It is exceedingly hard for this review to not just be one big celebration of Phil Noto. Noto’s art is some of the loveliest in the whole mainstream comics sphere at the moment – at least in my own subjective opinion – and Cable #2 shows the artist at his best.
Noto has this painterly style, with soft, washed out colors and faded linework, that makes every page look like Monet decided to take up drawing comic books. His characters have a sense of emotion, of feeling, oozing from every pore. There are some artists with a distinct house style, who have every character seem somewhat similar. No one could possibly have that complaint about Phil Noto.
Moreover, Noto has a fantastic sense of light and dark. His characters don’t exist on their own plane, separate from the background, but seamlessly move back and forth, with the darkness of shadows itself providing a narrative element. Whether it is the spaceknights, framed against the blackness of, well, space, or Cable and then Cyclops emerging from the shadows of the police station, their glowing eyes providing a distinct focal point for the whole page.
Similarly, the lettering in the art itself is really fantastic. I’m not referring to the balloons here – though that lettering is nice, too – but the special effects lettering done in the actual pages. The little hearts in the romantic scenes, the ‘zzzzzz’ to demonstrate energy weapons, the ‘BLAM’ of Cable’s requisite giant guns; each bit of lettering really punctuates the comic with a sense of raw energy.
Make no mistake. If I was the sort of person with the money to spend, I’d have that page of Esme and Nathan kissing on my wall.
And that brings us to the other notable element of this comic. Krakoa has had, for a while now, a really unique take on the romantic entanglements of the X-Men. Whether it was the ‘adjoining rooms’ of the Summers House, Jean and Logan’s hot tub misadventures, or Cyclops and Emma’s double-entendre ridden innuendo, the Dawn of X team has basically implicitly said that the X-Men aren’t monogamous anymore. But this issue of Cable makes that implicit point explicit. Cable is not dating one of the Stepford Cuckoos. He is dating all of the Stepford Cuckoos.
Incidentally, I have to give this comic another point on a singular trope that I personally adore. I just love when robots call people “meatbags” — it’s always laugh worthy. It’s a really funny book. Cyclops’ cheesesteak, for instance, is just a great visual gag.
Gerry Duggan has always been a writer that is skilled at blending pathos and humor. His Deadpool, his All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, even to a degree his Marauders have all been sure to make it such that when you’re not laughing, you’re crying. Cable is a book that tips all the way to the humor side, leaving the pathos for another day – though knowing Duggan, that day is sure to come soon.
Cable #2 is an improvement in every way from issue #1, and issue #1 was already a great comic.