Writer: James Robinson
Art: Carlos Pacheco
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Marvel dropped another Cable reboot on us this week with Cable #1 and while it does little to break the mold of basic comic book storytelling it’s cool too see the mutant lone wolf (as if there’s a shortage of those) back in action.
Cable, the infamous time-traveling mutant, is back at it. At what? Well, time traveling obviously! He first shows up in the wild west era where a gang of gunfighters armed with futuristic firearms are waiting for him in a saloon before being magically whisked away to feudal Japan where, surprise, a pack of ronin (masterless samurai) with future tech swords are also waiting for him. Why are these people expecting Cable and who told them to wait? Who knows. And, as these plots are typically prone to go, not one answered in the first issue.
I hadn’t picked up a Cable title since the mid-90s, a period when I was a huge fan. I fell out of love with the character over the years and hadn’t bothered to pick up any of his many series since then. He’s often seen as a big X-affiliated player, at the core of many key X-storylines, yet his character has never really been fleshed out or given enough substance to hold on to. Writer James Robinson (a previous short-term Cable scribe) doesn’t look to change that character formula much with this new title. The Nathan Summers we all know and love is still The Man with No Name meets Dirty Harry meets essentially any Clint Eastwood character (except for the one from The Bridges of Madison County maybe). What Robinson does bring to the Cable tale, however, is more sense of nobility in the character. That’s not to say as a long-term hero he hasn’t always been a noble creature but Robinson’s newest take feels more visceral. When Cable promises to avenge a crying mother’s dead son in a scene near the end of the book, combined with Carlos Pacheco’s vengeance filled Cable face uttering the words “I will avenge him,” I felt a little fuzzy inside. I believed he truly would avenge him.
Carlos Pacheco has been a Marvel staple for years and I remember his art very fondly from my earlier comic book reading days. It’s a very Marvel house style (if that’s still a thing) type of art so nostalgia might be playing a part in my very positive assessment of his Cable work. Regardless, it’s easy on the eyes. Plus I also think Jesus Aburtov’s vibrant, crisp coloring, plays as just as much into the pleasant aesthetic look of Cable as does Pacheco’s pencils. In particular some early scenes when Cable is riding across a canyon on horseback, it look absolutely gorgeous. So, while the artwork here isn’t exactly something worth writing home about, it’s very pretty to look at and is perfect for the story.
I was prepared to be disappointed with Cable. I assumed I would be, to tell the truth. Marvel’s brand of storytelling has become very stale and I feared Cable’s new series would be the latest in an extensive line of ho-hum titles. At an across the board cover price of $3.99 it takes a lot nowadays for me to commit to a Marvel book. However, in Cable’s new series, I think I’ll be giving it at least another issue or two in hopes the early promise it shows pans out. Robinson has crafted an interesting issue with Cable #1 and is hopefully headed in a direction that will give our titular hero yet a little more substantive meat to his character. Also with many second and third-tier character books at Marvel (you can add first-tier as well) there seems to be a fear of the writer to take a risk with these characters but they are exactly the types of characters you should be taking risks with. While I doubt this Cable is going to give us much of an “outside the box” Cable story, it looks like Robinson might be, at least, giving us one with some heart.