Fear & Loathing Part Three
Credits: Glenn Herdling (writer), Steve Skroce (penciler), Mike Sellers (inker), Marie Javins (colorist), Starkings/Comicraft (lettering)
D’Spayre fights Belasco for another chance to toy with Cable and Lee Forrester. Belasco defeats him and sends him away. Belasco explains to Cable that the Nexus of All Realities has been expanding at a rapid rate and will soon swallow the Earth. Belasco wants to use Cable to stop the force that’s causing the Nexus’ growth. He explains to Cable that his former servant S’ym and another demon N’astirh tried to sacrifice Cable as a baby in order to create a permanent link between Earth and Limbo. The X-Men stopped them, but now S’ym is using the Nexus to link Earth to Limbo again. Belasco thinks that Cable’s techno-organic body can stop S’ym, who suddenly appears. Cable has a fistfight with S’ym, and telekinetically stabs him in the chest with a piece of wood. He punches out S’ym and he disappears. Belasco tells Cable that S’ym is defeated and returns Cable and Lee to the Everglades.
Belasco is the former ruler of Limbo. He was succeeded by his servant S’ym, who was later defeated by his own servant, N’astirh. N’astirh manipulated Cable’s mother Madelyne Pryor into trying to sacrifice him during the “Inferno” storyline.
There are a couple of re-lettered balloons, but the only one that really stands out is an entire balloon that’s been changed to have Cable stress that Madelyne Pryor was manipulated into being another person during “Inferno”.
Another aspect of ‘80s continuity returns in this issue with the reintroductions of Belasco and S’ym. Belasco was originally a Ka-Zar villain who somehow ended up as a semi-regular villain in the X-books during the ‘80s. S’ym appeared a few times in New Mutants, playing a major role in the “Inferno” crossover before going into obscurity. Since a large part of that storyline involved attempts by demons to sacrifice Cable when he was a baby, it’s not a bad springboard for a new story. How exactly Cable feels about his mother had never been dealt with either, so bringing this stuff up again is a smart move on Herdling’s part. Unfortunately, the story just treats Cable as a generic superhero, without establishing his feelings whatsoever about anything that’s going on. Cable’s fighting a demon that helped to manipulate his mother into sacrificing him as a baby, and he acts as if he’s just stopping a bank robber. There’s no indication that Cable cares anything about what’s going on, and the story doesn’t offer any insights into how this knowledge Cable affects at all.
The ending also doesn’t make sense, and seems to contradict the setup Belasco gives earlier in the story. Belasco needs Cable’s techno-organics to stop S’ym, which I assume is a reference to a previous storyline in New Mutants (S’ym was infected with the T-O virus at some point in the story, although this issue doesn’t bring that up). However, Cable stops S’ym by stabbing him with a piece of wood and then punching him out. What does that have to do with techno-organics? Herdling tries to cover for this with this ridiculous line from Belasco, “for reasons too complicated to go into, you offered…the right touch necessary to defeat him.” So if the ending doesn’t make sense, that means it’s just too complicated for us to understand. I wonder if the original ending involved Cable doing something elaborate with his techno-organic body, and perhaps Marvel decided to back away from giving Cable that power. I don’t know. At any rate, it’s a very disappointing ending to an issue that actually had a promising setup.