Running roughly from 1987 to 2000 by most comic book historians’ reckoning, The Dark Age of Comics was a time of superstar artists, variant covers and endless renumberings of classic series. It was a time when men were over-muscled, women were impossibly leggy and ankles were improbably thin. Eyes were small, teeth were clenched, guns were large and everyone’s costume had at least 37 pouches of varying sizes. And of all the new characters to emerge during this Age, perhaps none symbolized the zeitgeist so well as Cable.
As a character, Cable is better known as an archetype than he is an individual. To casual fans and the mainstream, he’s best known as that humorless guy that Deadpool keeps fighting and/or teaming up with. His background is ludicrously complicated even by the standards of the time, involving time-travel, alternate futures, clones of his parents acting as his parents, viruses that turn people into robots and a whole lot of stuff that really doesn’t relate to this comic.
All you need to know is that Cable was an old soldier but he’s been reborn as a teenager and is finally getting the normal upbringing he never had. Well, normal as it can be when you’re a teenager who can remember being an old man, who lives on a sentient island paradise full of super-powered people.
Gerry Duggan avoids explaining most of this, which is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, anyone who doesn’t know Cable’s background will be sent screaming for the Internet to read up on his history after the first reference to him having been an old man or to learn the backstory behind Krakoa that is at the center of all the X-Men books right now. On the other hand, this means more time is devoted to developing who Cable is now and giving him a personality beyond “eternally pissed off old soldier.”
This proves to be a smart move on Duggan’s part, since it’s far more interesting to learn who Cable is by watching him spar with Wolverine and searching for a missing child than reading a lengthy narration about his past. The action sequences are also well-handled. Still, a bit of homework will be required so you can learn all about Cable’s friends, Pixie and Armor, who aren’t as well introduced as he is.
The artwork by Phil Noto has a unique look to it that suits the action of the story. Noto favors light inks and thin outlines. Noto also uses colors to denote depth in his artwork rather than inks and the effect is visually distinct.
All in all, the first issue of Cable #1 was far better than I expected. Fans of the old Cable may not be happy with the changes but I thought this was a solid introduction to the character and a bold new direction for him, with interesting artwork that stands apart from most comic books today. The only downside is that if you haven’t been reading the other X-Men books already, there will be a bit of a learning curve to catching up with the larger story here.
Cable #1 releases on March 11th, 2020!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.