Aug 25, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 182: X-Man #1, March 1995


Consider the word "apocalypse." While we often understand it, and use it, in the context of catastrophic destruction, the word actually has roots in the notion of revelation, the lifting of a veil. Quite obviously, the character Apocalypse in this crossover errs on the side of the destructive, but the crossover itself lives up to the revelatory notion. Consider, then, the name "Age of Apocalypse." As I've suggested over the last couple of days, the character of Cyclops in this alternate universe exhibits some intrinsic qualities, regardless of his sinister upbringing. He makes a brief, but certainly apocalyptic, appearance in today's comic as well, and his is not the only revelation to take place. X-Man is the re-naming of the Cable title in the AoA, and what is revealed to us here is a younger, more uncertain and more optimistic Nate Grey than the grizzled combat veteran who inhabits the regular title. Though Cable's past (or is that future?) has been explored in the prime universe, it's once again interesting to see what characteristics shine through in this reinterpretation. This is especially interesting in that the character of Cable does not have the 30 years of history that someone like Cyclops brings to the AoA. Cable's first appearance is a scant 5 years before the crossover, hardly enough time for an archetypical character to develop.

I suppose this raises the question, then, of whether or not Cable/Nate Grey has any intrinsic qualities that can be revealed in this age of apocalyptic visions. The powers exhibited by the two are similar, though of course X-Man does not suffer from the techno-organic virus that Cable does, but aside from that all we're left with is a vague notion of wanting to do good and help people. It's a start for a superhero, and for a hero in general, but I'm not sure that there's much more to the character, yet, that we can call archetypical. Perhaps further into the series (and, to be honest, further into my understanding of Cable as a character) we'll see some other qualities come out. But for now, he's really pretty generic. Not that this is a bad thing. "Generic" and "genesis" are homophonic, and we have to acknowledge that there are generic types from which our heroes arise. Well down the line in this project, perhaps Cable will have developed into something a little less generic. I'll keep you posted.

See you tomorrow.

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