Cable and his gang track down the killer of Externals! And it may not be who you think! Meanwhile, Selene is hot on their tails!
Authors: Ed Brisson
Artists: Jon Malin
Colors: Jesus Aburtov
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
Someone is killing the Externals earlier than should have ever happened. Someone is messing with the time stream and Cable has put together a team to stop him. Cassandra, Saul, and Burke have already died. As Cable is heading to look in on Gideon, Selene is getting her own assistance from Blink.
What You’ll Find Out:
Cable, Doop, and Armor meet up with Shatterstar, Longshot, and X-23. They regroup to track down Gideon. At Gideon’s safehouse in the mountains, the door opens for them (saving Cable the trouble of having to break in) and they are greeted by a cybernetic version of Eve, Gideon’s assistant. The room is filled with tanks (almost like aquariums) each holding a telepath. They find Gideon in a sort of stasis chamber, recuperating after the events of X-Force #52 (Brisson is really digging into X-Force’s past for this one). But when Cable asks to look around, Eve resists. And when Doop decides to just knock on Gideon’s capsule, it is suddenly lowered into the floor and an alarm blares.
In Tonasket, Washington, Selene’s crew arrives at Burke’s place to find him dead. Selene is surprised, though, since all Externals are supposed to have a psychic link and she should have felt his death. Which means that the killer is even able to suppress the link. Selene decides to leave for Colorado.
A new cybernetic organism, Adam, orders Cable and his crew to leave, this time under threat of violence. Of course, Shatterstar and X-23 are ready to fight instead. When suddenly Gideon shows up, but not the wounded body in the capsule. Instead, it is a fit and healthy Gideon. And through conversation, we find out that this Gideon is from the future and he is the one responsible for killing the Externals. And when Cable still refuses to leave, the telepaths held in tubes all around Gideon’s complex attack. Doop throws up a telepathic shield and when Adam attacks, X-23 easily decapitates him.
Gideon isn’t finished, however. As he leaves the room, a horde of monsters attack, creatures Gideon brought back from the distant future. As Armor and Longshot go after Gideon, Cable and the rest deal with these future creatures (which Shatterstar and X-23 are fine with as they finally get to fight). Armor breaks through the door after Gideon but finds even more trouble. Every single telepath has been released…and is standing between her and Gideon.
What Just Happened?
Okay…rule number one in dealing with time travel stories is don’t talk about fight club…I mean…avoid specifics in the years between events. And unfortunately, Brisson seems to have forgotten this. See…time in comics move differently than the readers’ time. That’s why even though the X-Men have been around since the 60’s, Beast is still in his late 30’s…maybe. But if time moved the same, Beast would be…. Around 60-70? Magneto would have long ago died of old age. It just doesn’t work. And unfortunately, Brisson mentions two different lengths of time which completely screw up any hope of understanding this story. The story opens in Mongolia, 13 years ago. Then they mention how Gideon has been asleep/in stasis since X-Force #52…for 10 years. Which means that X-Force #52 took place 23 years ago. Which makes no sense. It may have been written 23 years ago (I’m not bothering to check the actual publishing date because it’s rather irrelevant), but in comic book time, it did not take place 23 years ago. The characters haven’t aged 2 decades.
And I realize it may come across as nitpicking, but let’s face it…that describes most comic fans, and this problem could have easily been avoided by simply stating “Mongolia, years ago”. But because of that, as soon as they mention the time difference between X-Force #52 and this issue, it was ruined for me. It is true that maybe they’re jumping all around through time. But then Brisson left out crucial information as we switched scenes…because no other scene mentions the passing of time in the narration which means that for us, the entire book takes place 13 years ago. And that is one of the biggest problems I had with this issue. Up until now, I was able to explain away all the discrepancies by just saying “oh, they’re jumping around in time”. But now? I feel like the entire arc is made less by this single issue.
And I swear I’m not trying to just attack Brisson here… but two issues with Blink and yet we don’t even get a single line of dialogue? I mean, I don’t expect major character development here, especially since we’re getting yet another creative team after this arc, but come on! We’ve at least had plenty of interactions with all the others, including Doop. But for Blink? She puts on a shocked face at the sight of a heartless (literally) External. That’s it. Even though she was on the solicits for this new team, we’ve had zero interaction with her. I’m getting really frustrated.
The issue wasn’t horrible, though. Don’t get me wrong. The art was pretty good (although if you didn’t like the art in the previous two, you won’t like it here). I really enjoy Malin’s work and his ink. The shadows are great and his facial expressions really do convey so much more than the dialogue.
Also, as an issue outside of the overall X-Universe, it’s not bad. The action is good, the suspense is good, the dialogue is fun and sometimes witty. It just doesn’t fit well with someone who’s been reading for years.
To leave you with one more positive thing, though, I absolutely loved the scene with Shatterstar where he actually questions Cable.
Final Thoughts: Brisson flounders a bit as he breaks a cardinal rule of stories involving time travel. And still no Blink! The story itself is fun but as a whole, it lowers the overall quality of the arc. Cable may be on his last leg unless we can get something amazing next issue.