Review by Ian Keogh
Of all the modifications carried out to fit the new X-Men ethos of 2019, the most radical reboot was surely Cable. Formally a big brute with a big gun who shot first and followed up with the knife and fist, he’s been re-imagined as a teenager, although the big gun remains the weapon of choice. Formally morose and brooding as he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, this Cable delights in life. He’s first seen fighting Wolverine in the regular combat trials held on the mutant island of Krakoa, proves to be somewhat of a magnet for teenage girls, and in the opening adventure acquires a sword that once belonged to a legendary Space Knight.
Adding to the aura of strangeness about Cable is his being drawn by Phil Noto, whose figurative precision is the opposite end of the scale from artists usually associated with the character. Noto handles the action well, but it’s the Norman Rockwell version, very clean and tidy, without anyone getting too dirty. The upside is far more definition when it comes to facial expressions. Gerry Duggan includes a broad supporting cast, and Noto’s depictions of them along with Cable provide an emotional finesse that a Cable title has surely never previously seen. Noto’s also responsible for the colour, which he keeps effectively muted.
Duggan’s having a lot of fun here, almost as much as Cable, instilling a joy of life into a title where extinguishing it was previously the order of the day. For the most part Cable is accompanied by Esme, noted as being one fifth of his girlfriends, a telepath even more powerful than Cable himself, but other guest stars feature, one Duggan is well known for writing. We also see the Cable of old as the Galadorian Space Knights come to retrieve their sword. That provides most of the action, with a plot about a kidnapped baby carried over to Vol. 2, but first there’s a stopover for X of Swords.
Minus the X of Swords chapters, which make little sense in isolation, Duggan’s run is combined in hardcover as Cable Vol. 1.