Cable is one of the more interesting series in the current X-line because it’s struggled to find its footing. At times it feels like watching an episode of Riverdale, focusing on Cable’s love life as he dates the Stepford Cuckoos — something that’s totally weird given who their parents are — and said weirdness is never touched on, giving it that CW show feel. During X of Swords, the title had picked up a bit, introducing some much-needed maturity to the storylines and the title character. Cable #7 thankfully follows the path of its predecessor, skipping the CW-esque weirdness and leaning into the title’s strongest angles.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Cable #7!
Cable might be the most annoying character in X-Men comics right now, which makes sense since he’s a teenage boy. He’s certainly not as cool as he thinks he is, which makes it funny when other characters like Sage point this out to him though they’d never say it to his face. It’s easy to assume that he’d fit seamlessly into the annoying little brother trope in his interactions with Rachel, but their dynamic is quite the opposite. The two work well together and seeing the Summers siblings pair up and take on a mutant baby stealing cult is definitely the highlight of the Cable title thus far. Their banter is purposefully lame, but cute in that way only siblings can ever be around each other.
Cable’s feelings towards mutant babies being kidnapped are some of the more interesting things the title has offered, given Nathan’s own history with the topic. It offers a more mature and responsible look at the character, and his interactions with Rachel balance it out for that childlike, teenage feel. In that respect, Cable #7 actually achieves the balance the rest of the series has strived to do thus far.
The big reveal is that Stryfe has been orchestrating the kidnappings. It’s admittedly a little funny that when explaining who Stryfe is, Cable calls En Sabah Nur “Apocalypse,” despite most of Krakoa agreeing to only refer to him as “-A-” since the opening issues of Excalibur — that’s completely a nitpick though and is something that’s more momentarily amusing than it is a glaring flaw. Stryfe is both an exciting and natural choice for the villain in a Cable solo, as his character has literally been tied to all things Nathan Summers since his creation. Stryfe is one of those things that’s so kooky and ’90s you can’t help but be a little excited to see him return — especially since it means getting to see him play off a teenage Cable instead of the grouchy old man we’ve all known and loved for years.
The whole “orchestrating a cult to kidnap babies” thing is so absolutely kooky that it’s exactly the kind of camp Stryfe should be used for.
While the Stryfe reveal is exciting, the way Jean and Scott continue to be used in the title is much less so. Jean seems trapped in that moon home’s kitchen and the way Scott and Jean exist just to talk about dinner in the title is both kind of funny and kind of disappointing. It’s hard not to want more of that X-Factor Vol. 1 parental dynamic. The way the family interacts with each other is also odd…though it’s not always unfitting. Rachel and Cable have been known to address Jean and Scott by their first names rather than as “mom” and “dad” since those aren’t roles the two have usually been able to fulfill. Now that they’re all living together and seemingly leaning into that family dynamic more, it’s interesting that the kids still seem to refer to their parents by their first names (though Cable has been previously shown to call Scott “dad” in this era as well).
Jean and Scott, on the other hand, once again seem more like co-parents than an actual married couple, as their interactions with each other are still pretty stiff. It’s a bit funny that the only time these characters have been said to be married is from House of X‘s Sinister Secrets page, actually.
Though, just like Stryfe is a natural choice for this title, Domino also fits that bill perfectly. She’s easily one of the most interesting characters this era thanks to certain questions X-Force brought up, and seeing her dynamic with the kid Cable is something that’s so weird, you have to look forward to it. Just like when characters subtly acknowledge that Cable isn’t as cool as he thinks he is, the self-aware writing for Domino is great. She admits that most interactions she’s had with Cable definitely ebb into “weird” territory so she wouldn’t expect anything else from his teenage self, and she’s totally right.
Cable #7 is a more promising look at the future of the title, leaning into some self-aware writing and striking the balance of “coming of age story” and “intriguing plot.” Phil Noto’s pencils always hit the mark, providing beautiful visuals throughout.
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