That’s what I’m talkin ’bout!

18 Jul

By Ayo

Cable and X-Force, no. 11
by: Dennis Hopeless & Salvador Larocca
with: Frank D’Armata & Joe Sabino
$3.99, Marvel Entertainment
July, 2013

I was born in Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Thirty years later, I had my eyes checked out there (all good). A year and a half after that, X-Force saved the hospital from blowing up!

1. What it is.

Cable and X-Force is a comic about a new version of the original X-Force. The main X-Force comic is a derivative of the version that Craig Kyle and Chris Yost and Rick Remender spearheaded on recent years. Cable and X-Force is the “heroes branded as outlaws, on the run from the law” kind of comic. I’m into this.

2. Larroca.

As an indie comics guy, I’m supposed to loathe Salvador Larroca. His work on Invincible Iron Man should be an abomination to me, made by computers, aided by photographs, driven by photoshop, et cetera. Well, eat dirt, indie comics. I like Larroca’s work.

Frank D’Armata is no small part of this. His limited palate (grey) and silvery sheen probably turn off a lot of old school art-likers. But he and Larroca have slid into a rhythm where their work seems made to be together. It’s just a grey world and that brings me to…

3. Boom Boom.

The character Boom Boom is all pink and yellow. The proverbial ray of sunshine in this world that is so steely that her opposite character is literally black and white (Domino). Aesthetically, they look good together. They make an idea team-up because even their colors are coding their outlooks on life, particularly when contrasted with one another.

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4 Domino effect.

In a Domino/Boom Boom stealth mission, Domino is the one who goes undercover. And nobody blinks at this Obvious Mutant carting a patient out of the hospital!

Points for not being racist, Mount Sinai Hospital!
Demerits for terrible security, Mount Sinai Hospital.

5. Structure: parallel; asymmetrical

In this comic, we actually never see the lead title character, Cable, but we see his daughter, Hope Summers. She is in the future, teaming up with Blaquesmith fighting Warlocks. I ain’t even mad!

When I was a boy, Original X-Force was my favorite comic. While the X-Force gang was running around and rescuing their friends, Domino was hunting down mercenaries and searching for X-Force. That was the era of issues #20-24, especially issue 23 “Domino Triumphant.” Today the tables are flipped and Domino is rescuing mutants (and civilians) while some OTHER estranged member is taking the Long Way Home.

Hope’s mission is long. It began before this issue and it continues past this issue. Domino and Boom Boom’s mission is immediate. It begins and ends in this current episode.

THIS.

IS.

WHAT I KEEP TELLING YOU ABOUT!

A comic book issue should tell its own story while also providing seeds for future (no pun intended) stories to develop. That’s what this comic book issue does and I will support Hopeless and Larroca in their mission if this is what they plan to do.

I call this “polyrhythmic storytelling.” One story arc moves at a certain pace and the other hand (I took piano lessons as a boy) moves at a different pace. Yet both hands compliment the work as a whole.

In comics, what you want to do is have your dominant storyline take up the majority of an issue’s time/space (in comics, time and space are the same thing) and have the subplot move along at sparser, sharper beats to make for an interesting narrative “stab” of interest with each subplot interlude. The idea is that by the time the subplot becomes the dominant plot, the reader will have absorbed enough of that subplot’s world to become fully curious and engaged. And do remember: when the subplot eventually becomes the primary conflict, seeds should still be sewn for subplots even further down the road. That’s how it’s done!

6. Domino effect, part 2

This past weekend, I bought the 1996 Domino miniseries (so, so, so terrible) and the 2002 Brian Stelfreeze Domino miniseries (reading it soon). The day of this Cable and X-Force, I also bought Adam Warren’s A+X comic “Scarlet Witch+Domino.” I really like Domino. The Domino in the comic at hand is not the freewheeling, daredevil Domino but the original Too-Old-For-This-Shit Domino. I can’t complain, it’s just weird to see different comics slide the character back and forth between Stern School Marm and Reckless Trickster. The latter role in this story goes to Boom Boom who was an utterly joyless character until Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen put her in the comic Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

So I enjoy this comic for what it is presented as, not what any prior comic suggests that it might be. And shout out to Ellis and Immonen for supplying Boom Boom with an actual characterization.

7. The review of Cable and X-Force # 11.

Wasn’t the best comic book to come out this week (July 17, 2013), but it might have been the closest comic book to my heart. If you were a fan of Fabian Nicieza and Greg Capullo’s X-Force (twenty years ago), this is the comic for you, without a question. Antics, friendship and want an destruction. The X-Force Way.

@darrylayo

One Response to “That’s what I’m talkin ’bout!”

  1. jameswheeler July 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    I can’t stand Larocca and D’Armata, but you make a compelling case.

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