Breakdowns – Avengers Vs. X-Men
Part 1: X-Sanction

by Chris Brown

Usually, when a large scale event happens in comics, I’m the last to know.
There, I said it, I’m a comic fan, but I usually catch up later than everyone else because well, I’m either working on my own stuff, or doing other things, or what have you.

So, generally, I read something, and automatically have to break it down to I can focus on the current event so that I can carry on a shop conversation. Avengers Vs. X-Men was big, right? That went over well? So, here I am, giving you my breakdown of the prelude, X-Sanction.

I know a bit about Cable. I’ve been lucky enough to have him as my common thread throughout my comic timeline, from New Mutants, to the stuff with Stryfe, to the awkward Soldier X, his throw ins with Deadpool, and now, currently, his relationship with Hope and his resurrection.

Cable is a complicated dude.

So, I’m basically facing reality here, Cable is not a dude that communicates his points well.
Though, by all means, he probably should be. He’s jockeyed through time and existentialism a lot, you think he’d know how to tell Captain America that The Avengers might be doing something wrong in the very near future. But, comics wouldn’t be comics, and we wouldn’t be able to see Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines do what they do best. Which is making big dudes duke it out, and making it look so dang pretty.

Anyway, your exposition is brought on by flashbacks and flash forwards, and the basic summation is that Hope, Cable’s somewhat adopted daughter, is probably going to inherit the Phoenix force, and that will bring about… something unclearly bad. Specifics are hazy, which is good, because we find out that Cable really doesn’t give a damn. This actually streamlines things quite a bit, as we realize Cable actually stopped listening after “The Avengers are going to try and stop Hope, apparently” and he fires off like a rocket made of anger and the techno-organic virus to incapacitate the Avengers before said unclear stuff can happen.

There’s a lot of ballyhoo about how Cable is using weapons from the current/future timelines to just pick off the Avengers that he can remember being on the team. This is actually a point of confusion for me, because Cable knew Wolverine and Spider-Man were on the team, but apparently just straight up didn’t plan around that. Well, really, there’s a giant list of people he didn’t account for, because it’s The Avengers, and he has about three mind-scrambling chairs and a stasis tube. “That should do it!” Cable says to Blaquesmith in some form of future flashback that would make Dr. Who fans wince.

And how does Cable kick off this bullet train of extreme violence? Taking out a prison transport plane that contains at least parts of the Lethal Legion. This is a good plan, because, well, the Legion is barely relevant when they are relevant, and even those points are really that often. Which is good, because as distractions go, they are a pretty great force to have dudes like Iron Man bounce dialogue off of because they barely understand what’s happening.

While The Legion is just hanging out and getting plastered on walls and whatnot, Cable knocks the Falcon out of commission, drags him to the freighter hideout, and pops him into a stasis tube mounted with a mound of C4. Now, being honest, Cable should have only a tertiary knowledge of who Falc even is, and as far as associating him with the Avengers? I guess. Planning for him? Alright, that’s fine, that’s workable. Popping him in a stasis tube? That seems like a waste. If Cable really wanted to deal with The Avengers, it would probably be considered a huge waste of resources throwing The Falcon in a stasis tube that could, by all rights, probably be more equipped to handle someone with an actual superpower.

But, we get Captain America following up on Falcon’s disappearance by basically just, I don’t know, leaving the battle and barely telling anyone. Which is another thing the Legion is apparently great at, allowing people to just come and go as they please in the course of the battle. It works well in the context of them being in a fight with The Avengers.

so, blah blah blah, Cap fights Cable, and I think pretty much point blank asks him why he’s doing this, to which Cable grunts, then has an attack by the Techno-Organic Virus. If you’re not familiar with the character, Cable basically survived a giant technological virus by being sent into the future and controlling it with telekinesis, which is his actual mutant power. His power sometimes fluxes, and the Techno-Organic virus flares up, causing Cable a lot of pain and just remarkable aggression.

So, Cable’s T.O. starts taking over his entire body, which just makes him absolutely angry for the very parsed reason that I mentioned earlier, and combining that with the pain that he gets from the flare up, beats Cap in single combat.

We also get a nifty vignette from the crew of Uncanny X-Force, which is odd if you haven’t been keeping up with the book, and it’ll actually come into play WAY LATER in the event, so, just let that happen.

Okay, speaking of vignettes, I’m gonna tackle the insanity that is the future flashbacks at once, because there are a lot of them, and they basically nail down the relationship between Cable and Hope, if you don’t know or couldn’t figure it out or have been living under a rock. There’s actually a couple of touching moments. Loeb has actually done these really well lately, though I do have a lot of misgivings about other aspects of his work. The interaction and concern between Cable and Hope is genuine and understandable.

Breaking back into the story, Cable defeats Iron Man pretty much inexplicably. Loeb leads us to believe that it’s a virus or something similar, but really, that doesn’t make sense. What does make sense is how Cable couldn’t fit into the odd, bulky future Iron Man armor that he scrounged up in “The Future”, and it looks kind of absurd. Cable’s flare-up has covered his entire body in steel-esque nanomites, which is good because now he’s taking on Red Hulk.

Red Hulk is going to be a focal point of my misunderstandings with AvX, because, well, some of the colorists involved in the series don’t disseminate him from the green Banner Hulk as things move on. Here though, he is true to form, working with the Avengers and taking on Cable for long enough to get spiked with the Techno-Organic virus and incapacitated while taking some of the T.O. burden off of Cable.

Then, Cyclops shows up with Hope, and things get wacky. Cable, again, doesn’t explain his point, and continues fighting the Avengers and actually standing his ground. His entire “team”, which consists of Cyclops, Hope and Blaquesmith, yell at him like he was the kid scoring on his own goal, and that continues to be a problem as we deal with the surprise one two punch of Wolverine and Spider-Man that show up out of nowhere.

Honestly, the fact that Cable didn’t account for these two is logically frustrating, but they make with the fighty-fighty and we’re all the better for it, I guess. We also get a pretty great bit about The Thing being frustrated with picking up the mess that the other Avengers made. Just knowing that we’re gonna be dealing with Ben Grimm though out this entire debacle gave me hope, personally.

So, wrapping stuff up, Red Hulk burns the nano mites out of his system using radiation in a crowded room, Hope figured out that she can burn the T.O. out of Cable using the Phoenix force, and everyone sort of freaks out that Hope having the Phoenix force is a thing now.

Which, If Cable would have just said that’s what we were dealing with in the first place, it wouldn’t have set up this blockbuster event, so, well, now we have a blockbuster event which I get to read and will continue to give you the breakdowns of.

Nick and Adam discuss two of the biggest stories in current Marvel. Avengers Disassembled and House of M.

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