Friday, February 18, 2011

CABLE #57 - August 1998

Momentary Lapse

Credits: Joe Casey (writer), Ryan Benjamin (penciler), Scott Hanna w/Banning & Holdredge (inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Gloria Vasquez (colors)

Summary: Cable responds to Blaquesmith’s telepathic cries, eventually tracing him to Egypt. He discovers Blaquesmith is the captive of Rama-Tut, who needs his knowledge of time travel to escape this era. While battling Rama-Tut, a disturbance in the Astral Plane robs Cable of his telepathic powers. He knocks Rama-Tut unconscious with one of Tut’s weapons and escapes with Blaquesmith. The chronal distortion wave that followed Tut collapses on itself, launching him back into the timestream.

Continuity Notes: The disturbance in the Astral Plane comes from X-Men’s “Psi-War” storyline, circa X-Men #77. Cable notes that he’s lost his telepathy, while his telekinesis is just “severely curtailed,” which is apparently a quickie explanation for why his techno-organic virus isn’t freaking out again. Rama-Tut’s appearance fits in chronologically right after his debut in Fantastic Four #19. He claims a “time storm” has prevented him from returning to the thirtieth century and left him in this period.

Review: Well, I don’t think anyone saw Rama-Tut coming. One advantage Joe Casey has over many of this era’s X-writers is his eagerness to bring in the more “mainstream” Marvel Universe, which adds an element of unpredictability to the book. Connecting Rama-Tut’s time travelling gimmick with Blaquesmith’s even makes a decent amount of sense, so the story doesn’t feel totally out of place in Cable. Once you get past the novelty of using Tut, however, there isn’t much to the story. Casey’s aware of this, so he spruces the plot up by skipping backward and forward in time, a gimmick Christopher Priest was using in Quantum & Woody at this time and would soon bring over to Black Panther. He also gives each segment Frasier-style titles, presented as white text on black backgrounds. That’s another idea that will show up in Priest’s Black Panther, oddly enough.

While Casey was probably hoping to have Ladronn pencil a classic Fantastic Four villain, unfortunately the editors have selected Ryan Benjamin for another fill-in. It’s a pretty ugly job, one that doesn’t even match his mediocre work in the previous issue. I recall Benjamin as an okay Jim Lee clone from the early days of Wildstorm, but his work here is unrecognizable. I can only assume this was a rush job, because I don’t recall any of the early Wildstorm books looking so shoddy.


Morgan said...

Rama-Tut was actually used the year before during the "Rise of Apocalypse" miniseries. So his appearance here was not a complete shock. I dont think you ever reviewed those issues so I'll forgive you. =P

G. Kendall said...

I reviewed it a year or so ago. Rama-Tut's appearance there wasn't much of a surprise, since the story's set in ancient Egypt. Having him show up in a modern Cable story is a little odd.

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