Wednesday, December 12, 2012
CABLE #73 - November 1999
Credits: Joe Pruett & Rob Liefeld (story & art), Lary Stucker w/Dan Fraga (inks), Optic Studio (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Caliban emerges from a cocoon in San Francisco and immediately follows Cable’s trail. While hunting Cable, Caliban befriends a young boy who isn’t afraid of mutants. Unfortunately, Caliban is chased off by his father and the boy is hit by a truck when he follows Caliban. A crowd forms and threatens Caliban, reviving his bloodlust. Meanwhile, Cable meets with X-Force, giving them information on all of his safehouses in case he doesn’t survive his fight with Apocalypse. Suddenly, Caliban, now calling himself Pestilence, crashes into X-Force’s headquarters.
• Siryn’s appearance on the cover is a mistake, as she isn’t a member of the team at this point. She isn’t in the story, but the presence of Domino and Sunspot together makes it hard to pinpoint where this issue could fit in X-Force continuity.
• Blaquesmith and Ozymandias have formed an alliance against Apocalypse. Ozymandias asks Blaquesmith if his pupil, presumably Cable, is “ready.” Ozymandias’ connection to Caliban’s disappearance in X-Force #70 isn’t mentioned.
Review: So, now that Joe Pruett and Rob Liefeld are being credited as “storytellers,” does that mean Liefeld actually did co-plot these stories? I was always under the impression that Liefeld took this simply as an art assignment because he missed drawing the character (and his publishing company had folded.) I do distinctly remember Joe Pruett denying that he was involved with plotting issue #75 at all, and Liefeld claiming the plot didn’t come from him, leading to the theory that one of Marvel’s editors mapped out the story uncredited. Was that the only issue plotted by editors? Regardless, we’re getting deep into crossover territory, which means if Joe Pruett ever did have a clear vision for this book, it’s going to be buried anyway.
I don’t want to keep harping on Pruett, but his work on the X-books so far has placed him in sub-Kavanagh territory. There is a bright spot this issue, as Cable learns of Siryn’s injury in X-Force #90 and laments ever recruiting Feral into the team, but that’s essentially it. The rest of the issue is just cardboard. Almost every page is overloaded with supposedly deep text that’s so clumsily written you almost feel sorry for the poor letterer who has to type it out. “A famous writer once asserted that ‘you can never go home.’ As Cable sits among his former students…enjoying the closeness and warmth that only comes from the cohesive bond that is a family…he thinks of this literary line and is glad it is the exception and not the rule.” And that’s just one of the clunkers. Pruett’s prose is just a chore to read, and it chokes almost every page of the book. (This is assuming that Pruett and not an editor wrote these lines, of course.)
But, hey, Rob Liefeld’s back after that exhaustive stint of one issue, so that counts for something, right? Most of the issue is a conversation scene, which displays Liefeld’s talent for never drawing backgrounds, or believable facial expressions. Sometimes X-Force has a floor, but usually their couch just manages to float four feet off the ground. Liefeld’s been in the industry for over ten years at this point, and he still can’t draw a credible conversation scene to save his life, or figure out little things like “How does furniture touch the floor?” or “How do normal human beings bend their knees and sit down?” He’s also forgotten, again, which of Cable’s eyes is the mechanical one. I bet the creator of Cable was just furious to see someone get a basic detail like that wrong…