Monday, May 20, 2013

CABLE #75 - January 2000

Who is Worthy to Break the Seals…?
Credits:  Joe Pruett (script), Rob Liefeld (penciler), Lary Stucker (inker), Optic Studios (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)

Summary:  Apocalypse taunts Cable, who is now his captive.  He leaves Cable’s psimitar in front of him as a final insult and leaves the room.  Death enters, shocking Cable.  Cable telepathically uses his psimitar to attack Death and free himself.  He tries to draw Wolverine’s persona out of Death, but fails.  Eventually, Apocalypse returns and fights Cable to a standstill.  Cable’s forced to give up when Death appears with Caliban as a hostage.

Continuity Note:  Rob Liefeld (or perhaps the inker) is still unable to decide which of Cable’s eyes have pupils.  On one page, both of them do.  On other pages, neither has a pupil.  Occasionally, he gets it right and remembers that it’s Cable right eye, the one surrounded by scars, which has a pupil.  (Although the colorist screws this up on one page and gives Cable’s right eye the mechanical glowing effect.)

“Huh?” Moment:  Death/Wolverine falls down a seemingly bottomless pit to his death during his fight with Cable.  A few pages later, he magically returns with Caliban as a hostage.

Creative Differences:  There is no credited plotter for this story, only Joe Pruett and Rob Liefeld as “storytellers.”  Pruett was very clear at the time that he did not plot this story and was only responsible for scripting the pages sent to him.

Miscellaneous Note:  The title of this issue is a reference to the fifth chapter of Revelation.

Review:  Not that Rob Liefeld’s run on Cable was very popular on the internet in the first place, but this issue was especially loathed.  This double-sized anniversary issue, the one people believed for years would be the ultimate battle between Cable and Apocalypse, is instead a collection of clumsy fight scenes that advance the ongoing storyline not one inch.  Literally -- the first and last page of the story have Apocalypse lording over the restrained Cable, with the same narration detailing Cable’s failure on both pages.  And even as a mindless fight scene, this is awful.  Splash page after splash page of awkward poses, ugly faces, and nonexistent backgrounds.

As far as I know, no one’s ever taken credit for plotting this issue.  The fan theory at the time was that Liefeld was told to just draw a big fight scene for the issue, but I believe Liefeld denied having any role in plotting the story.  If the story wasn’t plotted by Pruett or Liefeld, that probably leaves editorial.  And since editor Mark Powers already had a reputation as a heavy rewriter, many people just assumed this was something he slapped together during his lunch break.  Who knows the truth, but I can’t blame whoever is responsible for not wanting his or her face revealed.


Cerebro said...

Oh, yes. This one. I wish Paul O'Brien's X-Axis review of this issue was still out there. That was a keeper. Nowhere near as scathing as his review of ASTONISHING X-MEN #3, but still pretty bad. I remember one bit from the review criticizing the Cable/Death fight and the fact that the writing had to cover up for the fact that the art completely failed to set up the "bottomless" pit before Death fell into it.

The confrontation between Cable and Apocalypse was supposed to be the big moment that everything from Cable's storyline, to date, was meant to be building up to. What we get is a badly choreographed fight scene told in, mostly, splash pages devoid of background and an issue that, pretty much, ends with the characters in the same state they were in when the issue started. It was impossible not to feel underwhelmed and disappointed by this issue. Really?!? That's it?!?

In Liefeld's defense, though, I seem to recall that his father died while he was working on this. Under such circumstance, one can't, reasonably, be expected to put out their best work.

Still, it was a bit of a train wreck.

Adam Farrar said...

Not to take away from the review here but Paul O'Brien's X-Axis is achieved. Here's the review of this issue:

ray swift said...

I won't even bother to read this, but you know, another thing that frustrat me about this issue is the fact the Cable is able to defeat Death/Wolverine in one on one pyshical combat till the point Wolverine has to pull some stinking trick to subdue him, which also seems far fetched. Didn't four of the most powerful X-men (not including Angel) fought Death in Astonishing X-men and lost to him, their power combined? This is, of course, bull sh*t, the kind that even Shonen manga don't usually do, but still, to see something like this issue come only shortly after the power of Death was established in another X-issue... It seems the editors that suppose to manage this crossover just spitting in the readers face.

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