Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: Cable #57

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

Here we have Casey's first overt attempt at storytelling experimentation as this issue is told in a non-linear fashion in an attempt to relate the structure to the content as the villain of this issue is Rama-Tut (aka Kang aka Immortus aka a time-traveller with a weird Egypt hard-on). Sadly, the issue also has Ryan Benjamin on guest pencils.

The story of the issue is pretty simple: (1) Cable goes to the bagel place and chats up Stacey the waitress; (2) he has a heated discussion with Irene that is interrupted by Blaquesmith who is being held by Rama-Tut for some reason; (3) Cable goes to rescue him; (4) Cable fights Rama-Tut; (5) during his fight with Rama-Tut, Cable's psionic powers are depleted because of some event in X-Men #77; (6) Cable defeats Rama-Tut; (7) Cable finds Blaquesmith; (8)Cable and Blaquesmith attempt to escape; (9) Cable and Blaquesmith escape. Simple.

The way it's told jumps around a lot. The order of events in the issue is: (7), (1), (8), (4), (8), (2), (3), (8), (5), (6), (7), (9).

Now, I'm wondering if this story was planned as such since Casey was still using the Marvel style of writing at the time. Maybe Casey knew this is what he was going to do with the issue ultimately, but did Benjamin? Was this issue drawn as a normal one and then resequenced for this effect?

Two things suggest no. The first being that the splash page that begins the issue is repeated in a smaller panel on page 20. Of course, the fact that the dialogue is the same could be a result of Casey alone, but unlikely. The other being the occasional use of chapter headings that take up the top of the page. These, though, really could have been added in later by resizing the art--especially as none of the headings are the same size, which I would assume Benjamin would aim for had he purposefully left space for them. So, I'm not sure these headings really argue against a resequencing during the scripting stage.

This is an interesting issue with lacklustre art and a mediocre story. I really do think Casey resequenced the pages during the scripting stage in an effort to make the issue more interesting and compelling. If this were a linear issue, it would barely pretty damn bad--the non-linear storytelling is really all it has going for it.

Although, without any behind-the-scenes knowledge, this is all speculation.

Until next time.