While it’s nice to see Hope Summers growing up a bit, there’s a distinct feeling that “Cable” is treading water a bit too much for its own good. We’re now 18 solid issues in, and the plot still hasn’t advanced beyond the basic set-up: in an inconsequential non-future, Bishop backs Cable and Hope into a corner, but fails to deliver the final blow. This time, they’ve escaped by going into space. Well, it makes a change from going further into the future, I suppose.
The problem with “Cable” is that there’s a definite feeling that these stories aren’t going anywhere. I don’t believe for a second that anything major will happen to Hope without another crossover -- indeed, it’s was all but confirmed to us when “Messiah War” was called the second part of a trilogy -- and furthermore, after 18 issues the question of who Hope is remains as vexing as ever. Either it’s Jean and all these stories are going to become a footnote when her real personality re-emerges, or it’s not Jean, and then it’s not clear why we should care who Hope is anyway. Either way, “Cable” plods along, teasing readers with big changes but delivering little more than variations on the initial arc.
As I often say, on a technical level, there’s nothing wrong with this comic. The art is fine, the dialogue is fine, the plotting is feeling a bit worn, but it’s generally fine -- but here’s the rub. As a reader, I want more than “fine”. I want development. I want unexpected twists. I want something that makes me want to read these stories in spite of the fact that any major changes will be telegraphed by the solicitations months in advance. “Cable” still reads like someone said “Keep Cable and Hope out of the way after Messiah Complex until we’re ready to pull the trigger on her big story” -- and if that is indeed the title’s remit, it shouldn’t be so obvious.
If Emil manages to hang around longer than the end of this story arc, then perhaps there’s hope (ahem) for the series yet. Bishop acquiring his own ward opens up story possibilities, especially if Hope and Emil’s Romeo-and-Juliet relationship continues to develop -- but there’s no guarantee the plot is going to do anything except go back around the way it came before. I’m always hopeful that things can change, but it’s looking increasingly obvious that “Cable” isn’t quite the high-priority read that it once appeared to be.