Monthly Archives: June, 2017

Cable: Time Cop?

“‘Tomorrow’ becomes yesterday.”

Hey, hey. This is D.C. back to throw down on another new series that hit last week, Marvel Comics’ Cable.

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Who is this Cable?

Nathan Summers is the son of the X-Men’s (dearly departed) leader, Cyclops, and a clone of Jean Grey. An encounter with Apocalypse forced Nathan to be saved and raised in a dystopic alternate future by the Clan Askani, where he became a hardened warrior named Cable. Cable eventually traveled back to his original timeline, where he lead the New Mutants, X-Force, joined the X-Men, and raised the mutant messiah, Hope.

Marvel’s latest initiative RessurXion includes the third Cable series in the lineup, written by James Robinson and drawn by Carlos Pacheco.

Impressions?

I was hopeful going into this new Cable series, since James Robinson wrote an enchanting Scarlet Witch series just last year. With Pacheco backing him up on art, what could go wrong?

Turns out, plenty. Let’s see…

Plot. What plot? There is nothing good plot-wise. There are references to an individual Cable is hunting throughout time, but what about Cable’s motivations, thoughts? More importantly, what about who Cable is? I have intimate knowledge of Cable, but for the new reader with no experience with the character, this issue does absolutely nothing to get that kind of reader up to speed on who Cable is, what he’s done with his life, where he sees himself (heck, I don’t even know that), and where he is going.

Next to nothing on who he is hunting, why he is hunting him (a “device” is all?), and how he came across this character.

I understand not being given all the answers in the first issue, but this issue gives far too little to be understood. Here, Cable is simply doing. All action, few words, and no depth to his character or  his motivations. Here, he is just a man hopping through time, fighting.

Oh, and getting his butt kicked at the end.

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If Robinson was going to dredge out another played out version of Cable being a time-hopping tough loner, he could have at least made a more interesting beginning. I’m surprised to say that Robinson’s work here is woefully mediocre.

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The only saving grace in this beginning issue is Carlos Pacheco’s art. It’s smooth, modern, and full of beautiful atmosphere and structures that are appropriate for their eras of time. The colors provided by Jesus Aburtov simply dazzle with Pacheco’s art, shimmering and darkening when necessary. These two a quite a pairing.

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Verdict

I can’t call Cable #1 anything but a worthless read and an even more worthless new beginning. I’m disappointed, given how well James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch run turned out. But here, it seems as if Robinson isn’t even trying with the time-hopping mutant. There’s nothing here to help a new reader understand Cable as a character; even a seasoned reader like myself find Robinson’s take seriously lacking.

Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Aburnov’s pencil and color combination is top notch here, but it’s simply not enough in the face of such shallow, mediocre writing. Robinson must invoke the skill he has shown in prior work and step it up.

END THROWDOWN.

 

Magnus: Between Two Worlds

“If they were just machines, they wouldn’t have built their own goddamn world to get away from the people who built them.”

Well, now that life is somewhat less chaotic than normal…It’s D.C. back to throw down on some books this month. First off, Dynamite’s new series, Magnus.

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Who???

Magnus was originally  a male robot fighter who was owned by Gold Key Comics and then Valiant Comics, once upon a time. Dynamite later bought the rights to the character and published a short-lived series and an event with an iteration of Magnus. With one version appearing in the current The Sovereigns event (which is very good), so comes a different version in a new ongoing; this time as a female.

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Semi-O.G. Magnus

Plot

Magnus #1, by the creative team Kyle Higgins and Jorge Fornés, takes place in 2020 New York, where relations between humans and artificial intelligence are strained due to the emerging awareness and depression of A.I. The disparity of A.I.’s “duty” to serve humanity and their developing complexity and desire for freedom  leads the A.I. to seek a world away from the real world–a safe space, if you will.

These issues are what drive the work of robot psychologist Kerri Magnus, and the mystery she is contracted to solve.

Impressions?

Kyle Higgins starts this series off in superb fashion. The first issue touches on the deep political and social issues between man and A.I. Magnus’ tense conversation with an ex-boyfriend makes obvious the prejudices humans hold of A.I. as property and as simple machines incapable of individual thought. It is an old tale that rings of real life history, but is treated well and produces interest.

Kerri Magnus is depicted well as an intermediary between the A.I. and human worlds, but it is also her history as a bounty hunter that leaves one wondering many things about the character and her motivations.

What is her skill set? What motivated Kerri to turn from her profession from hunter to helper? As we can see, Kerri is looked at with an edge of disdain by humans. This issue was rich in plot points that open up potential stories and character development all around.

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Fornés’ art works well for the surreal science fiction tone this series seems to invoke. He emotes the characters well, even the A.I. Kerri Magnus encounters. You get a sense of anger, angst, and dread from the above A.I. Eugene, but also in the frightening resolve in Frederick’s face as he makes plans to escape his masters. Aided by colorist Chris O’Halloran, Fornés crafts simple and stark contrasts between certain scenes, such as Kerri’s nightmare. It is simple, distinct and macabre.

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Verdict?

Magnus #1 is off to a very good start. Kyle Higgins and Jorge Fornés hit the ground running with interesting characters and establishing a world that, for all intents and purposes, is on the brink of political, social, and literal war. Kerri Magnus is a mysterious woman with a strong history just waiting to be told, and I am very much looking forward to what comes.

I recommend you give this series a read.

END THROWDOWN.