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The ’90s Revisited: Cable #20


cable020An Hour of Last Things

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Guest Artist: Ian Churchill
Guest Inkers: Bud Larosa w/Barta & Carani
Lettering: Richard Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $1.95
Cover Date: February 1995

This issue takes place during and after Uncanny X-Men 321. That issue had noted this as a must-read; this returns the favor. This issue definitely requires the context of the Legion Quest story so far, but those issues don’t require this.

We get a bit of exposition while seeing the present-day group facing the apparent dangers Cable, Xavier, and Jean face with their psionic time-communication thing. We then pick up with Cable’s "return" to the present, and realizing that despite his having made contact, it apparently didn’t do any good–nothing in the present has changed, and the universe is still coming to an end…which forces everyone to face the fact that this IS their final hour. Much of the issue is the reactions the characters have, who they turn to and how, in this "hour of last things."

Despite some panels where the art seems a bit minimalistic or at least not as detailed in linework as I’m used to and would expect…I really enjoy the visuals in this issue. As with all the previous chapters of Legion Quest, this is extremely "familiar" to me, bringing back memories…something that surely colors my views on the art–where I might complain a bit with a contemporary issue, this one sits perfectly fine with me, being simply another part of a whole, a piece of a larger positive memory, and the general good feelings I have revisiting a favorite, favored period in comics.
I did notice, however, that Archangel’s costume seems to have a lot of red to it here, where I’d noticed blue previously. I’m not sure if there was something I’ve forgotten in-story for the varied colors, but it was a bit of distraction. I like the LOOK overall, just not sure why the red instead of blue.

The cover is one of those distinctive "iconic" ones for me. And yet, somehow looking at it for this review now MIGHT be the first time I consciously realized it’s showing the crystallization wave taking the characters, and not just a generic shot of them facing something else.

The story itself is by Jeph Loeb–who at the time I didn’t know from any other writer–but whose name I know quite well at present and have not been overly thrilled with despite quite enjoying Superman: For All Seasons and such in particular. While this IS part of a larger story, I love the "moments" between the various characters, as well as the overall feeling OF this being a final issue, an actual final chapter.

I’m pretty sure I knew better at the time, back in 1994 than to think these titles were going away PERMANENTLY, and was certainly geared up for the Age of Apocalypse as a large but temporary story. The "official" revelation in-story of Scott and Jean’s part in Cable’s life was particularly key, as is Cable’s "moment" with Domino. Despite this issue covering some of the same ground as Uncanny X-Men 321 and X-Men #41, it leaves certain particularly beats and "moments" to those issues…but what we see here builds on the overall feeling of continuity, that this is truly taking place in the same world and time as other issues rather than just being "related" to each other.
Perhaps it’s the issue’s ending, or the interaction of Cable, Cyclops, and Jean, but this is easily one of my favorite issues of the entire Cable series…and reminds me why the Cable of this period is my favorite take on the character (especially in the face of the last few years of the character).

Only one issue directly involved with Legion Quest remains, as the X-Universe comes to an end…if only for a time.

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