Duane Swierczynski (writer) and Ariel Olivetti (artist)

Last month I gave Cable another chance to impress me after it finally showed some plot advancement. While not fixing all the issues I have with this series, Cable #4 proves that steady improvement can go a long way in patching up a sinking ship. In other words, I am starting to like what I see.

Cable #4 takes place right where we left off last issue. An aged Cannonball storms back into Cable’s life and quickly catches him up on the events that have taken place in the timeline where the story is currently taking place. The reunion doesn’t last long, however, as Bishop remains on the warpath, determined to eliminate any who stand the way of his mission to kill the “messiah” child (that he believes will lead to the imprisonment of the mutant race). With a nice balance between action and story, this issue finally gives me hope that the series may eventually live up to the promise it held at the conclusion of the Messiah Complex.

Pretty much everything about this issue is a step in the right direction, though it is by no means perfect. Swierczynski manages to craft a brief, but compelling tale of how Cannonball came to be one of the final mutants in the timeline. The interaction between Cable and Cannonball does a nice job conveying both the tension of the situation as well as the effect time (and time travel) has had on them. To put it simply, everyone comes across as a bit more human than before, which is always a good thing.

While there are instances of both cheesy dialogue and slightly unnatural conversation flow, for the most part it works well. This isn’t exactly high drama so the “summer action movie” feel fits well enough. The biggest shame is that this story was tackled in this manner, because the potential was there for something deeper and more complex than a chase flick through time.

As I said, everything in this issue was a step in the right direction, though I have to say I wish the artwork had taken steps similar to those taken by the writing. The scenes regarding Cannonball’s timeline work extremely well, especially the panels that show him watching the mutant population dwindle. The characters are a bit less exaggerated, the action flows, and with the exception of a few instances, characters look fairly consistent from scene to scene. If I have a major complaint it’s that everything looks extremely bland and sterile. There is literally nothing in the background in a number of scenes, which makes things feel like a string of talking heads rather than people interacting in an environment. Again, there is improvement, but quite a bit more is needed to bring this book up visually.

As a whole, I was pretty satisfied with this latest issue of Cable. It looks as though things are finally starting to click and I actually find myself looking forward to the conclusion of this arc so the story can move on to bigger and better things. The potential is there, now the writer and artist just need to realize it in the proper way. (Grade: C)

-Kyle Posluszny