Talking about comic books, TV shows, movies, sports, and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

X-amining Incredible Hulk #444

"Cable Vision"
August 1996

In a Nutshell
Cable (and Storm) battle Hulk (some more). 

Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Angel Medina
Inks: Robin Riggs
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Enhancement: Malibu
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Storm races after Cable, who's been captured by the Hulk. He leaps away, and lands inside a magazine office, where Hulk spots a pinup of model Betty Page; the name "Betty" causes him to pause in his attack, giving Cable an opening to get inside his mind. He tries to remove the blocks Onslaught has placed around Bruce Banner's mind, to no avail. He emerges from Hulk's mind just as Hulk prepares to attack; Storm intervenes with a tornado that tosses Hulk away, but he sends Cable flying as well. Cable grabs a gun from a nearby sporting goods store and fires a gas pellet at Hulk. Storm ensures Hulk breathes in the gas, leaving him open to a combined attack as she hits him with lightning and Cable goes back into his mind to free Banner. Later, Hulk joins Cable & Storm as they proceed to rendezvous with the rest of the X-Men, determined to get a piece of Onslaught for messing with his mind. 

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue continues & concludes the story began in Cable #34, though it largely sidesteps the cliffhanger ending of the previous issue (in which Storm & Cable were confronted by the mindless savage Hulk); they're still fighting Hulk, but it's not entirely clear that he's mindless at the start of the issue, and shortly thereafter he snaps back to, at least, a mind-controller version of Professor Hulk. In the end, Cable frees Hulk from Onslaught's mind control, and he throws in with the X-Men, setting up his involvement in the rest of the crossover. 

In a testament to the inconsistency with which the "Phase" and "Impact" sub-crossover labels are applied, this issue is labeled an "Impact" chapter, despite carrying over directly from an issue that was labeled as part of the more narratively-relevant (theoretically) "Phase One". Certainly, in the grand scheme of things, this story is much more on the "Impact" level than a critical part of the overall "Onslaught" narrative, but you'd think Marvel would at least keep the labels consistent across a crossover-within-the-crossover. 

In the course of the story, Cable thinks back an event from his childhood, where he wounded an enemy combatant but then promised to find him help, only to find the combatant dead when he returned, leaving Cable to wonder if he truly tried as hard as he could to find help. Cable says it's something he's thought about every day since, but of course, this is the first (and only) time it's been mentioned. 

A Work in Progress
In a brief quasi-flashback involving Janis (a Hulk character who is, if I remember correctly, Rick Jones' time-traveling granddaughter), we see the moment when Onslaught took control of Hulk (through some kind of weird time-traveling thing Janis does). 

Here, Cable compares himself to Hulk by saying while he is trying to control his body, Bruce Banner is trying to control his mind. 

Storm & Cable's plan here is not dissimilar to what they did in Cable #34: hit Hulk with enough lightning to "short" him out, like rebooting a computer, allowing Cable an opening to get into his mind. 

Austin's Analysis
While this does technically continue the story begun in Cable #34, it reads mostly as a retread of the first chapter; in some places, it's almost beat-for-beat identical in terms of plot. Like Jeph Loeb, Peter David attempts to create a thematic connection between Cable and Hulk/Bruce Banner, though he twists it a bit, casting Cable as someone trying to control his body and Banner as someone trying to control his mind. He also attempts to create something of an arc for Cable, tying a heretofore-unmentioned childhood experience to his conflict with the Hulk and citing it as his motivation for not giving up when he seemingly kills the Hulk, but there's really not enough room to do it justice and it comes off ham-fisted. It also ends the Cable/Hulk fight in pretty much the exact same way as in the previous chapter, with Cable & Storm teaming-up to use their powers in concert, in the exact same way (Storm's lightning to create an opening for a telepathic attack from Cable). The only difference being, here, it works (with the only apparent reason for that being that Cable spends a little more time poking around in Hulk's mind this time, something he specifically couldn't do in the previous chapter due to his weakened condition, a condition that should have only gotten worse in the course of this issue). The art here, in terms of presenting dynamic & energetic action sequences, is a tick better (I prefer Churchill's figure work, but Medina's layouts and pacing here give a better sense of the physical actions of the various characters), but aside from that (and a few cutaways to Hulk-specific subplots) you'd be hard pressed to tell this apart from Cable #34, which, of course, just underscores the superfluousness & mercenary motivations behind this crossover-within-a-crossover. 

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Excalibur takes on the Hellfire Club in Excalibur #100. Next week, Generation X #18 and Wolverine #104!

Like what you read? Then support us on Patreon & gain access to exclusive reviews of Ms. Marvel and more!


  1. I largely avoided the crossovers for Onslaught, because they seemed so superfluous, but now I realize that I missed out on Angel Medina working with Peter David again. Their run on Dreadstar on First Comics (up until First fell over and died) was amazing. I did know that Medina went full on Image style in the 90s, but I completely missed that he worked with David again.

    Don't get me started on First Comics, or we'll be here all day.

  2. Honestly, I prefer this issue over the Cable one. While it covers a lot of the same beats I think Peter David gives it a little more pop than Loeb did.

    I never paid attention to the artist on Hulk, as I was never a fan, but looking back it's hard to believe that Angel Medina didn't gain more prominence at Marvel. While he's doing his best 90s style here it's laid on a solid foundation that some of his contemporaries lacked.

    That flashback is really emblematic of the big "mysterious" characters of the decade. Thankfully Cable doesn't get as saturated with it as Wolverine did.

    1. He spent most of the 90s working for Image, didn't he? I know he was the artist on that Kiss Psycho Circus comic they put out. And yeah, if you want to see prime Angel Medina, go look up that Dreadstar run I mentioned, the art was gorgeous before Medina went all Image.

  3. What?! Am I the only one who thinks that Angel Medina’s art in the Hulk comic is horrible?!

    1. Angel Medina's art on everything is terrible. I haven't found one thing where I thought the art was decent. Some artists you appreciate as you get older like Mike Mignola, not with Medina.

  4. Recently re-read this era of Hulk. If anyone who doesn't read Hulk regularly is curious, the pea-green coloring and longer hair isn't a mistake. It's a new, short-lived incarnation of the Hulk between Professor and Classic Savage that began to rear its head when he was injured a few issues back. This Hulk doesn't last long, as after Onslaught we get mindless Hulk in his normal shade of green for a year or two's worth of issues.

  5. Wow. Hulk’s face is all wrong and the art is… not my taste.


Comment. Please. Love it? Hate it? Are mildly indifferent to it? Let us know!