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This week in geekdom:  my comic pulls for this week are Astonishing X-Men #3, Generation X #6, X-Men Gold #11, and Iceman #5!

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 Cable #35 (September 1996)

cover

“It Is Always Darkest…”
[Onslaught, Phase 2]

Writer:  Jeph Loeb
Penciler:  Ian Churchill
Inkers:  Scott Hanna & Art Thibert

As the Onslaught rages on, an electromagnetic storm surges over the heroes, most have retreated to safety, except for Invisible Woman (who is intent on saving her son and won’t leave his side) and Cable (because…um…it’s his magazine?).  Protected by both Sue’s invisible shield and Cable’s telekinesis, they still have to exert an effort to stay near the center of the storm.  As they struggle to decide what actions they should take…or rather what actions they can take…a mysterious figure appears behind them.

Apocalypse!  You know it’s bad when a guy whose entire mantra is “the strong survive” is worried about Onslaught.  You’d think he’d be praising Onslaught for being one of the strong.  But nope…Apocalypse doesn’t want to rule a world of ash.  Of course, Cable doesn’t give a damn what Apocalypse wants.  Apocalypse shows up so Cable throws the first punch.  At first, Apocalypse tries to talk down the half-metal man, but when that doesn’t work, he punches back.

Apocalypse

The two finally stop only because Invisible Woman steps between them.  Now, you might be asking “what can a woman who barely weighs anything soaking wet do against two behemoths?”  Well if you ask that, you’re an idiot, because her force field can stop pretty much anything.  Apocalypse finally explains his plan of how to stop Onslaught and while Sue detests him, she would be willing to do anything to save her son.  So Cable agrees to go with ‘Poccy and they vanish into the astral plane.

As they traverse the astral plane, Apocalypse and Cable discuss their hatred for one another.  Apocalypse even offers to remove the techno-organic virus he had infected Cable with as a baby.  Although the offer was no doubt in jest, Cable still refuses.  The approach Onslaught who is holding Franklin prisoner.  When confronted, Onslaught creates three apparitions to battle Cable and Apocalypse:  Magneto, Hulk, and Post.  Cable is the one who primarily takes on the threat, allowing Apocalypse to focus on his primary goal:  not the killing of Onslaught, but the removal of his biggest source of power, Franklin Richards.

cable vs apocalypse

Cable shouts for Mrs. Richards to make her move.  Suddenly, Apocalypse is frozen in place and the Invisible Woman turns visible, having been pulled by Cable into the astral plane.  She is able to stop Apocalypse from killing her son, but when she turns to free Franklin, she is unable to do so and Onslaught drives them all from the astral plane and they find themselves back at the beginning.

Apocalypse is furious and decides to leave them, allowing them to fall on their own.  While Cable tries to comfort Sue, Apocalypse discusses the failure with Uatu, the Watcher.  Uatu admires the humans, unwilling to sacrifice their core beliefs even if it meant losing the war.  But where Uatu sees strength, Apocalypse only sees weakness and fears their strength will mean nothing when Onslaught destroys everything.

Invisible Woman

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 Okay, so ignore for a minute the fact that this is an Onslaught story.  Much like many of the stories in the Onslaught saga before it, it’s actually well written and drawn.  And honestly, this would be a fantastic issue…if it weren’t for Onslaught.  I mean sure, Loeb takes some liberties with Cable’s strength and powers (such as his ability to pull Invisible Woman into the astral plane…he’s never had that degree of finesse before), but the only other problem I have with this one is related to Onslaught.  For some reason, he creates three astral constructs instead of fighting Cable directly.  Because once again, the Marvel writers have crafted a villain so powerful, they really don’t know how to have their heroes defeat him.

But the art is beautiful.  Ian Churchill is, without a doubt, my favorite artist to ever tackle Cable (and Apocalypse even).  Yes, his characters are often larger than life (I mean that literally and figuratively) but they still seem to fit.  Plus, having some well renowned inkers definitely help.  Even Cable’s techno-organic virus, as it is spreading throughout his body, creating almost a comical arm, looks serious here.  It doesn’t look silly.  The detail is incredible and despite the characters taking up such space on the pages, they look like they fit.

Cable

But Cable’s meeting with Apocalypse is what takes the cake.  Imagine your worst enemy.  Then imagine having fought him for 40 years or so of your life.  Then imagine confronting him finally.  And instead of killing him as you’ve dreamt of doing, you have to work along side him.  Yes, Cable is all gung-ho and “blah blah blah I’m gonna shoot crap”, but his interaction with Apocalypse is great.  And when Apocalypse almost admires his own handywork (remember, he infected baby Nathan/Cable with the T-O virus back in X-Factor #65-68), Cable remarks that it’s only made him stronger.  And when Apocalypse facetiously suggests he could always cure Cable of the infection, Cable shoots him down.  “Forget it, Apocalypse.  I’ve lived with it this long.  I’ll deal with it.”

So there you have it…forget about Onslaught…just read it for Cable vs Apocalypse.  That part of it is actually fairly enjoyable.

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