CABLE #1-3 and X-FORCE #24-26 (1993)

Here we go.  With Cable #1 and it’s gigantic guns, constant testosterone, heavy violence, and confusing time travel, we are officially into what made 1990s Marvel so polarizing.  Many found this tack exciting and a good break from the simplified and “nicer” stories of the ’80s.  Others, like me, found that the focus on plotting intricacies and large casts led to an unacceptable sacrifice in the area of character development.

Stan Lee is kinda saying the same thing in his intro to issue #2 of the first arc of Cable’s new series.

When we last saw Cable, he was  shot into the future with his buddy Kane.  That’s where this book picks up.

We see a dystopian future (of course–the future is never happy) and Cable and Kane leading revolutionary efforts.  No surprise there.  Over the course of these issues, we learn that, in that future, Apocalypse and his army of Canaanites killed off mutant families–including Cable’s, which was known as the Askani Clan–over the course of a 100 year war.

Cable’s own son died in the battle, killed by Stryfe.

You know the main plot point already.  You saw it in Terminator.  The Canaanites build a time machine and go back to kill Cable.  At least, that’s what we’re led to believe.  He’s actually trying to kill Deadpool’s mysterious employer Tolliver, and to do so the assassin goes after Weasel.  This is the first appearance of Weasel (Deadpool’s operations aide–similar to Punisher’s Microchip).

Cable and Kane follow, returning to the 616 timestream right after X-Force #23.

Turning to X-Force, we see Rusty and Skids captured and brainwashed into helping Stryfe and the Friends of Humanity, the anti-mutant group that Sabretooth’s son is a member of.

X-Force bust Rusty and Skids out of The Vault, at the direction of Professor X, who appears to have adopted X-Force for these kinds of black ops missions. X wants to un-brainwash the two former New Mutants.

Valerie Cooper is investigating and seems to be on the cusp of figuring it out.

Anyway, the Friends of Humanity kidnap Rusty and Skids just as X-Force are busting them out (talk about hostage-taking!). X-Force then takes the kids back (I think this is all just so we can have a big group fight scene of X-Force vs. the Friends), and when they return to their base they find their old mentor Cable.

They’re rescued and rehabilitated, thus rejoining X-Force, but still appear to have vestiges of anti-mutant animus.  This is basically just a way to get these kids back on Professor X’s side before the return of Magneto.  We see Magneto taking the wreckage of Cable’s space station, destroyed in X-Force #23, and reforming it into a new space base to replace Asteroid X.

It’s not definitely Magneto, the figure is never fully revealed, but come on.  We know it’s him.

Which brings us to X-Force #25, where Cable and X-Force are reunited.

He figures out Magneto has redesigned his satellite.

Also, this is the first appearance of Exodus, who is part of Cannonball’s horrible future/past timestream story.

But they also find Exodus, who we first saw in Cable #1 and who is from Cannonball’s future timeline. Exodus’ goal, he says, is to help Cannonball become his future, messiah role. Anyway, Cannonball goes with Exodus to “Avalon” and takes with him Sunspot and the rest of the ex-New Mutants. So Rusty and Skids are moved again. Honestly, they’re just chess pieces. Nobody cares about them and they don’t really do anything.

It’s so similar to Cable’s story that it feels pointless.

Turns out, he’s up there in the remains of Cable’s space station.  With Magneto.

We see, though, that Cannonball is still allied with Cable because he gives Cable a tracking device, so that Cable will know where Avalon is.

Turns out, Avalon is Cable’s old space station, rebuilt by no less than Magneto.

Cable, who has lots of metal parts, gets taken apart by Magneto and spends most of issue #26 rebuilding himself–with Professor X’s help. So I guess they’re allies now.

And the MLF is being re-formed by a guy named Reignfire, one of the endless streams of new characters who looks a lot like the old ones and who will only be around for a few issues.

And there’s another big fight. 

It ends with Cable teleporting (bodysliding) his allies away, and Magneto promising another fight in the future.

So, at the end of these issues, Cable is back.  He’s working with X-Force again.  But his efforts to stop the assassinations of Tolliver and himself will be the subject of his solo comic.

I graded this B+. Yeah, I complain a lot about the huge number of characters and the nonsensical, derivative time travel stories, but if you shut down your brain it’s a fun read. Problem is, I can’t possibly keep track of the dozens of characters–especially when every issue introduces more of them. These kinds of books may actually make me close this blog. It’s just too hard and it feels more and more like work to read these books.

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