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Cable #155 Review

by Charles Martin on March 21, 2018

Cable #155 Review
Writers: Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Artist: Germán Peralta
Colourist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics

So Cable is settling into a bit of an anthology format, with each story arc handed to an all-new creative team. I was severely underwhelmed by the title's first two at-bats: A deadly dull time-cop story from James Robinson and a deadly serious Externals rehash from Ed Brisson and Jon Malin.

Now it's time for something different. Let's shelve "Cable the glowery gunslinging squad leader" and take a look at Cable the man. Cable the outcast. Cable the father. Cable the fearful.

Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler construct a letter-perfect introduction to this more thoughtful Cable. The first 10 pages of this comic were more enlightening and engaging than the last 10 issues of this series, and that's a hell of an accomplishment. 

Cable is saving future mutants from Nimrod, but his thoughts are occupied with old fears. At the same time (Sorta-maybe? Frigging time travel!), his daughter Hope is settling into Kitty Pryde's school to take a break from her lonely apocalyptic hermit existence.

Cable's been running all his life. While he's never lacked for nemeses, this story focuses on the techno-organic virus that's been a constant and literal thorn in his side since his childhood. Here that thorn gains a face and a name and a horrifically nasty character. Metus is the techno-organic boogeyman who's stalked Cable since his boyhood, and now it decides that traumatizing Hope would be a fun way to hurt her father. 

The entire creative team contributes sterling work to making Metus unbelievably nasty. This monster knows way too much about Cable and plays on his fears like a virtuoso. His observation about Cable's taste in weaponry sidesteps the usual phallic symbol gag to deliver a cut-to-the-bone insight: "I see the big guns still help you feel safe, old man."

Germán Peralta draws on a host of different sources to turn the mutable Metus into an ever-shifting, always-frightening threat. A chrome-and-flesh HR Giger monster with the ability to shapeshift seamlessly into whatever form will be most horrifying to its enemies … brrr! Mr. Peralta really goes to town on the visuals, using Metus's abilities not as an excuse to scrimp on detail but as a reason to add fresh horrors to the monster in every panel.

Besides grim self-awareness and nasty body horror, Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler also prove talented at great character relationships. Cable and Hope have a reconciliation in the middle of the book that's achingly well-scripted. It does a superb job of tying the characters together and investing the reader in where they go next. Here, too, Germán Peralta makes a significant contribution. The writers dictate a nuanced layout for this meeting that emphasizes a father and daughter cautiously opening up to each other step-by-step (literally), and the artist successfully fulfills all of the script's symbolic promise.

Colourist Jesus Aburtov is swept up in the mania for top-tier visual storytelling, too. While this issue's horror content calls for spooky blue-heavy nightmare palettes, Mr. Aburtov does a superb job of embracing more vibrant colours where necessary - like the reconciliation scene or Hope's arrival at the X-Mansion. This is a scary nighttime story, and it's Mr. Aburtov that makes that clear by maximizing the contrast between night and day.

The cliffhanger which closes out this issue might be a slight letdown, but it is by no means weak. It delivers strong hints about how the still-ambiguous relationship between Cable and Metus is going to evolve, and the overall plot for this arc might end up heading into well-trodden ground. Based on the awesome creative work shown here, I'd bet that even if the plot becomes predictable the story is still going to be highly entertaining - and scary.

There's also the question of whether this introspective, fearful Cable will satisfy fans who prefer him as the more glowery, grim cardboard cutout we've seen in the past two arcs. Even if you don't want to hear Cable's inner monologue about his fears, I think you'll be more than modestly entertained by him and his daughter throwing down (in Cable-approved blasty fashion) with a shapeshifting techno-organic fear monster.

Cable's new story arc starts with a bang as Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler sculpt Cable and his daughter Hope into real three-dimensional characters. The overwhelming presence of the shape-shifting fear-monster stalking them ensures that this is more of a spine-chiller than a heartwarmer, though. The script gives Germán Peralta free reign to imagine a creeptastic beastie, and Mr. Peralta is very, very imaginative. Bundle up tight and leave a light on as you read this superbly spooky bedtime story.

Our Score:

10/10

A Look Inside

Comments

Charles Martin's picture
Without getting too spoilery, I'll say it's gonna be a lot easier to tell Hope Summers and Teen Jean Grey apart in the future.