CABLE #48-53 (1997-1998): Hellfire Hunt; 1st Harbinger and Believers; Master Man dies

A reporter looks into Sebastian Shaw. When she starts finding all her leads turning up dead, Donald Pierce sends Hellfire Club soldiers after her. And also Paladin. (He’s a merc, so I guess anybody could hire him, but this seems weird.)

When Cable starts protecting the reporter, they discover that the Hellfire Club is looking to kill Apocalypse and steal his power. Also along the way, we learn a bunch of things about Cable. He’s got a cult following called “The Believers,” for one thing, who do what he needs them to do when called upon. They “believe” Cable is the messiah.

Ch’vayre is the main member of this group in this story. He’s around for a while.

We also see Apocalypse fighting WWI versions of Union Jack and Hellfire Club as he hides a “harbinger” under London. The ties to history also include an appearance by Master Man, in his old age, who decides to become one of Cable’s Believers, and dies for his efforts.

Harbinger emerges during this story, and proves to be extremely powerful.

He kinda looks like Deathlok. Cable figures out, using his mind reading skills, that Harbinger actually doesn’t want to end humanity, he just wants to study it.

But he’s also being tracked by Hellfire Club.

Everyone wants Harbinger to lead them to wherever it is Apocalypse is gestating, growing strong enough to return to Earth.

At this point, having started an ambitious story, James Robinson moves back to being plotter and Joe Casey takes over the script. That’s usually not a good thing, when a writer dumps out halfway through his story. But in this case, it was an excuse for Robinson to bring an old friend into comics. Yes, this is where Joe Casey got his start.

Anyway, after a ton of needless exposition and drawn-out storytelling, we finally get to Apocalypse’s cocoon–which is empty. Because he’s already somewhere else.

Huh??? So all this build-up led to absolutely nothing???

Yep. The Hellfire Club didn’t attack him. Cable didn’t save the world from (whatever). All that happened was a lot of fighting and then Apocalypse emerged.

The story ends with Cable being shot through the air. Far in the air. All the way to Africa.

At least Ladronn’s art is great. And I will say it’s nice to have a true Cable solo story. Other than a few small cameos, the X-members don’t appear in this story.

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