Friday, June 16, 2017

The Red Queen Chronicles: Phoenix Part 3 is LIVE!


It's the beginning of summer. It's hotter than Emma Frost's panties as a diamond exchange. It's the time of sun, beaches, and bikinis. In other words, it's the perfect time of year for my sexy side-projects.

Since the unexpected success I got with "Spider-Man and the Prostitute," I've had plenty of projects to keep me busy. I've since expanded that world with "The New Red Queen" and the various spin-offs I've done from that. With someone as sexy as Mary Jane Watson running the show at the Hellfire Club, of all places, the potential for sexiness is virtually unlimited. There are so many sexy ideas to explore and I'm about to cap off another.


In the latest round of the Red Queen Chronicles, I've had Mary Jane and Emma Frost recruit Cyclops and Jean Grey to their ranks. So far, the process has been a bit messy, but sexy as hell for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who read the first two chapters. The final chapter should help cap things off in the most fitting, sexy way possible. Whether you're a Cyclops/Jean fan or just fans of sexy stuff like this, you'll find plenty to enjoy.


Again, I appreciate the strong response I've gotten with this and all my recent Red Queen stories. The more support I get, the more motivation I have to keep this sexy series going. I will announce right now that I do have another spin-off in the works. After that, though, nothing is set in stone. It depends on the response I get to this story and the next one. If there's still sufficient demand, I'll keep at it. Like I said, the potential for sexiness when it comes to Mary Jane Watson is unlimited. Nuff said!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

United, Divided, and Spited: Secret Empire United #1

The following is my review of Secret Empire United #1, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


Every tyrannical regime in history usually learns the hard way that governing people is hard. People are erratic, petty, melodramatic, greedy, and every other quality associated with Lex Luthor. United them under a common state, guiding them down what tyrannical leaders think is in their best interests, tends to morph into a prolonged test of unending frustration. In a world populated by mutants, Inhumans, and teenagers that build suits of armor from trash cans, even Captain America is prone to such frustration.

Secret Empire pulls back the proverbial curtain, revealing a conspiracy wrapped in an agenda sparked by a retcon. The biggest secret not related to Tony Stark's biological parents comes out. Captain America has been a secret Hydra agent the whole time and puts himself in a position to take over. He does so with an efficiency that would give hippies and tobacco lobbyists alike nightmares. Short of a grassy knoll, it has everything conspiracy theory enthusiasts could ever want.

However, taking over the world is actually the easy part. The fact it takes Hydra so long and requires a Cosmic Cube says a lot about their efficiency as an organization. It also doesn't bode well for their ability to actually manage what they conquer. The pages of Secret Empire are already setting the stage for a clash to overthrow Hydra's new favorite patriot. Secret Empire United #1 opens a new front in that battle, one that's sure to complicate Hydra's efforts.

Jim Zub and Ario Anindito go out of their way to create some real-world parallels, giving the new Hydra-dominated nation a bitter border dispute. Given the sheer breadth of Hydra's power and influence, there aren't many nations that could actually threaten it. However, a nation full of mutants run by both X-men and their former enemies definitely would give any nation pause, Hydra or otherwise.

New Tian is presented as Hydra's solution for managing a sizable population of super-powered mutants. It's a small, semi-sovereign state where mutants and mutants live in limited harmony. It's actually very limited because the catalyst for the story is basically a script in racially bias police, albeit the opposite of what mutants are used to. It's both fitting and relevant. It highlights issues that are plucked right from the news and hashtag movements. While it's sure to spark divisive political debates, complete with outrage on both sides, it establishes and important dynamic for the issue.


Given how fascist states usually deal with minorities, it's surprisingly pragmatic. The Hydra-affiliated Steve Rogers understands that going to war with mutants rarely works out for anyone. It often ends with heroes fighting heroes and at some point, cosmic forces get involved and Tony Stark will try to shoot it with an oversized gun. That's not good for the stability of any nation, fascist or otherwise.

It's not a perfect solution, but it creates the perfect setup for a story that effectively doubles down on the conspiracy dynamics that guide the narrative in Secret Empire. It's a gamble, but it pays off in a big, satisfying way in terms of actual substance. It's a story that involves secrets, real-world issues, a prison break, and a fight that includes Deadpool. By the ever-changing standards of Marvel, it checks more boxes than most.

At the heart of that story are secrets and agendas. Captain America wants his Hydra-led empire to succeed and he prefers to do it without going to war with mutants. Mutants also want to improve their lot in the world. They've lived most of their non-Hydra lives in constant fear of Sentinel attacks, racial bigotry, and living weapons programs. Under Hydra, they have a chance to live in a state where they're the majority and they get preferential treatment by the cops. Even if it means living in a world dominated by Hydra, it still counts as an upgrade to them.

However, they're still a minority that shares a border with a Hydra-run nation. If the history of the real and fictional world has shown anybody anything, it's that minorities and fascist regimes don't get along. It creates bitter disputes, fosters even greater racism, and even sparks full-blown world wars. As everyone learned in Avengers vs. X-men, a war with mutants has no real winners in the long run.

That backdrop in Secret Empire United #1 helps make the events that play out feel real and dramatic. It's not just that there are parallels to draw between the story and the news that plays out every day on social media. It's easier to relate to the high emotions involve. Seeing characters like Sunfire decry a fascist state or listening to Hydra's leadership rail on strengthening the border carries more dramatic weight.


There are so many other cases of one group of super-powered people whining about another. In fact, that makes up the vast majority of Marvel's major conflicts. Secret Empire United #1 stands out by providing a real, relevant context to the situation. While it may inspire more political whining on social media, it makes for a much more compelling story and in an era where almost anything can spark political whining, that's a fair price to pay.

A story that fosters that kind of dramatic weight is strong enough on concept alone. However, Zub and Anindito really overachieve by crafting a concise, action-packed narrative, complete with a satisfying twist at the end. It's not the kind of twist that involves Cosmic Cubes or deals with Mephisto either. It's just a resolution that feels so perfectly appropriate, given the context of the situation and the over-arching themes of Secret Empire.

By nearly every measure, Secret Empire United #1 exceeds the expectations usually associated with tie-in issues. It's not simply a shameless plug for a larger story that creates one too many holes. It tells the kind of story that offers just the right kind of impact for a specific kind of story. It's essentially a targeted narrative, one that hits its mark in all the right ways. That, in the grand scheme of things, is still worth inspiring more angry political rants.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Friday, June 9, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 152: Volatility Sensibility Part 2 is LIVE!


There’s a difference between the right decision and the prudent decision. That’s something the X-men deal with all the time in the comics, movies, and cartoons. The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is no different. Whether they’re caught in the middle of a war with the Shi’ar or trying to save the lost city of Nova Roma, the X-men have had to made more than a few hard decisions. In every occasion, their guiding principles came from Charles Xavier’s dream of peace and understanding. Now, in the evolving conflicts of X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, those principles have become obscured.

It’s a critical and tenuous moment for this fanfiction series. The X-men are divided, but the world still needs them to make these hard decisions. Charles Xavier is trying to pursue a different dream with the Mutant Monitoring Initiative. Cyclops and X-Force are trying to preserve what remains of Xavier’s old dream. They cannot and will not compromise their principles. Now, in the events of Volatility Sensibility, they won’t have a choice.

X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided is in the midst of its first arc. It’s also the first major conflict since the X-men split in the events of X-men Supreme Issue 148: New Divide. A young mutant named Nitro find himself at ground zero of a potentially explosive situation, both literally and figuratively. A combination of bad luck and poor decisions on his part have made him a target of both the Mutant Monitoring Initiative and a group of petty criminals to which he is indebted. It’s up to the X-men and X-Force to try and resolve this situation before it literally blows up in their face.

In previous volumes of X-men Supreme, the decision would be relatively easy. Helping distressed mutants is what the X-men do. Whether it’s someone struggling with their powers, like Rogue did when hers first manifested, or helping a mutant like Gambit, who found himself in a tricky situation back home, the X-men make it a point to protect mutants. Under the Mutant Monitoring Initiative, complete with the constant scrutiny of President Kelly and General Grimshaw, it’s not so easy anymore. Helping Nitro might also mean turning him over to the government or sending him to prison. That puts the X-men in a tough position while giving X-Force an opportunity to intervene.

Who is right and who is wrong in this instance? Will Xavier’s new methods win out? Will Cyclops and X-Force prove him wrong? It’s the first major test for the X-men and X-Force in X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, but it will certainly not be the last. It is, however, as explosive as it gets. Whether they want to save Nitro or the innocent people he may hurt with his powers, they’ll have to make those hard decisions soon. What they do and don’t do will set the tone for the future of this fanfiction series. Make no mistake. Volatility Sensibility will have significant implications and it starts with this issue.

X-men Supreme Issue 152: Volatility Sensibility Part 2

There’s plenty more to come with X-men Supreme. This first arc of X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided is meant to set the tone for the kind of conflict you’ll see between the X-men and X-Force. Now, I’ve followed the X-men comics as closely as most other X-men fans and I know that divided X-men has become somewhat taboo in recent years. I hope to go at it from a different perspective here in X-men Supreme.

As such, it’s very important that I continue to get feedback from readers on this fanfiction series. I especially want to hear from those fans who were as disappointed as I was with how the whole schism issue was handled with the X-men comics. I want to handle it better here in X-men Supreme and I need feedback to ensure I’m succeeding. Either post your comment directly in the issue or contact me directly. Either way is fine and I’m always happy to chat X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!

Jack

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Real (And Relevant) Coolness: Iceman #1

The following is my review of Iceman #1, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


No character ever becomes iconic without doing something to set themselves apart. For years, going all the way back to the Lee/Kirby era of Uncanny X-men, Iceman never gets that chance. Despite being a member of the iconic Original Five X-men, he never gets his own Phoenix Saga. He never undergoes a transformation like Angel or Beast. He never even goes through the twisted melodrama of marrying a clone or have a time-displaced child. In a sense, Iceman is like a capable backup quarterback on a team of pro bowl players. He can hold his own. He just never gets a chance to show his skill.

That all changed after the events of All-New X-men #40. In what is, without a doubt, the biggest upheaval in Iceman's 50-plus year history, Jean reveals that he's gay. Now, there's a lot that can be said about how his outing was handled. Jean's somewhat callous approach to the situation, as well as the circumstances in which it occurred, are somewhat troubling. There's also the issue of Iceman's past entanglements with women. Some of them even count as serious. One of them, namely Mystique, almost got him killed.

However, that only makes the reveal more powerful because it reflects the real-life conflicts that many homosexuals deal with. Sometimes, they spend decades of their lives pretending to be something their not. Adding this on top of the underlying themes of the X-men, which is somewhat analogous to LGBT issues, it puts Iceman's story in a whole new context. It does more than set him apart from the rest of the Original Five X-men, who've already done plenty to distinguish themselves. It puts Iceman in a position to forge a unique path, one that few characters of his status have ever attempted.

Iceman #1 isn't entirely structured around Bobby Drake's homosexuality or how he deals with it. It's not built around him just going on solo adventures either. He's not Wolverine, Iron Man, or even Squirrel Girl. His path has the potential to be both unique and revealing. Sina Grace doesn't try to fit Bobby into another Phoenix Saga, a Dark Angel Saga, or any kind of saga. More than anything else, Grace tries to focus on Bobby's very human struggles while still giving him a chance to be Iceman.


In setting up the story, Grace establishes a distinct difference between Iceman and his time-displaced counterpart. Whether due to recklessness or immaturity, the teenage Iceman does a much better job of accepting his sexuality. He even has a male love interest that he's been exploring in other X-men comics. Ironically, the older, adult Iceman is behind the curve of his teenage self. He's admitted that he's gay, but he hasn't done anything with it yet. He's still more focused on being Iceman rather than Bobby Drake.

Iceman #1 puts him in a position where he has to be both. He doesn't face a cosmic entity or a killer robot. Instead, he faces a very real, very relevant issue with his parents. Unlike the rest of the X-men, they don't know that he's gay. His mother even asks about whether or not he has any girlfriends. It establishes that while Iceman may be out as a gay character, he's not quite out with the world at large.

It's the kind of situation that real homosexuals with real families deal with, not knowing how to talk to their parents about their sexuality. Bobby's parents make it even harder because they're not necessarily proud of his mutant status either. They give the impression that they'd much rather see him holding down a steady job as a garbage man rather than regularly saving the planet from Apocalypse. It's not so much that they have unreasonable standards as much as it is they want a "normal" son.

It's a concept that resonates with both mutants and the LGBT community, the idea of being so not normal that it undermines friends, family, and everything in between. In Bobby's case, he's got a double dose of non-normalcy. He's a minority within a minority, a homosexual man and a mutant. That means he can expect double the hate from every racist bigot, of which there are plenty in both the real world and the Marvel universe.

Fittingly enough, the main conflict in Iceman #1 isn't a killer robot or invading aliens. It's a wannabe Purifier, who are basically Marvel's that anti-mutant version of the KKK. While they don't make their position on homosexuality known, it's hard to imagine that would make them any less hostile to someone like Bobby.

It gives Bobby a chance to be a hero and, strangely enough, that's the most normal thing he does. When he's fighting a rogue Purfier, he's the same Iceman that people have known and loved since the Kennedy Administration. It's only when he has to be Bobby Drake that he faces an insurmountable conflict, of sorts. His parents don't accept him. The world, as a whole, doesn't accept him. Even other mutants seem more "normal" by comparison.


It's a powerful message that makes for a story that feels real and relevant. That's the greatest strength of Iceman #1. Grace tells a story that real people can relate to and Alessandro Vitti's artwork makes it visually appealing. Anyone who is LGBT, an outcast, or just not "normal" in a classic sort of way will find something to appreciate.

While the story may feel real, it also lacks the kind of dramatic impact or emotional upheaval that so many other major X-men characters have enjoyed in their 50-year plus history. That may be too much to hope for in one issue of a solo series for a character who hasn't had one before, but while the plot feels real and relevant, the substance is somewhat lacking. It's a competent, cohesive story that delivers a powerful message. It just doesn't go much further than that.

What gives this series promise, though, is the way Grace and Vitti frame Bobby's story at this point in his history. He's a minority within a minority, still trying to be a hero while trying to find his place. Being a hero is the easy part for him. Trying to find his place is a far greater challenge, one that he's very uncertain about. It's easy to be certain when there are killer robots to smash and evil mutant racists to fight. It's much harder to live a distinctly non-normal life that still feels normal. For mutants and LGBT individuals alike, it's an important story to tell.

Final Score: 7 out of 10

Friday, June 2, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 152: Volatility Sensibility Part 2 PREVIEW!

Image result for Charles Xavier

In the world of X-men Supreme, it doesn’t take much to turn a difficult situation into a crisis. It happened with Impossible. It happened with Prison Break. It happened with Proactive Regression. These situations weren’t like Overlord or the Phoenix Saga, two events that started off as crises from the beginning. They started small and devolved quickly, eventually becoming pivotal turning points for this fanfiction series. In their current divided state, the X-men are vulnerable to a crisis in any situation.

The events that culminated at the end of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation are still reverberating for many. Charles Xavier is still working tirelessly to make the Mutant Monitoring Initiative work. He has the strong, yet tepid support of General Grimshaw and President Kelly. He’s even managed to forge some significant progress, as shown in X-men Supreme Issue 149: Law Abiding Bind. This new form of X-men has done plenty of good, but they’ve done that good without having to deal with a difficult situation. That all changed in the first issue of Volatility Sensibility.

The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is about to give Charles Xavier and his new brand X-men a familiar challenge with a different set of complications. Dealing with a mutant who’s struggling with volatile powers is nothing new. The X-men have handled situations like this on my occasions, going back to Rogue’s initial recruitment in X-men Supreme Issue 6: Rogue Recruit and Jean Grey’s encounter with the Phoenix Force in the Phoenix Saga. In each case, the X-men were able to deal overcome the challenge. Now, they have to do so under the intense scrutiny of General Grimshaw and Captain Freeman.

The X-men have always prided themselves on being heroes, working within the system and sometimes outside it when necessary. Part of Xavier’s dream was to show that mutants could work together to help each other and mankind. More importantly, they could do this without a government sanctioning or supporting them. Now, they don’t have the option of working outside a system. They have to play by whatever rules that General Grimshaw and President Kelly prescribe. Can those rules work? Can they save lives when they can’t be the heroes they’ve always been?

Charles Xavier is willing to take that chance. Cyclops and his renegade brand of X-men, which he calls X-Force, is not. Whoever ends up being vindicated will likely shape the course for mutants moving forward in this fanfiction series. At the center of it all is a young mutant with a bad streak of luck named Nitro. He not only finds himself being born with mutant powers that literally make him a walking time bomb. He’s also a target of some very bad people that he managed to piss off, even before he found out he was a mutant.

Nitro’s fate is very much the fate of the X-men and X-Force. His fate will act as a major catalyst for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series moving forward. However it plays out, there will be consequences. There will be challenges. There’s more than Charles Xavier’s dream on the line now. It’s a volatile time for the X-men at every level and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of the next issue of Volatility Sensibility and all the chaos that's just starting to unfold.

“Will you quit driving like a pussy and step on it already?” shouted one of Boss’s body guards, “That light show behind us is getting too flashy for my tastes.”

“I’m going as fast as I can,” replied the driver, “This van wasn’t built for shitty back roads.”

“Forget about damaging the rims. Just gun it already!”

“Both of you, pipe down!” said Boss firmly, “Bickering will not make us go any faster.”

The two body guards and the driver fell silent, fearing Boss’s wrath almost as much as the explosion. He earned his title by taking big chances. Having a walking bomb on their side would have been a potent weapon and a lucrative resource. It was too bad Nitro had to be so stubborn with them. However, Boss was not deterred.

The mood inside the van remained tense as they neared the front gates of the mine. The light behind them continued growing, but from the looks of it they were going to outrun it. As the van picked up speed, Boss was already contemplating ways to make this work for them.

“This was risky venture for all of us. It turned out to be riskier than expected, but the potential is still there,” mused Boss, “We missed out today. Our friend, Nitro, is clearly going through some growing pains.”

“Those pains may turn our boys back there to bird chow,” commented his body guard.

“Well it’s their own fault for not being efficient enough. They should have handled Nitro more carefully. They don’t understand that he’s an immature child. Like any immature child, he’ll grow out of it. Then we’ll be able to make another offer.”

“You think he’ll change his mind?” asked his second body guard.

“I doubt it, but I’m sure we’ll find a way to convince him,” said Boss wryly, “He’s a mutant and mutants are the future, my friends. It’s an untapped market that’s ripe for the picking. I plan on getting in at the ground floor. Once the dust settles from this incident, we’ll be ready to…”

Suddenly, the van was brought to a screeching halt. Boss was thrown from his seat in mid-sentence and so were his body guards. It was like they just ran into steel column.

“Ungh! What the hell just happened?” barked one of the body guards, now rubbing his head.

“Uh…we just hit something, Boss,” said the driver in a daze.

“Then drive over it already!”

“That’s…going to be a problem,” he replied, his voice filled with dread.

From the front seat, the driver was staring at an obstacle that was not going to let him through. That obstacle was Warpath. Just as the van was about to reach the main entrance, the Native American mutant jumped out in front of them and dug his feet into the ground.

The van had no chance when it hit him. Now he had his hands firmly dug into the hood. If that show of strength wasn’t intimidating enough, the anger in his eyes only added to the driver’s fear.

“Your boys just shot my girlfriend. So I’m taking my anger out on you!” barked Warpath as he rocked the van with his strength.

“Ahhhhhh! What the hell are you talking about?” the driver exclaimed.

“I think he means to say we’re making our escape on foot!” said the Boss from the back.

Despite the shaking, Boss only had minor injuries and was able to open the side door. One of his body guards had a concussion and was in no condition to follow. Since the glowing light in the distance was getting worse, he was in no condition to aid him. So as soon as Boss was out of the van, he prepared to run.

“We’re really going to try and outrun this thing?” exclaimed the other body guard that wasn’t concussed.

“Unless you want to take that chance, you’re welcome to keep up!” said Boss.

With his eyes set on the main entrance, Boss took his first step. It ended up being his last because another obstacle literally fell from the sky in the form of large metal shards. They struck within mere inches of his feet. They were sharp as well, cutting his oversized trench coat in the process. It was enough to make him fall back towards the van.

“Oh no you don’t, Don Corleone! You’re going to stick around for the show and the after party,” said the menacing voice of Angel from above.

“By after party, he means your arrest or the cleanup of what’s left of you.” said Warpath, still gripping the van.

“More mutants…figures,” groaned Boss, “Surely ,we can be reasonable about this?”

“Save your reasons. Unless I need to remind you that these wings aren’t made of feathers,” said Angel.

The winged mutant flexed his techno-organic wings, forming dozens of sharp tips and arching them so that they were pointed right at Boss. He got the message and slowly inched back towards his van. His body guards stayed put, not testing Angel’s patience. Angel made sure they didn’t try and take the cowards way out. He kept his wings pointed at them, ensuring they would be here to face the consequences of what they instigated.

With each thug secure, Warpath smashed through the front of the van to take out the engine. It further stifled their escape while giving him a means to vent his anger. Moments ago, Emma Frost gave them a telepathic update on what was happening with Nitro. It wasn’t pretty. He was poised to explode again thanks to Boss’s thugs. The X-men showed up as well and Storm had been shot. It left him with plenty of reasons to be enraged in addition to facing another massive explosion.

“I’ll let Cyclops know we’ve secured our wannbe Godfathers,” said Angel.

“Any idea if he plans on preventing this mine from becoming a crater?” asked Warpth.

“He’ll figure something out. He always does,” assured Angel.

“If by chance he doesn’t, at least let me break some bones with these guys,” said the Native American, cracking his knuckles as he stared down Boss, “They deserve a little discomfort just for what they did to Storm. Never mind the whole putting an entire town at risk.”

“I can appreciate your feelings for assholes like this, but we’re not here to break bones. We have a mission and it hasn’t blown up in our faces yet.”

“But it’s about to,” quipped Warpath, “Mission or no mission, somebody back there better do something. This kid blowing up is gonna suck for both X-Force and the X-men!”


I still find it somewhat ironic how things in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series are so divided while the X-men comics are going in the opposite direction. At the moment, the X-men comics are returning to a more familiar state. Divisions, rivalries, and schisms are ending. The X-men, as fans have known them, are taking shape once more. Meanwhile, the X-men Supreme fanfiction series is throwing all sorts of divisions and complications into the mix. It’s a tough situation, one that I didn’t plan, but am trying to flesh out none-the-less.

I get that a lot of X-men fans are tired of the divisions, extinctions, and time travel plots. Granted, this fanfiction series has yet to use time travel or alternate universes to further a plot and I don’t plan to. I’m still plenty determined to make sure that X-men Supreme is as awesome as it can possibly be. That’s why it’s so important that people continue to provide feedback. Either post your comments directly in the issue or contact me directly. Either way is fine and I’m always happy to chat X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!

Jack

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Timely Traditions: Cable #1

The following is my review of Cable #1, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


When it comes to time travel, there aren't many superheroes these days that can do it without making fans roll their eyes. As a concept, time travel is overdone, burned out, and utterly devoid of shock value. The days of "Back To The Future" and the lovable eccentricities of Doc Brown are long gone. Stories that involve time travel are about as inane as a stories that involve Superman telling kids to eat their vegetables.

However, there is still one character who can build their story around time travel and make it work. It's not Doc Brown either. It's Cable. He's part Terminator, part Marty McFly, and part Rocky Balboa. He's also friends with Deadpool and willingly works with him on a regular basis. That alone is a testament to his grit and determination.

With a major role in the next Deadpool movie, as well as the star power of Josh Brolin, the time traveling mutant has a lot going for him. With Cable #1, another title in Marvel's ongoing RessurXion effort, James Robinson and Carlos Pacheco try to put Cable on the same wave that Deadpool rode to a wave of popularity. He may never inspire as many Funko figures or cos-play costumes, but he still has so many factors going for him.

The story in Cable #1 takes the core of his character and runs with it. There's no elaborate exposition. There's no major build-up to the plot. It just puts Cable in the middle of a time travel plot and lets him do his thing. Anyone who knows anything about Cable won't be too surprised. They won't be disappointed either. There's time travel, there's big guns, and there's large-scale violence both on and off-panel. By every measure, this is a typical Tuesday for Cable.


In terms of getting back to the core of a particular character, Cable #1 checks the necessary boxes. It doesn't check every box, but it checks the ones that are most important to the core of Cable's character. Robinson doesn't try to reinvent Cable or twist his story in some elaborate way. He sticks to the basics of time travel and big guns, which are the meat and potatoes of every great Cable story.

In terms of the contents of that story, it itself doesn't try to be too iconic. It has Cable doing some time-hopping to find someone who has been sharing futuristic weapons with people and time periods that haven't even mastered indoor plumbing. Anyone who deals with Marvel's twisted timeline is right to be concerned about that sort of thing. Given the absence of the Fantastic Four and the ineptitude of those such as Hank McCoy, Cable is the only one qualified to handle this issue. The substance is there. It's only the portion size that's lacking.

The core concept is there in Cable #1. There's someone screwing with the timeline by giving high-tech guns and swords to cowboys and samurai. That makes for plenty of gun-fights and gratuitous violence, as only Cable can inspire, but there's little context to the story. There's no real clue as to who Cable is after. The only detail revealed is that they think giving people who still see bathing as a luxury is a good idea. Beyond that, there's little else to go on.

That doesn't make Cable's battles any less entertaining. Compared to the plots of a typical Terminator movie, Cable #1 is refreshingly straightforward. There's just too little drama and too little setup to intrigue those who aren't already fans of Cable's time-hopping narratives. Robinson doesn't try to push the envelope and that's understandable. At a time when many other X-men characters are returning to their roots in wake of Inhumans vs. X-men, his efforts in Cable #1 fit the larger narrative. It just doesn't try to push it any further.

For those who don't know much about Cable or his convoluted backstory, complete with clones and techno-organic viruses, they won't see anything too overwhelming. They won't see anything too shocking either. They'll just see a character that specializes in traveling through time, shooting big guns, and getting into big fights. That alone has plenty of entertainment value. However, in a world that still has Deadpool and multiple Wolverine knock-offs, that only goes so far.

There aren't many details of the story in Cable #1 that are clear from the beginning or even the end, for that matter. That's not to say the story is messy or convoluted, though. It is the beginning of a larger story. The ending teases a much larger conflict at hand, one that will require more time travel and more big guns.

That has plenty of appeal to long-time Cable fans, but new readers won't find anything that they can't find in other comics that deal with big guns and gratuitous violence. Given the number of characters that rely on big guns and gratuitous violence, Cable #1 doesn't do much to set itself apart. However, there is still something to be said about a story that can involve cowboys and samurais in the same story.


In the end, the greatest success of Cable #1 is how sticks to the basics and doesn't complicate the narrative. In any story that involves time travel, that in and of itself is an accomplishment. Robinson maintains the core of Cable's character and Pacheco's art ensures that it's visually appealing. The story has the necessary foundation on which to build upon Cable's story. There's nothing in that story that precludes a narrative that becomes an iconic moment in his history. It's a long way towards achieving that level of quality, but it's on the right path.

With a promising future in Deadpool 2, courtesy of Josh Brolin, Cable is one of those characters whose profile is on the rise. Cable #1 puts him at the front of the batting order and shows off the potential of what he can bring to the table. With big guns, a bad attitude, and a blatant disregard for time paradoxes, he has all the tools he needs to be a major player for the X-men. At a time when Hugh Jackman has retired and Deadpool is the new adamantium standard, the timing couldn't be better.

Final Score: 6 out of 10