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With this issue, Cable’s series comes to its de facto conclusion, as Hope and Nathan finally make it home. Or rather, we assume they do, since they actually just disappear at the end of the issue. It’s somewhat disappointing — if understandable in terms of the crossover — that there’s no actual pay-off to the ongoing story of Cable’s series. They finally deal with the major villain, yes, but just as its premise spun out of someone else’s comic, so it concludes in someone else’s.
In fairness, there is a final issue to come — a flashback story, co-starring Deadpool, which tells the previously untold chapter in Cable and Hope’s story about how he managed to acquire her before anyone else, and readers will presumably need to look to this for closure of some kind.
To Swierczynski’s credit, however, he does finally write the fight we’ve all been promise: Cable versus Bishop, playing for keeps, with some nicely inventive use of a time machine as a weapon. In that sense, it’s quite a fun issue. As pay off to the preceding 23, it’s perhaps a little lacking, but it’s probably that an editorial constraint is the culprit in terms of what Swierczynski was allowed to show.
Despite some nice moments and a rather better script than usual, the book is hampered by its artists. On one hand, there’s a certain logic to having a different artist illustrate each “chapter”, as defined by the changes in time period, but on the other, the art is wildly inconsistent and generally quite poor. Every artist has their good moments, but at the same time, there are more distorted faces and poses than I’d prefer to see in a Marvel comic.
The closing pages attempt to give a sense of how far the pair have come since they left the present. Adding another 17 years onto Cable’s age seems like a big change, but over the course of the series, we haven’t really seen it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if such a major change just meant that he was going to die in Second Coming anyway. Bishop’s fate, meanwhile, is arguably more terrifying than death, stranded on a wasteland Earth in the planet’s final days with only his failure for comfort. The question now becomes whether or not he was proven right — and in that sense, this story does make me look forward to Second Coming.
Of course, since Cable as a whole has been little more than an extended trailer for the series, it would be a real disappointment if it accomplished that much at the very least. And until we actually do get to read “Second Coming,” it’s going to be a bit difficult to know whether it’s truly done any more than that.