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Cable & Deadpool: If Looks Could Kill | A Comic Book Spotlight on

A bit about Cable and Deadpool.

When looking back on the history of characters like Cable and Deadpool the fact that these two have remained so popular and marketable is nothing short of a miracle. Deadpool was a character who started out as a Deathstroke rip-off because co-creator Rob Liefeld was bitter over the fact that he couldn’t draw a Teen Titans book. He only really got popular when later creators, (Joe Kelly usually getting the credit), turned him into the meta-joking, fourth-wall breaking looney toon that everyone knows and loves today.

On the other hand, Cable hasn’t really changed since his original inception and is generally considered to be the one genuinely good character that Rob Liefeld created who more or less stayed intact when other writers got a hold of him. But, when looking at the character objectively, he’s basically a poster child for everything that was wrong with the comic industry in the 90s and could be used as the center of a case study as to how X-Men writers can’t stop rewriting the Days of Future Past storyline. But when the two are paired together it usually makes for comedic gold. Sadly, this does not include today’s subject matter.

About the Cable and Deadpool series.

Cable and Deadpool series was originally published from May of 2004-April of 2008 and ran for fifty issues. It was written by Fabian Nicieza with artwork primarily done by Mark Brooks and focused on the misadventures of the two characters. Today, however, we’re only going to take a look at the first story arc, If Looks Could Kill. The plot centers on Cable and Deadpool as they go after a virus that can completely alter the looks of a person for completely different reasons.

Deadpool goes after it after being hired by a church that wants to change the appearance of everyone on the planet so that they all look the same. Cable, on the other hand, is after it because he knows that the virus is dangerous and wants to destroy it. The two eventually clash and things get increasingly complicated as terrorist groups get involve, the church steps in and Cable’s recently unlocked telekinetic powers increase in their potency.

The storyline is just okay, it’s not great, it’s not terrible, it’s just okay.

The primary issue with the book is its tone. It tries to be a straightforward story using characters who were never at their best while being straightforward lead characters. Deadpool, for example, isn’t nearly as entertaining as he has been in other books. This version of him is more or less a standard badass mercenary who tells jokes; and not very good ones at that. They mostly amount to incredibly outdated pop cultural references that only people who are really nostalgic for the mid-2000s would laugh at. There are a few good visual gags and some situational humor that gets a few laughs but what you have here is a Deadpool story where Deadpool just isn’t all that funny.

Unfortunately, Cable is in a similar boat. You see, the issue with Cable is that he’s always best as part of a team or a foil to Deadpool’s over the top antics, (play the 2013 video game or see Deadpool 2 for further evidence of this). In this book, however, the creative team wants him to be a straightforward protagonist. He has gained new abilities that have quickly made him one of the most powerful mutants on the planet and his primary arc is about deciding how to use them.

To be fair this is all well and good and makes for a decent story, but it’s not what you’d expect out of a book featuring these two characters. It feels a little too much like a mainline X-Men story and that’s not really what people should expect out of a book called Cable and Deadpool. But with all that, it’s still not a bad read.

Final thoughts.

The artwork is all a bit on the cartoony side but everything is well drawn with enough details packed in as to where everything looks authentic in the Marvel universe. At the same time, it’s not overly detailed to the point that its an eyesore. The story is fast-paced enough to where you’re never bored but also knows when to slow down so you aren’t overwhelmed. The main story isn’t exactly The Dark Phoenix Saga but it does provide Cable and Deadpool with a few moral quandaries regarding their roles as superheroes and what they can and should do with their powers. Even if it is hard to imagine anyone wanting this out of a book featuring these two.

In the end, Cable and Deadpool: If Looks Could Kill is by no means offensive or bad but I can’t, for the life of me, think of a reason to recommend it. Especially when there are so many other, better books out there. But if you need your fix of these characters after Deadpool 2 there are certainly worse ways to spend your time.

Verdict: Browse

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Related: Deadpool: A Breakdown & Analysis

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By Trey Griffeth

Trey Griffeth is the Head Writer of The Nerd Hub's Comic Book Spotlight section as well as a contributing writer to Video Game Spotlight. In addition to his work with The Nerd Hub, he is also a Staff Writer for Heroic Hollywood.