Hey there!  Now that Onslaught is over, I decided to take a little break!  I did post part 2 of the Kitty Monologues if you’d like to check those out.  And now that I’m feeling refreshed, I can continue on with the 90’s!

If you’d like to stay up to date with my reviews of these TWENTY YEAR OLD ISSUES (wow that makes me feel old), follow me on twitter @psychodadcomics.  You can also check out newer reviews by me and other fans at Shoot the Breeze Comics!

New comics this week (although it was back on Wednesday):  Batman the Murder Machine, Cable #5, First Strike, First Strike Micronauts, Flash #31, Marvel Legacy #1, and X-Men Blue #12!

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Cable #36 (October 1996)

The Gift

cover

Writer:  Jeph Loeb
Penciler:  Bernard Chang
Inker:  Scott Hanna

So remember last issue how Cable was struggling with his T-O Virus thanks in large part to the havoc Onslaught unleashed?  Well it hasn’t gotten better.  In fact, it’s gotten worse.  Now that the battle is over and the adrenaline is subsiding, the virus has pretty much taken over Cable’s entire body.  So in the upper levels of the Fantastic four building, Nathaniel Richards (Mr. Fantastic’s dad) is doing his best to help Cable while Franklin Richards, Cannonball, Domino, Caliban, and Storm all watch.  Amazingly, though, Franklin is the one optimist, despite his entire family dead.

Cable is incoherent, mumbling in his Askani language, lashing out,  One such outburst sends Caliban through the giant hole in the wall.  Cannonball, however, saves him from the drop to the street below.  Then, in an attempt to calm Cable to that Nathaniel can work on him, Sam starts to talk to him, even as Cable looks at his protege and sees his own son instead.

Cannonball

Somewhere else, Cable approaches a single tree atop a peaceful hill, where his son, Tyler, is sitting.  Tyler, although dead, looks happy.  Cable, however, expresses regret at not having been able to save Tyler, but Tyler reminds Cable that it was Stryfe who set things in motion so many years ago, Stryfe that was responsible for Tyler’s madness, not Cable’s failure.  And there’s no use in crying about what has happened and wishing what was different.  After all…  “What is…is.”  And then Tyler asks Cable to keep fighting.  To not give up.

But back in reality, Cable’s T-O Virus is spreading, reaching his brain and causing his telekinesis to go wild, flinging debris throughout the room.  Despite Nathaniel’s best efforts, he is failing and as the metal encases Cable’s brain, Nathaniel suggests that they get Cable’s loved ones there to say good-bye.  But Storm is not willing to accept that.  She instead approaches Cable and grabs his hand.

storm

In the mindscape (or afterlife or whatever it’s supposed to be), Cable is now seeing his wife Aliya (sometimes known as Jenskot).  Like Tyler, she reminds him that she is at peace and she is happy.  And although Cable wants nothing more than to spend eternity with her, he knows he has to return to the real world.  And thus Aliya and Tyler both vanish into a blinding white light.

And in the real world, suddenly, inexplicably, the virus begins to recede, pulling back from his body, once again forming the metal arm that is recognizable.  And finally, Cable wakes up, standing up as if nothing was wrong.

cable

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This is an unexpected epilogue to the Onslaught series.  And of course there’s other endings in the core X-Men titles.  I’m torn between thinking this a touching and heartfelt story and thinking this is just way too corny.  The idea of seeing your loved ones in the afterlife and them spurring you to come back to life has been done and this IS a comic book, after all.

I do think this is what Jeph Loeb did well with Cable, though.  He inserted heart into it.  Sure, it may be a little cheesy, but Cable was not just a warrior.  He was a father and a husband and had led a hard life knowing very little happiness as all this tragedy had befallen him.  His wife had been killed (by Stryfe I believe but I can’t remember).  His son was killed by Wolverine after becoming evil.  I truly believe that there was a part of Cable that wished for death so that the pain would end.

To that end, it’s hard to say if his conversations with Aliya and Tyler were real or imaginary.  But does it really matter?  If they were imaginary, then it was Cable talking with himself, but if they were real, it was still a decision Cable had to make for himself.  So maybe this was his own version of the afterlife (comic books have never kept things straight and that’s what we get for reading these super hero soap operas) or maybe this was Cable finally coming to terms with his own Askani teachings and accepting that it was time to move on, to stop living in the past.

Which brings me to something that I love brought up in Cable issues.  I’m not 100% sure if Jeph Loeb created this aspect, but it’s reminiscent of both how I try to live my life as well as the famous Serenity prayer.  “Grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  The askani saying is a much more simpler version (which goes along with much of their philosophy):  “What Is…  is…”  Don’t get upset about things you cannot change.  Don’t worry.  Focus on what you can do instead.  It would often drive my ex nuts because I don’t get worried very easily.  I don’t get agitated.  After all, why worry about something that’s outside of my control?  it’s a much…easier…way to live your life.

Cable meaning

And that’s part of why even if this issue wasn’t flashy, sometimes corny, and the art wasn’t stellar, it was still a good issue to read.  And a good way to end Onslaught.

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