Credits: Joe Casey (writer), Ladronn (penciler), Juan Vlasco (inker), Gloria Vasquez (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Cable investigates the fires in Hell’s Kitchen and discovers the Acidroid is responsible. Following an inconclusive fight, Cable replaces his damaged uniform and returns for a rematch. After Cable uses his telekinesis to defeat the Acidroid, Rachel Summers suddenly appears and plants information in Cable’s head. Cable brushes off the experience and locates Acidroid’s creator, the Tinkerer, and rescues him from the Maggia agents who are displeased with his work. Elsewhere, Ozymandias shows Blaquesmith signs of Apocalypse’s return, while the Harbinger floats above New York City.
Continuity Notes: A blackout has hit the city, and a footnote points towards X-Men #86 for details. This was a “Magneto War” chapter, but I don’t recall any other titles referencing a massive power outage.
Review: There’s a lot going on in this issue, as Casey attempts to blend a traditional superhero action story, supporting cast subplot scenes, and the X-books’ typical ominous visions of the future into one comic. It’s a combination you seldom see, since the X-teams are rarely out in the streets stopping schemes by Tinkerer or the Maggia. I like the flavor the retro-action adds to the title, although Casey can’t seem to be bothered with explaining how Cable finds Acidroid in the first place, or how exactly he knows who created him and where he is.
The Acidroid material is obviously a disposable action plot, although it seems to be used as an excuse to introduce a new costume for Cable. The most dramatic change is the full face mask, which lasts all of six pages before Cable removes it. Maybe everything from the neck down was meant to stick, but apparently the mask was just a one-issue gimmick. It’s too bad, because I kind of like it. (A little over a year later, Cable will wear a partial mask when he joins the X-Men during the brief Claremont/Kubert run.)
Along with the action, there are a few pages of Cable interacting with Stacey and Irene that reiterate the “Cable’s getting closer to normal people” direction, and a lot of dark prophesies involving Apocalypse. I wonder if Casey was told beforehand that the next Apocalypse storyline would be run in Cable, or if he took the initiative on his own, hoping the story wouldn’t be snatched out of his hands. Regardless, Cable barely plays a role in the X-books’ millennial Apocalypse crossover, so time hasn’t been kind to these scenes. Ozymandias’ revelation that the mysterious Twelve hold the key to defeating Apocalypse is particularly jarring, given that we’re a few months away from learning that the Twelve are just supposed to power a giant machine for ol’ Pocy…