Avengers: X-Sanction #4: Cable Ready

The Phoenix is coming, but it's also sort of already here. What? Hey, Cable's fighting Avengers!

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Avengers: X-Sanction #4

So, Avengers vs. X-Sanction #4 has come out, and we realize that this series, while hyped as the first lead-in to the Avengers vs. X-Men saga that will kick off shortly, it really only exists to please Cable fans. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Cable has returned from the dead/future to kick the snot out of the Avengers, and the best justification we get for all this after 4 issues of smackdown action is that the desolate future he returned from is all the Avengers' fault. You'd think a hardass, no-nonsense soldier like Cable wouldn't bother being so damn cryptic all the time, but you can write that off by saying 'hey, the techno-organic virus is out of control and maybe eating half his brain.' They never really say that outright, but it helps you swallow the fact that this is happening instead of Cable coming from the future and saying 'yeah, this is what's gonna happen, so let's not do this.'  Or, maybe it's the First Rule of Time Travel: Never be direct and pragmatic about time travel because There Are Consequences To Horrible To Speak Of.

Anyway, sense-making isn't the focus of Jeph Loeb's story. It has three purposes: 1.) Bring Cable back to life. 2.) Let the great Ed McGuinness go nuts drawing big burly dudes fighting each other and 3.) Tease Avengers vs. X-Men. It accomplishes all of these well enough. Cable goes down fighting, finally succumbing to the T.O. and dying, as we expected, but then his future-buddy Blaquesmith shows up and gives Hope a nudge, and she flares up with the Phoenix Force, purging the T.O. entirely from Cable and bringing him back to life completely whole for the first time since he was an infant poisoned with that virus by Apocalypse in the first place (we're pretty sure Loeb wasn't quite up on the whole 'symbiosis with a sentient version of the virus' thing that happened during Cable & Deadpool, as it's never noted here). Either way, it's gone now, so nobody has to remember that ever again. Cable's virus free, and fans who have been waiting to see just how powerful Cable can get (if they didn't already see it when he was running Providence and fighting the Silver Surfer in the aforementioned Cable & Deadpool) may get that chance soon.

So The Phoenix Force is the central bone of contention between the Avengers and the X-Men in the upcoming slapfight, and we now know that it is definitely coming for the obvious choice in Hope Summers – and thus, there's no swerve planned in that it'll actually come for Pixie or something. We also get an intimation that Cable's going to show up at some point in the AvX fight to start busting up Avengers again. If Hope doesn't fulfill her destiny, the world becomes a wasteland, thus, the X-Men fight. It still remains to be seen if Cable showing up to kill all the Avengers instead of just saying 'look, here's the future, Cap, don't do what you think you should do when this happens' will make any sense, or just wind up feeling just as contrived as Avengers: X-Sanction feels right now, and as contrived as we dread that AvX will turn out to be.