Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review # 119: "Cable and X-Force - 'This Won't End Well' and 'Vendettas'"

When I bought the first collection of "Cable and X-Force" I noted that the series had potential with its character choices and was worth getting on the ground floor with. As Dennis Hopeless' run comes to a close, I feel like the elevator broke down.

This series is far from terrible, but given the hopes I had it is ultimately disappointing.

There's a lot that I still like about "Cable and X-Force." The rivalry between Nemesis and Forge is a blast. So is the evolving relationship between Colossus and Domino. Boom Boom slipping back into her "Nextwave" style gives the team a fun dynamic; Hope Summers - who had been an overrated character - suddenly seems underrated; Cable is his bad-ass self without any of the ridiculous messianic traits other writers had forced upon him.

The problem is the plotting. With countless lives being at stake in each story, Hopeless is never able to create a sense of importance. When you have your outlaw team fighting the likes of the Avengers and you can't generate that, it's a failure. When a character like Hope comes face-to-face with a female version of Stryfe and you know INSTANTLY who is under the mask, it's a failure. When Wolverine, Thor and Captain America show up - hell, with Colossus on the team itself - and you wonder what A-list characters doing on a C-list title like this, it's a failure.

Despite that, the series comes to an exciting conclusion. After being thought dead (really? Someone who we thought was dead in a comic book isn't actually dead? Perish the thought!), Cable's evil clone - the REAL Stryfe - makes his return and abducts Hope for his own nefarious devices. Complicating things is the return of Bishop as "Cable and X-Force" crosses over with the new non-Remender "Uncanny X-Force" where Lucas has been brought back from the future. Before you can say "Saw," Hope and Bishop are trapped in a room together as Stryfe tries to draw out Hope's dark side, compelling her to kill the man who time-traveled through several centuries to commit a murder of his own.

Now, I haven't been keeping up with the new "Uncanny X-Force," but I find this attempt to redeem Bishop as a hero to be complete and utter bulls***. The character killed BILLIONS of people without a shred of remorse. Having him show up and say "Whoops! I was insane! My bad!" is a terrible cop-out. He may have gone nuts, but not to the level where he's not criminally responsible. In "Messiah Complex," he expressed at a young age that he intended to kill Hope. When he arrived in the present time, he used the treachery of someone else as a smokescreen to hide his own. That was a brilliant plot direction, and this attempt to erase it just does not stick. Even if Bishop realizes and understands that he made a mistake, he has to pay for his crimes. He has to. Instead, Cable shakes his hand? What a crock.

In the end, as "X-Force" gets relaunched again this series could be seen as a mere stepping stone. It could have been more and that's a shame.

Rating(s): 5.5/10 ("This Won't End Well"), 5.5/10 ("Vendetta")

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