Remy Etienne LeBeau was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was kidnapped from the hospital where he was born, then raised by the LeBeau Clan Thieves’ Guild, and given to the Antiquary as a tribute.
They referred to the child as “Le Diable Blanc” (“the White Devil”) and believed he was prophesied to unite the warring Thieves’ and Assassins’ Guilds. Soon after, Remy was placed in the care of Fagan’s Mob, a gang of street thieves who raised the child and taught him the ways of thievery. After living as an orphan on the streets, a 10-year-old Remy attempted to pick the pocket of Jean-Luc LeBeau, then patriarch of the Thieves’ Guild. Jean-Luc took the boy off the streets and adopted him into his own family.
Remy’s bio-kinetic charging abilities manifested early in his teens, although he kept his powers secret from his family and friends, practicing his powers away from prying eyes. When he was 15, he accompanied his cousin Etienne Marceaux on his “Tithing,” the ritual initiation test of the Thieves’ Guild. However, it went awry as they were assigned to steal from the powerful immortal mutant Candra, who quickly captured them. Candra recognized Remy from an encounter that had taken place in her past but in his future (due to a time travel mission to the 19th Century Remy would take as an adult) and sold them to the deformed mutant gangster and child slave trader known as the Pig, who planned to sell them and others their age to HYDRA as boy soldiers. Remy used his powers to escape their holding pen, but the physically enhanced Pig quickly caught up to them. Remy discovered his signature attack when he picked up a playing card that Etienne had dropped, charged it, and threw it in the Pig’s face, taking out his eye. Finally escaping his cliff top headquarters by diving into the sea, Remy was ultimately rescued by the Guild; Etienne drowned.
Later during his teen years, Remy was first hired by Mr. Sinister, then in disguise of Dr. Nathaniel Essex. Essex wanted his stolen diaries back from the Weapon X program. Remy and the Thieves’ Guild accepted the mission and sent out Remy to retrieve said diaries. Standing in the cold, scouting the Weapon X facility, Remy couldn’t bear the cold and swore he would steal a long, stylish jacket in New Orleans after the mission, which he did. Upon entering the facility, Remy witnessed Wolverine escaping from his adamantiumprocedure and found the diaries. However, deeming them to be too dangerous for Essex to have them, as Remy didn’t fully trust him, Remy burned the diaries. He headed back home, only to find a disappointed Thieves’ Guild and Essex.
In an attempt to reconcile the Thieves’ and Assassins’ Guilds, Remy married Bella Donna Boudreaux, granddaughter of the head Assassin, whom he met at the age of eight. Unfortunately, he was challenged by her brother Julien to a duel after the wedding. In the duel, Gambit killed Julien, and he was exiled from the city, ending his romantic relationship with Bella Donna.
The Mutant Massacre
After his exile from New Orleans, he wandered the world and became a master professional thief, making many contacts (and quite a few enemies). During this period, Gambit found he had an uncontrollable amount of energy flowing through him, to the point that he could not withstand it. Desperate, Gambit went to Mister Sinister for help. Sinister modified Gambit’s power by removing a portion of Gambit’s brain stem, making him significantly less powerful, but able to control the still considerably large amount of power in him. Years later, a much-younger version of Mister Sinister surgically returned it, upon Gambit’s request, when Gambit time-traveled to the 19th century.
However, Sinister wanted the favor returned, so Gambit carried out various missions for him. For the last of these operations, Gambit gathered together a group of mercenaries which Sinister named the Marauders. Gambit was then ordered to lead the Marauders into the tunnels under New York City. He led Sabretooth, Blockbuster, Prism, and Riptide there while — unknown to Gambit — Scalphunter, Arclight, Harpoon, Malice, Scrambler, and Vertigo followed the Morlock Tommy into the tunnels. Their goal was to wipe out the Morlocks. Gambit was unable to prevent the Marauders from killing a considerable number of Morlocks, but he was able to save one, a child. Her name was Sarah, and she would grow up to be Marrow, the leader of the mutant terrorist group Gene Nation. Gambit long kept his involvement in the mission a secret from his fellow X-Men, much to their eventual displeasure.
After wandering around the world, he encountered a de-aged and powerless Storm, and helped her escape from the Shadow King.He then rescued her from Nanny and the Orphan-Maker, helping her battle them. Afterwards, the young amnesiac Storm, who had reverted to thieving to stay alive, joined Gambit, and she eventually brought him back to the X-Men. Soon after, Gambit helped the X-Men, X-Factor, and New Mutants battle the Genoshans. Only Wolverine expressed his doubts about the Cajun, which led to a Danger Room duel between the two. Gambit was able to triumph by using a robotic doppelganger of Lady Deathstrike to distract Wolverine, while taking advantage of Wolverine’s injuries, inflicted by the Reavers. Gambit and the X-Men were then taken to the Shi’ar galaxy by Lila Cheney. Alongside the X-Men and Starjammers, Gambit battled Deathbird, the Imperial Guard, and a band of Warskrulls. Upon their return to Earth, Gambit assisted the X-Men and X-Factor in battling the Shadow King, though he was temporarily controlled by the Shadow King.
When the original five X-Men rejoined and the team was divided into two squads, Gambit became part of the Blue team under Cyclops’ leadership. Alongside the X-Men, he battled Magneto and his newly formed Acolytes, Fenris, the Hand, Omega Red, and Sabretooth, and then Mojo. Gambit then fought Bishop and was attacked by his estranged wife Bella Donna. Gambit recounted how he had fled from New Orleans after killing his brother-in-law in self-defense. Alongside the X-Men, Gambit first encountered the second Ghost Rider. Gambit battled the Brood Queen and the Brood-possessed Ghost Rider, and witnessed the apparent death of his now ex-wife, Bella Donna.
Gambit became romantically interested in one of his teammates, Rogue, and started flirting with her. Despite her off-putting manner and the obstacle of her uncontrollable mutant ability that prevented anyone from touching her, he began romancing and seducing Rogue. Their strong romantic relationship was originally written as a one time, flirtatious moment; ironically, their romantic relationship is listed as one of the longest and most popular on-going deep and close romantic relationships in the X-Men series, probably only second to Jean Grey and Cyclops. Although their early “courtship” portrayed him as very “devil may care” in his flirtation with her, later issues revealed that, beneath his bravado and swagger, he truly had genuine romantic feelings for her. Similarly, despite her initial aggressive rejection of his advances, Rogue found that she was not only flattered by his attention, but that she felt equally romantically attracted to him.
Many publishing years later, it had become apparent Remy had a dark secret. Sabretooth had hinted to it on numerous occasions during his “residency” at the X-Mansion, prompting Rogue to ask him to reveal whatever he knew about Gambit’s past. Remy was captured and brought before a mock trial held by Magneto, the mutant Master of Magnetism, then disguised as Erik the Red. Rogue was forced to kiss him again, revealing that he had assembled the team of Marauders for Mr. Sinister that later killed most of the Morlocks. However it was also revealed that Gambit saved a single girl from the Marauders during the massacre. This apparent revelation and absorbing Gambit’s own guilty memories caused Rogue to reject him. Gambit was similarly cast out of the X-Men and was abandoned in the frozen wastes of Antarctica.
Starving, and haunted by the betrayal of his lover, Gambit made his way back into Magneto’s citadel, where he encountered the psionic essence of a dead mutant named Mary Purcell. The wraith-like Mary bonded with him, allowing him to survive until he reached the Savage Land, a hidden jungle nestled in the icy wasteland. There, Remy struck a deal with an enigmatic being known as the New Son. In exchange for passage back to America, Gambit agreed to run errands with the help of friend Jacob Gavin Jr. During this period, Remy’s command over his abilities strengthened and amplified significantly.
When Gambit’s psyche absorption had worn off, Rogue spent months searching for him, to no avail. Gambit encountered Storm and Shadowcat when he attempted to steal the fabled Crimson Gem of Cyttorak for his new employer. He agreed to return to the X-Men, mainly for his self-respect and for Rogue. At one point, he became the field leader of a branch of X-Men. His romantic love for Rogue was still intact, but her inability to control her powers made her break it off out of fear of hurting him.
Meanwhile, the New Son revealed his true identity as an alternate universe version of Gambit himself, after organizing an assassination game for a cadre of superpowered mercenaries with Remy as the target. During the final confrontation, Gambit burned out his enhanced abilities, thus returning to his original level of power.
Powers and abilities
Gambit is a mutant with the ability to convert the potential energy stored in an inanimate object into pure light kinetic energy, thus “charging” that item with highly explosive results. He prefers to charge smaller objects, such as his ever-present playing cards, as the time required to charge them is greatly reduced and they are much easier for him to throw. The only real limitation to this ability is the time required to charge the object: the larger it is the more time it takes to charge. Most charging takes place through direct skin contact. The power of his explosions is dependent on the mass of the object he is charging, for example, a charged playing card explodes with the force of a grenade. Gambit can also use his mutant abilities to accelerate an object’s kinetic energy instead of converting its potential energy; for example, he can charge his Bo staff with enough kinetic energy and power to level a house.
Gambit’s ability to tap kinetic energy also grants him incredible superhuman physical attributes (strength, speed, reflexes and reactions, agility, flexibility, dexterity, coordination, balance, and endurance), as his body constantly generates bio-kinetic energy and so is perfectly constructed for constant motion. This gives him an added edge that he has used to his advantage by developing a unique acrobatic fighting style.
He also has the ability to create static, because of the charged potential energy always in his body, that shields his mind from detection and intrusion by even the strongest and most powerful telepaths such as Emma Frost, Jean Grey, or even Charles Xavier. The shield has the added effect of destabilizing touch-based abilities.
Gambit also possesses an unusually strong and irresistible hypnotic charm that allows him to exert a subtle influence over sentient beings, leading them to believe what he says and agree with his suggestions. This charm is so strong and powerful that if given a chance, Gambit could even charm the Shadow King himself. The hypnotic charm does not work on those who know about it.
During combat, Gambit customarily wears a suit of highly articulated light body armor and uses an extendable metal staff. He is extensively trained in martial arts, particularly French kick-boxing or Savate and the staff style art Bojutsu. He is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, applying street-fighting techniques and acrobatics. Gambit is a skilled card-thrower, so he throws his charged playing cards at opponents with great accuracy. He also excels in all aspects of thievery, as he was adopted by the patriarch of a Thieves Guild.
After Apocalypse used the Celestial Technology to transform Gambit into the Horseman Death, Gambit demonstrates the ability to convert inert materials into toxic substances (such as transforming breathable air into poisonous gases) and has the potential to ingest diseases and plagues. It is apparent that the Celestial Technology never left his system, as seen during a telepathic attack against him that brought out temporarily the Death persona, which eventually killed the attacker. He also showcased new abilities he had not used before in this form such as his Death Charge which fueled his trajectiles with dark energies which either disintegrate or entrap beings within his cards. He could also convert people to his mindset like he did with Northstar and Dazzler.Gambit’s body did subsequently return to normal, suggesting that Gambit now has the ability to switch between his own and Death appearances.
Gambit was temporarily given the full strength and potential of his mutant abilities to battle his counterpart New Son. At his full strength and power, Gambit can control all aspects of kinetic energy down even to the molecular level, allowing him to manipulate the potency of his bio-kinetic energy to burn, cause molecular discomfort, incinerate, create timed detonations (and manipulate the potency of the energy release), fire energy blasts, defy gravity, heal wounds, charge objects within his line of sight without contact, and effectively exist as an energy being. Under such conditions, he holds sufficient power to cause another being to be unable to move—or unable to stop if in motion. He has been able to cause or simulate various energies by manipulating the kinetic energy present, such as infrared and microwaves, by increasing molecular agitation, or cold by reducing it. He was also able to use his powers to travel through space-time, cross dimensions, and remake realities outside of space-time by transforming himself into living energy which joined with the kinetic flow. Finally, Gambit was able to heal himself by stimulating his cellular activity. These enhanced powers were burnt out after fighting New Son, and Gambit has since returned to his original, somewhat lower power levels.. However, after Sage jumpstarted his powers again, he was able to heal his blinded eyes—thus implying he is again able to heal himself—and is also able again to charge living things with energy, as when he teamed up with Sebastian Shaw to destroy Mr. Sinister’s machines. He was also given another boost when he was killed in an altercation with a drug lord and Faiza Hussain managed to restore him before it set it, enabling him to charge a bullet with twice as much explosive force than usual.
Gambit was temporarily blinded due to a card in his hand being hit and exploding. While blinded for a period of time, it was shown that Gambit had the ability to foresee future events using his playing cards through tarot reading.