Review: Cable and X-Force #19
Vendetta continues in its third installment. This storyline is the final act for both Cable and X-Force as well as Uncanny X-Force and there isn’t a better loose thread to tie up for a finale than Cable and Hope vs. Bishop. Ever since Messiah Complex this story has been five years in the making . For those of us who thrilled to that story, followed the flight of Cable and baby Hope into the future with a deranged and genocidal Bishop on their tail, and saw this culminating when both titles existed on the shelves side by side, it is about damn time. If you have not read Cable and X-Force #18 or Uncanny X-Force #16 be warned there are major spoilers ahead for those issues, as well as minor spoilers for this one.
The first episode of this storyline established the stakes as Hope became aware of Bishop, alive and well in her time, through Cable’s precognitive visions and sought to put her boogeyman in the ground for good. Stryfe, Cable’s fully powered evil clone, whisked them both away for his nefarious plans. The second chapter had our two teams clash for the first time after they followed their respective teammates. After brawling for a while, Spiral from Team Storm was tricked by Cable into teleporting him to Stryfe, Bishop, and Hope’s location leaving both teams confused and left behind. This issue starts as the dust settles and both Team Storm and Team Cable look to each other to determine what the hell just happened and what they can do about it together.
Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the issue, it’s important to get out of the way that one reason why people such as myself are so attracted to the mutant teams is that despite the fantastical powers, problems, and situations they get themselves into, they are still people. That’s been the message since day one, and as fans of them we love the chance to see them get to just BE people from time to time. Every so often we get a ‘downtime issue’ where we see our mutant superheroes act like Just Folks. How they spend that free time is just as endearing as how well they punch people in the face. These details make the characters more real, and to see these aspects of character’s personalities come out are important, even if it means a brief lull in the action.
That said, this issue showcases some interesting downtime for the mutants. After Team Storm and Team Cable realize they have to work together, the only way they can start is to boost the powers of the resident telepath Psylocke which requires Forge and Dr. Nemesis to construct an amplifier out of garbage. This gives everybody else time to have some telling character beats for half of the issue, including Storm and Forge finally having a conversation, Peter and Domino flirting ( I am absolutely a fan of this pairing. Both characters benefit from the balance.), and Puck doing everything in his power to seduce Boom Boom which ends in a hilarious consequence of losing a bet.
The other half moves Vendetta along with the meat of the issue as we find out what happens to Cable and Spiral once they teleport to where Stryfe has been keeping Bishop and Hope. Hope is still seething for Bishop’s blood, Bishop is now facing the face of the worst thing he’s ever done, Cable will do whatever it takes to save his daughter’s soul, and Stryfe manipulates it all for his own amusement and outcome. To find out what happens when you combine those volatile elements is the reason you should be reading this issue so I’m not going to spoil it for you here.
Dennis Hopeless has proven he’s a talented writer with a firm grasp of characterization so whether it’s fighting for one’s innocent soul or negotiating a first date, all of the pieces on this board are moving like they should. Angel Unzueta’s artwork is clean and detailed, with everyone consistent throughout the issue, scenes neatly arranged, and action fluidly kinetic. If there is one complaint I have about this issue, and with Vendetta in general, is that after five years of waiting for this story the inclusion of Stryfe seems to be diluting it. I understand after AvX we are fatigued on heroes fighting heroes, but it seems to distract from the essence of the conflict to have an outside villain mess with everyone in this way.
That aside, I am not at all disappointed with the direction of this story, and if they continue at this pace they will give both titles the satisfactory conclusion that we deserve before Si Spurrier gets his weird hands on the property.