Regeneration X: X-Sanction

X-Sanction is a four-issue miniseries which now serves as a prelude to next years ‘X-Men Vs Avengers’ storyline, in which Cable returns to try and protect his adopted daughter, Hope Summers, from an Avengers attack. The only problem is that the attack hasn’t happened yet, the Avengers don’t realise that they’re going to start this attack, and that nobody realised Cable was still alive. That’s where Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness come in.

Starting with an off-handed gesture to explain why Cable is still alive, issue #1 of the miniseries is an extended fight scene between Captain America and Cable, two characters whose thought processes and motivations are very similar. We know this because Cable outright states it. This fight, which could’ve been avoided if only Cable didn’t want to give a grandstanding speech, consists of several glossy pages where the characters pose at each other, gleam, and throw punches spectacularly. The process of the fight doesn’t really make much sense, but this is a big and brash take on Cable, harkening back to his original purpose as a Rob Liefeld gun-thug.

The Cable we’re presented with here has an ostensibly heroic purpose: protect his daughter from an imminent attack from the Avengers. Yet he acts like a villain throughout, taking cheap shots and gloating endlessly. This Cable comes across as an idiot, which is strange because Loeb also presents him as the hardened soldier we know him to be. He seems to have made a complex plan for stopping the Avengers – a plan which works – but it could hardly be a simpler plan. He kidnaps Falcon, then waits in ambush for Captain America. Why does Cap go on his own to find Falcon, when the rest of the Avengers were JUST next to him? Maybe they wanted a pizza.

The story is simplistic to a fault – I am literally telling you that the storytelling is faulty. While competent, the entire story feels childish and empty. It’s painfully obvious where every single part of this story is going to go, and it feels like a waste of a good story. Duane Swierczynski gave us a version of Cable who was smart and aggressive, but not a robot. Jeph Loeb boils down Cable to a simplistic essence and bores the reader.

Although here’s the thing – if you’re a young reader, wanting to get into comics? This actually works really well as an introduction to Marvel. It sets up who the Avengers currently are, and looks set to introduce the X-Men before too long. The story is simple, the art is spiffy, and while it has a lot of punching, there’s no grim violence. People hit each other, they shout things for no reason, and it’s all very flashy. A six year old will probably love this issue.

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