Credits: Joe Casey (writer), Ladronn (penciler), Juan Vlasco w/Keith Aiken (inks), Comicraft (letters), Gloria Vasquez (colors)
Summary: A captive Blaquesmith tries in vain to contact Cable, while an assassin is hired to kill Domino. Cable explores his new neighborhood in Hell’s Kitchen and befriends a waitress named Stacey. Irene tracks him to the diner and berates him for his actions in Switzerland. When she mentions the image of Blaquesmith she saw at his home earlier, Cable races back to his headquarters. There, he encounters Domino, who resents their growing distance. She leaves and is ambushed by the assassin.
Continuity Note: This is the first appearance of another potential love interest for Cable, Stacey Kramer. All that’s revealed about her this issue is her first name and her aspiration to become a nurse, but she’ll become a more important character in future issues.
Miscellaneous Note: The title of this issue might be a reference to a Black Crowes song.
Review: I’m under the impression Casey had no real interest in using characters like Blaquesmith and Domino, but they are a part of Cable’s supporting cast and it would seem odd if he went out of his way to ignore them. Well, ignoring Domino for long would’ve been unfair, but Blaquesmith didn’t even seem able to maintain the interest of his own creator. He’s been missing since issue #32, a story that hinted he might be dead, and Cable hasn’t exactly been too broken up about it. Even though this occurred around the time Cable had to take a crossover break, Jeph Loeb still had more than enough open issues to address his disappearance before leaving the book. Instead, the readers were treated to more issues of Cable dealing with his techno-organic virus, followed by a lengthy arc in the Mircoverse that ended with the power of love defeating a Fantastic Four villain.
Casey is getting around to dealing with Blaquesmith’s dangling subplot, while also getting Domino out of the way so that Cable’s free to pursue either Irene or Stacey. The rest of the issue is mostly dedicated to Cable exploring his new neighborhood, a version of Hell’s Kitchen that apparently didn’t undergo an economic recovery in the ‘90s (it’s my understanding that Hell’s Kitchen is one of the nicer Manhattan neighborhoods these days). Casey lays this on a bit thick (at one point Cable declares that he likes the diner because it reminds him of “hope,” which Stacey reminds him is free), but I get what he’s aiming at.
Credits: Joe Casey (writer), Ryan Benjamin (penciler), Matt Banning w/Hanna, Aiken, & Holdredge (inks), Comicraft’s Saida Temofonte (letters), Gloria Vasquez (colors)
Summary: Blockade targets Domino, who can’t withstand his attack. Meanwhile, Cable receives a vision of Blaquesmith, but abandons him when he telepathically senses Domino’s pain. He finds her abandoned body and takes her to the hospital. Leaving Irene to watch over her, Cable finds Blockade in a bar. He extracts vengeance by forcing Blockade to view his subconscious, which leaves him comatose. Later, SHIELD agents arrive, suspicious Cable was involved.
Continuity Notes: The assassin from the previous issue is named Blockade here. The recap page identifies his real name as Dexter Parrish, and lists his power as “a bizarre affliction that has transformed his skin into a thick, craggy hide.” Whoever hired him to kill Domino isn’t revealed.
Review: It’s quite obvious that Casey is trying to write this book to suit Ladronn’s sensibilities, which is how we ended up with a Silver Age throwback villain like Blockade in the first place. He’s a non-mutant contract killer, formerly associated with the Sinister Syndicate (via retcon), who hangs out in bars with other non-mutant villains, like Stilt-Man. He has no ties to the Summers family, time travel, Mr. Sinister, anti-mutant groups, Stryfe, or anything else associated with ‘90s X-comics. Ladronn designed him as, of course, a lost Kirby villain in the previous issue, and did quite a job. However, Ladronn isn’t available for this issue, so former Jim Lee clone Ryan Benjamin is brought in as artist. Oh, the irony. Benjamin isn’t as bad as some of the Image-style artists that showed up in the titles, but it’s obvious this story wasn’t intended for him. As for the story, this is a fairly simple revenge plot, although Casey seems aware of how thin an idea it is. He adds some meat to the idea by focusing on the concept of revenge, as Irene ponders the hypocrisy of Cable, who’s allegedly in touch with a deep philosophy from the future, but still gives in to base human instincts when someone he personally knows is hurt. Trying to reconcile the original “eye for an eye” Cable with the wimpier New Age Cable of the late ‘90s isn’t a bad direction to explore, and it makes good use of Irene’s character.