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Gambit (4th series) # 8

Issue Date: May 2005

Story Title: Hath no fury: Down among the dead men: Voodoo Economics part 2

Staff: John Layman (writer), Georges Jeanty (penciler), Don Hillsman II (inker), Tom Chu (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letters), Greg Land (cover artist), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description:
A Louisiana swamp tour is brought to an abrupt halt when a boat, carrying tourists, is attacked by a small army of zombies. Two kids swim to safety, watched by Emery Arcenaux’s aunt. As the kids flee, one of them mentions that New Orleans has its own super hero. His friend has heard of Gambit, but his friend has someone else in mind. Downtown, Brother Voodoo is fending off a horde of the undead, whilst Remy sits opposite Ginny in a restaurant. Her feelings for him are clear, but he informs her that, unfortunately, there’s only one girl for him. She questions him about kissing the female cop, and also his dalliance with Lili Penrose, but he assures her that the cop kissed him, and Lili was a mistake. Before the conversation can get trickier, a zombie enters the restaurant and attacks a customer. Gambit grabs his coat and heads off to see what’s going down. Outside, he finds Brother Voodoo taking on all-comers. He joins the fray, and introductions are made. As they tear their way through countless zombies, Ginny watches them on her monitors. She is upset, and grabs a CD with Remy’s exploits with Lili Penrose on them. This doesn’t look good for Remy. Meanwhile, as they stand off against superior numbers, Gambit suddenly notices that his old friend, Dan Downs, is amongst their number. He freezes, and Brother Voodoo tries to convince Remy that it isn’t his friend; it’s simply a malignant spirit occupying his shell. They’ll be doing them all a favor if they put their tortured souls to rest. Suddenly, they are felled by an explosion. They rise, only to discover that one of the zombies is emery Arcenaux, and he’s surrounded by an impenetrable forcefield.

Full Synopsis:
(Louisiana - evening)
Bayou Beauford is conducting a boat tour as part of his Swamp Tours business. He asks the tourists aboard to keep it down as they enter the dread territory of the Rugaru. He informs them that it’s their very own Bigfoot. He’s a legend around these parts: a mysterious swamp creature that’s half man, half alligator and half Cajun Werewolf. The last thing you wanna do is for him to catch you in his swamp around feeing time.

A young kid named Davey asks his friend, Mikey, if he thinks there’s such a thing as a Rugaru. Mikey says of course not. Do the math! He thinks the whole thing is retarded and fake, just to sucker tourists. He reckons Beauford’s accent is the fakest of all. “Who talks like that?! Nobody.” So far, the scariest thing he’s seen is the guide’s teeth. He wants his money back, but Davey’s eyes light up in fear. “I dunno Davey,” he says, “Looks like we’re about to get our money’s worth…”

Out of nowhere, a group of zombies try boarding the small boat, tilting it so far that its occupants are forced to bail. Mikey and Davey swim for shore, pursued by one of the zombies. Once ashore, clambering out in a cemetery, they are watched from the shadows by Emery Arcenaux’s aunt, who holds her son back for the time being. Davey wonders if they should head for a mall. He saw it in a movie. Mikey reckons downtown is the place to be. New Orleans has its own super hero. At least, he spends a lot of time in New Orleans. Davey hasn’t heard of him. Mikey throws a rock at the zombie, but it just bounces off his skull so the kids continue running. Davey thinks he’s heard about the guy. “He’s the Cajun super hero, right? A mutant X-man… named Gambit?” Mikey, wearing a Luke Cage T-shirt says “Eww!” He turns to his friend and replies this guy is cool. “He’s not a mutant, and he’s not a Cajun either. This guy’s a brother!”

Downtown, Brother Voodoo is in the midst of battle with a horde of zombies; back from the dead and under the command of an unknown sorcerer. He uses his physical prowess and fighting experience well, keeping them at bay. He asks frightened onlookers to run, find somewhere safe and lock the doors. He doesn’t know why the zombies are there but, today, hell walks the streets of New Orleans.

(not far away)
Gambit is having a dinner date with Ginny, who’s smitten with him. As she suggests he try the ‘heavenly’ crème brulee, Remy’s attention turns to noises from outside the restaurant. “Isn’t this place cozy and romantic? Perfect place for a date,” she asks. Remy replies that it sounds like someone screaming, before double-taking. “Date!”

He looks at Ginny, and reminds her that he told her this wasn’t a date. He said they could get some coffee so he could thank her for her help with the Penrose heist. He tells her she’s a beautiful girl, and if things were different… He thinks about Rogue, and informs her that he’s not exactly on the market. Wounded, Ginny asks if that’s the case, then who was that police officer he saw him giving a big ‘ol smooch to? Remy replies that she kissed him. Ginny guesses he probably had nothing to do with that skank, Lili Penrose either.

Remy puts his head down, and assures her that was a mistake. He holds her hands across the table and says that, the truth is, the relationship he’s in isn’t always perfect. Lili caught him when his adrenaline was up and his guard was down. He knows he shouldn’ta done that. He thinks Ginny is a good friend, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s only one girl out there for him. Before he can add anything further, a crash from outside finally arouses his suspicions.

Suddenly, one of the zombies enters the restaurant and attacks one of the customers. Gambit grabs his chair and sideswipes the zombie. One of the customers tells him there are plenty more outside. Remy grabs his long red overcoat and apologizes to Ginny; but he’s gotta go. For once, he isn’t complaining about the timing.

Once outside, he sees countless mindless zombies standing around aimlessly, but others looking a little more nefarious. One has a defenseless woman by the arm, but he is dragged off her by Gambit, who orders her to get to safety. He turns to see Brother Voodoo swinging one of the living dead around with one hand, whilst holding a stop sign in his other hand. The zombie crashes against a telegraph pole next to Gambit, who wastes no time pitching in.

He asks Brother Voodoo, who he fails to recognize, “Hey! Hey you! Yeah, you with the chicken bone necklace and the goofy-looking outfit. You responsible for this?” Brother Voodoo replies by asking why he would raise an army of undead zombies, just to destroy them. As for the goofy-looking outfit - he looks Remy up and down, and says he isn’t the one wearing a leather trench coat and metal boots in 95-degree weather!

Brother Voodoo suddenly shoves Remy’s head down, and punches a zombie behind him. He explains that his name is Jericho Drumm, and all he’s trying to do is defend his city. “Your city?” queries Remy. As they wade through more and more zombies, Jericho asks if he isn’t one of those super-powered loners laboring under the misapprehension that the protection of New Orleans isn’t theirs and theirs alone. He asks Gambit his name, and what kind of powers he has, anyway.

Gambit pulls out three playing cards, and replies that his powers are mutant powers. He has the ability to kinetically charge non-living objects with energy, and then throw ‘em, so they do this. He launches the cards after charging them, and finds his targets with pinpoint precision. Three zombies find cards embedded into their skulls, and a second later, they find they have no skulls at all. Gambit and Brother Voodoo cover their faces from the exploding undead flesh. “Disgusting, in this case - but definitely cool,” remarks Jericho. Remy asks about him.

Jericho replies that he possesses voodoo power: the mystic power of a mighty Houngan priest, bestowed upon him by the ancient and all-powerful spirit-gods of the Loa. And, he adds, with a little help from the good folks at Flik Lighter Company - pyrokinetics; the control of smoke and flame. Flames leap from the lighter, consuming the zombies before him in flame. He then assaults them physically, adding the he also has immunity to fire and enhanced strength… among other things. Remy’s impressed, and bets he comes in handy on camping trips too.

They are at a crossroads with the undead in every direction. Jericho picks up on something Remy mentioned earlier, and wonders if he can kinetically charge the undead - as they are technically unliving objects. Remy thinks that’s a dang good question, and leaps at a nearby victim. He uses his hands to charge the guy’s head. He then shoves to one side, and Remy watches him fall into a group of zombies before exploding. Again, the pair of heroes cover themselves up to avoid being slapped in the face by exploding rotten flesh. It seems that plan has legs.

Jericho thinks that maybe this town is big enough for two super heroes, though he considers himself to be more of an anti-hero. He watches as Remy repeats the process with another zombie. Remy thinks it’s like one of Professor Xavier’s Danger Room programs he uses on freshmen an’ rookies. As long as they keep any wandering rubberneckers safe, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Suddenly, Gambit catches sight of someone who causes him stop in his tracks in disbelief. It’s Dan Downs, his old friend who was murdered by Jack Jessup recently. Remy is like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Jericho asks what he’s doing. He can’t freeze now; they need to put a stop to these things. Remy explains that he’s just seen his friend. He was at his funeral. Jericho turns to him, and points out that there’s no such thing as a friendly zombie. He needs to keep fighting. These so-called ‘fish in a barrel’ are becoming piranhas.

Standing outside the Barely Legal Club, they are watched from afar by Ginny, who is surrounded by her monitors which capture everything that’s going on. She is holding a book called ‘He just doesn’t like you that much’ by Nicole Lowe, and is feeling pretty grumpy at being dissed by Remy. She picks up a Digimax Digital CD with Remy L & Lili P written on the front. “Dere’s only one girl for me Ginny,” she mutters. “Pffftt. Yeah, right.”

Back outside, Brother Voodoo is using a broken fire escape as a weapon, but Remy is still standing there, despondent. Jericho pleads with Remy to look alive, or they’ll both wind up dead. There’s too many of the monsters for him to handle alone.

Watching the fight is Emery Arcenaux’s aunt, and she points Remy out to her nephew. She tells him that Remy is responsible for his death, and he’s the reason she brought him back. “Now do what your Auntie tells you boy. Go!”

Remy turns to Jericho, and informs him that Dan died trying to save him. He’s not going to kill him - not again. Jericho grabs Gambit’s collar and tries to shake some sense into him. He insists they need to stop these things, and then find out who’s behind the Bokor magic that produced this abomination. “Bokor?” asks Remy. Jericho keeps the zombies at bay with a wall of flame, and explains to Remy that they didn’t raise themselves. Somebody is behind the scenes, pulling their strings. A witch doctor is responsible; a practitioner of black magic. To do this, that person’s power likely rivals his own.

He continues to inform Gambit that these creatures aren’t human any more. That isn’t his friend there. It’s a malignant spirit occupying a shell. They need to destroy them and then go after their master. Remy asks what if he can’t. Jericho insists he has to. Killing them is actually doing them a favor. It puts their tortured souls back to rest. That isn’t what Gambit meant.

Suddenly, an explosion throws the pair of them off their feet. Jericho pulls Remy up again, and Remy says that’s what he was talking about. “I meant, what if I can’t kill ‘em. What if dey invulnerable?” Jericho looks up to see Emery Arcenaux hovering above them, surrounded by an impenetrable forcefield.

Characters:
Gambit

Bayou Beauford and tourists including Davey and Mikey
Zombies including Dan Downs and Emery James Arcenaux
Emery’s aunt

Brother Voodoo/Jericho Drumm
Genevieve D’Aubigne

Restaurant customers and waiter
New Orleans bystanders

(in Remy’s thoughts)
Gambit
Rogue

(on screen)
Gambit
Brother Voodoo
Zombies

Notes:
As the two boys swim to shore, a speech bubble from Mikey should be directed at Davey, not himself.

George Romero is a movie director, famed for his zombie movies such as Dawn of the Dead (1978), which features a group of people hiding from zombies in a shopping mall.

Flik Lighters don’t appear to exist, but this could be a slight joke on the Flik Lite torch.

The book that Ginny is reading doesn’t appear to exist, but it has been suggested on an Internet message board that its title is based on ‘He's Just Not That Into You,’ by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.

This Issue has been reprinted in:
Gambit: Hath No Fury (Trade Paperback)

Issue Summary written by: Fantomex


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