After almost a year and a half of "Cable," this book is starting to hit a dangerous position. Namely, that moment where everything is starting to feel the same. With the "Messiah War" crossover concluded, it seemed like the perfect point in which to shake up the status quo a great deal. The problem is, I'm not so certain we're getting that.
There are two potentially big changes in the offing here; one with Cable himself, the other with Hope. In the case of Cable, though, I think it's a legitimate concern to say that it's such a huge change that I suspect it isn't going to be around for more than a few issues. I could certainly be wrong, and I certainly hope I am. If Duane Swierczynski gets this adjustment to Cable's character to stick, it has some real potential for the feeling that something new is going on. And, after 16 issues (plus one King-Size Special) of apocalyptic future after apocalyptic future, I must admit that I'm starting to get a little antsy for a change of pace.
In the case of Hope's new situation, though, I can't worry that it's something that we've seen before. It feels almost like an artificial shift to get Hope to a new status where she's slightly more "useful." The thing is, pre-teen Hope is actually an interesting character in her own right, more so than Cable these days. I'm hoping Swierczynski doesn't end up turning the character into someone less enjoyable to read about. (Doubly so if we end up with some sort of romance going on, because currently the potential object of Hope's affection is about as exciting as a slice of white bread in the Wonder Bread factory.)
Paul Gulacy's art is, well, just like all other Gulacy art. Impossibly muscled men (Bishop having shifted from barrel-chested to the physique of an underwear model just looks incredibly wrong), vaguely sultry women, and heads that often seem slightly too large for their bodies. Gulacy's at his best when he has to break out of his normal bag of tricks; Cable gasping on the ground struggling for his life, for instance, is drawn really well. Likewise, he does a good job with the scale of Cable stopping to meditate in the center of empty ruins, giving the reader a better impression of just how alone Cable really is. Once it comes to more generic scenes involving fighting or talking, though, it just doesn't feel quite up to par.
I'm hoping this is the start of a genuine change for "Cable," because the current status quo is getting slightly stale. Hopefully Swierczynski isn't just faking us out. If it's the real deal, I'm going to be pleased. We'll see in a few months if it all pays out or not.