Welcome to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly column that answers the question: "What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?" This week there are five X-Books on the stands, which will cost you a total of $20 to buy and, thanks to modern decompression techniques, take roughly ten minutes to read (if you read slowly). If that seems like a waste of time and money, you can keep your money by reading our recaps for free. We make no promises about the use of your time, however.
On stands this week are Weapon X #14, X-Men Blue #21, Despicable Deadpool #294, Cable #154, and Old Man Logan #35. Let's dive into Cable next…
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Jon Malin
Colorists: Jesus Aburtov with Federico Blee
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover: Jon Malin and Juan Fernandez
Cable #154 is the final chapter in the Newer Mutants storyline, which sees the titular time-travelling mutant pluck versions of Longshot, Shatterstar, X-23, Armor, and Doop from the timestream in an attempt to solve the mystery of who is killing the Externals, a Liefeldian-era team of immortals with suitably EXTREME 90s names like Gideon, Crule, and Absalom. We learned in previous issues who the culprit is: Gideon. In the previous issue, Absalom revealed he's been working with Gideon, and teamed up with him to murder Crule and Nicodemus. Now, Selene is the only External left, and her only ally is Blink, so she agreed to team up with Cable and X-Force-ish for payback.
The issue opens up with Selene whining about how Gideon is murdering everyone and if he kills her, followed by Absalom (who is working with Gideon because he actually wants to die), Gideon will absorb all of their power and be unstoppable or something. Cable and Shatterstar don't trust Selene and assume she wants the power for herself. Cable reveals that this story takes place before the Necrosha X-crossover event from 2009. Since he's read the back issues, he knows what Selene is up to in the future. He says they'll only help Selene if she releases her control over Blink so that Blink can star in future X-books. Blink seems confused to learn she's being controlled.
Before they can do anything, however, Gideon attacks by crashing a plane on them.
Armor saves everyone with her shielding, and the real battle begins. Gideon has grown to twice his normal size, and that's not just an homage to 90s-style artwork. It seems to be an effect of binging on all that External power. Gideon tells Cable not to risk it all for Selene, and to let them settle the matter between themselves. Cable responds…
Cable's team is no match for Gideon because thanks to eating fellow External Burke, Gideon can see everything they're going to do before they do it. So Cable kills Absalom instead. The team attacks Gideon again, trying not to think about what they're doing so he can't read their minds, but Gideon still beats them easily. By this point, Gideon has continued to grow, and he's now a few stories tall. Selene tells Cable to stand down and joins the battle herself. She explains that no single External is meant to have all this power, blah blah blah, it will tear Gideon apart. Gideon isn't listening, but Cable tells him she's telling the truth.
Gideon doesn't believe Cable can possibly know all the futures, but Cable says that if something as catastrophic as a 30 foot tall Rob Liefeld character taking over the universe happened, Cable would definitely know about it. As Gideon is ranting about how Cable is lying, Blink makes a portal around Gideon's neck and decapitates him. It's awesome. And Shatterstar agrees.
One person who doesn't think it's awesome, however, is Absalom, who is apparently still alive. Absalom is all like "no you can't do this" so Cable slaps him across the mouth. Cable says that Absalom will be fine because only an External can kill another External. He tells the team to get both of the bodies on ice so they can regenerate or whatever Externals do. Selene has disappeared by this point. Cable thanks everyone for helping out and has Blink bring them back to his base.
Cable says goodbye to everyone and goes to take Gideon to a prison in the future. But… er…
In the epilogue, a baby with purple eyes is born in Canada.
That's it! Next issue, a new creative team takes over. We're sure the next story will be great, but we'll miss Jon Malin's art, which is so perfect for a Cable/X-Force book it hurts. Gideon spent half the book standing in random clouds of smoke that obscured his feet. It was like being 12 years old again, reading this comic. We may sound snarky about it — because we are naturally snarky and we can't help it — but this really was a very enjoyable arc: action-packed, had a beginning, middle, and end, brought back classic characters, referenced the past but actually explained what needed to be explained in the comic, and had awesome artwork.
So, uh… what about the team Cable left behind? We smell a sequel! Cable: Even Newer Mutants!