Credits: Todd Dezago (writer), Randy Green (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Mike Thomas & GCW (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Following a tip from Thornn, Cable and Storm investigate a possible terrorist attack by Callisto and Marrow at a Lila Cheney concert. Cable and Storm fight the terrorists, and with the help of Thornn, locate the bomb. Lila teleports it far away into space, while Callisto and Marrow escape in the confusion. Meanwhile, an agent of the Askani hides out in a monastery. Sanctity chastises him for not completing his mission to find Cable.
Continuity Notes: The Askani disciple refers to Cable as the “Gatherer of the Twelve,” which is an idea the series plays with until the end of Joe Casey’s run in 1999. It’s ignored during the actual “Twelve” crossover. Marrow appears for the first time since her resurrection in the Storm miniseries (which only happened because the artist was given the wrong reference). She’s still using her original, Yoda-esque, speech patterns.
Review: This is Todd Dezago’s third issue, and it still feels like he’s writing one-shot inventory stories. There is a brief subplot scene about the Askani searching for Cable, but the rest of the story could’ve easily run as a fill-in or an annual. Dezago’s choice of characters does have potential, since Storm has a history with Callisto and Marrow, Thornn is a forgotten Morlock who could’ve used an appearance, and Cable and Storm have that “potential love interest” thing going on at this time. Unfortunately, no one’s given much of a personality, plus Callisto is acting extremely out of character. This is at least acknowledged in the dialogue, so maybe Dezago was going somewhere with this, but as the story stands, she’s suddenly a bloodthirsty terrorist with no explanation. I also wonder how any opponents could just “slip away” if Cable’s supposed to be such an all-powerful telepath. I do like Randy Green’s art, though. It’s stylized enough for the ‘90s, but he never makes the characters look ugly or goes too far with the exaggerations.
Credits: Todd Dezago w/ Brian Vaughan (writers), Randy Green & Chap Yaep (pencilers), Scott Hanna (inker), Mike Thomas (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: In a monastery in the Alps, the Askani disciple speaks to his recruits. He tells the story of Cable, two thousand years in the future, fighting Apocalypse’s forces shortly after the death of his wife. He rescues a young soldier from Apocalypse’s men, then convinces the recruit not to kill his incapacitated enemies. In the present, Cable rescues a young mutant from a mob. The mutant uses his powers to flood his attackers’ minds with nightmares. Cable encourages the boy not to give in to hate. Meanwhile, Phoenix ponders the resurrection of Madelyne Pryor.
Review: Doesn’t this feel familiar? Todd Dezago’s first issue ended with Cable convincing Abyss not to kill his attackers, and now, the same story is repeated twice in one issue. Granted, it’s an intentional parallel this time, but it’s still glaring that Dezago is using an old chestnut so often after only a few issues. Setting one of these stories in Cable’s past doesn’t exactly work anyway, since it contradicts the original “kill ‘em before they kill you” personality he exhibited during his early appearances. It’s Cable’s relationship with X-Force and the X-Men that softened him; he’s not supposed to have his current personality during flashbacks. I’m not sure what happened behind-the-scenes, but this marks Dezago’s final issue (I don’t know how Vaughan participated, but I’m guessing he scripted a few pages). Just as Jeph Loeb’s closing issue ended with a setup for a new storyline, we have a one-page scene setting up the next issue with Madelyne Pryor. I don’t know if Dezago wrote this page and was still planning on staying with the book, or if it was another last-minute addition by editorial designed to smooth out the transition.
Temptation in the Wilderness
Credits: James Robinson (writer), Randy Green & Allen Im (pencilers), Scott Hanna w/Scott Koblish (inkers), Mike Thomas (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: While in a telepathic trance, Cable is contacted by his biological mother, Madelyne Pryor. She mentally escorts him through Mr. Sinister’s original lab in London, Cyclops’ childhood orphanage, the Alaskan home she shared with Cyclops, and the site of her death. She asks Cable to give her life meaning and help her destroy mutantkind. Cable responds that Jean Grey is his true mother. Before breaking out of his trance, he tells Madelyne that her former home in Alaska could be a neutral meeting place. Meanwhile, the Askani monk has an epiphany and contacts Sebastian Shaw.
Continuity Notes: This takes place shortly after Cyclops and Phoenix encountered Madelyne Pryor in X-Man #25. She was resurrected months earlier as some sort of psychic projection by X-Man.
Review: James Robinson’s brief run begins here, resolving one of the lingering implications of Madelyne Pryor’s resurrection. If Madelyne Pryor really is going to be walking around in the X-Universe, there’s got to be some acknowledgment in her son’s title. Robinson takes the position that Madelyne wants revenge on all mutantkind because she’s still angry with Cyclops, which doesn’t exactly fit with her appearances in X-Man. (In that series, she was a virtual blank slate who was attracted by the power offered to her by the Hellfire Club.) At any rate, Robinson actually handles her irrational personality fairly well, and he manages to keep her conversation with Cable interesting throughout the issue. Todd Dezago dropped hints that Cable would have to pursue his mission against Apocalypse soon, which is a thread Robinson adopts and even works into his conversation with Madelyne. She questions why Cable hasn’t killed Apocalypse even though he’s been in this timeline for years, a question Cable can’t answer. Of course, the real reason is because this is Cable’s retconned motivation (his original arch-nemesis from the future was supposed to be Stryfe), but Robinson at least tries to make it a story point. This is another issue with a standalone main plot and only brief hints of an ongoing storyline, but it doesn’t feel as aimless. A plot thread from another title that needed to be acknowledged is addressed, and Robinson does a little character work with Cable along the way. Not bad.