Marvel just X-Men's Gambit a major power upgrade, in the most nonchalant way. It took place in the pages of Marvel Comics' Excalibur #16, as the new Excalibur team from the mutant nation of Krakoa returned to Otherworld to deal with the aftermath of the recent "X of Swords" crossover. (SPOILERS) During the tournament between the mutants of Krakoa and the ancient mutants of Arrako, Betsy Braddock (the new Captain Britain) was seemingly killed (shattered into crystalline shards, more accurately) by Arrako's Isca The Unbeaten. In an effort to see if there is yet some way to recover Betsy, Excalibur needs Gambit's mutant powers to evolve.
Basically, we learn that kinetic energy may not be the only kind of energy Gambit can tune-into and subsequently channel. "Mutant energy" (the energy that powers mutant abilities) is also something Gambit can tap into.
Warning: Excalibur #16 SPOILERS Follow!
As stated, the Excalibur team from Krakoa returns to Otherworld in an attempt to retrieve Betsy Braddock/Captain Britain, who died during the Otherworld tournament between Krakoa and Arakko. Even though the tournament forced Krakoa to sacrifice its greatest mage to Arakko (Apocalypse), Rictor thinks he's deciphered enough of Apocalypse's "Grimoire" (i.e., a book of spells) to pull of a spell that may help locate Betsy.
Apocalypse's spellcasting builds upon the true power of the X-Men's new nation: the combining and/or sequencing of multiple mutant powers, to achieve an impossible task or feat. It's helped the X-Men achieve unlimited mutant resurrection, and even travel to the most powerful cosmic regions of the multiverse. Now magic is the next frontier, with "five" mutants once again being the required number to pull it off.
The spell Rictor wants to pull off requires Megan Braddock as the center, with Rogue as a focal point, while Rictor, Jubilee, and Gambit, act as sensors. When Rictor gets to Gambit, Remy asks the only question he's ever been good to answer: "What you want me to blow up, ami?"
However, Rictor has a different notion for Gambit to consider: "The feeling. Kinetic energy. What if it was a different kind of energy? Whatever it is that makes our powers?"
When Gambit asks if "mutant energy" is what Rictor is referring to, Rictor makes the correction that it's "magical energy" they are looking for/channeling.1comments
Gambit has always been an iconically cool X-Men character, for both his personality and his powers. Remy LaBeau can convert the potential energy of an inanimate object into kinetic energy. That high school physics lesson in motion and energy was sufficient in the '80s and '90s storytelling, but like so many Marvel Mutants, Remy could stand to see his power evolve further. Now it seems like Marvel Comics has deftly opened the door to such a change - so here's hoping Gambit's minor magical experiment leads to a greater evolution in his powers. If Gambit could find new ways of converting and channeling energies, he would quickly standout as one of the more dangerous mutants on Krakoa.
Excalibur #16 is now on sale.