Book of the Month

Book of the Month – Cable Classic Vol. 1

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Size: pages
Price: 29.99

Most recently there has been a lot of attention paid to comics as they come out and then as they are collected. Every comic seems to be racing to be the next Watchmen or Dark Knight. It seems as if in our quest to find the most perfect comic book, we completely overlook the most important decade of the comics industry, the 1990s. And who else represents the 1990s better than Cable, the enigmatic mutant character created by comics greatest talent, Rob Liefeld?

And so, in honor of the iFanboy Book of the Month, I present to you, the next Watchmen:


Cable Classic Vol. 1

I know this choice for Book of the Month isn't a surprise, as you've probably written letters to Marvel, like me, begging for this to be released. Well, FINALLY, Marvel Comics collections department puts back into print one of the comics industries finest hours, with the release of this collection. There are not many series that were as overlooked, underrated and as masterful as the books collected in this edition. Let me break it down for you:

The Cover – first we're treated to a BEAUTIFUL, recoloring of the Rob Liefeld art used in the cover of New Mutants #87. There were some truly great covers in the 1990s era of comics, but no other cover was as influential and representative as this piece. Look at the fierceness in Cable's eyes – why is one eye glowing? What does that mean? Why is one arm silver? Look at that gun! Who is this man?

The Stories – this trade paperback collects Cable's first appearance in New Mutants #87, where he appears, virtually out of nowhere and muscles his way into leading the New Mutants. But it doesn't stop there, it also collects the epic mini series Cable: Blood & Metal and the simply titled, Cable. Both stories are epic tales of a man against all odds. Comics had never seen before, and honestly, never seen again the level of action and drama presented in both of those amazing masterpieces of sequential story telling. Explosions, guns, and extensive exposition are a formula that was used as elegantly in such a way that I'm surprised no one has yet to compare it to the works of Eisner, Moore or Carl Banks. And what's even better is that I bet most of you have never even heard of these series.

The Creators – You can tell how good a book is by those who work on it, and come on, look at this rollcoll: Rob Liefeld, Louise Simonson, John Romita Jr, Fabian Nicieza, Art Thibert, Ron Lim, Ian Churchill, Brandon Peterson, Paul Smith! Have you ever seen one trade paperback that is a virtual who's who of comics? Even the names you don't know will blow you away, like Scott Koblish, Kerry Gammil, and Bill Wylie.

Now I recognize I'm speaking mainly in hyperbole and it's hard to contain my excitement. But to be extremely serious for a moment, I sat down for the month of March and read this wonderful collection several times, and was startled to see how well it held up after all these years. What began as a sketch of a character, almost too extreme for the time period, evolved into an delightful character study that at times mixes elements of science fiction, fantasy and noir. Imagine if you were to combine what you've enjoyed recently in books like Y: The Last Man, The Authority and Gotham Central and distill them into a series of short stories, then Cable Classic Vol. 1 would fit the bill.

I often worry when recommending this book that it will be caught up in the preconceived notions and snap judgments that come with the 1990s. Big guns, pouches and Rob Liefeld, but if you give this book a chance, you'll see that not only are you treated to early Rob Liefeld, before the ankles got thinner than a wrist, where you can see the artistry that he brought to the table. But if that's not your thing, he's only on 22 pages of this entire book! Don't let your hatred of Levi's 501 Blues get in the way for your appreciation of some stellar John Romita Jr and Brandon Peterson art. On writing duties, I believe there is no writer more underappreciated than Fabian Nicieza in his time at Marvel. By taking the mish-mash of characters, Nicieza is able to weave a story that is so enthralling, so edge of your seat action, that I found myself going back to this book to re-read it, while my Queen & Country: Definitive Edition Vol. 1 gathered dust on the shelf.

When I finally finished reading this volume, for days I found myself wandering aimlessly. My mind drifting to the world of time slipping, flashbacks to the past, and seemingly pointless characters. The only thing that could shake me from my enthrallment was the promise that with Cable Classic Vol. 1, a Cable Classic Vol. 2 could be a reality in the near future. And that is something worth living for.

Honestly, this might be one of the most important and influential works of the past 25 years. Never before had one man and one character set such a tone for a decade's worth of books, and a lifetime's worth of memories. This collection might someday be looked upon as one of the most important that Marvel has ever published, just as history will undoubtedly judge the stories contained within to be the groundbreaking classics that I believe in my heart that they are.

Ron Richards
I wanna be a "
time-traveling gun-toting mutant cyborg mercenary"
ron@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. Ha, had you checked this trade out before I told you what was in it? What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be. You’ve got that wonderfully chunky JRjr art (with the modular arm!), Garrison Kane, and just general insanity.

    Good pick. 

  2. April 1st. I get it!

  3. ouch dude

  4. Really?  I mean I guess I was a fan of Cable back then.  I even own New Mutants #87, because I loved Cable so much.  I did not think this stuff was that influential.  I will play your game though you clever rogue and check it out since I’m going to Borders soon.  I’ll flip through it.  

  5. Kind sir, please tell me your tongue is firmly imbedded in your cheek.

  6. I can’t tell if this is a joke Ron.  I know you love X-Men but it’s April 1st and you just compared Cable to Watchmen!

  7. I quit.

  8. Bwahahahahahahahaha! 

  9. Awww, poor Cable.

    *pets him*

  10. Ummmmm… I thought the New Excalibur POW was bad. (I have a hard tiime letting that one go, Ron)

    Seriously, I read those first handful of New Mutants books in the original TPB collection once I started getting back into comics, and it almost made me get out again. Liefeld is Liefeld, but I was stunned at how stilted Louise Simonson’s dialogue (to the extent she wrote it, if rumors are to be believed). 

  11. man if this is an april fools…genius!  u might have even photoshoped the cover.  genius!

     

    and if its real.  genius!  long live the askani’son!  dayspring forever!

  12. This is just wrong.  Sure, the New Mutants stuff ain’t great.  But that JRJr. mini was pretty damn good.  And Fabes is underappreciated.  His X-men stuff in the 90’s were the only things palatable.

  13. What I can’t get over is how long this review is. I don’t know if I could invest that many calories in an April Fool’s gag. "Wait, what?? Oh. Oh! Ha! I get it!… wow. This… this just keeps on goin’."

  14. Can I tell you how excited I am to talk about this one on the podcast?  Sigh…

  15. April Fool’s!

     

  16. @Viktorr — Oh, don’t worry about Fabes.  One day we’ll get, "Deadpool goes after podcasters who made fun of Fabian." 

  17. good one ron, i completely forgot that today was april fools day until i read the words "comics greatest talent, rob liefeld".  *phew*

  18. The scary part of this April Fool’s joke is that even after I realized it was a gag I still for a moment believed this would be Ron’s pick.

  19. this would totally be ron’s pick!  GENIUS!

  20. Watchmen it’s not, but I am planning to pick this up and bask in it’s 90’s-ness at some point.  It is very influential to the rest of the decade and thus "important" to comics.

  21. My stream of consciousness as I read Ron’s pick:

    The Title:  No fucking way, I can’t believe he picked that.

    1st Paragraph:  Oh, ok, this must be a joke.  There seems to be a lot of sarcasm here.

    3rd Paragraph:  Oh man, I’m worried.  He really did pick this.  I think…I think he’s being serious.

    The End: ….

    I can’t say that I’ll be reading because, frankly, Cable is not all that interesting to me.  I’m sure the creators did a great job with him, but to me, he’s Frank Castle from the future.  Not interested.  But I respect the pick because it’s nice to see that Ron picked what he wanted even though it may cause some bafflement/anger/distrust/general yelling and screaming.

    Good for you Ron!

  22. Here’s something I’ve always wondered:  Did they ever explain what those tubes were next to Cable’s belt buckle.  Every time I see that original costume I wonder what that stuff was.  If I recall, a lot of the Image heroes of the 90’s had those and I could never understand what they were for.

  23. April Fool or no, Double-R is right on about 70% of this. Simonson, Nicieza, Peterson, Romita… some top-notch put a lot of hard work into these stories.

  24. I really like Fabian Nicieza..

  25. Do we get a real pick?

  26. I don’t care if it’s April fools…I wanna read it.

  27. I hit up borders and bought a copy of this.  God I forgot how much I LOVE Rob Liefeld’s art.  Maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t everything that was wrong with the 90s?

    *Please note everything in italics is sarcasim. 

  28. wait why didn’t my Italics stick? hrm…

  29. You have to admit that some of these writers really shined shiny armed dude up alot. I mean they took "big pissed off guy with gun, metal arm, and shiny eye" and gave us a really tragic tale that ends up  representing hope for Xavier’s dream.

  30. As I saw the Pick up yesterday, I didn’t wanna read it. I really missed April Fool’s day, so I thought this was for real. Now that I read it…Genius!