Cable and X-Force is the second of Dennis Hopeless’s books out this week. Do the adventures of time-hopping one-eyed semi-cyborg and his band of misfits have enough juice to keep them ahead of the pack? This Major Spoilers review has the answer.
CABLE AND X-FORCE #1
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Previously, in the Marvel Universe: After making a pre-emptive strike at the Avengers prior to the events of Avengers Vs X-Men, Cable is on the run, sans his right eye, left arm and techno-organic virus. Meanwhile, his adopted daughter Hope is living with a foster family and trying to adjust to life as a normal teenager.
Issue 1 of Cable and X-Force opens in media res with Cable and his crew standing over what looks like a bunch of dead bodies as the Uncanny Avengers come onto the scene. A brief inter-family squabble between Havok and Cable ensues before Cable tries to shoot his erstwhile uncle with one of those massive rifles he carries around. The rest of the issue is then a flashback; there’s some stuff about getting a new robot arm, and the usual Cable evasiveness as regards his new plan. One of the things I was most interested in is just what is going on with Colossus. As one of the Phoenix Five, his status should be of great concern to the greater world community. His absence is treated in hushed tones in books like All New X-Men which are dealing directly with the AvX fallout. Here, he is treated purely as a background character. Cable’s new robot arm (it fires rockets!!) gets more scenes than that most noble of Russkies. Missed opportunity.
What this issue (and presumably the book) focuses on is actually Hope and her relationship with Cable. This is character-based stuff, and Hopeless writes these characters well. Cable is his usual curmudgeonly self, and Hope is a convincingly strong yet confused teen, trying to find her place in the world. Domino gets an entertainingly badass scene, and Doctor Nemesis is delightful as always. The central plot hook isn’t quite as established as the characters, though. Cable has assembled a crew, he has prophetic dreams coupled with blinding migraines, and the ending implies that something is going on with the techno-organic virus in the wider world. How this will lead back to the opening is anyone’s guess.
LIKE A SACK OF POTATOES
I am not a fan of Salvador Larroca’s art. His figures are drawn in a style I can only describe as lumpy, and there is a startling inconsistency in simple things like just where Cable’s eyepatch is on his face. The characters just look weird and unappealing. When he’s not drawing people, everything looks good though. The color palette used by Frank D’Armata is very muted, with a focus on the whites and yellows so prominently displayed in the character’s new uniforms. It might not be to everyone’s tastes, but I actually quite liked the coloring. It is nice to see someone trying something different.
BOTTOM LINE: KEEP AN EYE ON IT
I liked Cable and X-Force, in spite of some of its flaws. If there is good character interactions, I can forgive a lot of other problems, and Hopeless wrote these characters well. If he can develop a central plot that is as engaging as its cast, this book might be a winner. As it stands, I’ll stick around a few issues and see how it pans out. And as an aside, this book also suffers from some business issues which are separate from the creative team’s efforts. In a baffling decision, Marvel decided to ship this first issue the same week as Daniel Hopeless’ other new book for Marvel, Avengers Arena. Both begin in media res, which unfairly makes it look like Hopeless isn’t especially creative. And the second issues of both titles are coming out this Wednesday, one week after their first debut. Why not couple both issues together into a giant size #1? Why slap a $3.99 price tag on a book that has a much lower profile than, say Uncanny Avengers or All New X-Men? I would love to read all the X-Titles if I could, but when secondary titles are coming out at a breakneck pace with a premium price (during the expensive holiday season, no less) I just can’t swing it. Marvel is definitely losing business from this lone reader with these sorts of decisions. Cable and X-Force earns a positive three out of five stars.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!