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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cable Vol 4: Stranded

Title: Cable Vol 4: Stranded





ISBN: 9780785141679

Price: $14.99

Publisher/Year: Marvel, 2010

Artist: Paul Gulacy, Gabriel Guzman, Mariano Taibo

Writer: Duane Swierczynski

Collects: Cable # 16-20



Rating: 3/5



The son of X-Man Scott Summers and a clone of Jean Grey, Nathan Christopher Summers was infected with a techno-organic virus as a baby. He was only saved by being sent through time, subsequently spending his formative years in the far future where he became an unlikely and largely unwilling savior of assorted humankinds against mutant overlord Apocalypse and his vile minions such as the clone-warrior Stryfe.



Afflicted with a stubborn certainty that he always knew best – probably due to his hard-earned foreknowledge and weary experience of how bad the days to come would be – Nathan evolved into time-travelling super-soldier Cable and gradually inserted himself into the lives of key figures in mutant history: figures such as Professor Charles Xavier and his own father Cyclops – the Moses and King David of mutant-kind…



Using his phenomenal psionic abilities to hold at bay the incurable, progressive condition inexorably consuming his flesh and only held in check by the victim’s indomitable force of will, the mysterious grizzled veteran slowly began interacting with and reshaping the past…



Hope Spalding-Summers was the first Homo Superior born on Earth after M-Day, when the temporarily insane mutant Avenger Scarlet Witch used her reality-warping powers to eradicate almost all fellow members of her terrifying sub-species from existence.



Considered by many to be some sort of mutant messiah, the newborn girl was “appropriated” by militant warrior Cable – no stranger to the role of Sole Saviour – who raised her in the furious future, training her in all manner of lethal survival skills before she inevitably found her way back to the present where she was adopted by X-Men supremo Scott Summers AKA Cyclops.



Hers was a horrifically memorable childhood as this slim, satisfying collection (gathering issues #16-20 of the monthly Cable comic book from July-November 2009) will surely attest…



From the start Hope had implacable foes hunting her. The most resourceful was another time-tossed former X-Man, Lucas Bishop, who was convinced the child would cause the diabolically dystopian alternate reality he originated in. To prevent such horror ever occurring, Bishop determined to kill her before she could become a mutant anti-Christ and not even Cable’s frequent temporal relocations would deter him…



With the entire time-busting saga scripted by Duane Swierczynski, the action here begins with the 2-part ‘Too Late for Tears’ – illustrated by legendary comics icon Paul Gulacy – as Cable and nine-year-old Hope prepare to again jump into the safely camouflaging corridors of chronality after a particularly contentious battle.



However, the increasingly rebellious girl strikes out at her protector during a fateful moment and the time-shift goes wrong…



Hope materializes in the same post-apocalyptic location but two years earlier in time and, with no further information to go on, endeavors to make herself secure until Cable finds her. Stuck in her future, Cable patiently waits for her to “catch up” but his techno-viral contagion flares up and threatens to end his appalling life before she gets then…



And 127 years prior to Cable’s latest crisis Bishop activates his own time-machine and remorselessly continues his pursuit of Hope…



Stuck, but not without resources, the girl explores a dying Earth where only two warring cities are still inhabited. Soon she is approached by a young boy named Emil who is instantly smitten by the lethally self-sufficient waif…



Just as Cable forces back his latest bout of all-consuming transmogrification by invasive code, Bishop arrives and a deadly destructive but ultimately inconclusive battle breaks out. The follower’s plan is obsessively simple: as soon as he sees Hope he will end her by detonating a nuclear device inside his body.



But she isn’t with Cable any longer…



In another era, Emil has gradually broken Hope’s wall of distrust but, just as she feels she can finally relax, the girl discovers that the revered spiritual head of the boy’s band of survivors is her very familiar foe. The “Arch-Bishop” has been so patiently waiting for his time-bending bĂȘte-noir to resurface…



The seemingly benevolent holy man has no problems wiping out his entire flock to finish her for good but Hope perpetually avoids him and Bishop just can’t trigger the nuke until he’s absolutely certain.



And two long years later, Cable moves into one of the two cities, makings plans, winning allies and waiting, waiting, waiting…



When at last 11-year old Hope is reunited with Cable, it’s as both cities are on the verge of mutual destruction and the mutant has no time for her protests. He has spent his time constructing a working space ship and after forcibly dragging his furious charge aboard takes off for the safety of space leaving a heartbroken Emil behind. Happily for the lovesick lad the wonderful Archbishop can also construct star-craft. Very soon they will all be reunited…



Artists Gabriel Guzman & Mariano Taibo take over for the eerie alien encounter ‘Brood’ beginning with ‘Bishop Takes Pawn’ wherein Bishop and Emil lead their people into a final battle with Cable’s ship and crew on the edges of the solar system. Thankfully the boy finds Hope before the mutant hunter does and she convinces her long-lost paramour of the deranged cleric’s true intentions before falling to Bishop’s murderous rage.



With nuclear obliteration seconds away events overtake all the manic participants as both ships – locked together in the vacuum of deep space – are invaded by creatures even more ferociously dangerous…



The Brood are ghastly alien parasites and rapacious intelligent body-stealers who lay eggs in hosts and use the victims’ genetic material to augment their unborn generations. For uncounted centuries they have greedily hungered for the exceptional advantages gained by infecting mutants and metahumans…



In ‘Queen Takes Bishop’ the disgusting matriarch of the invading beasts specifically targets Hope as her overwhelming spawn decimate the last remnants of humanity aboard both ships. However, the little lass has met Brood before and knows just how to deal with them. Elsewhere Bishop and Cable also manage to survive the appalling assault, both obsessed with finding Hope for their drastically opposing reasons…



As an entire space fleet of the noxious beasts zero in on the last humans alive, Bishop utterly succumbs to his obsession by allying himself with the Brood Queen to ensure the final fate of Hope, but has completely underestimated the child’s resiliency, Cable’s compulsive dutiful determination, and the unmatchable power of young love in the blazing conclusion ‘Checkmate’…



Time-travel tales often disappoint and frequently make people’s heads hurt, but this bombastic romp (augmented by covers and variants by Dave Wilkins & Rob Liefeld) manages to always stick to the point, offering sly tributes – and some not so much – to Les Miserables and Alien whilst following the pain-wracked consumption of Cable by of his own non-fleshly invaders through a clever and poignant Fights ‘n’ Tights sci fi horror drama that will impress and delight older fans of the genre(s).

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