Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cable--Blood and Metal [Comics]

I've never particularly liked Cable. Objectively speaking, there's nothing inherently more unrealistic about a time-travelling mercenary with cybernetic parts, incredibly broad shoulders, and massive firearms than with incredible hulks and spider-men. I think it's just that the time the character became popular (early 90s) is associated in my mind with terrible artwork, tortured continuity, and the sort of teenage wish fulfillment that resulted in every male character being incredibly well-muscled, carrying incredibly huge guns, having a "kill first" mentality, and hanging out with buxom, scantily clad super-heroines.

The character's first limited series, Cable--Blood and Metal, definitely fits into this vein. The artwork is shite (little in the way of backgrounds, poor facial expressions, everyone's as broad-shouldered as Cable), there's little in the way of non-combat scenes, and Cable has a profound internal dialogue that includes thoughts like "Time to show him what one man can do . . . when that one man . . . is ALL WEAPON!" and "All I can do now . . . is make sure none of them slip through my fingers again . . . and the only way to do that . . . is by CLENCHING MY HAND INTO A FIST!!".

The story operates at two time-periods, the present day when Cable is operating on his own, and seven to ten years ago when Cable is leader of the "Six Pack", a group of mercenaries. One of the things that actually works well in the book is that we're told, in the present day section, that Cable betrayed his team members and got most of them killed, which provides some narrative drive to the flashback sections as the reader is curious when and how it happens. Although I just read the series, I didn't otherwise grasp the plot beyond the fact that there's a villain (Stryfe, who looks identical to Cable) and that Stryfe wanted some ancient artifacts created by Apocalypse for some reason I'm not sure of.
All of that being said, I've actually been mildly tempted to pick up Cable's current series, which sees him as the protector of the first mutant child born since House of M. So far, however, memories of the early 90s have sufficed to stop me.

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