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Friday, October 2, 2020

X-amining Cable #30

"For Every Action"
April 1996

In a Nutshell
Cable tracks down Nate Grey

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Ian Churchill
Inker: Scott Hanna
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Separations: Malibu Hues
Knight in the Realm: Mark Powers
King: Bob Harras

Somewhere in the Swiss Alps, Exodus emerges from his tomb, just as he once did 800 years ago, refreshed yet hungering for the power he senses nearby. Meanwhile, Cable is flying over the Alps in pursuit of Nate Grey; as he draws closer to the boy, he begins to experience Nate's memories. Nate, leading Threnody to an unknown destination to which he feels himself drawn, begins to experience Cable's memories. They end up at one of Cable's safehouses. Nate sees a photo of Cable, recognizing him as an older version of himself. Just then, Cable arrives and offers to help Nate, but Nate reacts instinctively and blasts Cable out of the house. Cable responds by letting Nate read his mind, but when he sees images of Xavier, Moira, Sinister, and Apocalypse, his suspicion deepens, and when Blaquesmith arrives to warn Cable of the presence of someone powerful coming closer, Nate destroys the safe house. In the aftermath of the explosion, Nate finds himself face to face with Exodus.

Firsts and Other Notables
Cable & Nate Grey, after circling each other for the last few issues of their respective series, come face to face with each other for the first time in this issue, which kicks off a three part crossover between their books (continuing in X-Man #14 and Cable #31).

Exodus, not seen since X-Men (vol. 2) #43, emerges from his secret chamber after recuperating from his battle with Holocaust in that issue; he will stick around to serve as the (non-Nate Grey) antagonist of this story.

His history with the Black Knight, teased during their brief interaction in the "Bloodties" crossover, is referenced here, via an issue-opening flashback which finds the time-traveling Black Knight opening Exodus' tomb/crypt/regeneration chamber in medieval times; their full history together will eventually be told in the Black Knight: Exodus one-shot later in 1996, because the 90s.

The last pages of this issue are devoted to "Mapping the Mission", a retrospective of sorts of Cable's history, providing, amongst other things, a summary of The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix for any readers of this series who didn't pick up that one (I am assuming Ian Churchill couldn't finish all the pages of this issue on time, so this was whipped up to pad out the page count, but that's 100% conjecture on my part).

A Work in Progress
As they draw closer to one another, Nate & Cable begin to experience the other’s memories.

Without realizing it, Nate is being drawn to one of Cable’s safe houses in the Swiss Alps, which makes him believe that is why he landed where he did when he crashed to Earth in X-Man #5 (it's never really made clear if this is the same safe house as was featured in earlier issues of the series, but if it is, it gets destroyed here).

Austin's Analysis
Cable meets X-Man for the first time, which is a big deal if you're super into Cable in 1996 (Marvel certainly was; I was too, to a lesser extent), and it goes about the same as all of the various "Nate Grey meets __!" stories go (so, you know, the vast majority of Nate Grey stories at this point): Nate is a brat, assumes the worst of everyone, and turns everything into a even-by-superhero-comic-standards pointless Misunderstanding Fight. Which is a shame, coming as this does just one month after Excalibur #95, in which the "Nate reacts to everyone with suspicion & violence!" trope was seemingly put to rest. Basically, what this issue really needs is more of Moira telling Nate to shut up. Instead, it has Exodus, with the glimpses of his past and his general setup (he has some kind of regenerative chamber a la Apocalypse, apparently) making for the most interesting parts of this issue. And when Exodus is the most interesting part of an issue, you know it's got problems. 

Next Issue
Next week: Bishop, Gambit, and (Dark) Beast ride a train in X-Men (vol. 2) #51 while the X-Ternals have a bad day in X-Force #53!

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