit, so Rogue was a prime target. Knowing that Gambit and Creed had a history with one another she went to him in hopes of learning more about her tight-lipped ‘boyfriend.’
Creed detailed a run-in between him and the Cajun while they were both in Paris. Both men were interested in acquiring a large jewel from an heiress named Genevieve.
Sabretooth would have gotten it the old fashion way- murder. However, that wasn’t ever Gambit’s style. He seduced, romanced and led the girl on until he was able to snake his way into her life and swipe the jewel. Creed would then kidnap both Genevieve and Gambit’s brother and force him to exchange the jewel for their lives. Creed killed Genevieve anyway. Understandably the story didn’t sit well with Rogue. She confronted Gambit afterward and in a huff, confessed that she was in love with him but feared he didn’t understand the concept.
8. In the End
X-Men: The End, Book One #5, 2005
A small moment in comparison to rest on the list, but not any less important. Chris Claremont had returned to the X-Men franchise and in 2005 he penned the franchise’s ultimate swan-song in “X-Men: The End.” Across three volumes and about fifteen issues he gave us his conclusion to the X-Men universe. Some of it was sweet, but the vast majority of the story was like a gut punch.
However, after years of drama and angst, it was revealed that Gambit and Rogue didn’t just marry, but had two children in the alternate timeline. A son, Oliver and a daughter, Rebecca. Both were still children by the story’s end, but we got to see them as teens in the follow-up series Gen-Next.
7. A Desperate Embrace
X-Men #41, 1995
Gambit and Rogue’s first kiss was met with just as much sorrow as Rogue feared. Maybe more. Under the fear of impending doom Rogue, Gambit, and the rest of the X-Men helplessly watched as a crystalline wave approached their world promising to end everything they knew and loved. Desperate and out of options, Gambit and Rogue finally kissed each other thinking it’d be their last moments together.
What happened afterward was exactly what Rogue had feared. She successfully absorbed her would-be’s lover’s life force, along with portions of Gambit’s memory, and personality. It indeed left him in a coma not unlike what happened to her childhood crush, Cody. It’s also the issue where Legion accidentally killed his father thrusting the timeline into the Age of Apocalypse- but who cares about that, right?
6. Sleepless in Seattle
X-Men #45, 1995
After being traumatized and kind of haunted by absorbing the essence of her lover, Rogue hit the road alongside her teammate Iceman. The duo would eventually end up in Seattle where Gambit, freshly out of his coma, was able to track the two down. Rogue was barely holding onto her sanity as she fought to pry into Gambit’s memories, one in particular that had roots with a rundown opera house. It wasn’t as simple as approaching the young woman. Gambit had to forcibly stop her from flying off by nailing her with a charged sandbag!
By the time Gambit and Iceman caught up to Rogue, she was nearly beyond consolation. She begged Gambit to tell her, but he was unable to verbalize his deeds. He offered to touch her one more time so she could see for herself, essentially willing to die so she could find peace.
Rogue refused and then flew off effectively cutting ties between them for the time being. The memory that haunted Rogue turned out to be the deal Gambit struck with Mister Sinister which led to the Morlock Massacre. By the issue’s end, Sinister would approach Gambit and remind him of their arrangement, but it seemed to be more taunting than anything else.
5. The Pie Incident
X-Men #8, 1991
How can we have a list of the ‘Greatest Rogue and Gambit Moments’ and not include the ‘pie incident’ when the X-Man from the future Bishop journeyed back to the present day and joined the X-Men, he did it with a splash. Recognizing Gambit as a man from his childhood which he would come to call ‘the Witness,’ he accused him of being the downfall of the X-Men. The reason they don’t survive past this era and why his world was in the condition it is in. Of course, he was incorrect. That turned out to be Xavier’s rampaging sub-conscious persona Onslaught. Not having access to this information, he took every opportunity he had to confront Gambit over the next couple of years, but the most notorious instance is the picnic.
Fun issue. We got to see Cyclops get caught by Jean shamelessly ogling a half-naked Psylocke, and Rogue wearing very little clothing despite the obvious dangers of that. During this particular confrontation, Bishop may have saved Gambit from himself as he was playfully chasing after Rogue.
After letting Rogue collide and bounce off of him, a fistfight turned into a food fight. During the melee, Gambit charged the pie Rogue had prepared and intended to hit Bishop with it, but unfortunately, it found his date’s face! Luckily for both men, it was funny enough to break the tension, at least for the moment. Oh, it’s also the issue we found out that Gambit was married the whole time.
4. Beyond the Stars
Uncanny X-Men #343 and #348
Once upon a time, Gladiator came to earth, picked a fight with Cannonball, and abducted a random group of X-Men (and Beast’s girlfriend, Trish Tilby) to help him save the Shi’Ar Empire from the ravages of the Phalanx. The severely unprepared team consisted of Beast, Gambit, Rogue, Bishop, and Joseph who they believed was Magneto after he had gone through another de-aging process (hint: he was a clone). The team used their experience and overall effectiveness as a seasoned fighting force to save the alien empire from being integrated into the Phalanx collective.
During the adventure Rogue found herself engulfed by the matter absorbing aliens. Having no hope of rescue, she reconciled herself to her fate just before Gambit appeared. Rogue begged him to save himself upon which time Gambit informed her that he had nothing to live for without her. Together, the two were able to fight their way to freedom. After returning to Earth, the team again found themselves under the care of another Phoenix saga alumni, Eric the Red (hint: actually, Magneto).
The team was imprisoned within the Savage Land/ Antarctic fortress and held captive while Gambit was put on trial for crimes not yet presented to the group (the Mutant Massacre). Rogue and Gambit were kept together, chained and powerless. Rogue, without the aide of her powers, found herself at the mercy of her strongest absorbed personas, the largest being that of Gambit. He was able to calm her down after she’d relived the memory of the very crime they were being held for. After, the two found comfort in each other and spent their first night together… while Magneto watched and recorded it.
Rogue & Gambit #3, 2018
Fans of the pairing that are unfamiliar with the comic books would probably be shocked to learn that before the third issue of Rogue & Gambit, the couple was anything but an item. Matter of fact, up until a month or so before there were at least two writers actively trying to pair Rogue with their preferred character (Human Torch and Deadpool). Rogue & Gambit was a self-contained 5-part mini-series in which Kitty Pryde, dumped an undercover mission on the two X-Men.
Under the guise of seeking couples counseling the two would instead use their time on a tropical island to investigate the disappearance of mutants. However, whether they meant to or not, they ended up airing out the tons of dirty laundry they accumulated over the years. With nothing else to do but confront each other’s feelings and address the problems between them, Rogue and Gambit did what they do best when left to their own devices. By the end of the miniseries, the couple’s bond had been forged stronger than it’d been in decades.
2. Death & Life
X-Treme X-Men #16-#18, 2002
At the top of the century, Rogue led a team of X-Men to track down the future predicting diaries of Destiny, her long-dead foster mother. During the journey, Rogue and her team had to contend with not one, but two adversaries in the enigmatic figure only known as Vargas, and the inter-dimensional warlord named Khan. Vargas was more interested in the diaries to assure that his untimely death as described in it didn’t come to pass. Khan, on the other hand, simply wanted to invade and dominate our world adding it to his throng of others.
To create a portal powerful enough to transport his armies, Khan had Gambit abducted to be used as a conduit. As his forces poured through, the X-Men battled against them, their chief weapon being Rogue. She recently had been granted full access to every power she’d previously absorbed. When she was finally able to fight her way to Gambit, Rogue found herself pinned to him by the same force keeping the portal open. Resigned to ride it out together, all they could do is watch in horror as Vargas approached the couple, sword in hand.
By the time the X-Men reached them, Vargas had run them both through the heart. Luckily, Rogue’s tougher body had taken the brunt of the force. Using her borrowed powers, she was able to temporarily close her wounds and survive long enough to dispatch Vargas. Sadly, neither Rogue nor Gambit was out of the woods. Though being operated on by Beast, Gambit was dying. With help from Jean, Rogue, while dying herself, entered into Gambit’s mind and stopped him from crossing into the afterlife.
1. A Stolen Day
X-Men: Gold #30, 2018
X-Men: Gold #30 was originally supposed to be the wedding of Kitty Pryde and Colossus. The “event of the century” no one asked for. Gold was a mediocre comic, with a mediocre cast, coming out of a mediocre era of X-Men storytelling. It didn’t help that it was being written by Marc Guggenheim, that despite having numerous TV show credits to his name was – you guessed it, a mediocre comic book writer. The issue had tons of promotion and any number of variant covers starring the two X-Men. I couldn’t have cared less. I had zero interest in the single-issue “event.”
That was before word broke out that it was the old switch-a-roo. Just before the big moment, Kitty didn’t go through with the ceremony. It left the door wide-open for Gambit to propose to Rogue and subsequently marry each other in the same issue. In many ways, Gambit stole Kitty and Colossus’ wedding day. Somehow, Marvel was able to keep it secret until about 24-hours before it debuted. Before then I’d never seen a message board set fire.
It all started as a rumor, but then a special secret variant cover appeared on the net. All of a sudden, the issue of X-Men that most readers were bemoaning the existence of, had become a hot item and was selling out at comic shops. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I went from rolling my eyes to purchasing three copies of the issue. Not kidding- I have three copies. The original, the special Gambit & Rogue variant, and a blank cover.
Naysayers of the pairing may complain about how dysfunctional they’ve been, but what relationship in this world is perfect? Like characters, relationships are most interesting when they have challenges and these two, thanks to years of “will they, won’t they”, were ripe with them. What do you think about the list, let us know below!