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Cannon & Saber

Contributed by MikiShawn

Marshall Saber and Henry Cannon had a passion for murder, and each other. Clad in a green uniform, the red-haired Saber was an expert marksman, an assassin for a New York City mobster named Leibowitz. Cannon hid his Moe Howard haircut in a dark blue body suit, offset by a yellow robe, gloves and boots and was a blade master in the service of the Rinaldi Mob. The men decided a career move was in order and each murdered the other’s boss. They did so on the orders of a woman within the District Attorney’s office who vowed to consolidate Manhattan’s gangs under her control. Saber had thrown down his rifle almost without a fight when he encountered the Vigilante while Cannon simply surrendered to the police. They did so knowing that D.A. Marcia King would “put in an application for both assassins with the Government Witness Relocation Program” and set them free.

Appalled that the duo was literally getting away with murder, the Vigilante raided their apartment and quickly found himself outmatched. Brought down by successive knife and bullet wounds, the Vigilante might well have been shot to death by Saber had it not been for the intervention of another concerned citizen — the Electrocutioner. Arriving on the scene, the police found three unconscious gunmen — the Vigilante and the electrocuted but still breathing Cannon and Saber (Vigilante # 5, by Marv Wolfman, Keith Pollard and Romeo Tanghal).

In a rather ludicrous scene, the couple escaped the hospital after Cannon threw a lightweight plastic knife at Captain Arthur Hall. Instead of falling to the ground, as it would have in the real world, the knife slashed Hall’s throat (# 7). The assassins took their services to the West Coast. It was at their Malibu beach house that they accepted a contract to kill the Vigilante (# 35).

By now, the mantle of the Vigilante had passed from Adrian Chase to Alan Welles to Dave Winston. Despite his unfamiliarity with the duo, Winston held his own and managed to get a shot off at Saber, wounding him seriously enough for Cannon to abandon the battle and flee. In the course of the conflict, the men had revealed their client’s Long Island address and, with Saber recovered, they raced to the scene to salvage their reputation. In the end, Vigilante maneuvered them into striking each other: Saber took a blade to the shoulder and Cannon was felled by a bullet in the abdomen (1986’s Vigilante Annual # 2, by Paul Kupperberg, Ross Andru and Tony De Zuñiga, with edits by Wolfman).

Cannon and Saber were slated to return in 1989’s Manhunter # 10, which would have introduced a gay supporting cast member named Vince Nuncioin into the series. As described by co-writer John Ostrander in Amazing Heroes # 145, “Mark Shaw was cellmates with him in prison. In prison, as on the streets, if you need something, he’ll arrange it.” According to AH # 157, the episode had “already scared a couple of artists off” and, with Manhunter’s cancellation in early 1990, the story’s completion became a moot point.

Both show a high proficiency for hand to hand combat. Saber has an almost instinctive ability to aim quickly and accurately firearms. Cannon’s affinity is for using edged objects as weapons, ranging from playing cards to throwing knives.

Cannon and Saber were confirmed as gay and a couple in Vigilante #5.  Art by Keith Pollard and Romeo Tanghal from Vigilante #5 and from Vigilante Annual #2 by Ross Andru and Tony De Zuñiga.

Created by Marv Wolfman

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July 3, 2021
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