Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pre-Joe Casey Comics: Cable #48

[The first in a series of posts looking at Joe Casey's run on Cable. Since Casey took over the title mid-story, today, we begin with the first part of that story, issue 48, which was written by James Robinson.]

The first part of "The Hellfire Hunt" barely contains Cable at all. The majority of the issue focuses on Irene Merryweather, a reporter for some third-rate scandal sheet with dreams of working for The Daily Bugle. She's assigned to find out about some redhead on the arm of some rich guy named Sebastian Shaw. She does some digging and gets the impression that most of the people who say they don't know anything really do. That is until one guy tells her about working a dinner party Shaw was at--and talking to a guy named Pierce about "hitting Cable." Next thing she knows, that guy is dead and the entire staff of her paper have been slaughtered, the offices trashed. She's attacked by Hellfire Club men and is saved by Cable.

Not a whole lot actually happens here, but the introduction of Irene Merryweather is a big thing because she plays a large role in Casey's run on the book. Despite Robinson's best efforts she comes off like a stock character here. The intrepid reporter working at a tabloid until she can land her dream job at a real paper.

The real draw of this issue (no pun intended) is Ladronn's art. This wasn't the first issue of Cable he'd drawn as he drew issue -1, but it sets the tone of Casey's run. Ladronn has a weird manga/Kirby mash-up style that is very kinetic, but also weirdly detailed. As well, a lot of the story is told through his art as facial expressions and body language sell it.

This issue is little more than set-up, but also had me excited when it first came out. I had subscribed to Cable since "The Age of Apocalypse" with the last couple of issues of X-Man, really enjoyed Jeph Loeb's work on the book (I've yet to go back and read that stuff again, though), and then the book sort of floated with no direction and went through a slew of guest writers. James Robinson's arrival on the book had me thinking of Warren Ellis' arrival on Thor: a book I was reading that wasn't the greatest, but here comes a well-respected writer whose work I wasn't all that familiar with and the promise of a new direction. Now, Robinson didn't deliver like Ellis had done, but this issue still had my 14-year-old self excited.

Next issue will have some meat to it, I believe.