Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tales from the Cardboard Box in my Closet #1
Since I am snowed in at my parents’ house and unable to get to the store to buy my books until later this week, I figured it would be a great opportunity to delve into my box of old back issues.
Typically I am organized: the comics I have stored at my apartment are all collected in alphabetical order, numerically within each title. At my parents’ house, I just have a big box o’ comics. They are sorted by title, but no real rhyme or reason to WHY - not alphabetically, or by publisher, or even biographically(order of purchase).
At the top is a poly-bagged mini-series titled “Askani’son”. I remember when this came out, it was billed as the sequel to the popular (and well-done) The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, which told the story of how Scott and Jean traveled forward in time and were actually able to raise their son, Cable (jettisoned into the future courtesy of Askani in X-Factor #68). Askani’son is the tale of the teenaged Nathan Dayspring Summers as he grows into the broad-shouldered, big-gun toting, continuity nightmare known as Cable.
ASKANI’SON #1 (pub. Jan. '96)
“The Shadow Lengthens”
Writer: Scott Lobdell (Dialogue by Jeph Loeb)
Pencils: Gene Ha
Inks: Andrew Pepoy
Editor: Bob Harras
The story opens with a disfigured man speaking reverently, though in a bizarre font, about Prof. Xavier, with a young Cable playing the role of Tom Sawyer in the back of the church cracking wise.
Much of the opening is devoted to long-winded exposition about the overthrown Apocalypse and the “Canaanite” ruling party which took his place, but Cable, showing signs of the firebrand he would come to be known as in Cable and Deadpool, just can’t stop himself…
…so a seizure stops him, leading to he and his friend Tetherblood being arrested.
On another note, why is it that they don’t have pants in the future?
Now we meet Cable’s wife, Aliya, who worships a floating woman in a spiky bathrobe, who is apparently insane. As if the spiky bathrobe didn’t give it away.
Heh heh...she said "service"
As Cable and his pal are locked up, Cable has his first encounter with Blaquesmith, looking less ET-ish, but no less disconcerting than his appearances in the Cable regular series, spewing the Askani-philosophy that readers of X-Force were able to become so familiar with.
Blaquesmith can manipulate the Techno-Organic virus ravaging Cable’s body, and in doing so, pulls out Professor/Ship – well known to readers of both X-Factor and X-Force as the sentient personality of X-Factor’s ship, and, later, Cable’s orbiting home.
Meanwhile, Stryfe (Cable’s time-displaced clone who is NOT stricken with the Creeping Electronic Cooties) is squirreled away in a fortress in New Orleans (!?!?) planning his ascent to power. As an aside, his major domo is named Ch’vayre – why is it that so many evil X-characters take an apostrophe in their names? (D’Ken, D’Spayre)?
As the issue closes, we are treated to the political underpinnings of the world of Askani’son, where ruthless bureaucrats want nothing more than to squelch the Askani and rule for themselves, with Tribune Haight telling Administrator Umbridge to root out the “Messiah” of the Askani and…
Umbridge confronts Nathan/Cable, Tetherblood and Blaquesmith, with Blaquesmith taking a bullet as the other two escape -–
STAR WARS STYLE!
The issue ends with Stryfe reactivating his android, Zero as part of his EVIL EVIL PLAN.
So issue one ends with Nate heading off to find Obi-Wan Ken-....er, the last Askani to help in effecting the Canaanite rule, and Stryfe beginning plans to resurrect Apocalypse.
I can remember being ridiculed when I bought this as a young lad of sixteen, for getting sucked into another X-story. The truth is that I've always enjoyed Cable stories. I know that he tends to become a walking contradiction (although I have really enjoyed the direction Nicieza is taking him in C/DP), and Liefeld-era Cable is a caricature of 90s excess, but when well-written he can be a strong character, especially if a writer takes great pains to not bog him down in the time travel nonsense.
Gene Ha's pencils, while somewhat pedestrian-looking today, were fresh in '96. He is a perfect choice to depict this post-apocalyptic world, where there is a blend of old and new.
I hope to get over to New England Comics tomorrow, or else Saturday, so I should post my thoughts on this week's material this weekend.