Characters Appearing: Bug, Cable (Adult), Commander Arcturus Rann, Copycat, Domino, G.W. Bridge, Kane, Marionette, Moira MacTaggert, Psycho-Man
Issue(s): Cable #38, Cable #39
The point is that i've been enjoying the issues just on the art and characterization and little bits of continuity crumbs, and here we have an actual fun plot. Cable in the Microverse!
The story is that Psycho-Man is interested in the technology of Garrison Kane, aka Weapon X. So he tried to kidnap Kane, but instead he grabbed Copycat, who was impersonating Kane at the time. So now Kane, Cable, and Domino have to go to the Microverse to rescue Copycat. This is especially galling to Domino, since Copycat spent most of the 90s impersonating her while she was a prisoner of Tolliver (who turned out to be Cable's son Tyler aka Genesis but that's a whole other thing).
Speaking of Domino, on their way into the Microverse, we see Domino attempting to proactively trigger her luck power for the first time.
I actually don't think that's a great idea for the character. The whole idea of a luck power is that is that weird happy accidents can happen around the character. Giving Domino control of that would basically turn her into the Scarlet Witch, or at an extreme level, a reality-warping Franklin Richards. I just like the basic idea that it makes sense to let Domino drive the shrinking ship because good things are more likely to happen when she's doing it. But if you wanted to show development, you could show her trying something a little different (like maybe deliberately taking more risks) and having her attribute that to having worked with Longshot recently in X-Force #60.
Anyway, not only are we in the Microverse, but we actually get to see the Micronauts!
Well, three of them, anyway. The rest are apparently dead (and/or not available due to the license having expired).
The one problem with this story is that Kane - boring at the best of times - is extremely angry this whole story. And he just comes off as whiny and belligerent. A real buzz-kill. Luckily we have Bug around.
I like Bug's reaction to Kane's "superpower"; it's not the first time he's seen people shoot off their hands. A key aspect of the original Micronaut toys was that you could swap their body parts, and that's something Bill Mantlo made use of in the original comics in a few different ways. In fact, that commonality to that aspect of the Micronauts may be why Psycho-Man was interested in his Kane's technology (and this may even have been said explicitly in the previous issue, which i don't have).
Psycho-Man seems to have filled the gap left behind by Baron Karza. He sends Dog Soldiers after the heroes.
But that doesn't mean he's given up on the classics.
Really love the art.
And even though i'm mostly highlighting splash panels, Churchill's sequential storytelling is good. It feels like we're reaching a turning point, coming out of the Image era. Not just with Churchill (Deodato's various books, but especially on Hulk, come to mind). Aspects of what made the art of the early 90s popular are still here (the thicker, more 3D or "realistic" feel (scare quotes intended), and yes, still a copious amount of splashes) but things are looking cleaner and clearer.
We're in the Microverse, so everyone's technically tiny, but if you're going to use the Micronauts you want them to be small, so they find a way to get even smaller.
This was actually a problem (for me) with most of the original Micronauts series. The fact that they were "micro" wasn't really apparent. Similar situation when, say, Bug goes to the real world; you should really keep him Ant-Man (or "bug") sized.
A tried and true method for dealing with someone when they're affected by Psycho-Man's rays is to slap them around (c.f. Fantastic Four #281). And Domino is all too happy to get in on that when trying to help Copycat.
Believe me. I'm not enjoying this. *smak!*
Psycho-Man is defeated when he uses a trick he learned from X-Man. I'm not sure i understand the part about synching-up Copycat and Weapon-X, but it looks like a punch supported by telekinesis which in turn delivers a telepathic attack? Kind of like Psylocke's psychic knife?
Lecture about love optional.
Psycho-Man is subsequently put in suspended animation, and Rann says that "He won't bother anyone ever again".
In terms of continuity-smoothing, this story ends with a nice conversation between Domino and Copycat.
The only problem is the implication that Domino did spend some time with "the X-Force kids" before she was kidnapped, or else she wouldn't be looking to excuse why they didn't realize she'd been swapped. The problem with that is when Domino is rescued in X-Force #15, Cable tells her to find X-Force and she has no idea what the $#@! he's talking about. And in X-Force #30, when Cable recruits her into X-Force, Domino says "How can I do that when the Domino all these kids knew was that scheming [Copycat] impersonating me?". I think Loeb couldn't fathom the idea that Domino had never appeared before she was kidnapped, because that would be ridiculous. The only other idea is that the real Domino did spend some time with the New Mutants and simply didn't recognize the name "X-Force" when Cable said it, and the line in #30 is a little bit of hyperbole. But every source i've seen on this (MCP, Wikipedia, etc.) confirms that Domino's first real appearance was as a prisoner of Tolliver in issue #8. What Domino says here still applies to why Cable didn't realize she'd been replaced, and i guess the line about X-Force is just a slip of the tongue? Definitely threw me for a loop, and right while i'm praising Loeb for his use of continuity! I do think the reconciliation is nicely done, though, and the explanation at least gets to why Cable, who we now know is a telepath, didn't notice Domino getting swapped.
This is selfish, but another reason why i liked this story is that (even ignoring Psycho-Man and the Micronauts) the Cable supporting cast is familiar to me. It's Kane, Domino, and, well, Copycat, all characters that have been around from near the start of Cable's series. No Blaquesmiths or Risques or whateveqeus. Boring Kane (and Copycat) takes his leave at the end of this, for what it's worth. So going forward we wouldn't have to deal with his boring grumpy ass, either. But these are also Loeb & Churchill's last issues anyway.
Cameo by G.W. Bridge doing his usual standing around being concerned about Cable, and at the very end there's an appearance by Moira MacTaggert setting up something for the next story (Rene Majcomb may be in grave danger!).
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP has this after X-Force #59-62.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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