Not only does "Cable and X-Force" #9 not have Cable or X-Force anywhere in its pages, but regular series writer Dennis Hopeless is also absent. Despite not living up to the cover billing in this comic book's logo, this isn't a terrible story, especially for an interlude that puts the spotlight on Hope Summers. What it is, however, is an ordinary story that is neither terrible nor terribly interesting. It's simply another comic book with layers of misunderstanding.
Pinch-hit writer Frank Tieri plays upon the faltering trust between Havok and Captain America, using Hope as a wedge to bust it wide open as a fraction of the "Uncanny Avengers" team continues to track Cable. Their trail leads them to Hope, thanks to a hot tip. Here's what really took me out of the book: who do the Avengers hire out to watch over a potential foe like Hope? This is a freaking superhero comic with super-powered people capable of beating the snot out of each other at a moment's notice. Why the hell would they hire out a job like tailing a person? Yes, it's S.H.I.E.L.D. trailing Hope, but this is the one-time Mutant Messiah. Shouldn't there be a little more oversight in place? The worst part of it is only three members -- less than half the team -- of the Uncanny Avengers are present here, which means any of the other three could have been doing the tailing, or at least called in for a more precise strike. "Cable and X-Force" #9 certainly suffers a bit for that, but that matchup at least provides some would-be in interesting characters for the story.
While I am not, and will never be, as big a Rogue fan as my fellow reviewer, Kelly Thompson, I do agree with her that not everyone can handle the Southern Belle's dialog quite right. Sure, "Ah" replaces the first person and more than a few folk are referred to as "Sugah," but if you're going to write dialect, commit to the dialect. Tieri doesn't fully commit, and gives readers a "Ya'll" to refer to a group of people. The proper phrase is not "ya'll," it's "y'all." This is why some writers don't -- and many others shouldn't -- try to write dialect.
While the writer's chair is filled with a substitute, series regular artist Salvador Larroca is present and accounted for. While Larroca's figures are technically sound (but awkwardly realistic) for the most part, the choices the artist makes to exhibit detail are just weird. Captain America and Havok both have caterpillar eyebrows burrowing out of the eyeholes in their masks and at other points, Larroca seems to be adding detail simply to provide economy on the page. Sometimes details for the sake of detail – like Captain America's very pronounced, very individual teeth – are just as unnecessary as gratuitous butt-shots as Hope is stuck in the most clingy dress ever. Combined with the overly-rendered photo-influenced figurework and the characters almost become paper dolls set on random landscape drawings. That's even more pronounced given the fact that most of this issue occurs at a bus terminal, but there are no other people anywhere. At least not until Hope taps her borrowed powers and is able to hop on a populated bus that leaves the terminal while the Avengers are fighting!
"Cable and X-Force" #9 is a disappointing comic book on many levels. The ingredients are here for awesome adventures and fun stories, but "Cable and X-Force" has not figured out how to concoct the proper recipe to make those ingredients into what they can be.