Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CABLE #40 & #41, February - March 1997

Into the Dark

Credits: Todd Dezago (writer), Scott Clark (penciler), Chris Carlson (inker), Mike Thomas & GCW (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Moira MacTaggert sends Douglock to retrieve the mansion’s information on Mutant Underground member Renee Majcomb. He joins Cable and Domino on their search for Majcomb, which leads them to an isolated home in the woods. Bastion’s First Strike soldiers are there, targeting Majcomb. The soldiers are attacked in the dark by a mystery figure who later reveals himself as Abyss. Cable convinces Abyss not to kill the First Strike soldiers, then sends them back to Bastion with a message to leave Xavier’s allies alone. Majcomb reveals to Cable that Abyss is aiding her in her research on the Legacy Virus because he is also a victim.

Continuity Notes: Douglock appears to retrieve Xavier’s files on Renee Majcomb because the X-Men previously erased his files to keep them out of Onslaught’s hands in Onslaught: X-Men. Abyss first appeared in the Age of Apocalypse reality as one of Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen. He appears here in the official reality for the first time, where it’s revealed that he’s a former Genoshan Mutate.

Review: I had no idea Todd Dezago was the regular writer on Cable following Jeph Loeb. Since his brief run was followed by the James Robinson/Joe Casey/Ladronn issues, it is understandable that he would’ve been overshadowed by a more high profile run, but it’s still surprising that there was a run on Cable from this era I knew nothing about. Dezago picks up on some of the dangling plot threads surrounding the X-Universe and uses them to piece together this one-shot story. Xavier’s Mutant Underground hadn’t been mentioned for a while, Renee Majcomb was a minor supporting cast member who was supposed to be doing something important with the Legacy Virus, Xavier’s files had been erased, Bastion was still growing as a threat, and some of the new AoA characters still hadn’t turned up in the “real” universe. This issue doesn’t advance a lot of storylines, but it at least checks up on some things that needed attention. In terms of actual content, there’s nothing exciting going on, unless you haven’t read a thousand stories that end with the hero convincing the victim not to give in to hate and kill his attackers. Like most of Loeb’s run, I can’t say it’s truly bad, but it’s just sort of there. The only real screw-up comes from naming one of the First Strike soldiers “Nils,” when Abyss’ real name is Niles. Nils is the soldier that Abyss takes out first, leading to pages of characters asking about Nils, followed by several pages of characters calling Abyss “Niles.” It’s needlessly confusing, and I wonder why Dezago would gave the soldier that name when she could’ve been called anything.

The Depths of Time

Credits: Todd Dezago (writer), Steve Crespo (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Mike Thomas & GCW (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Cable and Bishop respond to an intruder alert within the damaged Time Displacement Core. Inside, they discover Sinsear, who plans on repairing the core and returning to his future timeline. His battle with the heroes damages the core, causing it to build chronal energy that will cause time itself to collapse. Cable tricks Bishop into searching for a device, giving Cable enough distance to enter the core and sacrifice himself without Bishop’s interference. Suddenly, Sinsear immobilizes Cable. Viewing this as an opportunity to regain his humanity, he takes the tool Cable was going to use to shut down the core and leaps inside the time machine. Cable theorizes that Sinsear is now spread throughout time. Later, he discusses future prophesies with Bishop and asks Storm to tell him about his sister.

Continuity Notes: Sinsear is a cyborg from the future who hates Cable for not mercy-killing him in the battlefield. He last appeared in Cable #5. The Time Displacement Core is what Cable used to travel through time in his early appearances. It’s been in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, inactive, since his space station Graymalkin exploded in X-Force #22.

Review: Last issue, we had the cliché “real heroes don’t kill” ending; this issue we have a cliché “hero inspires villain who in turn saves the day” ending. This isn’t exactly brilliant material. Dezago is still showing an ability to use the existing X-Universe to his advantage, as Bishop and Cable discuss how their futures might intersect (which I don’t think anyone had bothered to do by this point), and Cable starts to show some interest in his sister, Rachel. However, the final result is a story more dull than the last. I’ve never heard of Steve Crespo before, but his art is clean and attractive; much preferable to the standard mid-90s fill-ins we usually saw on the X-books. I would take him over the Scott Clark of this era any day. “New penciler” Randy Green is set to debut next issue, but his run is extremely short. I don’t know what happened behind-the-scenes, but this new era of Cable was certainly brief.

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