Cable #105

Comic book, 2002

I was lucky enough to find a full run of Igor Kordey’s issues of Cable in the dollar bin the other day. It had been on my radar because I had noticed a number of think pieces online about it, which is especially unusual to see based around a character like Cable, who is one of the poster boys for early 90’s, Rob Liefeld-styled comics dreck. My only familiarity with Kordey was his issues of New X-Men, and my only thought about his work at the time was taking quick note of how distinctive it was (think 80% Richard Corben, 20% Peter Chung). The book as a whole is one of those things that merits more thought than something of its quality might normally merit, due in large part to its distinctiveness in its field and its ambition. To that end, it’s probably mostly only noteworthy to people who would have an interest in seeing superhero comics feature a broader range of themes and topics. Kordey’s issues of Cable were a part of a small group of Marvel comics at the turn of the century doing just that, including Milligan and Allred’s X-Statix and Morrison’s New X-Men. Out of that group, Cable was probably the hardest for traditional superhero fans to stomach. It takes a superhero, there’s little reason for it to have been Cable, and inserts him, somewhat awkwardly (especially in the early issues), into the World News section of the New York Times. I imagine it could be hard for some people to not get self righteous about being presented this type of material wrapped in a superhero comic, and I wouldn’t hold that against them. But if you’re capable of taking such a concept at face value, Cable is an interesting, strange little comic. I picked issue #105 in particular, as its the run’s first stand alone story, and also the first to be written by Darko Macan, who was replacing David Tischman. Tischman’s pitch at the end of issue #100 implies that he’s the person who got the ball rolling on this take on the character, but it’s all but impossible to imagine it without Kordey, both because of his distinctive visual style and because of his connection to the material as an ex-Croation soldier. (Macan, as we learn in the letters column, was as well.) This perspective seems to have done a lot to inform the book. There’s are no cliches, but many hard truths, and nothing is black and white. More often than not, all parties involved have dirty hands, not the least of all Cable himself. Cable features a bunch of tangled messes of situations that are not untangled in the least once a superhero is plopped in the middle of them. If you broaden your perspective on this material to include narrative fiction at large, it’s probably passable at best, possibly not even that. But I was thrilled to find this new-to-me product of this interesting creative period at Marvel (frequently referred to as “Nu-Marvel”), and I’m secretly optimistic that there’s more waiting out there for me to discover. In the meantime, I’m off to eBay to get the continuation of this series, Soldier X, which I’m told ratchets up the weirdness a bit.



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