Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CABLE #78 - April 2000


I Still Believe I Cannot Be Saved
Credits:  Joe Pruett (writer), Juan Santacruz w/Michael Ryan (pencilers), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Gloria Vasquez (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)

Summary:  Cable returns to his warehouse to discover it’s been ransacked.  According to Blaquesmith, the burglars were attempting to access the building’s secret room, where he’s working on a cure for the techno-organic virus.  Meanwhile, representatives of the Ranshi Empire search for time travelers in Manhattan.  Later, Cable meets with Stacey and erases her memories of their relationship.  As he leaves, he admits he loves her.  On his way home, Cable’s techno-organic virus goes out of control.  Irene Merryweather later discovers him in the streets.

Continuity Notes:  
  • Cable loses control of his techno-organic virus (again) due to the events of Uncanny X-Men #379.
  • Ozymandias gets a subplot page, pondering what he’ll do now that Apocalypse is dead.  Linger in obscurity would be my guess…
  • Speaking of Apocalypse’s “death” -- this issue makes the same mistake a few of the spinoffs made during this period.  Cable claims Apocalypse has been “defeated” and Cyclops is dead, ignoring the actual ending of X-Men #98, which had Apocalypse merging with Cyclops’ body and then teleporting away.  How do you get “dead” or “defeated” out of that?

I Love the '90s:  The title of this issue is of course a reference to the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1995 hit, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings.”  And, yes, this is not technically a ‘90s comic, but I couldn’t ignore that one. 

Review:  What a weird issue.  This is the final issue of Cable before the “Revolution” relaunch of the early 2000s, which means it’s also Joe Pruett’s final issue of the title.  And he spends the issue wrapping up a romantic subplot from the Joe Casey days that’s already been pretty definitively resolved, setting up new characters for what I’m assuming is the next writer’s run (or else this Ranshi Empire stuff makes no sense at all), introducing a new Blaquesmith subplot for some reason, and closing the issue with a quickie tie-in to a storyline occurring in the main X-titles.  So, judged as a single coherent story, there’s barely anything here.  And if you’re actually intrigued by that cliffhanger, I hate to tell you that the next issue picks up six months later. 

The only plotline that’s reasonably lucid this issue is Cable and Stacey’s break-up.  Pruett handles their conversation fairly well, but the scene is marred by Juan Santacruz’s tendency to draw human faces that are abysmally inhuman.  I don’t want to be too hard on the guy, but it’s shocking to me that Santacruz found work on a mainstream title at this point in his career.  He spends much of the issue imitating Ladronn’s backgrounds and Bernard Chang’s anatomy, creating this bizarre blend of two disparate styles we’ve already seen in the book, but botching both badly.  Inserting an interlude by former Wildstorm artist Michael Ryan, the next penciler on the book, adds yet another clashing style to the issue.  And even if Michael Ryan’s pages are kind of bland, he does draw competent human anatomy, making the switch back to Santacruz’s pages even more frustrating.  I don’t think anyone will tell you Cable was particularly good during this era, but this is still a pretty sad way to close out this run.

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