Reeling from the events of "X of Swords," Cable turns back to the matter of missing mutant babies... a matter he knows a thing or two about
The epic “X of Swords” event is over, the Light of Galador has served its purpose, and Nathan Summers works for S.W.O.R.D. now. So what is there for Cable to do in his own solo title? Cable #7 returns to the relatively smaller-scale story of mutant babies kidnapped by the Order of X, a cult of mutant-worshipping humans inspired by Xavier’s telepathic declaration of a new era. Nathan’s fixation on ensuring his own history of being kidnapped, used, and displaced as a baby does not repeat itself echoes the ethos of Krakoa: cycles of violence are broken now that mutants can thrive in the world. Rachel Summers joins Nathan on his mission, not as the elderly matriarchal Mother Askani leading rebel fighters in a distant and dystopic future like the old days, but as his cool and confident big sister. While these cults of mutant-worshipping humans are a thread from House of X, the ways writer Gerry Duggan warmly fleshes out the Summers-Grey family as they experiment with domesticity has given the book its real purpose. Cable is the closest the X-line has come to the slice-of-life genre and that is what makes it as endearing as it is meaningful.
This book also exists because Cable is a rare X-men character with multiple long-running solo titles, even if it might feel like other characters deserve the attention more right now. Duggan smartly trades in Old Man Cable’s giant guns for the warmth of a family that consistently loves and supports this Teen Cable. While using Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Rachel as supporting characters is a revelation for Cable as a solo book, the character’s historical collection of antagonists produces this issue’s biggest weakness. Stryfe, Cable’s clone from the future he was raised in, is revealed to be the mastermind behind the kidnappings. The X-Books have so effectively blasted apart old-fashioned and out-dated notions of “good” versus “evil” mutants that bringing Stryfe into the fold this way feels like a step backward.
The predictable twist is not without merit as Duggan uses Stryfe as an opportunity to tease some of the peculiarities underpinning Krakoa’s establishment. A data page informs the reader that Sage has alerted Beast to Cable’s request to see files on Stryfe that are restricted because they contain information about the future and Apocalypse’s past. This brief data page ties into Beast’s tight control over information, reminds readers that precognition is secretly banned on Krakoa, and teases Apocalypse’s instrumental role in mutant history. These are examples of Cable #7 offering connective tissue between books that help make the X-line feel consistent and cohesive. On top of that data page, the issue also utilizes Rachel’s role in X-Factor and has Cyclops hint at the highly anticipated team of X-men he is assembling with Jean Grey.
The artwork is stellar as Phil Noto’s pencils and colours are a perfect match for the slice-of-life elements of this issue. Noto’s characters are expressive and stylish, with Rachel in particular sporting a very cool jacket. The image of Cyclops in his superhero costume with a dishcloth draped over his shoulder perfectly emblematizes the charm of this issue and the series overall.
Elevated by stunning art, Cable #7 breaks cycles of violence while adding heart and healthy communication. Seeing Cable interact with his family used to be a rare treat, but readers are eating just as well as members of the Summer House these days. Krakoa would be well-served by more glimpses into the everydayness of mutant life.
Cable #7: Families Made Whole
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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