After Wolverine, the X-Men character with the most popular ongoing solo series has always been Cable. So it came as little surprise that the second solo title in Dawn of X was a Cable book. The big twist on this one is that it didn’t advertise the large man with a gun that’s been popular since the late ’80s as its titular character. Instead, Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto promised an incredibly different look at Nathan Summers, focusing on a teenage version of the character being raised by his parents on Krakoa.
What this book delivers is something that genuinely was missing from the X-line until now. Personally, I thought that New Mutants would cover this ground, but both Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brisson took a vastly different direction with the title. No, what Cable delivers is the high school (ish) drama that books like Generation X and New X-Men Academy X brought to the table, but this time in the setting of Krakoa. Cable feels different from everything else as Nathan goes on dates and lives the teenage dream on paradise, going on adventures and kissing his crushes. It’s a pretty fun book, but its greatest accomplishment is how totally approachable it feels — Cable is one of the most parodically convoluted characters in X-Men continuity, so it’s really refreshing to see writers basically sidestep the complex continuity to just tell the story they want.
This isn’t just a slice-of-life teenage comedy, though — there’s still the wacky X-Men content we love. Specifically, this book brings back the Spaceknights! You know, the folks from Rom: Spaceknight who Marvel kept ownership of despite losing the license for Rom himself? It’s really weird but honestly it’s super fun — Cable with a rad space sword fighting off some large space robots as they wake up from an incredibly long slumber is pretty much the definition of fun.
There’s also the more grounded part of the story — a mutant baby has been kidnapped and Cable is trying to investigate who did it. This is the portion of the story that’s really setting up the book to be ongoing, rather than a one-off arc. It’s the serious backbone upon which a lot of levity gets to shine, and it ensures that there’s legitimate stakes to this story in a way that isn’t just “Cable might get hurt or die.”
The one constant through every issue of this collection is Phil Noto on art duties, who does a great job as he always does. This isn’t Noto’s best work, as some of it can feel a bit rushed, but his ability to draw expressive characters and tell stories through his artwork is unparalleled and on full display here. A lot of the strengths in the book’s tone can be attributed to Noto’s artwork, as the comedy lands really well without undermining any of the dramatic tension. It’s a really good looking book.
If you’re a fan of Cable as the character, this book is a fun inversion that’s worth the read. If you’ve never read a Cable book, this series is a pretty strong introduction to the character. Either way, it’s worth the pickup.
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