Get this: I was enjoying the comics of the late 1990’s so much, I’ll even list as one of my favorites a second generation X-Men spinoff featuring a character created by Rob Liefeld!
I came into this series rather late, for obvious reasons. The title character was a central figure in the worst books of the early part of the decade, and was a product of the doodlings of one of the hot superstar artists who made things so unbearable in our corner of the world for several years. Not being familiar with much X-Men related comics since before Romita jr. was drawing them, I’ve inferred that the backstory which dragged along behind this guy was one of the more convoluted elements of the mutant universe.
That said, writer Joe Casey made it easy, distilling the basics of the character for someone just coming in. Cable’s from a ruined future world, having traveled back to change history for the better (to this day, that‘s all I know, or need to know, about the character). Arch-villain Apocalypse is the main bad guy who is gearing up for some big nastiness at the coming turn of the millennium, and he’s sent an unstoppable brute to start wiping out the humans as the first stage of his plan. The population of Manhattan has taken refuge in underground shelters while Cable and a few plucky guest stars make a desperate stand against their enemy.
This series is all kinds of old-school Marvel cosmic, which is what initially drew me to try a couple issues. Ancient threats, a sense of discovery, and heroes uttering their lines with as much drama as could be mustered. Great stuff. Mark Millar gives us the Avengers sitting around playing the fan-men game of imagining who might play them in a movie; this book has them battling a foe who is so badass that it finds its way back from another dimension where it had been zapped by Thor in just a handful of pages. Which do you want to read?
Jose Ladronn provides the pencils, which look like a beautiful collision between Jack Kirby and Moebius. I really dig what he does here; it perfectly complements the tone and scope of the story. Even Apocalypse looks cool here in his Aztec getup, rather than his usual look that never did anything for me (if Walt designed the original look, I apologize.)
Either this team had a relatively short stint on this title, or I came in near the end; either way, I wish I’d seen a lot more of Casey & Ladronn on this series, but I did get a handful of really cool issues.