Thursday, June 9, 2011

CABLE #62 - December 1998

Strange Agencies

Credits: Joe Casey (writer), Ladronn (penciler), Vlasco/Milgrom/Palmiotti/Koblish (inks), Gloria Vasquez (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)

Summary: The Nemesis Robots are activated, but unexpectedly turn against SHIELD. Adopting the personalities of Sgt. Fury’s Howling Commandos, the robots mistakenly attack SHIELD agents, believing them to be Nazis. Nick Fury arrives, and with Cable’s help, the robots are defeated. When Cable attempts to repair the Helicarrier’s damaged turbine chamber, he’s attacked by Jack Truman, who wants to prove he’s the better warrior. A collapsing turbine falls on Truman, leaving his damaged body in the hands of SHIELD’s Extechop division. Due to Irene’s exposé, published in the Daily Bugle, the rogue SHIELD agents are uncovered. Nick Fury promises the public he’s taking back the reigns of SHIELD.

Continuity Notes: Cable has regained full access to his telekinetic power, quietly putting an end to the latest techno-organic virus subplot. Since X-Man was also allowed to keep his TK powers following “Psi-War,” it would seem the editors realized quickly that not every character could lose all of their psi-powers, especially the ones headlining their own books.

Review: This ending felt like it came out of left field the first time I finished this arc, and having read it again, my feelings haven’t changed. An extended storyline dedicated to Cable being hunted by rogue SHIELD agents, experimented on, and confronting a soldier determined to prove his mettle against a mutant ends with…zany robots spouting Silver Age dialogue and destroying the Helicarrier? Maybe Casey’s trying to make the point that modern-day SHIELD is behaving like the Nazis Nick Fury originally fought, but that feels too heavy for the tone of this story. Even accepting that Casey had a legitimate reason for going in this direction, the story never explains why the robots have assumed the identities of the original Howling Commandos. Yeah, some of the dialogue is funny, but where is this coming from? Adding to the confusion is the robot that assumes Cyclops’ persona when it encounters Cable. Maybe SHIELD downloaded some personality profiles of old soldiers into the robots’ databases, but where is Cyclops coming from? Cable doesn’t have telepathy at this point, so he can’t be projecting anything into the robot’s programming, and there’s no inherent telepathy in the T-O virus, so the robot couldn’t be reading Cable’s mind either.

After the robot wackiness calms down, Casey returns to Jack Truman’s story. Truman still comes across as a thin persona -- he’s obsessed with proving that he’s the best, but wants a fair fight. Conveniently, Cable’s regained his telekinetic powers and isn’t near-death anymore, so Truman’s now ready to prove how great he truly is. This requires him to stupidly pick a fight in an exploding engine room, which ends with a tepid action scene and another plot convenience that puts the character in place for the upcoming Deathlok series. I’m sure Casey did much more with Truman in Deathlok, but he’s still little more than a cipher at this stage. And that epic battle he wanted so badly from Cable lasts all of three pages by the arc’s end. None of the payoffs in this finale are satisfying, and even the art suffers under rushed, inconsistent inking.

1 comment:

CableGrams said...

I had just re-read this recently, didnt the techno robot touch Cable and pull the vision of Cyclops from his thoughts? And if not, Cyclops WAS captured by SHIELD a year or two back, and X-Force had to break him out. SHIELD could have gotten info on Cyke that way.

Also wasnt this story line a tribute to Jim Steranko and his work on Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD from the 60s? Even the cover to #61 mentions Steranko right on the cover.

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