Avengers: X-Sanction is definitely making good on its promise to be a rip-roaring action-packed story, pitting Cable against the Avengers, but unfortunately aside from the fight sequences the series is still lacking on any actual story per se.With the first two issues, this wasn’t necessarily a large problem, because there was plenty of time remaining to delve into story matters, such as just why Cable is targeting the Avengers in the first place.However, now that there’s just one issue remaining in the mini-series, it looks possible that we won’t end up getting many revelations, reveals or answers in next issue’s finale.
In many ways, this series typifies Jeph Loeb’s writing style over the past few years- all style, little to no substance.This issue has big action, rendered superbly by Ed McGuinness, and gives you those big action movie moments, but it doesn’t really delve into the whys and whatfores of just what’s unfolding on the page.That being said, I do appreciate that Loeb writes Cable in a way that is very familiar and enjoyable to fans of the character throughout the nineties, because the character hasbecome very confusing over the past few years.In the last five-six years alone, he has lost his powers completely (due to burnout), had his biology changed completely and then reaged during the time House of M took place, got new tech-based powers which simulated his original powers, briefly got his powers back during a mission with the X-Men, before losing them again and then “killing himself”, then showing up during Messiah Complex with Hope, looking like he had no real powers, and since then it not being all that clear when or if and when he does have powers, let alone the techno-organic virus, which also has a confusing history (expunged from his body in Cable #100, later reintroduced to his system at some point during the House of M tie-ins of Cable and Deadpool, and then used progressively over the course of the last Cable ongoing).
However, Loeb writes the character in a very stripped-down, simple style, which evokes memories of how Cable was written during the character’s heyday in the nineties, when he was also written by Loeb, and this includes throwing in the character of Blaquesmith, who hasn’t been seen in quite some time.
The last few pages of the series are among the most interesting in terms of what they could end up meaning in terms of AVX, as well as the next issue of this series, as Cyclops and Hope show up to try and talk some sense into Cable.However, the last page then shows Wolverine making one of the stupidest comments I’ve seen in a while, which is indicative of truly poor writing, to the point that even Spider-Man is taken aback by its cheer stupidity.
The artwork by McGuinness is fantastic as always, and helps keep this series moving quickly, and keeps it enjoyable despite the relatively barebones script with little to no characterization.The artwork is big, bold and beautiful, as McGuinness uses his artistic sensibilities to give the reader a big smackdown between Cable and Red Hulk.
This series hasn’t been perfect, but as we near the endgame, the series is losing a bit of its charm as it continues to not give the reader solid characterization or answers as to why this is all really happening, even as McGuinness continues to hit the artwork out of the park.