Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: Cable #60

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

"The Nemesis Contract" continues in this issue as Cable fights to evade capture by SHIELD. The issue begins with Cable and Jack Truman squaring off--Truman preferring to fight hand-to-hand rather than shoot Cable down with the giant gun he's got. They spar a bit and Truman is impressed, but they're interrupted by Air Cav, which shows up to finish the job.

Most of the issue has Cable on the run through Hell's Kitchen as Air Cav hunts him down and causes a lot of property damage until Truman finally tracks Cable down and they fight again. By this time, though, the techno-organic virus has spread so much that Cable barely has any fight in him and Truman beats him easily. This leaves Truman unsatisfied as he saw this assignment as a challenge, a means of pushing himself.

The issue is peppered with small little scenes like Stacey and Kenny in the evacuation of Hell's Kitchen. This scene contains a classic Marvel panel with Stacey thinking, "I'VE GOT A WEIRD FEELING. / NATHAN SURE BUGGED OUT OF HERE WHEN WE SAW THE FIRST NEWS REPORT. / I WONDER... IS HE INVOLVED IN THIS SOMEHOW...?" It's a quick moment that, again, places this title within the larger Marvel tradition as this could easily be a panel from a classic Spider-Man comic.

One of the more interesting additions in this issue isn't totally new, but I forgot to mention it before. In the gutters of some panels, information about the Air Cav and their weapons is given. Nothing major. When they first show up and we get a shot of Larry Young in his vehicle, underneath the panel, it reads, "S.H.I.E.L.D. FLYING TURBO MERCEDES - Y2K. INTERIOR VISUAL." And, on the next page, after they fire at Cable, it reads beneath the panel, "S.H.I.E.L.D. CONCUSSION TORPEDOES. SWEEP PATTERN." As I said, not the most innovative storytelling tricks, but it shows the beginnings of other techniques Casey has used (the scroll bar in The Intimates, for example).

Casey mixes captions with thought balloons in this issue effectively. Both Truman and GW Bridge narrate with captions, while we get Cable and Stacey using thought balloons. Those pairings are obviously conscious as Truman and Bridge both work for SHIELD, are not corrupt and have a respect for Cable, while Cable and Stacey have personal ties. There's also something, I don't know, ironic about Cable no longer having telepathy, but we get to read his thoughts. Casey has used thought balloons with Cable before, though, so it's not new.

Truman's captions contrast Cable's thought balloons, as well. The two, as I stated on Saturday, are foils for one another and we get to see both of their inner thoughts. However, Cable's are immediate and more frantic, while Truman's are a little more distant and calm. The technique demonstrates the state of mind as well as the position within the situation. Captions seem more planned, more deliberate, more like narration than thought balloons--suggesting that Truman is in control and able to think beyond the moment, and Cable is not.

Ladronn continues to excel and uses grid-like layouts, usually with six panels per page (sometimes more and never less, aside from two splash pages). The final page of the issue is one of the best pieces of art I've seen from him--it depicts Cable unconscious, Truman standing over him (our perspective right at ground level, looking up) and, behind/above Truman are Air Cav vehicles and the SHIELD Helicarrier. SHIELD's entire operation has captured Cable and we know he is completely fucked.

Until Thursday.