Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pre-Joe Casey Comics: Cable #50

[The third post in my look at Joe Casey's Cable run and the last post of James Robinson's tenure on the book. New posts Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.]

James Robinson left Cable with this "double-sized" (short four pages of story to really be double-size) fiftieth issue and leaves on a high note. This issue has Cable and Irene travel to London where Sebastian Shaw and Donald Pierce are attempting to open some capsule left by Apocalypse that we saw contains some altered man from Victorian London. To go with this is some flashback sequences to 1915 where Union Jack foils the attempt of the Hellfire Club of that time to open the capsule. In the end, it's opened and the Harbinger of Apocalypse emerges, while Shaw, Pierce and a man called Ch'vayre escape. The Harbinger manages to defeat Cable and also escape. Later, Cable tracks him down and the two talk, with Cable emploring him to diregard Apocalypse's programming--to create chaos and separate the strong from the weak--but to no avail.

As this is the fiftieth issue, Robinson references Cable's past a bit with the issue beginning at Xavier's and Cable visiting an injured Scott. Later, Madelyne Prior shows up for no reason I can see other than to have Cable's biological mom show up. Ch'vayre is actually a follower of the Askani faith and only helps Shaw and Pierce because it will put Cable on the proper path--and also namechecks Sanctity (aka Rachael Summers). Apocalypse makes an appearance in a flashback and this issue actually begins the whole push to the millenium when Cable was supposed to have his final confrontation with Apocalypse.

Ladronn's work here is damn good, but there is an odd moment during the fight near the end where he has a small panel of the ground and Cable's foot above it. It's so odd that the editor includes a note for it saying that no one knows why Ladronn included that panel, but it's so wacky that they kept it.

Ths issue is a little strange because it's really the halfway mark of "The Hellfire Hunt," but actually feels like a conclusion to the story as the bad guys got away (as they often do), but their scheme foiled. The Harbinger flies away, setting up a future threat. Maybe Robinson set the story up this way because he knew he would be leaving the book, so wanted to leave on a conclusive note, while recognising that there's a larger story.

An interesting parallel is the use of Union Jack's journal as the key to knowing what Shaw and Pierce are up to at the same time that Cable has taken on Irene as his chronicler, highlighting the importance of someone recording these events.

On Thursday, Joe Casey's first Marvel comic... something that annoyed my 14-year-old self to no end when it came out. Oh, how young I was.