Though I personally have little to no experience with his work, I'd heard/read some not-so-flattering things about Salvador Larroca before going into Cable and X-Force #1. Luckily, he does a good job here, though not exactly an impressive one. Cable looks fittingly grim and rough around the edges, cocky and capable but still rather worn down. It's the right tone for the character, particularly in a series where he seems to be walking the line to some extent between hero and villain. Larroca had some strong moments with Dr. Nemesis and Domino, too, their humor and confidence shining through. And for the two panels we saw him I thought Colossus looked appropriately jacked up and menacing, and I'm looking forward to him getting some more stage time.
Hope was less visually solid, her look not remaining entirely consistent from page to page, but that was the biggest artistic hiccup. In general Larroca's work is easy to understand, detailed, realistic, and enjoyable, though again, there's nothing here that overwhelms me with awesomeness. It's steady but somewhat forgettable art, weakened by an almost entirely forgettable narrative.
As a debut issue especially, this was one hell of a snooze. So little happens, it hardly seems like the comic cares if anyone comes back for the next installment. Dennis Hopeless kicks things off with a scene coming right after a big fight, so we get only a flash or two of action rather than anything truly exciting to watch. Then we jump to days earlier, and there is a lot of empty chatter leading to an awkward and rushed reunion between Cable and Hope. If you already adored these characters and their history together, I guess that might be enough, but it left me wanting a lot more.
There is an attempt at a cliffhanger ending, but it's both unoriginal and uninteresting. And though I'm sure it's on the horizon, we get not even the tiniest inkling of what the hell was going on in the opening scene. Basically we are only half-introduced to anything or anyone for the whole of the issue, and so the question remains: Why would I come back for more? What is this series even really about, other than showing me the daily life of a bizarre, tiny group of characters with whom I have no particular attachment? Some of them I like, historically, and some not so much, but either way there's got to be more to this book than the strangeness of its lineup. So far, though, that's all there is. Cable has some mysterious health problems, eventually there'll be a big fight somewhere over something, but there's no obvious reason to be invested in either of those plotlines thus far. Cable and X-Force #1 feels half-baked, and though I'm not jumping ship just yet, the second issue needs to step it the hell up if it wants to keep me around for much longer.