Cable #21

"Cable" is a series that clearly isn't afraid to stick to a formula. Virtually since day one, the series has chronicled the adventures of Cable and Hope as they jump into the future, staying one step ahead of Bishop at each turn. Thematically, there's been little development -- Bishop lost an arm and an eye, Cable has aged, and Hope has grown from a baby into a young woman. But every arc told essentially the same story in slightly differing ways.

So imagine how pleased I was when this issue finally broke that cycle. First, Bishop finally cornered our heroes. No tricks, no catch-22s, he actually managed it. And he pulled the trigger. But as you might expect, he didn't succeed in killing Hope, because her mutant powers manifested. What powers? I won't spoil it except to say that it shouldn't be hard to guess. And with this, Cable and Hope were able to use his time machine to repair their own and finally journey back to the past.

Unfortunately, they overshoot. And rather tediously, Bishop is somehow dragged along with them. So it looks like we're going to have to sit through the old "Bishop pursues Hope and Cable and they just manage to escape him" routine at least one more time.

Even so, by Cable's own standards, this is an issue worth reading; after all, it's one of the few where something actually happens to affect the wider arc of the book. At this point, though, the series is only really remarkable for its ability to tread water. The adventures of Cable and Hope carry very little emotional resonance -- a shame, since one of the few areas Swierczynski has developed is their father-daughter relationship (or the approximation thereof.)

In sharp contrast to the writing, the artwork on Cable has been variable and uneven, something exemplified by this issue. Humberto Ramos makes an unlikely appearance pencilling the opening "chapter", offering a nice visual recall to the days of the "Messiah Complex" storyline that kicked all this off. Lan Medina pencils Chapter Two, with some convincing, if conventional work. Paul Gulacy tackles the third chapter in an apparent rush, with some wildly off-model face and distorted expressions. He's demonstrably better than this. The three styles clash unfortunately and it lowers the quality of an issue that, under the right artist, could've been one of Cable's more notable outings. As it is, it's all just a bit -- unremarkable.

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