“Cable and X-Force” #1 opens with action, includes an appearance by most of the Uncanny Avengers and features the writing of Dennis Hopeless coupled with the art of Salvador Larroca, but it doesn’t quite seem complete. We get the tail half of a scene followed by bits that led up to it, but nothing joining the two.
As a comic book fan, I’m all for new beginnings, like what Hopeless offers here, but I’m simply not a fan of any of the characters featured on the cover. Colossus is OK as part of the X-Men and, as evidenced by his seven-foot-three appearance on the cover, he sticks out like a sore thumb, or at least an extended middle finger. Still, Marvel NOW! is a chance for fresh starts and new beginnings. I gave Legion a shot over in “X-Men Legacy,” so I figured this book deserved a looksee too.
Unfortunately, it is not overly compelling if you were not predisposed to any of these characters before this story starts. Forge fans, Domino fans, Cable fans and especially Hope fans will find something here to give them a boost, but readers plunking down a hard-earned four bucks for a Colossus fix are going to be woefully disappointed as the steel-skinned Soviet superbeing is only present for four panels and his sole line in the book is, “Rrrrgh!”
That said, Salvador Larroca does depart from his sometimes-painful photo-tracing style that he used throughout his assignment on “Iron Man.” There are still bits and pieces where photolifting is evident, but by and large the art is much more organic than in his previous title. The shift makes the artwork more lively and the characters less stiff. Alas, it also enables the visuals to be a little shaky. Cable’s eyepatch seemingly slides down his face throughout the issue. Hope’s facial structure has similar uncertainties, especially in the same exact pose across facing pages towards the latter half of “Cable and X-Force” #1. Joining Larroca on this book is his colorist from “Iron Man,” Frank D’Armata who brings a whole bunch of earthtones, oranges, grays, black and white, which is an interesting and visually bold choice for this book given the characters included. The only hue that pops off of the page is Hope’s uniform, solely because it’s green.
It’s a darn good thing the double-shipping pattern gives us the next issue coming out next week (undoubtedly the oddest double-shipping assignment ever) as “Cable and X-Force” #1 feels like an incomplete thought. When I was a kid, there were things called double-sized premiere issues. This comic would have been much better served and more enticing than shelling out six bucks for forty pages, especially when the first twenty are little more than a tease. Sure, that might reduce profit margins a bit, but it would also reduce printing costs and also ensure that fans get a more explosive debut issue.