After being pursued to the future by Bishop, Cable discovers his time machine has malfunctioned and he’s now stuck in the mid-21st century. Meanwhile, Bishop is accosted by anti-mutant militant types while Cable gets to know the locals, and their plight.
Three issues in, “Cable” appears to have fully established both its tone and the motivations of core cast members, Cable and Bishop, though any hints about the true nature of the still-nameless baby have been incredibly sparse. It’s fairly frustrating given that the main lead in to the series heavily suggested we’d get some answers, and one can only hope that there are plans to deliver some nuggets of truth before the end of this arc.
Part of the reason we haven’t seen any new developments on that front might just be the truly glacial pace of the series. It’s been en vogue for years now to complain about decompression, but seriously — according to the opening captions, the last two issues actually covered less time than it took me to read the issues! That’s a whole new level of decompressed story telling.
Bishop’s increasing descent into villainy is one nice element of the series — he genuinely believes that he’s doing a good thing, and likewise, he believes that he’s doing it for the right reasons — that the ends will justify the means. It gives him a sympathetic edge, even when he kills a bunch of people who have captured him — in his mind, killing those men isn’t a problem because if (and when) he succeeds in killing the mutant child, the people he’s hurt along the way will be erased from history. It’s the kind of ethical dilemma only time travellers could encounter, which is appropriate given that the series premise is directly related to that age-old ethical dilemma of what you’d do if you could go back in time and kill Hitler as a child.
Likewise, Cable’s focus on protecting the baby is a strong and justifiable one. While a local civilian attempts to solicit his help, Cable tries not to waver — after all, if he fails his mission, everyone will disappear anyway. It’s a hard position to argue against, even though it comes across as an incredibly cold judgment on his part.
Olivetti’s artwork is nice and polished, giving the future an ethereal look while making the characters look as grizzled as possible. The only down side about the art is that the soft tones and lack of black inks mean that the speech bubbles stick out a mile, failing to integrate with the panels and utterly ruining the look of each page. It’s a real shame that there’s little chance the speech bubbles could be altered to fit in with the art more, because every panel is otherwise great to look at.
Despite the slow pace, the final page harbors a cliffhanger that makes the next issue worth a look, as an aged Cannonball arrives to “greet” Cable. Naturally, characters from “our” timeline would be alive in the future, so it’ll be interesting to see how Cannonball will view Cable – as a friend, or as an enemy? Let’s hope Swierczynski has an interesting answer in mind, as the pace of this series needs to amp up substantially in order to hold reader interest, and this is his best chance of making people stick around until the wider mysteries get some attention.
“Cable” isn’t technically bad by any means, but it does have some wrinkles that could be ironed out. It already has a strong concept and characters – now it just needs a little more plot to go with them.