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Thursday, September 30, 2021

X-amining Cable #38

"In Perspective"

December 1996

In a Nutshell

Cable, Domino, and Kane meet the Micronauts

Writer: Jeph Loeb

Penciler: Ian Churchill

Inkers: Vince Russell & Ian Hanna 

Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft AD

Colorist: Mike Thomas

Enhancements: Graphic Color Works

Editor: Mark Powers

Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras


Cable, Domino & Kane finds themselves transported into the Microverse aboard the mysterious ship they entered in their pursuit of Psycho-Man and the captive Vanessa. Inside the microscopic universe, they are attacked by warships sent by Psycho Man, but are rescued by the arrival of Commander Rann, Mari, and Bug, the remaining Micronauts. Rann explains that he sent the ship to Cable in order to find help on Earth to stop Psycho-Man's attempted conquest of the Microverse. Realizing Cable is allies with Rann's old friends the X-Men, the two groups agree to work together to stop Psycho Man and rescue Vanessa. Meanwhile, on Earth, G.W. Bridge arrives in San Francisco, still trying to track down Cable. Back in the Microverse,  Psycho-Man hopes to use Kane's cybernetics to augment his soldiers to aid his conquest, but when he realizes he's captured Vanessa, not Kane, he decides to use her to lure the real Kane to him. As Cable, Domino, Kane and the Micronauts attack Psycho-Man's base and his zombie soldiers, Cable's telepathic defenses falter, and Psycho-Man fills him with doubt. Kane, however, manages to breach the ship, only to be filled with hatred by Psycho-Man, hatred he directs towards Cable! 

Firsts and Other Notables

The Micronauts - at least the ones original to the Marvel comic book and thus the ones Marvel still owns outright - guest star in this issue, consisting of Commander Rann, Mari (aka Marionette) and Bug. (oddly enough, Bug gets a one-shot special in early '97, presumably on the strength of his appearance in this story). This is the first published appearance of the characters (outside a cameo in New Mutants #50) since the end of their most recent series and the end of Marvel's Micronauts license, and it establishes that all of the other Micronauts have died. 

The Micronauts history with the X-Men is referenced by Cable. 

Bridge shows up in the theater where Kane and Vanessa were hanging out last issue, still trying to track down Cable; where Jeph Loeb is going with this Bridge stuff remains unclear, as he disappears from the story after this issue and next turns up in X-Force #63, written by John Francis Moore, with no direct reference to his actions here. 

A Work in Progress

Cable compares the Micronauts' talking ship to Professor. 

At one point, Domino takes control of the ship, saying her powers will help her pilot it to the best outcome, while also noting she's never tried to use her powers that proactively before. 

Psycho-Man notes that he's able to make his move on the Microverse thanks to the absence of his traditional enemies, the Fantastic Four. 

The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s

For whatever reason, Kane's 90s goatee really sticks out in this issue, making him look like the "older than the rest" member of a late 90s era boy band, or a character in a Kevin Smith film. 

Austin's Analysis

More efficient if unexciting plotting from Jeph Loeb, just like over in X-Force. This is a classic "part two of three" issue, establishing the villain's plan (use Kane's cybernetics to augment Psycho Man's army of Dog Soldiers so he can conquer the Microverse while the Fantastic Four are "dead") and move the protagonists into place for the finale. It also contributes the X-line's engagement with the larger Marvel Universe post-"Onslaught", as the Micronauts (or, at least, the wholly-owned by Marvel Micronauts) join the fight against Psycho Man. They don't really serve a narrative purpose here, beyond the mechanics of providing Cable, Domino, and Kane both materiel and intelligence support, but they also don't get in the way of the main characters. The end result is perfectly fine, but like so many stories of this post-"Onslaught" era (especially these "part two of three" issues), it's hard to get too excited about anything here, aside from Kane's delightfully 90s goatee. 

Next Issue

Next week: Generation X #22 and X-Force #61!

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1 comment:

  1. I seem to recall enjoying this arc upon its initial release. It wasn't memorable but was more engaging than some of the other titles being published at the time.

    I was a major fan of Ian Churchill at this time, so that helped. His sense of proportion is strange but his style usually made up for it. Of course, that only works with the right inker and some of those panels look a little muddy.

    Kane with a goatee looks somewhat like Forge in X-Men: Evolution.


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