Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Matt Ryan & Rurik Tyler (pencilers), Mark Pennington, Andrew Pepoy, & Ian Akin (inkers), Matt Webb & Malibu’s Hues (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
While vacationing on a tropical island, X-Force’s volleyball game is interrupted by the Impossible Man. He wants Cable to allow his three teenage children to join the team, but he refuses. After Impossible Man continually pesters the members of X-Force, Cable finally relents. The three teens check into X-Force’s hotel, but are only interested in watching television. While jet-skiing, X-Force is attacked by a giant green and purple monster named Barrachus, the Kalinator. Cable assumes that the monster is secretly the Impossible Man, until he realizes that the alien is actually disguised as his bar of soap. Cable uses his telepathic powers to learn Barrachus’ greatest fear, which is to be eaten by its mother. The Impossible Man’s children join forces to shapeshift into a larger monster and swallow Barrachus. Impossible Man thanks Cable for motivating his children, who have now taken Cable as their role model.
Caliban is referred to as “the purple one” by a hotel clerk, even though he’s actually colored gray in this issue. Since it’s actually written into the dialogue, I guess Caliban was officially considered purple at this time (he was colored white in all of his original appearances, for whatever that’s worth). There’s also a narrative caption that refers to the Askani as a “cult of women”, which contradicts the fact that men were shown to be a part of the order in the early issues of Cable.
Mark Waid gets a “special thanks” credit, labeling him the “Ambassador to Popup”.
I Love the ‘90s
Cable is horrified to learn that the Impossible Man’s kids are “slackers”. Later on in the story, they’re concerned about missing the latest episode of Melrose Place.
I believe this is the first (allegedly) comedic story to feature Cable and X-Force. Very little of it is actually amusing, since almost all of the humor is just based on the idea that the Impossible Man is annoying. Annoying doesn’t automatically equal funny, so it’s a bit that gets old quickly. Loeb keeps the story from being too obvious by revealing that the green and purple monster isn’t the Impossible Man, which at least adds a small twist to an otherwise predictable Impossible Man story. I think this is supposed to be an homage to the Impossible Man’s occasional appearances in Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants annuals in the ‘80s, but it lacks most of the imagination and fun of those stories. I will give Loeb credit for trying something different, though, and some of the scenes with the teenagers aren’t bad (their imitation of various Cable action figures is amusing). The art is extremely inconsistent, as the members of X-Force suddenly look as if they’re small children towards the end of the story. They’re not drawn in that style at the start of the issue, so I have to assume that one of the multiple inkers misinterpreted Ryan’s pencils. The transition from Ryan to Tyler is also jarring, as Tyler’s art is less cartoony and more hard and angular.
Credits: Todd Dezago (writer), Daerick Gross (art), James Houston (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
In a back alley, Domino fights a group of ninjas and a doppelganger of herself. After defeating them, Grizzly appears, quoting the words he spoke before she had to kill him. She stabs Grizzly with a broken street sign, exposing him as a robot. Domino yells at Arcade, who has been secretly watching in a nearby truck. She tells him she’ll see him at the same time next year.
It’s annual filler, not surprisingly. Dezago does introduce one unexpected twist, which has Domino allowing Arcade to try and kill her annually in order to test herself. It’s slightly ridiculous, but seems to fit her character. The story’s nicely drawn and does what it needs to do in eight pages, so there’s really not a lot to complain about. Arcade has been redesigned to look like some sort of gruesome freak, which ties in to the Wolverine/Gambit miniseries that was released around this time.