Cable and X-Force has been a comic that accomplishes some things very well, but overall has left readers hoping for more each issue. You keep hoping for the story to reach the potential of the characters who inhabit it. After five issues you would hope that a creative team could find their groove, especially when working on a major comic for a major publisher. Cable and X-Force’s cast members are all characters who can’t be found anywhere else at the moment, and thus, fans of Cable, Colossus, Domino, Forge and Dr. Nemesis must read this comic to get their fix. After this long, the directionless yet characterizing plot has got to pick up to keep readers on board.
Cable and X-Force #1 was a good comic; introducing the cast at a reasonable pace and presenting the conflict in a smart way. #2 slowed down a bit, #3 slowed down a bit more, #4 picked up the action but went nowhere (imagine the downward spiral sound playing as you read that). We find ourselves now at an even slower comic, with even less direction than before. In the wake of the previous issues events, the entire team that Cable put together is laying low; in Mexico of all places. The characters pair off into groups to have some fun, which I must say was entertaining to watch. Besides that, the plot really makes no advancement, except in tiny baby steps. Hardly any plot, hardly any action, and this comic can be described as going nowhere fast.
That is probably the most disappointing thing about this issue. The cast has so much potential; the story has so much potential. The creative team working together has so much potential, but for some reason they just can’t seem to give this series a direction. At first the conflict was about running away from Uncanny Avengers, then mutant hunters, and now hints to be a part of a cosmic story, possibly Guardians of the Galaxy. In five issues, no real story arc can be named. That is what is so frustrating about reading this issue. Hoping that this would be the issue to pick everything up and put it back on track and being let down again. The only real thing this issue has going for it now is the fun parts, which abound in this issue especially. That’s not enough for some to stick around, but here’s hoping those of us who don’t will be proven wrong soon.
One saving grace of this issue is how great Salvador Larroca’s art looks. He takes a strong approach with his lines, very bold and to the point. He makes everything look bad ass, especially Colossus’s metal hide. He draws stern and angry faces very well, adding to the bad assness of the characters. There are times where the facial expressions get a bit bland and repetitive, but overall they are very accurate. Not much really happened in the story, so Larroca wasn’t really able to let loose and go crazy with big fight scenes. That is where he could have shone, but he really didn’t have much to go with this time around. If the script had allowed it, he could have blown us all away with how on his game he was, which is a shame. Also, not mentioning Frank D’Armata’s great colour work would be a crime, because he really makes this issue look great. He used a lot of heavy shading with a dreary colour pallet. He definitely makes the art look unique, and Larroca and D’Armata’s style work well together.
Cable and X-Force #5 is a bit of a let down, after a let down, after a let down. The direction, or lack of direction in this issue is exactly the opposite of what the series needed to keep its flame. Great art and a great cast might not be able to save this series much longer unless Hopeless can pull together some solid direction for this team.