Down, down, down. Red knight goin’ down. In this case a red and gold knight. Iron Man is the next Avenger on Cable’s hit list and Cable’s got a trick or two up his sleeve. In a battle of two characters I personally could not care less about, who will come out on top? Do I care? Of course I care, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t care at least a little, right? So here’s a review, don’t forget to show that you care. Here is a comment card. Please mail it in when I am done.
Avengers: X-Sanction #2
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colorist: Morry Hollowell
Letterer: Comiccraft’s A. Deschesne
Cover Art: McGuinness, Vines & Hollowell
Variant Cover Art: Yu, Alanguilan & Keith
Plot: The battle between the Avengers and the Lethal Legion continues to rage in the streets of New York City. Iron Man subdues the Living Laser and, after noticing that Captain America and Falcon are missing, leaves the scene to find his teammates. Falcon’s bird Redwing leads Iron Man to the freighter ship where Cable is keeping Captain America and Falcon hostage. Cable ambushes Iron Man and the two engage in battle.
During the fight, Cable wears a version of Iron Man’s armor from the future. Stark overrides his adversary’s suit and shuts Cable down, but he is taken by surprise when he learns that Cable used his futuristic Askani language to corrupt Iron Man’s own systems. Cable easily takes Iron Man down and straps him into another booby-trapped chair alongside Captain America.
Glimpses into Cable’s memory flesh out the time he spent in the future with his surrogate daughter Hope. As a child, Hope learns of Cable’s inner-struggle with the Techno-Organic Virus, which scares her at first. Cable remembers Hope trying to mimic him by wearing metal rings around her arm. He demands that she take them off, claiming she should never want to be like him. Cable’s last memory involves his promise to Hope that he will never leave her.
Back on the ship, Cable begins to question the captured Avengers about anti-mutant technology that the Avengers will come to possess. Cable is interrupted by an attack from behind by the Red Hulk. The Red Hulk stands over Cable with a giant gun and demands that he free the Avengers. Cable struggles and loses control over the virus that ravages his body, which spreads further to cover his entire face.
Story: Cable’s plot is revealed a bit more at the beginning of the story. The Living Laser tells Iron Man that an EMP shut down the prison convoy. This seems to lead the reader to assume that Cable is responsible for this EMP. This is a pretty irresponsible action by Cable, someone who is normally fighting on the right side of the law. I know he is trying to spring a trap on the Avengers, but is releasing a caravan of highly dangerous criminals ever justifiable?
It was revealed in the last issue that Cable is dying, and has only 24 hours to get his job done, but it’s easy to forget that the events of this story are happening within the space of a few hours. This timeline makes me question some aspects of the story. For starters, where did Cable find the time to prepare for this battle? Did Cable just happen to have Tony Stark’s Iron Man technology lying around? And when did he become an expert computer programmer, able to outsmart the very man who created the suit of armor he reprogrammed? Maybe I just don’t know enough about the character.
The chairs Cable uses to neutralize his captives, which were created by Magneto, bring up another question. Fortunately, this question seems relevant and is partially answered when Cable reveals that the Avengers came into possession of some of the X-Men’s technology. This is the best bit of foreshadowing used to lay ground work for this summer’s big event involving the Avengers vs. X-Men. Now I’m intrigued as to how and why the Avengers acquired the X-Men’s equipment.
Writing: Loeb wasted no time in explaining the outcome of the “cliffhanger” from the previous issue. Not surprisingly, Captain America was not shot by Cable, who simply “stun-gunned” the Avenger. The fact that Loeb had to start this issue by writing around the gun shot was a waste of time and made the end of last issue even more pointless.
The ending of this issue was better, simply because it did not have the same stereotypical cliffhanger. It was nice that Red Hulk got a jump on Cable before next issue by appearing in the end. The only drawback I found with that scene was that Cable was calling Red Hulk Talbot. I am not sure what Loeb is referencing or where these Cable/Talbot fights took place so that reference left me a little lost.
Characterization: The best part about this mini so far is the depiction of Cable as a father-figure to Hope. I liked seeing the two interact during the flashbacks in Cable’s memory. I thought it was touching to see Hope try to mimic her guardian. This angle adds a sentimental side to a character I don’t normally care about and makes Cable’s feelings about losing his daughter believable. I am pulling for Cable to somehow save face with the Avengers after this event, and hopefully make sure that Hope’s future is secure and safe.
Even so, I am still not a fan of Cable, and having him use the armor of another character I’m not fond of did nothing to change my opinion. Beside the question of where Cable acquired a future version of the Iron Man tech, I’d like to know when Cable became as smart as Tony Stark. Sure, Cable is from the future, but does that automatically mean he knows how to understand and reprogram Stark’s own computer language?
Art: I like McGuinness’ art, but he’s not breaking any molds with it. The art team gives nice visuals, good representations of the characters, and a rich color scheme. One of the few things I do like about Iron Man is seeing inside his armor, and the artists do a good job of giving the reader a glimpse inside the helmet. I like the floating screens in front of Tony’s face. I also thought Hope’s first appearance in this issue as a toddler was a cute representation of the little girl.
I’m not a fan of the comic jumping between current events and flashbacks for Cable, but the flashbacks are handled well. The colors used in the flashbacks here, and in the previous issue, are tinted with a specific color scheme to set it apart from the rest of the brightly colored pages. In this issue the scenes involving Hope use a red hue, and in the previous issue the flashbacks were done in shades of blue. The tints of color help give a very barren and desolate vibe to the environment around the characters in those scenes.
Action: The action of this issue follows the same pattern as that of the first issue. Cable attacks his target and the two go back and forth before he gains the upper hand. His fight with Captain America was more hand-to-hand, whereas Cable’s fight with Iron Man is more reliant on lasers and energy blasts. Because of that, I didn’t find this fight as dynamic or action packed. It was interesting to see how Cable approached a fight with Iron Man, but as mentioned earlier, I question his ability to fully prepare.
Now that we’ve seen how Cable manages melee-fighting with Cap, and technology-based ranged battles with Iron Man, I’m intrigued to see how he handles a matchup with a foe so completely out of his league in terms of strength. It was nice that Red Hulk got the drop on Cable, preventing the same anticlimactic cliffhanger as the first issue.
Rating: Meh, action, art, characterization, story and writing. 3/5 X-ecuted Avengers