Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Mark Brooke & Shane Law with Chris Stevens
As Cable deals with Deadpool, we see him discover the virus has already been stolen by a trio of young anarchists who were fleeing the lab complex when he was entering it. However, in order to slip out of the building undetected these three injected themselves with the experimental virus, and while it does give them the ability to shape-shift, it also acts to kill them, forcing Cable to take them down before they can carry out their plan to take out as many people they can before they die. However the effort it took to stop them leaves Cable physically spent, and at Deadpool's mercy.
I've never been much of a Cable fan as I look upon the character's arrival in the Marvel Universe as the moment when "New Mutants" was transformed into a book that I had no interest in reading. However this issue does a pretty convincing job of making the character into an enjoyable one-man army, as he disassembles the soldiers' weapons with a wave of his hand, and in an amusing running gag deals with Deadpool by making his brain explode. I also have say the scene where Deadpool finally gets the drop on Cable is really quite intense, and while I fully expect Deadpool's mask will be pulled back to reveal Cable underneath, and that pool of blood was really Deadpool's brain being blown apart once again, I have to say there was a moment where I was convinced that Deadpool had put a bullet into Cable's head and I was busy trying to remember if Cable has some type of Healing factor. The book also manages to do some nice work when it comes to making Deadpool into a genuinely funny character, with his final tirade about why he took so long to get back with the virus being an amusing collection of pop culture references. The sinister plan that the One World Church has for the virus is also a pretty interesting master-plan, and the question that the next issue blurb asks should make for a fun debate. Also while the three anarchists are a poorly motivated plot device, I have to say I did enjoy the way that one of them decided to make use of his new ability to enjoy a brief taste of celebrity. Irene Merryweather also gets a cute introduction scene in this issue.
First off I have to say this issue's cover looks quite familiar to the one we received on the previous issue and if nothing else it acts to convince me of the idea that Rob Liefeld's imagination is about as solid as his understanding of the human form. Still, boring covers aside I have to say the interior art is very engaging as the style is a highly expressive one that manages to tell the story in a clear, visually engaging manner. Now the art isn't the best when it comes to capturing the physical likeness of the celebrities that the story calls for but this could be deliberate, as I believe one would have to pay money to use the physical likeness of a real life celebrity so I can't really blame the artist if they are operating under this restriction. I will say the art does a nice job of capturing the taffy like structure that the virus gives it's infected, as the scene where the young woman experiments with her face is a delightfully odd looking sequence. The melting body scene later in the issue is also well presented, as I had no problem imagining this was a painful death. The scene where Deadpool stands ready to pull the trigger is also a nice intense bit of art, as is the panel that follows after the gun goes off.
There are elements of this issue that seem to be designed to be deliberately confusing, and when the information arrives to explain these elements the answers don't exactly leave one with the sense that the earlier confusion was justified. I mean the plot device of the three thieves who broke into the lab and made off with the drug before Deadpool and Cable made their arrivals feels like a completely random element that was simply inserted into the story because Cable needed something to do while Deadpool's healing factor was busy knitting his brain back together. Now yes I noticed them running out of the labs while Cable was making his way in to the lab complex so Fabian Nicieza had them set up their role in the story in the opening chapter, but frankly this issue doesn't really expand upon why they decided to break into a heavily guarded lab complex, and inject themselves with an experimental virus that Cable had been lead to believe was a bioweapon. I mean I realize painting them as three anarchists who did it simply to thumb their nose at the man is the explanation we're supposed to accept, but frankly rebelling against authority doesn't automatically make one a complete idiot, and one would have to be a bit slow to inject oneself with an experimental virus while having no idea what it would do once it was inside your body. The fact that they sudden decide to head out on the town and kill people at random also makes them into little better than generic threats whose actions are motivated only by the immediate needs of the story.
It's Enough To Make Your Head Explode:
This issue pretty much reverses the roles of the characters as Cable takes center stage while Deadpool becomes more of a background element. Now normally this would be a strike against the issue as I'm a big Deadpool fan, while Cable's a character who I've had difficulty working up any interest in, but this issue does a wonderful job of making Cable into a Dirty Harry style figure as he moves through the issue getting the job done with a hard edged, take no prisoners approach. I mean one has to smile at how he deals with Deadpool, and these earlier encounters makes the final encounter even more interesting as the book makes it clear that this time Deadpool is in the driver seat, and he has every reason in the word to pull that trigger, and the art certainly makes it look like he did. Now the three anarchists who made off with the virus are a pretty poorly motivated bunch, and the book doesn't really develop them into anything more than a handy plot device, but I will say there was a nice little scene where Cable encounters one of them while the virus is tearing his body apart, and this act of kindness is nicely contrasted by the ruthless manner that he deals with the other two.
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