While I remain frustrated with Dennis Hopeless' Avengers Arena, I was much more of a mind to enjoy his other Marvel NOW #1 issue this week, Cable and X-Force. As usual with Cable, he's got some kind of big-picture plan to do... something... and he's not really telling anybody about it. However, he's recruited the mutant tech whiz Forge, the "weird-science super-genius brain doctor" in Dr. Nemesis, and his on-again, off-again galpal Domino into his new X-Force squad.
And, as we see in the opening sequence, he'll eventually bring the rogue ex-Phoenix Five, ex-Juggernaut ex-boyfriend of Kitty Pryde, one Piotr Nikolievitch Rasputin, into the mix as well, although we'll likely have to wait until issue #3 to find out how Nathan Christopher Charles Dayspring Askani'son Morley Safer Wade Wombat Sally Struthers Summers pulls the confused organic-steel hermit out of the cave he was left in back in AvX Consequences. That first segment also shows us that Cable's new X-Force is on the run from the Uncanny Avengers for being all shadowy and cryptic about whatever it is they're doing, which looks really bad due to the dead bodies they leave in their wake.
A few days earlier, Cable's daughter Hope Summers is bristling at the idea of trying to lead a normal high school life, while her dad's putting the team together - as well as his own body. It seems that after the events of Avengers X-Sanction, wherein he was purged of the techno-organic virus that so long defined his existence, he's having crazy headaches and his formerly missing arm is now present but atrophied and kind of useless. Thus, Forge builds him a new, oversized and ridiculous cybernetic arm that shoots missiles and likely does not include batteries. Meanwhile, Hope finally tracks down her father through Domino, pitches a telekinetic fit and then has a happy reunion. Just in time to catch a glimpse of some apocalyptic (not necessarily Apocalyse-ish, lest you worry) vision in Cable's mind - one which starts to happen by the end of the issue.
Hopeless writes entertainingly, and the dialogue is pretty fun - Forge kvetching about Cable calling him "Skitch" for some reason is amusing, and one hopes Hopeless will hopefully give Dr. Nemesis the same flair that Simon Spurrier gave him in X-Club. Salvador Larroca's artwork is also very solid stuff, although it could have used something a bit more kinetic than blur effects to bring Hope's TK tantrum to life.
It's not Rick Remender's book by any means, but this hearkens back to the origins of X-Force with the big freaky-eyed tactician doing mysterious things and people just glomming into him as he goes about taking care of business. I'm looking forward to finding out the Colossus angle before I offer any final judgment on Cable and X-Force, and in the interim, I hope to hear some entertaining science-bickering between Forge and Nemesis.
But so far, so all right.