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Friday, February 8, 2019

X-amining Cable #18

"The Dark Ride Part 2: Judgement Day"
December 1994

In a Nutshell
Cable, Domino, Storm & Caliban track the Dark Riders to Egypt.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inkers: Sellers, Lowe, Barta, Carani, Ryan, Branch,
Letterer: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Snake Charmer: Bob Harras
Elephant Boy: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Hunting for the Dark Riders, Cable, Domino, Storm & Caliban arrive in Alexandria, Egypt, where Caliban is able to locate Tusk. Captured, he agrees to lead them to his teammates, but when they're surrounded by a sandstorm Storm can't control, they realize it's a trap just as the Dark Riders attack. Cable and his companions once again hold their own, prompting Gauntlet to turn on Hurricane, who twice promised he could defeat Storm and twice failed, declaring that he's been tested and failed. But Harddrive teleports the Dark Riders away, followed shortly thereafter by Cable and his companions. They arrive in a ruined city which Cable recognizes as Akkaba, a place where, in the future, Cable's rebel group will establish a base, not realizing it is the birthplace of Apocalypse. Just then, the Dark Riders emerge from the city behind their leader, who removes his helmet to reveal that he is Cable's son, Tyler.

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue reveals that the leader of the new Dark Riders is Cable's son, Tyler, last seen in issue #8. Next issue will establish that he's taken the name Genesis and declared himself Apocalypse's heir.


It's also established here that the Egyptian city of Akkaba is the birthplace of Apocalypse (and also the future home of a Clan Chosen base); much of the later Rise of Apocalypse miniseries will be set there.


The Chronology Corner 
Cable & Domino appear here between issues #39 and #40 of X-Force. Storm appears in this story after "Phalanx Covenant" but before Uncanny X-Men #318, and thus, before her trip to Egypt in X-Men Unlimited #7.

A Work in Progress
Caliban is back to talking like he did early in the Simonson X-Factor, heavy on the Third Person and nicknames (here he calls Domino “Patch Eye" (also, the dialogue suggests Domino doesn't know who Kitty Pryde is, which seems...odd, from a tactical perspective if nothing else).


Former Dark Eiders Tusk & Barrage are shown to be working with the new group.


The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
When Harddrive teleports the Riders away, Domino gets in a good joke about how shouting about it always helps...


To the EXTREME! 
When Cable threatens to kill Tusk, Storm notes that’s not how the X-Men do things, though Cable isn’t really doing anything Wolverine hasn’t done countless times.


The Cable Guy
Inspired by Cyclops, Cable fires off a series of telekinetic blasts to protect an innocent bystander from wreckage.


Cable thinks that he’s starting to consider his mutant abilities like a secret weapon.


The loss of Cable’s ability to teleport is acknowledged.


Austin's Analysis
There’s a feeling of a deja vu to this issue, as it hits more or less the same beats as the previous one, with Cable, Domino, Storm & Caliban battling the new Dark Riders while Cable continues to expand the frequency and use of his powers. The big difference just transplants the setting of the fight, from the Morlock Tunnels to Egypt, at least until the cliffhanger reveals that Cable's son Tyler is the new leader of the Dark Riders. It's a long way over familiar terrain to get there, but the Tyler reveal is a good one, bringing back the closest thing this series has to a recurring villain and, through his usurpation of the Dark Riders, connecting him to the legacy of Apocalypse at a time when, in the wake of The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, Cable's own connections to that character have never been stronger. Tyler has always been an awkward character - Cable has enough baggage before "evil grown son" gets tossed into the mix (and that's even before we get into the whole Tolliver mishigas) - but connecting him to the legacy of Apocalypse is probably the best possible lemonade to be made with him.

Next Issue
Next week: "Legion Quest" begins in Uncanny X-Men #320, X-Factor finds themselves in Madripoor in X-Factor #110, and Wolverine makes it to New York in Wolverine #89.

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6 comments:

  1. I always loved when we got issues with villain groups, the Dark Riders were one of my favorite and I liked that their membership constantly was changing because they were killing each other off. I never understood why Caliban suddenly became stupid in this book and even more in X-Force when his last few appearances in X-Factor before the issue 71 reboot he wasn't this dumb.

    Cable looks like he is de-aged in this issue and he’s younger than Tyler. Besides the white hair, he’s easily in his late 20’s/early 30’s when he’s been shown mostly as a 50+ year old man and this continues his de-aged look for some time. I really enjoyed the art on the book around this period but he’s been de-aged, almost like the younger Cable running around in today’s X-books.

    Tyler being back always felt strange, he’s Cable’s adopted son and we didn’t have much back story as far as how long Cable had raised him (or did he, sketchy memory on this part as I didn't care much at the time and I'm not sure I do much now, it's one of those less important continuity details). Didn’t he also have a tie to Zero and that the Zero unit worked for him after Stryfe died and his programming changed after Toliver died, but he didn’t really die, it’s shown he’s still alive here. Am I off on this, I know I might be remembering things incorrectly here. But with he Deadpool mini and then Excalibur with Zero and then Douglock, it feels all tied together while Tyler/Tolliver is just getting the Dark Riders to follow him. Why not bring back Deadpool who's much more effective working for him. Did the DR start working for him after they offered their services to Sinister in X-Men 23? I believe that was the last time we saw them before this issue. They almost feel like the Minions looking for the most evil person and then working for them when they find him but completely inept on their own.

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    1. Thank you for the disturbing mental image of a bunch of Minions trying to re-adamantium Wolverine.

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    2. I never understood why Caliban suddenly became stupid in this book and even more in X-Force when his last few appearances in X-Factor before the issue 71 reboot he wasn't this dumb.

      I think (at this point) it's less that he's stupid and more that he's returning to his more child-like/innocent state. He spoke in third person, using nicknames, right up until he threw in with Apocalypse during "Fall of Mutants" (when he joins Apocalypse in X-FACTOR #25, he very pointedly starts to refer to himself in the third person before correcting himself). So assuming Loeb is even thinking about this (and not just more familiar with the pre-evil Caliban than the more recent iteration), he could be consciously trying to equate "third-person, nickname-using" Caliban with good, and the more erudite version with bad (of course, Loeb eventually will write Caliban as more overtly childlike, but I think it's a more gradual thing and he's not at that point yet).

      Cable looks like he is de-aged in this issue and he’s younger than Tyler.

      He does look a little younger here, but I seem to recall Ian Churchill (who takes over shortly) gives him an appropriately grizzled air.

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  2. // Storm appears in this story … before her trip to Egypt in X-Men Unlimited #7. //

    I was afraid of that, since there’s no reference here to a recent visit, but even though Alexandria is not Cairo her level of emotion in that story over returning to her old haunts suggests, at least per my reading of it, that she hasn’t been back to Egypt in general for some time. Oh well... Minor continuity blemish, really, in the scheme of things.

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    1. And we were spared the scene of Storm returning to the US with Cable and Domino, then turning right around and flying back to Egypt with Jean and Gambit.

      wwk5d

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    2. even though Alexandria is not Cairo her level of emotion in that story over returning to her old haunts suggests, at least per my reading of it, that she hasn’t been back to Egypt in general for some time.

      Yeah, X-MEN UNLIMITED #7 definitely reads better if it takes place before this story. I'm just going off the work of others in terms of the chronology (the Official Marvel Index, the MCP), so I assume there's a reason the stories are in the order they are, though I can't think of anything in either that directly makes the case for the placement of one before or after the other.

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