A Look Back at X-Men #33 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men monthly series of the 1990s and look back into the past between Sabretooth and X-Men member Gambit which was hinted in X-Men #28 (1994). Within the context of that comic book I previously reviewed, Sabretooth was already living in a contained manner in the mansion of Professor X who views him as a patient who could be rehabilitated even though he has an established record of murder and damage. At that particular time, Gambit and Rogue were in a relationship but certain things from the Cajun’s past could negatively affect them both.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #33, published by Marvel Comics in 1994 with a story written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Andy Kubert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the past with a much younger Gambit (wearing a dark coat and holding a rod) traversing through the city of Paris in France. As he moves, Gambit spots a pretty lady in distress in the presence of a huge man with an unusual look. He kicks the man out of the way and tells him to back off. It turns out, the man was none other than Sabretooth (in his more classic comic book look) who responds saying that Gambit won’t score any points with the lady he just saved if he were dead and buried.

Gambit sticks close with the lady and says some words back to Sabretooth. He flashes a card and charges it, revealing his mutant power to the beastly man. Sabretooth leaves promising he will be back.

In the present day, it turns out the restrained Sabretooth has been recalling the past and sharing the details to Rogue standing some feet away from him inside the mansion. Using a highly advanced devise, images of Gambit and the lady from the past are displayed in the form of holograms right in the view of Rogue. She tells him to keep telling her more about what happened in Paris…


Andy Kubert’s own take on Sabretooth and his classic look remains impressive.

This comic book has a very rich script by Fabian Nicieza who smoothly transitions from the past to the present while succeeding in telling a very cohesive story. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that by reading this comic book as well as the earlier issues, you will question the state of the relationship of Gambit and Rogue, and you will also reflect about Sabretooth’s purpose in X-Men lore.

The tale from Gambit’s past was beautifully told and it really gave me a new look into the personality and mindset of the character. Long before he joined the X-Men, Gambit was an impulsive and cocky guy who became a member of a guild of thieves through adoption (meaning he has yet to earn his place). This version of the Cajun was undisciplined and did not take life seriously. Young Gambit also had a thing with ladies and he showed no signs of cleverly betraying a woman in favor of materialism.

Believe it or not, the most interesting character here is actually Sabretooth who appears in both the past and the present. The way he was portrayed here, young Sabretooth was cunning and knew how to be strategic and paced himself even though he had key physical advantages to overwhelm young Gambit. Sabretooth in the present day is more mature and more articulate, especially during his storytelling and interactions with Rogue. The way Sabretooth’s dialogue was structured in telling about the past was very engaging and you can see he clearly understood what happened between him and Gambit.

While the story is great, the art done by Andy Kubert is very good. However, I believe it was a missed opportunity for Kubert to redesign Gambit from the past because the famous X-Men member does not look any different from the other version. In the scenes about the past, Gambit does NOT look like a 17-year-old at all and his hair style and length are just the same! As for drawing the younger version of Sabretooth, Kubert made him more menacing and more detailed while sticking close to his original comic book look.


The 17-year-old Gambit with the pretty lady in France.

X-Men #33 (1994) is one of the most intriguing X-Men stories I read that took place after the Fatal Attractions storyline and the wedding of Jean Grey and Cyclops. In fact, it is also the most memorable X-Men comic book I ever read in 1994 all thanks to the great work by Fabian Nicieza whose script was finely visualized by Andy Kubert. This is one very engaging read and by the time I finished it, I really felt the impact it had on Gambit and Rogue’s relationship. More notably, it made rethink about Gambit and his place with the X-Men.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #33 (1994) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $90.

Overall, X-Men #33 (1994) is highly recommended!


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