Gambit is the best. I was first introduced to Gambit via that classic ’90’s cartoon, X-Men: The Animated Series, and he has been my favorite character in all of comics ever since.
It’s hard to explain why. Part of it is because he’s not Wolverine–in fact, other than Cyclops or Sabretooth, Gambit butted heads with Wolverine perhaps more than anyone else in the cartoon. It’s not that I don’t like Wolverine. He’s a great character. It’s more that I couldn’t pick Wolverine because he’s so popular, and I wanted another character to be my favorite who everybody else didn’t already have as their favorite. So, I chose Gambit.
Another reason is his mutant powers. On the surface, Gambit has one power: the ability to kinetically charge anything so it explodes. How could you not love that power? He can blow up anything he touches! This power has been expanded on over the years to the nth degree. From his Wiki page:
Gambit is a mutant who has the ability to take the potential energy stored in an object and convert it to pure light pink-colored 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 abilities (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. However, the hypnotic charm does not work on those who know about it.