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Cable w/ Baby Hope

Marvel Universe
by yo go re

How much would you pay for an accessory?

Cable has been a soldier his entire life. For as long as he can remember, there has never been anything but his mission. With his powerful psychic abilities suppressed by a techno-organic virus, he devoted himself to perfecting his fighting skills. He has traveled across time, fighting wars in the blasted lands of an apocalyptic future, and battling alongside the X-Men in the present day.

This year at SDCC, Hasbro revealed its plans for the reborn Marvel Legends, including the news that each series would have running changes, sometimes replacing one character with an entirely different one - for instance, the first wave of Series 2 will have Madame Masque, but a later wave will replace her with Viper. I'll go on record right now as saying that this is a terrible idea. Hasbro has a poor track record with getting any kind of even market penetration, with no line providing clearer evidence of that right now than Marvel Universe.

If you ask Rob Liefeld, he'll tell you that he created Cable alone, handing in a character profile along with his initial sketches. Of course, the sketches were actually designs for a villain, it was editor Bob Harras who said they should make him a good guy and mentor to the New Mutants (because writer Louise Simonson already wanted a leader with a different style from Professor X), and the "profile" basically amounted to "he's from the future," so take that as you will. And of course, whenever these discussions about how original Cable is come up, Rob never seems to mention that he was a huge fan of Marvel's Star Wars comics, which in 1978 introduced the gun-toting, shoulderpad-wearing, half-cyborg bounty hunter Valance the Hunter. He even wore the same color as Cable! And who co-created Valance the Hunter? Walt Simonson, the husband of the woman Rob insists deserves no credit for Cable.

Cable is a soldier first and a superhero second, and a good costume for him needs to reflect that. This one is pretty good, with a dark blue jumpsuit as the base. He's still wearing straps and pouches, but not too many: they're limed to four pockets on his belt, and a strap going from the belt to the holster on his right leg. He's wearing one shoulder pad, but it doesn't look like the kind of thing you'd see on a football player; think of gladiators that have armor (or padding) on the arm that isn't wielding a weapon, and consider that Cable's banded left arm is more threatening than anything he could carry in his right hand. The harness on his chest is a little overdone, but not as badly as many of the others the character has worn over the years. For the most part, he looks to be taken directly from the cover of Cable #1.

Cable's got a great face. He has a deep scowl and his brows are set low over his eyes. Well, "brow" - he only has one. One white eyebrow. The other is missing because of the star-shaped scar around his right eye. The wrinkles that suggest his age are done very well for a figure of this size, and the details of his wavy gray hair are decent.

As you can tell from the image at the top of the review, Cable is a huge figure. He stands 4¾" tall, which is just about the max any Marvel Universe figure reaches. Yeah, he's a tall guy, but he's not "mystically enhanced" tall. He has a swivel head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed torso, swivel waist (which seems unnecessary with the chest joint, but there you are), balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins and swivel/hinge ankles.

I noticed after opening the figure that he was assembled with two right hips - the muscles don't line up over the joint. Since there aren't any costume details being ruined and the range of motion is the same, I'm not too worried about it. But it is rather ironic that both this figure and the Marvel Legends Cable I got seven years ago both have mis-assembled left legs - poor guy just can't catch a break!

No matter when you buy Cable, you'll get three accessories: a pistol that fits in the holster on his leg, a Cable-sized rifle that plugs onto his back (see, the harness on his torso serves a purpose after all) and his psychic spear. The way the rifle is angled on his back makes it wildly inconvenient - if you were wearing a gun this way yourself, you wouldn't be able to reach the damn thing! The spear is an Askani "Psi-mitar," which focuses and amplifies mental powers. If you don't want him to hold it, try tucking it through the harness.

Now we come to the part of the review that actually pertains to that paragraph about Marvel Legends that you'd completely forgotten about by now. Hasbro keeps creating variants for the Marvel Universe figures, but makes them only available in the first wave shipment, then drops them as more cases ship. Cable, sadly, is one of those figures.

Cable comes with baby Hope, the first mutant baby born after the Scarlet Witch did her "no more mutants" thing. With all sorts of crazies out to kill the baby, Cable volunteered to be her protector, taking her into the future where she'd be safe. Thus, the first release of Cable comes with a tiny, armored Baby Bjorn that plugs onto his chest. Inside there is a little girl who has a little curl right on the middle of her forehead. Cable has a second chestpiece for the times you don't want him carrying a baby around, which is a perfectly sane arrangement. However, it's only the first wave, so if you find a later wave, well, you're missing out.

And therein lies the problem. The first time I ever saw Cable in a store, it was already that later wave: he was already shipping sans Hope. And I don't know about you, but I'm not one to pay an equal price for a figure that's less complete, right? So that one little missing accessory ended up costing me quite a bit of money, since I had to buy Cable on the secondary market. With that in mind, it's impossible to not see how Hasbro's plans for the return of Marvel Legends - replacing characters via running change - is going to end badly. Cable's a great figure, and I'm glad I got him, but Hasbro's marketing plans meant I got raked over the coals because I refused to give up Hope.

-- 09/19/11

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