Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CABLE ‘99 - April 1999

Something Sinister This Way Comes
Credits: Michael Higgins & Karl Bollers (writers), German Garcia w/Alitha Martinez (pencilers), Matt Ryan w/Candelario & Koblish (inkers), Mike Rockwitz (colors), BenchMark (letters)

Summary: Mr. Sinister visits Cable’s hideout, revealing to him that he engineered Cable’s creation to use him as the ultimate weapon against Apocalypse. Cable refuses Sinister’s partnership offer, even after he’s warned of Apocalypse’s approaching emissaries. Soon, a local nightclub is attacked by mutants claiming to be Apocalypse’s servants. One of them erases Cable’s powers, triggering his techno-organic virus. Sinister rescues Cable, curing the virus and restoring his telepathic powers. Cable returns home and rescues Irene and Blaquesmith from the emissaries. He reveals to Sinister that he knows they’re actually his Marauders in disguise. Cable demands to know all of Sinister’s secrets, but he revives Cable’s virus and uses the opportunity to escape.

Continuity Notes: A flashback scene reveals that Sinister created the techno-organic virus in the early 1900s in the hopes that it could kill Apocalypse. Instead, it only made him stronger. Apocalypse allowed Sinister to flee, but promised to kill him in the future. Just a few months after this comic was published, another flashback in Uncanny X-Men #376 shows that Apocalypse and Sinister were allies again during the early days of the X-Men, behind-the-scenes of the Living Pharaoh storyline. As for the Marauders, none of them has the ability to erase another mutant’s power, although Scrambler can…yes, scramble his opponent’s powers and make them go haywire.

Review: It’s easy to dismiss this as annual filler, but the creators have worked out a plot that ties in to the regular series’ ongoing storylines, and establishes a few continuity points as well. I’m not sure if anyone was actually looking for important continuity to be established in a Cable annual by this point, but it’s there if you’re interested. The ongoing Cable series has never really known what to do with Mr. Sinister, perhaps because the character’s traditionally a behind-the-scenes schemer and rarely someone who takes an active role in supervillain plots. Yet, his entire gimmick centers around Summers’ DNA, and the precious offspring that will be created by Cyclops and Phoenix. Well, here he is. And he’s had an ongoing series since 1993. Why don’t you care, Sinister? Jeph Loeb tried to write around this by having Sinister hint that he’s been more involved with Cable’s life than he could ever realize, but that hint, of course, went nowhere.

So, the premise moves the book slightly past the “generic” marker, but unfortunately the execution is a disappointment. The art is clearly a rush job, making even the normally excellent German Garcia unrecognizable on many pages. Cable versus the Marauders should be a fantastic fight scene, one that’s been in the works since “Inferno,” but it’s pretty lifeless here. The story attempts to build a thematic link between Apocalypse and Sinister, but the conclusion we’re expected to reach -- Sinister’s no better than Apocalypse because he wants to save humanity for his own experimentation -- isn’t much of a revelation. Cable’s also supposed to learn some grand lesson about appreciating humanity instead of agonizing over his heavy responsibilities, but that’s an idea that Joe Casey's used more effectively in the monthly title. There are a few amusing lines, though, and the script is easier to read than Higgins & Boller’s effort in the previous annual. So, it’s not as terrible as you might expect a late ‘90s Cable annual to be; it’s just regular bad.


Scott Church said...

I remember liking this annual when it came out. Unless you had a hold box at my local store at the time you didn't see annuals and I still have no idea why he had this for me since Cable wasn't on my hold, maybe someone else turned it down and he put it on the shelf.

I loved anything with SInister at the time and there wasn't a lot back then, not like the current Uncanny X-Men that are taking him in a different route than the personality he was going off of at this time.

Sinister was so mysterious and so getting another issue with him that was interacting with one of the characters that he should be very concerned with but really did nothing with even though he was supposed to be his Apocalypse killer.

Anonymous said...

I was always a fan of Sinister too. I never understood the hate the character got from a lot of fans. He was one of the more interesting X-villains.

S said...

Wow, what a gorgeous cover!

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