Remy LeBeau aka Gambit is most widely known for his role as a member of the X-Men, though his Marvel Comics career didn’t begin on the heroic side of the aisle. Gambit was raised by the Thieves Guild based out of New Orleans–an organization that specializes in all things thievery. With the Thieves Guild, Gambit learned all the skills he needed to be a world-class outlaw, and his birth-given mutant powers made him the Guild’s most valued member. Gambit has the mutant power to convert the potential energy within any object into kinetic energy, effectively turning anything he touches into an explosive at will. While he was a master criminal, Gambit wasn’t a bad person and decided to join the X-Men in an effort to use his powers for good–a position he still holds to this day.
Depicted on the "Venom Variant" cover of X-Men Legacy #261 by artist Mirco Pierfederici, four X-Men members have been "Venom-ized," with each of them wearing their own personalized symbiote–including Gambit. Much of Gambit’s original costume is intact in this image, making him look like a red-eyed Venom wearing a trench coat, but what is interesting about his Venomization is the weapon he is wielding. Gambit is known for using a bo staff in combat, but the symbiote possessing him transforms the staff into a scythe, which is a grim reminder of Gambit’s shamefully villainous past.
Following the events of Decimation–a storyline that focused on the fallout of Scarlet Witch stripping nearly every mutant of their powers in House of M–Gambit was left without powers, without his sight after being blinded in battle, and without a significant other as he and Rogue had broken up. Basically, Gambit hit an all-time low and was ripe for corruption by none other than Apocalypse himself. Apocalypse offered Gambit the chance to get back everything he lost if he would only join him and become his Horseman of Death. Gambit agreed and took on the dark role under one of the most ruthlessly villainous Marvel characters in existence.
While Gambit has since abandoned Apocalypse and renounced the persona of Death, he was unsuccessful in ridding the evil presence from his body completely. There were even a few instances after leaving Apocalypse’s side that Death took control of Gambit once more, though with the help of his fellow X-Men, Gambit was able to reclaim his consciousness and fight back the dark persona. However, this Venom variant shows that Gambit will never truly be rid of the presence of Apocalypse's sinister influence that forever lurks within him–proven true by the symbiote turning his most iconic weapon into a scythe, the very weapon Gambit used as Death. This Venom form serves as a subtle yet striking reminder that Gambit’s darkest era never really ended and can come back to overtake him at any time.