Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review # 20: "Cable and X-Force: Wanted"

"Cable and X-Force" is a sleeper hit in the making. Crawling from the ashes of Avengers vs. X-Men, it has Cable leading a new team that - at the start - seems to have committed a terrorist act. With recent members of Cyclops' X-Men as part of the group, it's not a situation that bodes well and has the Havok-led Uncanny Avengers at their door. In a Tarantino out-of-sequence style, "Wanted" outlines why the "attack" actually happened and how the new X-Force came to be. As you might expect, Cable's motivations weren't what they seemed. Sounds like fun. Unfortunately, at first, a lot of people didn't think so.

When early reviews began to come in for the launch of this Marvel NOW title, they weren't very positive. As the first X-Force title to be released after Rick Remender's run on "Uncanny" ended, it had a massive shadow cast over it and the consensus placed the worst label you could on a comic: "bland." Really, that's not surprising. This book had massive hills to climb and with Cable and Domino - two 90's X-Force throwbacks - teaming with another 90's throwback (Forge) and a no-longer-possessed-and-even-more-introverted Colossus, any perception that this title would be progressive was bleak.

But because it's Cable - who's always been a slow-burn character - people were willing to give it a shot. And with "Wanted," so was I because of one man: Dr. Nemesis.

Created in the 40's and involved in the development of the original Human Torch, James Bradley had not been touched by Marvel in decades. After sporadic appearances, he was thrust back into the spotlight when he was recruited out of nowhere to be part of the X-Men's science team. In a stroke of absolute genius, Matt Fraction imbued Bradley with the bedside manor of Gregory House. Teamed up with robot-obsessed Canadian Madison Jeffries and human Dr. Kavita Rao, this was comedy gold as he would mercilessly insult his colleagues and other members of the X-Men as if they were Foreman, Thirteen and Taub.

So after Avengers vs. X-Men splintered the Utopia team and Nemesis ended up on Cable's X-Force, I knew I needed to get on the ground floor. I was not disappointed.

Nemesis is an example of why I see this series really going somewhere. Dennis Hopeless instantly lines him up with Forge as a friendly rival, pitting them in a wager that has a Forge robot taking on a Nemesis-altered giant Scorpion. As far as mid-story diversions go, it's a lot of fun. Early on, "Cable and X-Force" seems to be about relationships. You have old friends in Cable and Domino who haven't been a part of the same title regularly for years. You have Cable and Colossus, two very popular characters who have rarely teamed up before. You have Colossus and Domino who... well, I don't want to spoil that.

You can tell that this is a good team, and greatness is within its grasp. But will that potential develop?

Rating: 7/10

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