Everything old is new again! Is ’90s nostalgia enough to move Cable forward?

Someone is killing immortals, but it’s not like Selene did — this time, it’s permanent. In Cable #151, can the burly time-traveler and his handpicked crew make some headway on this mystery? Is it good?

The Skinny

Well, being that all those resurrected Externals are backing her up, Selene is clearly not the (current) killer. You didn’t want to mess with Crule and Absalom anyway!

Shatterstar, Longhot and Doop clearly aren’t enough, so Cable grabs Armor and (apparently) a past version of X-23 to round out Team Bullets and Blades. The next prospective member is indebted to someone else. And don’t expect much help from Burke the External, either. He’s lived a long, painful life, so he’s not exactly simpatico with this self-preservation thing.

The Lowdown

Cable #151 is another team-building issue for writer Ed Brisson, with a little murderous intrigue thrown in for good measure. The story beats are fine but the narrative is drawn out far more than it should be — yes, I will use the “decompressed” epithet.

Brisson’s dialogue isn’t as crisp as in the previous issue, either, and Longshot and Shatterstar have yet to develop their own, individual voices. The big reveal at the end falls kind of flat, especially if you’ve, uh, seen the cover of Cable #150.

Jon Malin’s art … well, what can ya say? It’s aping a very specific (’90s-centric?) style, while not quite creating the iconic imagery that some of the characters in Cable #151 were actually a part of, 20 years ago. Some of the more angular panels create a sense of dynamism, but all in all, Malin hasn’t really changed or improved his style since his stint on Thunderbolts. The facial expressions still aren’t very expressive, and the odd use of shadows certainly doesn’t help that.

Colorist Jesus Aburtov comes out of Cable #151 probably looking the best, with purples for Selene, brighter hues when Cable meets Armor in a park and more subdued colors when the killer X-23 is introduced. The Externals’ bright red and blue costumes are very ’90s, and I mean that in the best way possible.

The Upshot

For old Cable readers looking for more pulse-pounding action from the future fighter, Cable #151 is probably not what they want. The throwback-esque art isn’t up to the quality detail it was in the ’90s, and the nicely-arranged panels really aren’t enough to hide that. There’s a good story here, despite the less-than-spectacular art, but it’s unfolding so slowly that there’s little the reader has to keep them interested. The book’s real villain is foreshadowed, so that’s nice, but if this issue is any indication, we won’t be learning his/her identity for a good long time, yet.

Cable #151
Is it good?
It's fine, but man is it slow. It feels like writer Ed Brisson is trying to move Cable along a bit, while artist Malin wants his image to be stuck in a bygone time.
Story is fine ...
Nice team selection ...
Colors pop and convey the tones of different scenes well ...
... but man is it slow.
... even though the whole thing was spoiled by the covers.
... but the pencils still don't even reach the height of '90s quality, let alone impress in the modern era.
7
Good