Thursday, January 24, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: Cable #53

[Continuing the look at Joe Casey's run on Cable. New posts Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.]

Well, today, my order containing the final five issues of Casey's run on Cable arrived, so there's no excuse at all not to finish now, is there?

Today, we get the final part of the six-part "Hellfire Hunt" story, which James Robinson penned for the first three issues and Casey the last three. This issue concludes the arc, but sets into motion the events that eventually became a big X-crossover mega-event involving the X-Men, the Twelve and Apocalpyse--but that's far off, so let's forget it.

The basic plot of the issue is that Shaw & co. have broken into Apocalypse's hibernation chamber, found it empty and plan to plunder it when Cable arrives. Pierce goes insane with rage, there's a fight, the whole place begins to self-destruct, Shaw escapes, Pierce is left to die and Cable seemingly dies in an explosion above the earth. At the end of the issue, Apocalypse sets Ozymandis and Caliban free, saying he has to go it alone from now on. Dun dun dun.

Casey demonstrates a couple of storytelling tricks he'll continually use throughout his career here. The first being Irene Merryweather's narration throughout the issue that is divorced from what happens in the art, but also comments upon it. She discusses her views of Cable, at the beginning of the issue, while he fights his way through Apocalypse's defences and there's an element where the narration describes what happens on panel, but not really. This is something I noted in Codeflesh and in Deathlok, Casey seems very interested in using captions two or more ways at the same time. Although his efforts here are clumsy and a little too literal much of the time, this IS his third comic and reads at a level above that. I'm almost tempted to pick up some of the comics he scripted for Marvel over the plots of others around this time to see how he handles narration and dialogue there.

One line stood out to me as hinting at the direction Casey would one day take the cast of Wildcats in: "But it's been said that every soldier needs a WAR to define who he is." That sentiment is the key to understanding Casey's work on Wildcats volume two and I find it interesting that it shows up this early in his work. Is there a link between Cable and Wildcats I missed until now? Something worth keeping in the back of my head, I suppose.

For the most part, this is a by-the-numbers issue that concludes the storyline without any major problems--but also doesn't do much beyond that. We can assume that this ends the influence of James Robinson over the plot of the book--or, I'm assuming that--so next issue is Casey's first 100% solo issue. We'll see what it shows about Casey and his style/interests.