Written by: Dennis Hopeless

Art by: Salvador Larroca, colour art by Frank D’Armata, lettered by Joe Sabino

For a book starring a cybernetic Liefeld creation raised in the future and a rag tag team of black-ops mutants, CABLE AND X-FORCE is a surprisingly character driven. The newest issue looks at a sensitive man, plagued with guilt, and a love that has defined him all his life – two fearless young women who refuse to be characterized by their genders alone – two brilliant eccentrics in a battle of ego, and of course, the title character, who may be set in the shadow of his father more than we initially thought.

Colossus is in jail, having turned himself in for his crimes against humanity when possessed by the Phoenix force. Unfortunately, that’s a crime he’ll never get convicted for, and instead is being blamed for an act of mutant terrorism, actually the X-force team saving the world and accidentally ending some human lives in the process. “This prison is much nicer than the one I have been carrying with me.” Piotr is resigned to his fate, until the gift of art supplies and a touching note is dropped off by the love of his life and current Iceman beau, Kitty Pryde. Hopeless wonderfully captures Kitty’s melancholic pride at Colossus attempting to better himself, to atone for the terrible things he’s done, including a disatrous Phoniex-possesed date, still fresh in her mind.

Domino, meanwhile, is on a mission to break into the Raft, with an assist from longtime ally, Boom-Boom, who’s introduction is as unforgettable and over the top as the character warrants. Domino has been the star of this series since the beginning, but with the introduction of Tabitha, Hopeless has an unforgetable pair on his hands. Domino’s fearless sexuality, drive and wit is a great counter to his characterization of Boom-Boom as a sophisticated frat-girl of sorts, in love with the fun of life but also bored by everything around her. Meanwhile, the boys are stealing a spaceship from a S.W.O.R.D, with the three unique personalities continuing to cause a lot of hilarious conflict – Nemesis getting a sick thrill and a serious ‘sciencegasm’ from robbing the largest extraterrestrial intelligence agency on Earth, Forge’s obsession with the surrounding technology and Cable’s Eastwoodesque gruffness.

D’Armata seems content to ease down the orange/green/grey colour scheme this issue, and the book looks a lot better for it. I’m not neccasirly against limited colour palettes, but they always seem to have that element of gimmickry, in the way that it can get tiresome to look at after a while. The bright blue sky of the open water Domino and Boom-Boom find themselves on, the strange sci-fi tone of S.W.O.R.D., even a bleak purple/blue for the prison scenes – the book has a more defined personality with this kind of variance. Though Larroca’s acting can be a bit stiff, he’s perfectly suited for this title in every other way – no one can sell a two-page spread of a spaceship quite like he can. He seems to have found his own pet character in Boom-Boom, too – her bubble-gum popping trek around the basement of S.W.O.R.D. is hilarious and memorable.

The issue ends with a number of shocking revelations, most importantly Cable coming face to face with his father, mutant revolutionary icon Scott Summers. I think a lot of Cable’s tense withholding comes from his issues with Cyclops, so it will be very interesting to see how this reveal plays out. In the end, CABLE AND X-FORCE is somehow a very low-key book about intergalactic heists, mutant arrest and others on the run – but that’s not a bad thing. Hopeless injects so much levity and great character moments into an action-packed plot that you may find yourself feeling surprised at the tone the book reaches. But it’s still a great comic, and if you find more pathos in an action-heist book than expected, that’s not a bad thing.

Score: 8.0

Erik Robinson


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