It seems like Duane Swierczynski is finally hitting his stride on “Cable” with this issue, as Cable begins a fight against giant cockroach soldiers in the future. There’s a strange insane logic to the idea, as it seems to fit into the concept of what “Cable” is all about right now: Cable, in the future, with the mutant “Messiah Child,” trying to keep her alive until she can take care of herself. Why wouldn’t he also fight giant cockroach soldiers, too? I see no reason why not and, thankfully, neither does Swierczynski.
While that happens in the future, in the present, the X-Men have captured Bishop and want to know where he’s planted two bombs. Bishop wants to kill the little girl, because he thinks that she will grow up and cause all sorts of problems, so he figures that the best way to find Cable and her is to make so much of the planet uninhabitable in the future that there are only a small number of places they could hide. To get the necessary information, Cyclops resorts to having Emma telepathically torture Bishop, which is a drastic step, and a sign of the pressures on Cyclops. Swierczynski portrays the decision as a last resort and necessary to save not just Cable and the child, but millions -— if not billions -— of people. Beast isn’t convinced that it’s the right course of action and it isn’t glamorized in any manner, which helps the scene work.
In the future, Cable has settled down with a wife to raise the child, but soldiers have arrived at the small, peaceful town, which has Cable upset and ready to fight. The reasons for his paranoia aren’t exactly clear, but when he discovers that the soldiers are giant cockroaches, the point becomes moot. The initial fight between Cable and a cockroach soldier is amusing as the soldier taunts Cable for attacking it like he would a human since the anatomy is different. It takes a chainsaw to end the fight. In a later fight, Ariel Olivetti’s drawing of Cable swinging a scythe so hard that he’s literally off his fight adds to the absurd nature of what’s going on -— in a good way.
Olivetti’s art maintains its recent computer-esque rendering, which does make for some very stiff figures and odd facial expressions at times. His imposing Cable, sporting a beard and in overalls, though, is perfect as he looks the right mix of muscled soldier and grizzled old man that is just tired of having to do things like fight giant cockroaches. A few panels in particular really capture the weariness of the character.
Swierczynski’s writing is best when it’s focused on Cable in the future as he does his best to carry out his mission. The use of narrative captions where Cable addresses the child (who really needs a name) are very effective in their use of second-person and conveying Cable’s thoughts. After a slow opening arc, “Cable” is finally looking strong with a mix of absurd humor and real emotions.
(Check CBR’s preview of the issue, too. )