Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Ian Churchill (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Mike Thomas & Malibu (colors)
Summary: Cable regains consciousness and senses the approach of another enemy. Soon, he’s confronted by the Hulk, who is under Onslaught’s mental command. The two battle, as Cable tries to psionically undo Onslaught’s brainwashing. Probing the Hulk’s mind causes his body to revert to its grey form, but Onslaught’s influence remains. The Hulk drops a building on Cable, but Storm arrives and stops him from finishing Cable off. Storm attempts CPR on Cable, and eventually revives him with a small bolt of lightning. Cable attempts one last telepathic assault on the Hulk, which only manages to revert him to his mindless, savage form. As Ozymandias records the events, Apocalypse declares that Cable’s death will lead to the dawn of his era.
Review: This is an all-action issue that doesn’t really impact the Onslaught crossover or any of Cable’s ongoing storylines. It’s not explicitly stated in the issue, but I assume the idea is that Cable’s telepathic powers are one of the few threats to Onslaught, so he’s responded by sending the Hulk after him. That’s a reasonable setup, but it makes me wonder why Onslaught doesn’t just brainwash all of the Marvel superheroes and just get them out of his way. This is Churchill’s strongest issue so far, as the giant images and big fights suit his exaggerated style. Some of his human faces still need work (his likeness of what I assume is actor Andre Braugher is rather distracting), but he handles the action very well and I like his interpretation of the various Hulk incarnations. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of large panels and splash pages throughout the issue, which just emphasize how thin the plot is. One ongoing subplot is incrementally advanced, as Loeb uses the old “one potential love interest has to perform mouth-to-mouth on another” cliché with Storm and Cable. The narrative captions ask if Storm feels “something more” than respect for Cable during the scene, while Loeb implies that Storm reminds Cable of his late wife. I’m not sure why Marvel went in this direction, outside of the fact that Storm was rarely given anything to do during this period, and perhaps Loeb wanted a spoiler in the Cable/Domino relationship. It never went anywhere, so reading this in retrospect is just a reminder of another dropped storyline. Overall, this is a big dumb action issue, but it’s okay as far as those things go.
LINK: Mike Sterling recently pulled this issue out, perhaps at random, and gave it a review.