We’re nearing the end for Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto’s Cable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a ton of fun on the way out. In fact, there are mysteries to uncover, and in Cable #10, father/son bonding. This week may only involve Emma Frost, Cable, and Cyclops, but it does a lot of interesting things worth visiting.
The key to this issue is how Cable is still trying to figure out his path. He’s fairly certain he needs to fix things, but characters like Emma and Cyclops steer him the best they can. It starts when Emma speaks to Cable at the start before he goes and does something stupid like steal Cerebro. This leads to a fun team-up with his dear old dad that relays a bit more wisdom to the boy. In fact, this wisdom seems to pay off in a key flash-forward, which may tip readers off to how this story moves forward. Then again, with time travel anything is possible.
The opening credo to this issue reads, “More important than how you kill Cable is when you kill cable.” It’s a confusing statement and it helps convey the headspace Cable is in throughout the issue. Writer Gerry Duggan does so many things well in subtle ways here. From Cyclops’ confident certainty to Cable’s shock, hopefulness, and stubbornness, these characters feel realistic and believable. That also must be attributed to Noto’s work, which infuses Cable with self-doubt, concern, and general anxiety throughout the issue. He’s going through stuff, needs to make hard decisions, and instead of pressuring him adults in his life seem to guide him with a soft hand.
The opposite of soft hands goes to Arakko characters who pop up. It’s nice to see they haven’t been forgotten given they don’t make many appearances in X-Men comics since their introduction in X of Swords. Their inclusion, and what they’re up to, is a helpful reminder the Arakko and Krakoa nations have growing pains to get through. One might even guess Jonathan Hickman’s secret X-Men title is focused on Arakko since we’ve so little of its people. The goings-on of Krakoa are also evident, like Cyclops getting a fitting for the Hellfire Gala, or Xavier being aware of what is really going on. This is a living, breathing world, and it’s evident in subtle ways in this issue.
When it comes to pace and flow, Noto is one of the best at “less is more”. Not less detail, there’s plenty of that, but with fewer panels. Noto can do in two to four panels what may take others two pages. It’s a good example of how perspective and angle can inform the reader of what is going on in between the panels. Piecing together the scene Cable and Cyclops encounter, then seeing the relationship to a few cops, the perspective of the cop looking at them, and finally what the cop sees all adds up to a fast-moving page all told in four panels. This page could have been spread out over more panels, or even over two pages, but Noto expertly keeps the story moving. Go back and read the issue and you’ll likely see what I mean.
Cable #10 is a great example of how less is more. Less telling and more showing — especially with character emotions through facial expressions — but also fewer panels to move the story along. There’s a raucous bar fight, intimate moments between characters, and a deadly encounter that serves as a good cliffhanger. Cable is all about boutique comics storytelling — efficient and impactful, but never loud or overly done.
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