In the latest issue of “Cable,” the titular hero says that he and Hope can’t slide into the future any longer, that they’ve run out of timeline they can safely travel to. Is it too much to hope that’s really the case? Because after seventeen issues plus a “Cable King-Sized Special,” I think it’s safe to say that most of us are ready for something different.
After last month’s cliffhanger, it looked like we had a real chance for something new and different going on. Cable himself was in some pretty bad straights, stripped of his power and dying of the techno-organic virus. Hope, herself, was cornered by Bishop and his allies, finally about to be in the hands of her intended killer. And then, of course, this issue undoes most of that.
At its core, that’s the biggest problem I have with “Cable” these days; there seems to be an illusion of change presented to the reader but that’s not what we’re really getting. Instead it’s just a series of slightly different backgrounds with the same basic story told again and again. Like Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, there comes a point where you find yourself hoping for something different, even though it would mean the end of at least one of the characters. Attack and escape can only go for so long before the never-ending cycle needs to, well, end.
It’s frustrating because I don’t think Duane Swierczynski is a bad writer. Swierczynski actually is doing his best to give Hope a personality over time, and create a father-daughter relationship between Cable and Hope that actually means something. On those points, I think he’s succeeded admirably. The problem is that I think Swierczynski has exhausted the story potential of Bishop chasing Cable and Hope forever forward in time. Each new post-apocalyptic landscape grows more wearisome than the previous one, and even slight deviations like a cult devoted to Stryfe, or a love interest for Hope, are starting to not really matter.
Paul Gulacy’s art is less inspired here than before, where at least he stretched out of his normal comfort zone. We’re back to more exaggerated bodies on display here, and some of the least on-model drawings of Hope to date, who just looks like a generic (if slightly short) hot babe. The art tells the story, don’t get me wrong, but it just isn’t jumping out as anything more than that.
Hopefully the next month or two will kick “Cable” into something different. Honestly, at this point I think Swierczynski has done just about all he can with the “into the future” concept, and I’d love to see him tell stories with them in the present day. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong and something great is just around the corner. For the moment, though, this feels like “Cable” is just treading water.