One of the highest profile books on the shelf this week is Marvel’s Avengers: X-Sanction #1 (it did have seven different covers after all). Originally teased as the return of the X-Men’s Cable back at Comic Con International in San Diego, Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness’ X-Sanction has now been connected to next Summer’s Marvel blockbuster Avengers vs. X-Men. As a first issue, it was very straightforward even starring a character with a complicated history like Cable.
Spoilers for Avengers: X-Sanction #1 will follow.
PTB: As expected, this issue was mostly fight scenes. I like Cable taking down the Avengers in theory, but I don’t know that he needed to be brought back “from the dead” for this. I was honestly hoping it might be a version of him from earlier in his timeline, he is a time traveler after all.
KevinMLD: I was definitely wondering if it was normal for him to bounce around time like that. I don’t remember, were we left with a body in our time?
PTB: Only his techno-organic arm remained at the end of X-Men: Second Coming, which you can see is missing at one point in this issue even though he has a new one by the time he returns to the present. I was glad Loeb kept the details of Cable’s return light. Cable being back is compromising his noble sacrifice to save the X-Men and Hope Summers enough as it is. I don’t want any more explanation than I’ve already seen as to how he is alive.
I know you’re probably not well versed in Cable’s history, did you feel like you were missing out on any important pieces?
KevinMLD: Like I said I was wondering how he just bounced around time and who the alien was he was talking to in the future. I didn’t feel completely in the dark about what was happening.
PTB: Blaquesmith is part Cable’s supporting cast from previous series. He’s a fairly obscure character for the general readership, and I was surprised to see him here waiting for Cable in the wasteland at the end of world. I’m assuming he’s the way Cable was able to return to the present, but I have a sinking suspicion that Cable is being manipulated into this fight.
KevinMLD: That never happens in a superhero crossover.
PTB: Most of the dialogue is rough and I feel like they missed the mark with Cable and Captain America. These two met in the pages of Cable & Deadpool and it was clear that Cable had a respect for Steve Rogers that bordered on reverence. Cable also sided with Cap during Civil War, but I didn’t get the sense they were particularly familiar with one another here.
KevinMLD: Honestly, it wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting. Actually, I can say that about the entire comic though I reserve the right to judge once we’ve seen how Loeb ends this whole thing.
PTB: I don’t know how much control Loeb has over the larger sweeping details of the series given its relationship to Avengers versus X-Men, and that may affect the ending. I also question whether or not this series was part of the original publishing plan for how AvX would come together.
KevinMLD: This exact thought is what made me wonder if this series would end up being the equivalent of Prelude to Schism for Avengers vs X-Men.
PTB: This isn’t Ed McGuinniss’ best artwork by any means. It’s not bad, but it’s just not what I expect or want from him. The promotional image for “Cable Reborn” that also appears on the recap page is particularly strange looking. I have no idea how he is supposed to be posed and I felt like some of that awkwardness came through on the interiors.
KevinMLD: I just think he’s better served drawing giant characters like the Hulk.
PTB: I read a lot of Marvel comics so my perspective may be skewed, but seeing the image of the Scarlet Witch and Hope Summers on the Avengers vs. X-Men “zero” cover was all I needed to understand what was coming. Having the Phoenix return looking for Hope Summers as a host is enough to bring the Avengers into the picture for me. I don’t know that I needed (or wanted) Cable to be exhumed from the grave and put at odds against the Avengers in order to drive home the disagreement between the super teams coming next summer.
KevinMLD: As someone who is relatively well-versed in the Marvel Universe but not a fan of it per se, that particular imagery would not have been enough to get me excited. I’m not sure if X-Sanction will add to my antipation or not, but Hope and the Scarlet Witch are not exactly characters that get me excited.
PTB: I get that, but both (Hope particularly) are intriguing to me. I see Avengers vs. X-Men as the sequel to House of M in many ways. The Scarlet Witch caused M-day, depowering most and eliminating the potential for new mutants in the Marvel Universe. Hope Summers is the first new mutant born since that time and was also able to tap into the Phoenix force to power others. I think the connection is obvious but I’ve also read all of those books.
KevinMLD: Yeah. I’m not even sure all of the creators involved have done that!
PTB: In some ways I feel like the motivation to publish X-Sanction is to give Hope a limited series focusing on her importance to go along with Avengers: Children’s Crusade as it focuses on the Scarlet Witch.
KevinMLD: We’ll see if that happens. I’m just expecting Avengers vs. Cable. For example, in the final panel who actually shot whom? Because I’m not convinced Cable shot Cap.
Overall I thought this was better than what I was expecting. Loeb has a history of writing decent series that end horribly. We’ll see where this goes.
PTB: We’ll find out more January 4th, but there’s a long way to go before this wraps up.