August 3, 2009
I think this comic was really just a promotional piece to try to create fingerbeam technology.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Believe it or not, there have been characters created by Rob Liefeld that didn't totally suck. Just most of them. Such is the case with Cable.
(Cut to two images of Cable)
Linkara (v/o): Cable is the son of Cyclops and Madeline Pryor from an alternate future, where the supervillain Apocalypse has taken over the world.
Linkara: You know, it's fascinating that a comic series like the X-Men, which is supposed to be a morality play on oppressed minorities – i.e., a reflection of reality – always seems to find ways of bringing in elements like aliens and time travel into their storylines.
(More images of Cable are shown)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the point being that this character, despite being one of the first characters to follow the Rob Liefeld pattern of pouches and impossible musculature, has survived to this day, second only in popularity to another Rob Liefeld creation, Deadpool. Though, in fairness, Rob just created Deadpool, not the personality of Deadpool that people love to this day.
Linkara: But we're not here to talk about the awesomeness that is Deadpool. So let's dig into (holds up comic of review) "Cable #1".
(AT4W title sequence plays; title card has the Star Wars Imperial March playing in the background; cut to a closeup of the cover of the Cable comic)
Linkara (v/o): Now, this is actually called "Cable: Blood & Metal", but they shove the subtitle down into the lower right corner and made it tiny, as if they were embarrassed by it. Oh, but what to say about the cover itself? Well, it's actually a fold-around cover, meaning both the front and back get a complete scene. And by "scene", I mean random people posing and shooting guns. I mean, this is just silly. They've got all these massive shoulder pads that I think even Liefeld would be embarrassed by. And yeah, this is yet another comic that tries to ape Liefeld's style because, believe it or not, once upon a time, this art style was popular. But the real tragedy is the creative team behind this one: writer Fabian Nicieza, a good writer who was unfortunate enough to have also written "NFL SuperPro", and artist John Romita, Jr. J.R.J.R., as he's called, is a really good artist with his own unique style. But since this is an early '90s comic, he was reduced to this stuff. And just look at these faces! Why is everybody scowling?
Linkara: (gnashing his teeth in imitation of the scowl) Yeah, just imagine if I did the rest of the review like this!
Linkara (v/o): And it doesn't stop at the cover, either. I think there may be like only one or two panels in the entire comic where they express an emotion other than snarling anger, like we see here. (the comic proper begins) We open to a series of news reports, culminating in this (voice suddenly trails off as he sees what he is talking about) picture of an explosion on the... World Trade... Towers...
(Linkara sits there in stunned horror)
Linkara (v/o): (hastily) Okay, moving on, then! (normal again) What this sequence of events had to do with anything isn't really explained since we suddenly cut to Iran, a decade ago. Amid all this are the standard scenes of burning American flags and Ayatollah Khomeini.
Linkara: (his head resting on his hand) Wow, things you remember about the '80s: Transformers, Ghostbusters, Ayatollah Khomeini... Yeah, there are some things in the '80s we wish we could forget about.
Linkara (v/o): Intermixed with the crowd are these dialogue balloons...
Iranian 1: (actually Garrison Kane in disguise) Run it by me again-- why are we here?
Iranian 2: (actually Hammer in disguise) Because we're on a mission.
Iranian 1: But when you come down to it, why is anyone anywhere?
Linkara: The cover of your comic featured a character shooting multiple guns in random directions. Stop trying to pretend you're (makes "air quotes") "deep".
Cable: You people all talk too much.
Linkara (v/o): My sentiments exactly.
Cable: Wild Pack, it's party time. You know your jobs--so let's do them-- but don't forget to have some fun, too!
Linkara: (as Cable, holding up huge toy guns in his hands) WE'LL MEET UP AT THE ARCADE LATER! (yells)
Linkara (v/o): Two of these characters [Garrison Kane and Hammer] decide to have one of the worst expository exchanges I've ever read.
Garrison Kane: Help me here, Hammer*-- we're in Iran, right? And we weren't hired to free the hostages, right? But we want the Iranians to think that's what we're after, right? To divert them from what we were hired to do, right? So, I'm not the complete idiot you think I am, right?
- NOTE: It's actually "Hammer-Man", which Linkara doesn't mention.
Linkara: You couldn't be bothered to pay attention to what I'm sure was a briefing session earlier, to the point where you DIDN'T EVEN KNOW YOU WERE IN IRAN!! I don't even know who you are, and already I think you're a complete idiot!
Linkara (v/o): By the way, you may have noticed an art fail right here: gun blasts that are just kind of floating in the air. Yeah, I know they're supposed to represent an arm sweeping across while firing like that, but couldn't you at least have some motion lines or something? Otherwise, it looks like this guy is shooting a gun from his crotch! So Cable's merry band of killers promptly frags the assorted people in the crowd. Yeah, they'll really be convinced you're here to rescue hostages when you've SLAUGHTERED EVERYONE IN THE CROWD – INCLUDING THE HOSTAGES! The group proceeds to some government building where they start setting explosives.
Hammer: Leaking info about our arrival was smooth, Nate.
Cable: It made the Iranians think a Pentagon op was underway.
Linkara: A diabolical strategy: cause an international incident and warn them of how and when you'll show up! Ingenious plan!
(Cut to a clip of Patton)
Patton: (looking out through a pair of binoculars) You magnificent bastard, I READ YOUR BOOK!
(Back to the comic)
Cable: Hostage-saving would grease the ego. This pays the bills.
Linkara (v/o): Don't you just love likeable characters like this? So they blow up the building and walk off, getting picked up by a helicopter. They ask Cable who hired them for this... whatever the hell this was, and Cable says it was some European businessman named Tolliver.
Linkara: Isn't it nice when a comic gives us no real characterization, plot details, or halfway appealing characters? It's what made me proud to grow up during the '90s.
(Cut to 90s Kid)
90s Kid: Duuuude! You will be totally hardcore if there was a comic that didn't feature any of those stupid dialog balloons or plot points. It just had a guy shootin' stuff! We could call it "Blood Gun"! Yeah!
Linkara (v/o): Our completely pointless flashback ends, and we cut back to the present in Paris. A museum is busted into by members of the Mutant Liberation Front and&ndash (the panel focuses on one member of the MLF in particular, Wildside, with his shock of silver hair like a Super Saiyan; Linkara laughs) Really? You're really going for that hair with this guy? All right, if you insist. The MLF knocks out the rent-a-cops and go to steal a sword from one of the displays. While they exposit about their boss wanting the sword, the sumo wrestler of the group suddenly gets shot through the head!
Wildside: Great goobers! D'jou see what happened?
Linkara: I sure did! You just said, "Great goobers!" I think the styling mousse is leaking into your brain, man.
Linkara (v/o): Cable has suddenly arrived from out of nowhere! Oh, get this: he killed the sumo guy with what looked like a sniper shot, but the gun we see here is bigger than his head and shooting out multiple blasts all at once! And each of those shots looks like it'd take the guy's head off rather than aim a sniper bullet through it.
Cable: (narrating) It's right about now that this particular band of Mutant Liberation Front terrorists realizes their mission's scrubbed.
Linkara: It's right about now that we have another pretentious, annoying narration from a main character! Get ready, people, I fully expect him to start talking about (as Daredevil) "Reek of fear carried on the sweat of screaming dancers, out of step with the thundering–"
Offscreen voices: (interrupting) SHUT UP! (Linkara stops, startled)
Cable: (narrating) It becomes a matter of life and death. My life means their deaths!
Linkara (v/o): Wow, that is pure grade-A cheese right there. I didn't think it was possible to do a line that utterly bad, but somehow they accomplished it. That one is right up there with (as Superboy-Prime) "I'll kill you to death!" The remaining members of the MLF flee, leaving behind the dead body and the sword. Cable tries to lift the sumo's body to get at the sword, but finds it to be too heavy at first.
Cable: (narrating) "X-tra powers." Makes me an X-Man, huh? What a comedian I am.
Linkara: Oh, rest assured, I'm laughing, but for entirely different reasons.
Linkara (v/o): So he gets the sword, but is confused as to why they'd want a rusty, broken sword. We jump ahead three days later. Two military types go into a secret underground base to see Kane, one of the soldiers who was with Cable in that stupid flashback. He's also given Wolverine's code name of "Weapon X". So, wait, his real name was Kane? What parents name their kid "Kane"? So Kane here is testing out all his new cybernetic weapons, including his finger beams! His hands are also detachable and can launch out and hit things. The stumps of his arms can then shoot out energy beams.
Linkara: It's like they created a character entirely with the philosophy of "This will make a profitable toy."
Linkara (v/o): One of the generals shows Kane the security footage of Cable at the museum, but he's confused by the fact that Cable is the one attacking the MLF. See, the thing is, the Mutant Liberation Front is being bossed around by a clone of Cable named Stryfe. And since Rob Liefeld created Stryfe as well, that just goes to show that the man realized that creating characters was not his forte, so he just made up the same character twice. And since Kane knows that Stryfe is Cable, it confuses him even further.
Kane: This isn't right...!
General: The museum security cameras don't lie.
Linkara: (as general, pointing to camera) No one dares to second-guess the accuracy of museum security cameras.
Kane: I know, but Cable is Styfe!
Linkara (v/o): Wait, what?! "Styfe"?! "Styfe"?! HIS NAME IS STRYFE! I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see a typo in this mess, but come on! Oh, and for both Styfe and Stryfe, spelled with a Y instead of an I.
(BECAUSE POOR LITERACY IS... KEWL)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Kane decides to get Cable's old gang back together again... because I guess they needed to justify the flashback. For some reason, this brings us back seven years to two of them at a bar. But then we cut today. Wasn't today three days ago? Are we still in the past? What's going on?!
Linkara: (lip-synching to "Time Warp") Let's do the time warp again!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Kane goes to one of his old buddies, who's now confined to a wheelchair. All the scene really does is set up the fact that maybe Cable's old gang doesn't really like the homicidal lug anymore. Speaking of, Cable heads out to Egypt to consult an expert on ancient artifacts.
Linkara: The evil force that is Ancient Egypt once again rears its ugly head!
(Cut to a shot of the Egyptian pyramids, with the "Imperial March" playing in the background, before cutting back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The expert explains that while the sword itself is unremarkable, the markings on the sword are similar to other artifacts throughout history. Some of these artifacts have been stolen already, but Cable gets a list of others to try to prepare for the MLF. At one point, he spots the MLF once again storming in like a bunch of drunken rhinos.
Cable: (narrating) I count four. Dragoness, Reaper, Samurai, and Rusty Collins.
Linkara: How embarrassing is it that when you're fighting alongside people named "Dragoness" and "Reaper", that you have to introduce yourself as "Rusty Collins"?
Cable: (narrating) Rusty. A former member of the New Mutants. One of the ones that got away from me. A delusional lie. They all got away from me.
Linkara: Yeah, they couldn't stand your CONSTANT NARRATING!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and by the way, he counts four, yet there are clearly five people in this group, including this desert-hating fellow. Since I can't seem to find a place where they say his name, I'm just going to call him Anakin Skywalker.
Cable: (narrating) All I can do now...
Linkara (v/o): (as Cable) Ellipses...
Cable: (narrating) ...is make sure none of them slip through my fingers again...
Linkara (v/o): (as Cable) Ellipses...
Cable: (narrating) ...and the only way to do that...
Linkara (v/o): (as Cable) Ellipses...
Cable: (narrating) is by clenching my hand into a fist!!
Linkara (v/o): WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?!?!?! Are you gonna post this narration up on LiveJournal later?! Are you writing a freaking book?! Why the flowery prose?!? Why all the ellipses?!? I admit, I don't usually care if a comic book has a person narrating to themselves like this. Hell, I do it in "Revolution of the Mask". But this is just horrendous! Cable, you've got big guns and cybernetic arms!
Linkara: You do not need to try to convince you're badass with your idiotic caption boxes! JUST SHUT UP AND SHOOT THINGS!
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of, Cable takes the time to shoot all of them, but despite his shots flying everywhere, some of them actually manage to survive and not get perforated with bullets and energy blasts. Oh, and of course, he has finger beams, too.
Cable: (narrating) Time to show Kamikaze what one man can do--
Linkara (v/o): (as Cable) Ellipses...
Cable: (narrating) --when that one man--
Linkara (v/o): (as Cable) Ellipses...
Cable: (narrating) --is all weapon!!
(Cut to 90s Kid again)
90s Kid: Blood Gun doesn't even have a face, man! I mean, who needs a face when you're shootin' stuff all the time? Look at those jammin' dudes in "Cable"! They don't even have any real eyes, but they can shoot stuff just fine! Blood Gun's just got his ripped bod and his gun! (holds up video game console) The blood gun of Blood Gun! (imitates gunfire in a silly voice)
Linkara (v/o): In his Rambo-like glee of shooting first and asking questions later, Cable fails to capture any of them. The MLF retreats, but the gun-blazing attack did manage to blow off Reaper's cybernetic hand.
Linkara: Well, now we know why we shouldn't fear the Reaper. (audience boos) What, whaaaat?
Linkara (v/o): We have another flashback to seven years ago, for no particular reason other than to bring up the fact that Cable's group has legal issues with calling itself "Wild Pack". I wonder how exactly a murderous mercenary group gets sued over its name, of all things, but the point is that the group gets renamed "Six Pack", because Kane brought in a six-pack of beer.
Linkara: Ironically, alcohol is the only way one could actually enjoy this story.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, still in the flashback, the group fights off Soviet mechs in a sequence that, in fairness, is actually pretty cool. But then again, it makes no sense, considering how bankrupt the Soviet economy was at that point, so I can't even begin to fathom how they can afford fully-armored mech suits. The group discovers a secret installation, and Cable uses his finger beam... well, okay, finger torch, according to them, to cut into it. They are immediately set upon by soldiers, and once again, a fight scene ensues.
Grizzly: This is kinda like a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
(Linkara glares at the camera silently, then cut to a clip of the Bugs Bunny cartoon Falling Hare)
Bugs: (laughing) Oh, mur-der!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): So, after more senseless killing... Wow, anyone else having "Countdown"-related deja vu here? ...the group proceeds further down the installation's hallways until they come upon a large chamber.
Kane: I feel an Excedrin headache coming on.
Linkara: (listlessly) I've had one since this comic started.
Linkara (v/o): So, what's inside the chamber? Why, it's Stryfe! But here, we see something that I'm surprised I haven't run into sooner while doing this show. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to one of my comic book pet peeves. What we have here is a two-page spread that's been put horizontally across the pages, so you have to flip the comic around in order to read it!! It's just annoying and pointless! Let's presume, for the sake of argument, that this was a good comic. I'm reading along, enjoying things, flipping each page excitedly, but then I come across a spread like this. Now I have to be taken out of the story in order to flip it over and keep reading. And really, why? There's nothing about this page that couldn't be accomplished by just shrinking it down to one page and flipping it right-side-up.
Linkara: (holding comic sideways) I feel embarrassed doing this, like I'm reading a porno magazine instead of a comic.
Linkara (v/o): Stryfe himself is just totally silly-looking. He's got all this pointy armor on him that I guess is supposed to look threatening, but really, it just makes you wonder how much mobility he actually has. And why does the cape flow up like that on his shoulders? Does he have, like, a harness or something to try to make himself look more menacing? And what's with all the pointy bits on the helmet? It just widens his head range by, like, three feet. Oh, and remember how, in my "Secret Defenders #9" video, I talked about human proportions? Yeah, Stryfe is roughly twelve head heights tall and, not counting the unnecessary bat ears on the helmet, six head widths wide!
Linkara: Which again begs the question: why bother with a two-page horizontal spread for such a bad image?!
Linkara (v/o): We once again cut to today, which was actually about seventeen years ago, considering this was made in 1992, where Cable is trying to figure what Stryfe's plan is while drinking hot cocoa. I'm sorry, but it's hard to take Cable seriously when we contrast his gun-crazy look from earlier with the Mr. Rogers sweater and cocoa. Cable's security system detects someone approaching, and of course it's Kane, who throws off his jacket, all dramatic-like, and leaps through the window.
Kane: Cable-- time's up!!
Linkara: (imitating Kane) You lose two hundred points and control of the board goes to the next player, AAAARGGGGHHH!!
Linkara (v/o): Kane uses his extendo-fist – some accessories not included; available at all Toys "R" Us's – to try to punch Cable, but it passes right through him. Kane's confused until Cable comes up behind him and... hits him... I think. Somehow, the punch is strong enough to flip Kane upside-down and face him the other way.
(Cut to a shot of the obligatory panel from "Superman: At Earth's End", showing the Hitler Clone)
Hitler Clone: Of course. Don't you know anything about science?
(Back to the Cable comic)
Linkara (v/o): So, what was the explanation for how the fist passed through him?
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, so the comic had to crib from Total Recall. Genius.
(A clip of Total Recall is shown, in which Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) seemingly gets mowed down by enemy gunfire, but gets back up, looking relatively unharmed, and laughs; he glitches, as it is revealed he is a hologram; then the real Quaid appears and mows them all down; cut back to the Cable comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Cable demands to know what Kane wants, but Kane blasts Cable away with the power of finger beams! So now they fight in the snow some more and... (sighs) you know, the comic's almost done with, and yet I still have no flippin' clue what the hell is going on in it; just random flashbacks, Kane's all pissy, random '90s artwork and junk. What is actually the plot here?! Anyway, there's another stupid flipping of the book, this time making even less sense, since there are multiple panels here!
Linkara: (holding up the comic on its side) Honestly, what is it about this panel configuration that they couldn't do with just (turning the comic up normally) sweeping it across the page like normal?!
Linkara (v/o): Once again, using the awesome power of finger beams... seriously, those things end up being more badass than all the guns... Cable continues to demand an explanation. Kane only responds...
Kane: Why are we anywhere, old man?
Linkara: Oh, don't you dare try to pretend you're bookending this stupid story, comic! It wasn't profound at the beginning, and it isn't profound here!
Linkara (v/o): And so our comic ends with Kane using his bionic eye – 'cause I guess he has one now – to shoot out a hologram of Stryfe that shows he has Cable's face! (a dramatic sting is heard) Which would have made for a dramatic reveal for this story if not for the fact that, according to Wikipedia, readers already knew about this months before! Oh, but to top off this dramatically unsatisfying conclusion, Cable feels the need to resume narrating!
Cable: (narrating) And now I know how Kane must've felt all these years...
Linkara (v/o): (as Cable) Ellipses...
Cable: (narrating) ...like someone who's been lied to...
Linkara (v/o): (as Cable) Ellipses... (normal voice) After reading this, I feel that way. I may have to reevaluate my judgment of Cable as a good character. (as Cable again) Ellipses...
Cable: (narrating) ...and only one thing feels real to me right now--one thing I can reach out and grab hold of--the lifeline I've always had--my anger!
Linkara: Oh, finally, a sentiment I can agree with! (closes comic and holds it up angrily) This comic sucks!
Linkara (v/o): The artwork is terrible, with either confusing jumbles for backgrounds and horribly-drawn human beings; the story is weak at best and outright terrible, in that I have no idea what's going on or why I should care; and the fact that it's actually over forty pages long makes it worse!
Linkara: So in the end, what you should do with this comic is rip it a new–
(Suddenly, there is a flash of light, and Cable himself (played by Lewis) appears in front of Linkara, who is quite nervous; Cable wields a huge gun in front of him)
Linkara: (waving pleasantly) Hi, Cable.
Cable: You that Linkara guy who's been making fun of my comic?
Linkara: Well, you got to admit, this comic does suck on toast. Say, don't you have white hair?
Cable: That's not important! What is important is that I teach you a lesson! (narrating) Just like I needed to learn a lesson once. I needed to learn that... Ellipses... ...the true strength of a person isn't found in soft, fluffy clouds or cute bunny rabbits, but in a tightly-closed fist (Linkara rolls his eyes and picks up a magnet) and the barrel of a gun... Ellipses... (Linkara throws the magnet at Cable) ...but all– (becomes shocked) What's this?! A magnet?! No! No–
(Suddenly, his arm gets electrocuted, and he suddenly disappears, leaving his gun behind, which Linkara takes)
Linkara: SWEET! NEW GUN! (cocks it)
(Stinger: Cable appears)
Cable: What am I doing here? Oh, that Linkara, he must've taken my gun! Where is– Oh, there you are! (beat) Wait a second. You're not Linkara! Who are– (suddenly, a robotic arm grabs him and holds him by his throat)
Robotic voice: He's mine.
(Cut to a clip of Total Recall, in which the real Quaid emerges to face the enemy soldiers)
Quaid: (laughs) You think this is the real Quaid? (the soldiers look among each other in confusion) It is. (he mows them down with gunfire)