Friday, September 10, 2010

CABLE #53-#54, April-May 1998

The Hellfire Hunt Part 6 - Beautiful Friend

Credits: Joe Casey (writer), Ladronn (penciler), Juan Vlasco (inker), Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letters), Gloria Vasquez (colors)

Summary: Ch’vayre leads Shaw and Pierce to Apocalypse’s hibernation chamber. They’re shocked to discover it’s empty. Cable appears, provoking Pierce into a fight. Shaw angrily places Ch’vayre into one of Apocalypse’s cocoons, as the fortress begins to collapse. Cable tries to free Ch’vayre while Shaw and Pierce escape. Shaw flees in a helicopter, refusing to take Pierce along. Cable is unable to free Ch’vayre and is shot into the sky on a pod as the fortress collapses. In Egypt, Apocalypse watches the skies and prepares for the future.

Continuity Notes: Ch’vayre’s imprisonment inside the cocoon sets up his role as Apocalypse’s follower in the original Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix miniseries. During the final scene, Apocalypse frees Ozymandias and Caliban from his service, although I’m not sure what the significance of this is supposed to be.

Miscellaneous Note: I'm assuming the title of this issue is a reference to this song.

Review: After a few detours, the “Hellfire Hunt” storyline comes to an end. Not a total end, as Cable’s fate is left as a cliffhanger, but the Hellfire Club/Apocalypse story does finish up. I’m not sure if anyone really expected Apocalypse to play a major role in this story, as Marvel had decided at this point that he should be saved for giant crossovers, so the real drama comes from the Hellfire Club’s involvement. That’s a bit of a dud, as Shaw and Pierce just bicker for a few pages before Shaw predictably abandons Pierce again. However, Ladronn does get to draw some intense action scenes, and I love his rendition of the Hellfire soldiers (and those weird sky-skimmers they’re flying around on).

I’ve reread the ending to this issue a few times, and I’m still not sure what’s going on. Is this Ch’vayre’s pod that’s shooting out into the sky? That would make sense, assuming that Apocalypse wants to preserve whoever’s inside it. However, it blows up just a few pages later. I know this is setting up a “did Cable survive?” cliffhanger (I’m going to go with “yes”), but the setup doesn’t make sense, especially since Ch’vayre is supposed to survive into the future. I’m not sure if Ladronn, Casey, or an editorial hand is responsible for the confusion, but I think the ending of a six-issue arc should be a little clearer.

Jungle Action

Credits: Joe Casey (writer), Ladronn (penciler), Juan Vlasco (inker), Comicraft (letters), Gloria Vasquez (colors)

Summary: Cable lands in Wakanda, where he’s nursed to health by the Black Panther’s cousin, Dr. Joshua Itobu. Itobu has secretly lead Klaw into Wakanda, believing that Klaw’s presence will convince the Black Panther to militarize their Vibranium supplies. Klaw turns against Itobu and invades Wakanda's Techno Jungle, hoping to find a replacement for his hand-blaster. Cable and Black Panther team up to defeat Klaw, who is discorporated by a vacuum chamber. Meanwhile, Irene visits Cable’s Hell’s Kitchen hideout, but runs away after seeing Blaquesmith.

Continuity Notes: The Black Panther recognizes Cable from a previous encounter, but says the memories evaporate whenever he concentrates on them. Cable doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Review: James Robinson’s run had a very brief subplot scene set in Wakanda, which clears the way for Joe Casey’s first indulgence in ‘70s nostalgia. Ladronn should be allowed to draw as many Kirby characters as possible, and it doesn’t hurt to have Cable interact with characters from outside of the X-Universe, either. There isn’t much of a plot to dwell on here (Dr. Itobu’s plan really makes no sense), but as an excuse for Ladronn to draw these characters and surroundings, it works well enough. Not only does Ladronn deliver the coolest Klaw I’ve ever seen, but his interpretation of the Techno Jungle rivals Kirby’s original rendition from the Black Panther’s first appearance. Casey does try to develop Cable’s character through a few pages of inner monologues, but this isn’t much more than a Silver Age action story, and it’s pretty enjoyable on that level.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

I've been recently reading Joe Casey and Ladronn's run on Cable for the first time, and I am absolutely loving it! I'll be looking forward to future posts about these books, to see whether you feel similarly. There's definitely an element of nostalgic appeal, but I think the stories are also well-constructed, with some good characters introduced.

And the ART! It's phenomenal! It's interesting to read in some of the letters pages that some readers were really turned off by it at first.

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