Flashed Before My Eyes
Credits: Rob Liefeld (plot, framing sequence pencils), Mike Mignola (main story pencils), Bob Wiacek (inks), Fabian Nicieza (script), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Steve Buccellato (colors)
Cable flashes back to a mission from ten years ago. Cable, Domino, Kane, Grizzly, Hammer, and G.W. Bridge are revealed to be members of a mercenary group called the Wild Pack. They infiltrate a Hydra base in New Mexico and return to AIM a device that had been stolen from them. Cable drives away from the team and teleports a thousand years into the future. While there, a computer called The Professor tells him about a mutant High-Lord named Sam Guthrie. Cable teleports back to a time just before Sam’s “awakening”. In the present, Cable shoots Sauron in retaliation for impaling Sam.
Unless something happened in New Mutants that I don’t know about, this is the issue that confirms that Cable is a time traveler. It’s also the first appearance of the Wild Pack, which explains how many of the characters introduced so far know Cable. This is also the first issue that implies that Cable might be Cyclops’s son. He’s named his servant robots after the original X-Men, and has a computer called “The Professor”. The Professor tells Cable, “A part of you was but a child, Nathan. And I was a projected energy matrix. We are fortunate we survived at all.”
Cannonball’s emergence as a High-Lord is explicitly given as Cable’s reason for coming back to this time. To put it mildly, this idea has been discreetly forgotten.
This issue is cut short by two pin-ups and a two page letter column. This is the third issue out of the past five with a shortened main story.
A Rob Liefeld framing sequence around Mike Mignola art. I present to you the oddest looking comic book in history. Unless you have a twisted sense of humor, you can’t possibly believe that putting Mignola and Liefeld on the same comic is going to be a good idea. If you ever wanted to see Mignola draw lots of pouches, belts, and shoulder pads, this comic is for you. Reading this issue, one thought kept coming to mind -- who would’ve thought in 1992 that there would be a Mike Mignola movie before there was a Rob Liefeld movie?
Mignola doesn’t even attempt to follow the house style of the X-books of this era. It’s very clearly Mignola, with sparse detail lines and heavy blacks, but he’s still drawing Liefeld characters. Kane, Domino, and Hammer don’t look that bad, but Cable and Grizzly still look ridiculous. It is cool to see Mignola draw classic Marvel villains like Hydra and AIM, and he’s able to make even something simple, like Cable driving away on a motorcycle, look dynamic.
This issue pays off a lot of the mysteries that had been developing for months. It’s hard to read it in the proper context because now everyone knows that Cable is a time-traveler, and most of the Wild Pack have faded into obscurity. It makes me wonder why a fill-in artist drew such an important issue of this title, but I’m under the impression that Liefeld has really lost interest by this point. As a kid who actually cared about the mysteries in this book, this issue wasn’t much of a resolution. I was more confused than anything. Cable teleporting into the future doesn’t come across as a big deal at all, so I wondered if I had already missed something. Everything about this issue is jarring, not just the artwork. The story jumps from Cannonball getting killed, to Cable flashing back to ten years ago, to Cable jumping to the future, to back to the present.
I also had no idea what to make of Mignola’s art. I thought some of panels looked cool, but I didn’t think that it was “realistic” enough. I thought everything was too sparse and flat. If you had asked me, I would’ve told you that both Liefeld and Mignola’s art looked “weird”, but probably couldn’t articulate why. I wasn’t enough of a Liefeld fan to follow him to Image, but I didn’t like this other “weird” art, either. I wonder if a kid today would choose Liefeld over Mignola. I can only imagine what Liefeld’s diehard fans thought of this issue.