Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Cable and X-Force, Volume 1: Wanted by Dennis Hopeless et al. Review

With a surname like “Hopeless”, you’d think anything written by Dennis Hopeless would be good, as he’d be trying that much harder to make his work better and avoid the obvious snide critical remark of “This book is, (chuckle), hopeless!”. And Cable and X-Force isn’t bad, but it’s not that great either.

Cable assembles a team because… well, he just does. There’s no series otherwise! They’re assembled one at a time, Ocean’s Eleven style, but there’s no real purpose, they’re just kind of going along with some doom premonition of Cable’s and unfortunately get branded as bad eggs by the authorities and the X-Men and Avengers along the way. The team is: Cable, Hope, Colossus, Forge, Dr Nemesis and Domino, and I think the character work in this book is especially good. Cable and Hope’s relationship, father and daughter, is the emotional core of the series, something you often don’t see in team books (for a soulless team book, check out – or don’t - DC’s Team 7) and it’s definitely one of the highlights of the book. Cable also gets a new arm but he’s still having his usual problems with the techno-organic virus he’s permanently infected with.

Also Forge and Dr Nemesis’ relationship is really funny, Nemesis behaving in a less-insane Deadpool style while Forge is a sarcastic, less beastly Hank McCoy. They have a great scene at the end where they build massive rock-‘em-sock-‘em robots in a junkyard because they’re bored and start gambling. Domino is kind of your template physically-tough female character but I liked that she and Peter (Rasputin, aka Colossus) hooked up – poor guy needed it, especially since that Kitty Pryde relationship has sailed. 

But if the characters are solid, the story is less so. First most of the team fight some amorphous techno-organic blob and then they fight a series of massively obese guys – they’re so forgettable and inconsequential. There’s no real story arc to this first volume and no strong villain either, both of which are why the book fails to be any good. Instead we’re left with some decent characters doing the narrative equivalent of shrugging while the pages tick down, which is also how I felt when reading this – yeah…so…? If this series is going to be worth reading, it needs to address these problems quick smart.

Cable and X-Force - Volume 1: Wanted

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