Blood & Metal
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), John Romita, Jr. (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Bill Oakley (letters), Brad Vancata (colors)
In flashbacks, Cable and the Six Pack go on various mercenary missions for Tolliver. On one mission in Afghanistan, Cable discovers Stryfe in an underground bunker. In the present, Kane visits Hammer, now a paraplegic, to learn the location of Cable’s various hideouts. Cable is tracking down the MLF and trying to learn why they are stealing various artifacts for Stryfe. While at his Swiss Alps hideout, Kane breaks in and fights Cable. When Cable asks why, Kane shows a hologram of Stryfe revealing himself to be Cable.
The MLF are stealing a sword with an image of Apocalypse on the handle. This is the first indication of a connection between Stryfe and Apocalypse. When Cable gets the sword, he doesn’t recognize the image of Apocalypse, which is odd since Cable’s life mission is to destroy him and all…
Cable’s metal arm has a finger torch.
The MLF member Sumo is shot and killed by Cable (for attempted robbery of a museum, which is pretty harsh if you think about it).
This is the first part of a two-issue mini-series, with no advertisements and high production values. I don’t know how exactly this mini came about, unless the motive was simply “put more Cable product out there”. This may or may not be another version of the Cable solo series that Liefeld was still discussing when Youngblood was first announced. Considering the nice production values and the use of John Romita, Jr. as artist, Marvel seemed to be treating this as a very important project. This came out during the same summer most of Image’s line launched, so maybe it was an attempt to compete with those titles.
Cable, at this point, isn’t engaging enough to carry his own title. He’s basically an amalgam of Wolverine and the Punisher, without the elements that made those characters interesting. Wolverine has a sense of honor and fights against his darker, animal instincts. His mysterious past is just one element of his character. The Punisher was a family man who saw his wife and kids murdered; now he’s consumed with revenge. The violence of his series is necessary to convey his state of mind. Cable is violent, mysterious, but without any human elements to make the reader care. This mini seems to be an attempt to humanize him and add something to his character besides “gun toting loner with attitude.” The first issue doesn’t accomplish that, but it is setting the stage for an interesting confrontation between Cable and his old friends.
Romita has just begun his giant, blocky stage at this point, and it suits Cable and the other Liefeld characters very well. The characters don’t look as ridiculous as they used to, even if the actual designs haven’t really changed. He even makes Stryfe look kind of cool (his rendition actually reminds me of something Kirby might’ve done circa 1970). Most of the lines aren’t slick and pretty, but that seems appropriate. The action-heavy plot fits Romita’s art, reminding me of the Punisher War Zone issues that he drew just before this. If Cable must get his own series, Romita is well suited for the job.