Ah, the conclusion of this particular Cable and, it would seem, our boy Kid Cable himself.
This book has been a delight to fans of the character for its 12 issue run, and while I can envision a world in which rigid fans of the original Cable are not charmed by Kid Cable, it’s my feeling that Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto have managed to keep the character fun and breezy, if a little tonally off-kilter for the big gruff gun-nut of Cable past. Our conclusion issue gets us ready to cuddle up with that scowling brand of the character.
Last issue, we saw the Kid convince the Summers family that the Old Man needed resurrecting, and the pair went around gathering up a sort of golden Cable Crew — characters that, as I’ve discussed before, needed to be addressed. It’s a dream team of characters with major emotional ties to the character, with only Blaquesmith and Irene Merryweather really missing out on the fan-service memo.
The problem with issue #12 is that even this amazing gathering of Cable buds — and an epic, child-sacrifice-to-raise-a-demon-army Stryfe plot — feels underutilized, the epic battle for which they’ve been gathered anticlimactic. With so much of this run of the book tied into the larger Krakoa epic (and several issues tied up in the incredible fantasy of X of Swords), a lot of momentum got eaten up by moments inessential to this volume’s narrative.
With the conclusion of the series wrapped up in a quick, tidy bow with minimal conflict — Strye and his demon army barely make waves for our Cable Crew at all—the emotional reckoning between Kid Cable and Old Man Cable’s BFF-Brigade gets swept away without any true resonance. Hope gets her dad back without the Kid getting one stern word, Scott and Jean barely acknowledge that their time as Nate’s parental guardians is ending (yet again), and Rachel and Domino don’t speak to the two Cables at all.
It’s an exciting issue, in theory, setting up shadow-puppet versions of huge Cable concepts. Cable and Stryfe’s endless war, Apocalypse’s purpose for creating that conflict, and a retroactive understanding of versions of Cable we’ve seen since the ’90s are all given a sort of expository lip service, but none of this lands with the truly ground-shaking gravity that they might have with a bit more time.
All the same, viewing this as the jumping-off point of those larger stories (as, one could hope, is the right anticipation to carry forward) rather than the big show in itself may allow for these seeds to grow complex narrative trees themselves. Comics are, of course, an ongoing narrative. But knowing this book is a middle chapter only makes us wonder what exactly was accomplished within it all the more.
Burdened with too many quick, easy answers and solutions, flat emotional connectivity, and an underutilized cast, Cable #12 is a slim IOU of a book, and that’s a marker I can only hope we get paid, hopefully by a team as strong as Phil Noto and Gerry Duggan, but with none of the Big Picture interruptions.
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