Friday, January 1, 2010

CABLE #38 - #39, December 1996 - January 1997

Previously…in Cable: After attacking the Weapon X facility in Canada, Psycho-Man targets Kane. He kidnaps Copycat, unaware she’s morphed into Kane. Cable, Domino, and Kane board a strange ship to follow Psycho-Man.

In Perspective

Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Ian Churchill (penciler), Vince Russell w/Hanna & Lee (inkers), Mike Thomas & Graphic Color Works (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letterer)

Summary: Cable, Domino, and Kane arrive in the Microverse and are greeted by the surviving Micronauts -- Commander Rann, Mari, and Bug. Meanwhile, Psycho-Man discovers that Copycat has been impersonating Kane, preventing him from acquiring the future technology in Kane’s body. Cable and the others reach Psycho-Man’s base, but are surprised when his soldiers barely put up a fight. The heroes grow more emotional, culminating in Kane declaring his hatred for Cable when he discovers Copycat, who is in chains.

Miscellaneous Note: The Statement of Ownership has average sales at 149,639 for the year, with the most recent issue selling 152,749 copies.

Review: This is another example of the ‘70s nostalgia that briefly swept Marvel’s offices at the time. The Micronauts are characters from a toy line that enjoyed a decent run as a Marvel series in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Marvel tried regaining the rights in the late ‘90s, even announcing a new title, but it never happened. I’m assuming the characters in this issue are the ones created by Marvel freelancers for the series and not the toy company, although they do call themselves “Micronauts” without a copyright notice for the toy company in the indicia. At any rate, they’re here, they’re retro, and they’re teaming up with Cable for a few issues. Loeb gives Rann and Bug hints of a personality (Mari, the token female, barely speaks), so the Micronauts don’t come across as completely generic. Kane’s character arc of divorcing himself from a violent lifestyle is connected with Rann, who has lost most of his friends while battling Psycho-Man, so at least Loeb is putting some effort into this.

All Things Great and Small

Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Ian Churchill (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Mike Thomas & Graphic Color Works (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letterer)

Summary: Psycho-Man manipulates Kane’s anger and Cable’s self-doubt, allowing him to take Cable captive. Domino and the Micronauts retreat, soon making their way to Psycho-Man’s lab. The Micronauts use Psycho-Man’s technology to shrink themselves, while Domino locates Copycat. The diminutive Micronauts weaken Psycho-Man, giving Cable time to conjure a telepathic and telekinetic blast. Psycho-Man is crippled when he’s forced to experience the love Kane and Copycat share. The Micronauts send Cable and his friends home. Later, Domino and Copycat reconcile.

Continuity Notes: Copycat claims that she takes on the psychic patterns of the people she impersonates, which is used to explain why Cable never knew she impersonated Domino for a year. It seems like this is thrown in because Loeb was under the impression that Cable was always telepathic, which is a continuity point that often seemed to confuse him.

Creative Differences: The bottom 3/4th of the final page is clearly not drawn by Ian Churchill (it looks like Mike Wieringo). This is a tacked-on ending that has Moira MacTaggert contacting the mansion, revealing that Renee Majcomb needs help. Since this is Loeb’s final issue, I’m assuming he didn’t write the final few panels that are setting up the next storyline.

Review: Jeph Loeb says goodbye, leaving us with a few hints that his future work won’t exactly delight the critics. This is a story that has the heroes shrinking themselves so they can have an advantage while fighting the villain. What? How exactly does that work? At least Ant-Man has an army of ants he can command. Just a few pages later, Psycho-Man is defeated when he experiences the power of love. The man’s taken down by a Michael Bolton song. What a disgrace. I do like seeing various corners of the Marvel Universe interacting with Cable, and Loeb always had some idea of how to incorporate the assorted characters Nicieza introduced into a supporting cast, so at least some of his strengths are highlighted in his final arc. Loeb’s run was often dull, and occasionally suffered from nonsensical plotting, but he did bring direction to this wildly flailing title. Considering where this book was pre-Loeb, I can actually understand Marvel’s willingness to give him more assignments at the time. At this point, I wouldn’t have pegged him as a future “Worst Writer in Comics,” even with his flaws.


Anonymous said...

"The Power of Love" is by Huey Lewis and the News.

Ace said...

Ant-Man also retains his normal strength, thanks to Pym Particles.

Though I fail to see how that works, as he gains strength when he grows...

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