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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Probably no artist better represents the state of the comic industry in the late '80s/early '90s than Rob Liefeld. And probably no character better represents Rob Liefeld and his impact than Cable.

Nathan Summers has traveled back in time to prevent a future war between man and mutant. Ths soldier called Cable uses his mutant abilities to fight for a better tomorrow - and seeks his own fate as a man out of time! A telepathic and telekinetic mutant, Cable's physical attributes have been enhanced to superhuman levels. Although his telekinesis allows him to levitate objects and erect protective force shields, he must turn the majority of his energies inward to prevent the techno-organic virus with which he is infected from ravaging the remainder of his body. Cable's techno-organic left arm and shoulder possess even greater strength than his entirely organic right appendage. Similarly, his right eye enables him to see into the infrared spectrum.

Now, it's not to say that Cable is a bad character. He's not. The idea of a time-travelling cyborg commando has been proven successful in the past (hell, that's probably why Rob ripped it off), and several writers have told some great stories with Cable. It's just that when Rob created him, he was a pretty lame guy.

The figure stands 6¼" tall, which is perfect: Cable was generally taller than everyone else around him, save for the really huge characters like Colossus, and the figure is, too. He has 43 points of articulation, so he's as poseable as any Marvel Legend.

The sculpt is very good, of course. Cable's got the face of an old warrior, and the approproate scars around his right eye. His wavy gray hair looks right, and his big scowl manages to look more like a stern drill instructor than a malevolent foe. His blue and yellow X-Uniform looks like one of Liefeld's designs: giant shoulder pads, tons of extraneous pockets and pouches, all that. To drive completists nuts, there's a variant Cable in his brown and blue clothes, more in line with the way he looked at the beginning.

The best detail is on Cable's mechanical arm. While the Cable figures we've had in the past cut corners and just gave us a few metal plates, this time ToyBiz has really gone overboard with detail. This isn't an arm covered with metal, it's entirely built of the stuff. It's designed to resemble muscle tissue constructed from (what else?) cables. Very nice. Unfortunately, ToyBiz molded the arm from the same pink plastic as his right arm, so if any paint scrapes off (like, say, from moving his shoulder) you get a flash of flesh. Sometimes Cable wore synthetic skin to hide his arm; if the paint really bugs you, pretend that's what it is.

Like all the Marvel Legends, Cable comes with a detailed base. His is an odd hover bike measuring 6½" long. To make it float, the bike also includes a clear plastic copy of Silver Surfer's meteor base. I guess you could pretend it's supposed to represent Cable's psychic powers, or perhaps some exhaust fumes - it may be clear, but it's certainly not invisible.

A lot of fans complained that Cable didn't come with the one item that was his true trademark, a bigass gun. Well, really, he comes with the biggest gun any Cable figure has ever had: part of the reason that the bike looks so weird is that it serves double duty; flip it upside down and fling it over Cable's shoulder and he's packing heat. Of course, that means that the handlebars have to serve as the gun's grip, but the thing still looks better as a gun than as a base.

Cable comes with a reprint of issue 73 of his eponymous title, a comic that... well, really doesn't do much but show off why no one likes Rob Liefeld. There are better Cable stories out there, but they probably picked this one as a testament to the man who created him.

-- 01/22/05

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