Av CaP 4 cvr

“Sacrifice”

August 1994

Before I start, enjoy this little anecdote.  There is a company where I live that has an incredibly long name.  So much so, that it’s probably a pain in the ass typing it into your web browser.  However, they also have a slogan:  “Long name, amazing results”.  That’s what this series is to me (unfortunately its follow-up had an even longer name but wasn’t quite as amazing).  The name is one of those that’s just a pain for my excel spreadsheet because most other titles don’t even come close, but the series itself is amazing.

Nate dying

SYNOPSIS

Okay, so first I have to give you some back-story, because this issue is the conclusion to a mini-series which means that none of the synopsis is going to mean squat without understanding at least a brief history of how the characters got here.  So, Cyclops and Jean, while on their honeymoon, get pulled into the future by their daughter from an alternate time-line, Rachel Summers.  Turns out that when she disappeared in Excalibur #75, she found herself in this version of the future and formed the clan Askani to fight Apocalypse.  She was the one who brought baby Nathan (remember Cyclops’ kid who was sent into the future in X-Factor #68) to the future to save him.  Well, now, she’s brought his guardians.  The first three issues involve Cyclops and Phoenix, in bodies of their descendents, raising Nathan from a baby to a teen.  So in other words, the first couple of the X-Men have, by issue #4, spent 12+ years in this future.

Now, the techno-organic virus is raging across Nathan’s body, unchecked.  He is a mass of liquid metal and dying.  Cyclops (his future name “Slym”) stands over his son.  One of their allies, Prior Turrin, suggests just allowing Nathan to die, but Slym won’t hear of it.  Jean (“Redd” in this future) also argues against this.  Elsewhere, Apocalypse prepares who he believes it the original son of Cyclops and Madeline Pryor but is, in fact, the clone who will ultimately become Stryfe (it really is as confusing as it sounds) for the eventual transfer of Apocalypse’s consciousness to the child.

Nathan can actually see his adoptive parents (actually his real parents but he doesn’t know that), but even as he yells for them, they cannot hear him as he is only yelling in his mind.  However, in his mind, a familiar red-head appears, Rachel Summers, showing up as a fourteen year old girl, before all of the hardship in her life.  She introduces herself as his sister and goes on a short little speech about being part of a large family, etc.  Meanwhile, in the real world, Redd and Turrin head out, their plan to attack the lab where the legacy virus is being created already in motion.  However, once at the temple, one of Apocalypse’s soldiers, Ch’vayre, ambushes them, disabling Turrin.  However, his intent is not to harm them and is instead to rebel against Apocalypse.

rachel summers

Back inside Nathan’s head, Rachel continues her talk, explaining to him why he  must accept the techno-virus.  She explains that everything that has been done had been done so that he would survive and defeat Apocalypse.  Nathan, of course, is unsure, scared of the battle.  Ultimately, he accepts the responsibility.  As his body starts failing, he manages to pull himself together from certain death and wakes up, much to the excitement of Slym and the astonishment of those around him.

In Apocalypse’s temple, he continues his bonding with Stryfe.  He is interrupted by Ch’vayre and Redd, but they can do little.  However, as the bonding process continues, he suddenly comes to a realization:  Stryfe is not the original son of Cyclops, but a clone.  He tosses Stryfe aside just as Slym and Nathan show up to join Redd.  The three attack in unison.  Together, they are able to disrupt the attempted transfer and Apocalypse dies for the final time.

The instant Apocalypse is dead, Redd begins to fade out, being pulled back to her own time.  She vanishes as Nathan tries to hug her.  Slym has a little more time, but even he starts to fade, able to declare his love for his son.  Soon, they are both gone, leaving Nathan alone.

family

REVIEW

This is one of those issues/series that I never really appreciated as a teenager (I think I may have mentioned me being stupid in one of my earlier blogs).  The art just never caught my attention and so I never really gave it much of a look through.  Years later, though, this became one of my favorite reads of the era.  Not because this issue was so mindblowing by itself, but this miniseries was just an excellent addition to the X-Men mythos.  I know a lot of people aren’t big fans of Cable and I wasn’t much of a fan of his at first, but as the writers started adding an in depth back story, he really became an enjoyable and complex character, even if he did have way too many pockets.

This series was enjoyable for a number of reasons.  As I mentioned, it really added to the Cable origins, but it also explained and expanded on stories started back in the original X-Factor days.  It was also another chance to see Rachel Summers again (and would be the last opportunity to see her for 10 years).  It was actually a family story.  Scott Lobdell (who is absolutely fantastic at showing human emotion) brings across Scott’s love for his son perfectly.  The final scenes in this book with Nathan reaching out to his parents was so touching and made you really sympathetic, knowing who he would eventually grow up to be.  The scenes between Rachel and Nathan were also incredible, really giving you an insight into Rachel that I think had been lacking since Claremont’s days.

The only thing lacking is the art.  Gene Ha’s artwork still isn’t terribly great, but he and Lobdell together do a fantastic job of crafting a world that is truly alien to ours.  Set 2000 years in the future, it would be easy for a writer and artist to make references and use colloquialisms relevant to current time.  Ha, however, designed buildings and landscape that just look nothing like today and Lobdell’s writing brings in all new slang that we would often be exposed to from Cable in the regular universe.

Overall, this issue isn’t fantastic by itself, but it completes the miniseries perfectly.  Give it a read, but start with issue #1.  Even if you’re not a big fan of Cable, you won’t be disappointed.

good-bye

FAVORITE QUOTES

*****************************************************

Rachel Summers:  “This is my favorite version, you know…  Rachel Summers at fourteen, before Charles Xavier was assassinated, before Ahab and his hounds, before the power of the Phoenix,.”

*****************************************************

Scott Summers/Slym:  “No!  I’m his father.  I would know if he were gone!  So long as there’s a spark of life within him I won’t leave him.  I will not give up!”

*****************************************************

Apocalypse:  “Tell me, Xavier…  Can you see me, from the mud and mire that is in your grave?  Do you see I was right all along?  That I outlived you, magneto, Sinister and Holocaust, even your descendants, the Askani!  I outlived you all!”

*****************************************************

Rachel Summers:  “I…won’t be here for the rest of the fight, mom.  So I was wondering if you’d take back the one thing I took from you.  I’d like you to carry it with you and think of me.  I know there’s a lot of pain and hurt attached to the name Phoenix, but there’s a lot of good, I hope, as well.  I tried to do the right thing for all of us.  I tried to save us all.”

*****************************************************

Scott Summers/Slym:  “Someday, you’ll be a cable that unites the past with the present and future – yesterday with today and tomorrow.  You’ll be all those things, Nathan Christopher, but know that you’ll never be alone.”

*****************************************************

Advertisements