Things look bad for Krakoa. The tournament goes poorly. It's young Cable's turn to fight... but is Nathan Dayspring Askani'son remotely prepared for the fight of his life?
And even if he wins, could anything possibly turn the tide in Krakoa's favor? Cable isn't the only warrior to duel this day...
Phil Noto continues his artistic win streak on this latest volume of Cable with issue six. The man, in a word, is unstoppable: one part Alex Ross, one part Glenn Orbik, he oozes both warmth and intensity in equal measure, delivering an absolutely gorgeous book from start to finish. If you pick up no other chapter of “X of Swords” this month, pick up Cable #6 for the art alone. You won’t be sorry.
As an installment of the mammoth 22-part “X of Swords,” this chapter inches readers closer to the finish line, as a cloud of doom hangs over the X-Men. Down by a seemingly-insurmountable deficit in the tournament against Arrako, it’s Cable’s turn to duel against Doug Ramsey’s new bride Bei the Blood Moon. Given the X-Men’s track record throughout this tournament, the deck is not only stacked against the Youngest Liefeldian, it’s being dealt from the bottom thanks to Saturnyne’s duplicity. I will say that having this particular twist has been a double-edged blade for “X of Swords:” on the one hand, it means the fights aren’t just straightforward, predictable duels. That’s good. The downside is, it’s lead to some extremely anticlimactic fights that end suddenly for the sake of moving the story forward instead of delivering on promised spectacle. Of course, moving the story forward is necessary lest we get caught in the doldrums of padding (see: The Dinner That Never Ends); but to do so in such a way that frustrates readers is problematic at best.
Writer Gerry Duggan threads the needle between both extremes with Cable’s fight this issue, giving fans what they may not want but doing so in a way that delivers a genuine emotional gut-punch. The second fight, on the other hand, flips the script into the other extreme in an unexpected way, changing the stakes but in a way that could be interpreted as a cheap shortcut. It’s either clever or not, depending on the reader’s perspective. Duggan clearly wanted to go for clever; he has a solid enough track record that I’m willing to grant him that. With only three installments left after this, “X of Swords” suddenly seems to be putting the pedal to the metal to cram as much story in as possible. Whether that proves to be too little too late remains to be determined; either way, this crossover has proven to be a very unique experience in the X-Men’s nearly-six-decade history.
The resident X-collective hasn’t proven they can stick the landing yet, but they’ve definitely proven they’re willing to take risks and subvert expectations. Surely that’s worth something!
Cable #6 brings the emotional thunder in this latest installment of X of Swords. Things look crushingly bleak, but a surprise twist may yet turn the tide... #MarvelComics
Cable #6 (XoS Chapter 19): The Art of War
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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