REVIEW: Avengers X-Sanction #2

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The latest chapter in Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness’ Avengers: X-Sanction series centering on the return of the X-Men’s Cable hit stores last Wednesday and it’s right in line with issue #1: lots of action, little explanation, and some confusing bits thrown in for good measure. It’s a book that’s gotten it’s fair share of publicity as well as criticism, and we’re back for a look at Avengers X-Sanction #2.

Spoilers for the issue and series that’s touted to lay the groundwork for this Summer’s Avengers vs. X-Men will follow.

KevinMLD: So clearly I’m not the world’s leading authority on Cable. What can you tell me about these “timeslides?” Are they a standard element of his character?  Are they new to him being resurrected?

PTB: Timeslides are an established part of Cable’s time traveling history.

KevinMLD:  Last issue, it seemed like his timeslide was at the moment of his presumed death he jumped forward into the future and hung out in that apocalyptic future with an obscure alien.  Now in issue 2 it seems more like he’s just remembering moments from his past that just happen to take place in our future. Or do you think his consciousness is genuinely bouncing around in time Slaughterhouse Five style?

PTB: The timeslide in issue one seemed like a genuine time travel event as we’ve seen before when Cable travels through time or space (what has been called a “bodyslide”). I think the “timeslide” scenes in issue #2 are just flashbacks, and I’d really be surprised if some aspect of his consciousness was traveling in the time stream.

Ed McGuiness’ artwork during these flashbacks is superb. I liked these scenes far more than the fight scenes in the rest of the book.

KevinMLD: I generally agree with you. Though I think pig-tailed Hope in the first time slide looks a little crazy.

Getting back to Cable, his face and body have become more metallic, this is an advancement of his disease, correct? Have we seen advancements like this at all in the past?

PTB: There have been advancements like this in the past as the virus has taken over more and more of his body, but he usually returns to just having the metal arm (the possible ultimate expression of the virus was explored in an old issue of Cable/Deadpool). I think the half metal face is new to this series and a consequence of the progression. The virus keeps Cable’s telekinetic powers in check since part of his mind is constantly holding the virus at bay.

Also, Blaquesmith is not an alien. From what I recall he’s a mutant that somehow became deformed.

KevinMLD: Interesting. So Cable makes reference to having battled and defeated “Talbot” before seemingly in reference to Thunderbolt Ross, the appropriately stupidly nicknamed “Rulk”. Do you know what he’s talking about? I assume he means a Hulked-out Glenn Talbot, but I have no memory of this happening.

PTB: I think Cable mistook Red Hulk for Talbot in what amounts to more Jeph Loeb “who is the Red Hulk” shenanigans. Rulk indicates that Cable must be thinking of someone else when he refers to having defeated him in the past. Nothing like that has happened to my knowledge.

KevinMLD: What do you make of Cable being so close to his deathbed two issues after being resurrected? To me it seems like a disingenuous threat right now. Really? In a story originally referenced as “Cable: Reborn” we’re supposed to take seriously the threat that he has a terminal disease? On the other hand, were Marvel to kill him again this entire series would seem like a cash grab.

PTB: Cable had a good finale at the end of Second Coming and ultimately I don’t like seeing him return. Since it’s not a true resurrection, I’m somewhat more accepting of it. In the moment he appeared to die, Cable shot through the timestream to the wasteland where he meets Blaquesmith. He would have died there as a result of the damage he’d sustained, but he’s using these dying moments to protect Hope. I don’t know that I’d consider it a cash grab simply if he were to die at the end. If he dies at the end and there’s no consequence to his coming back for this last fight that’s a different story.

Who knows, we may find out who Red Hulk *really* is as a result of this series…

KevinMLD: You know we’ve seen Red Hulk transform into Thunderbolt Ross right?

PTB: I wouldn’t put anything past Loeb when it comes to this Red Hulk stuff.

In the past, Cable has always required equipment for his timeslides (i.e. it’s not part of his mutant abilities) so it’s curious how he ended up getting to where he met Blaquesmith and how he has returned to the present. This makes the idea that he’s being used even more probable.

KevinMLD: This is exactly what I was getting at with my original question. I guess I should have just asked does Cable normally just slide around through time. So I guess the answer is no?

PTB: No, it’s always been done using technology.

I like that the C4 loaded containment chairs Cable is using were originally designed by Magneto, but exploding prison chairs is still the height of silliness to me.

KevinMLD: Are these from a recognizable moment in time from the X-Men books?

PTB: I believe these came into play back in Uncanny X-Men #112.

Cable having some of Stark’s armor from the future is another story entirely. That’s kind of cool. Unfortunately, that kind of planning is an example of how Cable being presented as a master strategist where at other points he seems to have done no planning at all. He’s clearly not going to kill the Avengers and they’re unlikely to listen to him after the course of action he’s taken, so what is he hoping to accomplish here that’s actually going to help Hope?

KevinMLD: No idea. Provoke a fight between the Avengers and the X-men that could be resolved at a later date as part of an additional miniseries?

Read more about Avengers: X-Sanction including a look at each issue’s variant covers and this Summer’s Avengers vs. X-Men on MyLatestDistraction.

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