The first volume of Cable was a fun little book that was limited in scope and focused just as much on the little jokes that Gerry Duggan wanted to tell as it did the greater story of Kid Cable trying to find these missing kids. Volume 2 maintains pretty much all of this, wrapping up the story and ending the series at just the right time for it to not start feeling stale. But it doesn’t do much more.
As the series was running, because it’s an X-book, fan discussion and speculation were rampant. And one of the best fan theories (at least, in this reviewer’s eyes) was that Teen Cable, the character whose point of view we’d been seeing for the entire series, wasn’t Cable at all — he was Stryfe. There was a lot of good evidence that pointed to this theory’s plausibility, and popular figures in the X-Men fandom like Connor Goldsmith of the Cerebro podcast definitely made it seem even more likely. It would be incredibly thematically poignant to both characters, provide a huge twist and shift in their relationships and motivations, and provide a path forward for Stryfe to maybe take a new role in the X-line.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The series wrapped by presenting the idea that Cable and Stryfe were universal, multiversal constants. Always destined to fight against each other, in a neverending cycle of victories and losses. And when I (and plenty of others) had become enamored with a far more complex and interesting ending, this felt like a letdown. It felt like Duggan and Noto were leaving potential on the table and settling for something simply satisfactory.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little unfair. Maybe I lofted too high of expectations on the series and wanted something that was never going to happen. But at the end of the day, I’m not frustrated that Duggan and Noto didn’t end the series the way I envisioned, or that they didn’t stick to my particular headcanon. My frustration is that they seemingly didn’t end the series in a way that could be called interesting, instead neatly wrapping everything up and changing very little about any of the characters involved. And honestly, that’s a limitation that keeps many modern superhero books from being great.
Gerry Duggan’s Cable run was fun. There was humor and an interesting exploration of Krakoan society and its intersections with the rest of the world. There were some interesting concepts, but nothing that really felt game-changing. Phil Noto’s art is as good as it’s always been, with a few hiccups here and there involving panel reuse and some sloppiness that just made the comic feel rushed. And when it was all said and done, I think I was ready for Old Cable to come back.
Reading comics as an X-Fan, someone who likes the characters they like to be featured and portrayed positively, I enjoyed Cable. But reading as someone who’s always more interested in the ambitious failures than the safe successes, I can’t say that Cable pushed any buttons to make me remember it after it ended. At the end of the day, that’ll have to be enough.
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