Yesterday we started the tedious task of examining the ridiculous history of Nathan Christopher Charles Dayspring Askani’son Summers AKA Cable. That is seriously his full name, I’m not making that up.
Our first look at Cable’s history covered the majority of his life before he traveled back in time to work with his far younger father and fight the good fight with a bad ass metal arm and a shiny eye. I’m downplaying it slightly. Cable is a general amongst the mutant population, a guiding force for the younger generation and a protector of the next stage of his species. But now I’m getting ahead of myself, we have a long journey to get to that point.
Here’s what you need to know about Cable, who will be hitting theaters this week in Deadpool 2:
The Man Called Cable
Cable was still reeling from the loss of not only the love of his life (Aliya) but also his son Tyler. When Stryfe kidnapped Tyler (who may or may not have been Stryfe’s child in the first place due to the kidnap and possible rape of Aliya by Stryfe), he brainwashed Tyler and turned him against his father. This eventually led to the death of Tyler at Cable’s hand. Knowing the only way to change this reality was to head back in time and stop the evil mutant Apocalypse before he rose to power, Cable began planning just that.
He traveled back to Ancient Egypt in order to kill En Sabah Nur, the mutant who would become Apocalypse. During this time he was known as Traveler, and he began the long-standing feud between himself and Apocalypse. While he failed in his quest to kill En Sabah Nur, he actually set in motion a series of events that would result in the ascension of Apocalypse, and his own infection by the techno-organic virus.. Since this obviously went against everything Cable was trying to accomplish, he rethought his plans and jumped back into the time stream.
Oh, also during this time he met the creature known as Skornn, but that was all part of a terrible Rob Liefeld comic that I choose to ignore. Moving on.
Soldier of Fortune
Cable made quite a few trips to the past looking for the best time period to effectively start battling his future. Every trip had a purpose, whether it was to gather information, or even assist heroes like Wolverine and Captain America wherever (or whenever) their paths would cross. Eventually, he settled on the 20th century, in the ‘past’ of the Marvel Age. He set himself up as a soldier of fortune and started building his presence in the past while making small trips through time with his spaceship/time machine Graymalkin (named after the address of Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters). Yeah, dude has a spaceship that is a time machine.
There is still a bit of time from this period that is unknown, much like his early years up until this point. Cable formed a group of mercenaries known as Six Pack, which consisted of G.W. Bridge, Hammer, Grizzly, Garrison Kane, and Domino (a woman who would become a large part of Cable’s life and is set to also appear in Deadpool 2) Engaging in many bloody campaigns, the team eventually ran into Stryfe, and Cable was forced to abandon the team to once again head into the future. Most of the Six Pack holds a grudge against Cable for this, and it left a dark mark on his experiences in the past.
He eventually took over leadership of the New Mutants, who were growing apart from the X-Men who had first grouped them together. Cable took them and molded them into his own private army, which finally brings us to the first chronological appearance of Cable in the Marvel Universe.
Now lucky for you, we will be covering the entire history of X-Force after the release of Deadpool 2, which plans to introduce its own version of Cable’s mutant team. But in the beginning, Cable took a team of mutants gathered by Professor Xavier and trained them as his own personal strike squad. What had led him to the New Mutants in the first place eventually turned into a storyline that never really finished. In the future, Cable learned that Sam Guthrie (the New Mutant known as Cannonball) lived well into the 23rd century, leading Cable to believe he was of the race known as Externals, a group of immortal mutants. He decided to help usher Cannonball into the role of External and ended up bonding with the young mutant pretty quickly.
He shaped them into the heroes they would one day become, but it wasn’t just Cable who had an effect on them. I would go so far as to say that this team of children had even more of an impact on Nathan Summers than he on them. While his mission was always at the forefront of his mind, he now had a responsibility to X-Force that he couldn’t run from, like his earlier failure with Six Pack. During this time Cable was again reacquainted with his mentor Blaquesmith, who had been sent back in time to watch over Cable, or if things went bad, to destroy him. It was also revealed that Cable’s son Tyler was alive and back in the past, but still damaged from Stryfe’s brainwashing.
Stryfe vs The X-Men
Cable never had a strong relationship with the X-Men in the beginning, mostly because of the way he had assumed control of the New Mutants and turned them into his own militia. It also didn’t help that Stryfe had tried to assassinate Professor Xavier, which led the X-Men to think Cable had done it. Eventually, the X-teams united to fight Stryfe, who had kidnapped Scott Summers and Jean Grey in an act of vengeance for their time in the future as Slym & Redd Dayspring (more on them in yesterday’s dive), even though Scott and Jean were unaware of their connection to him. Since Cable was infected with the T/O Virus, he and Stryfe had always assumed that Stryfe was the original Nathan, while Cable was the clone. This led to Stryfe’s attempt at killing his parents for abandoning him, until Cable sacrificed himself to stop Stryfe, leaving Cyclops and Jean with the feeling that they had once again lost the son they had raised.
Cable soon returned, after a brief fight with Stryfe over the control of his body. Eventually Mr. Sinister revealed that Cable was the true Nathan Summers, which led Cable to seek out his father, Cyclops. While the two never really had the standard father/son relationship, the respect and love for each other grew in time. This began a period of closeness with the X-Men, which eventually led to Cable moving the X-Force team into the mansion.
X-Man (Nate Grey)
During the Age of Apocalypse, a new version of Cable appeared known as Nate Grey. Whereas Cable was the son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, Nate Grey was created in a lab by Mr. Sinister from both Cyclops and Jean Grey’s DNA. He was never infected with the T/O virus or sent into the future, and was prematurely aged until he escaped during his teens. He was one of the most powerful mutants in the AoA, and one of the few to survive that universe, making his way to the mainstream reality. After the X-Men and Xavier discovered the existence of Nate, Cable was called in to reach out to the powerful young mutant.
Cable and Nate’s paths rarely crossed, as their proximity to each other interfered with their powers, and sent Cable’s T/O virus out of control. Cable went to search for the X-Man, believing he could help the younger and more powerful version of himself before Nate’s power devoured his body. Cable was successful in temporarily stalling the process, and the two Nate’s once again went their separate ways. Eventually, Nate would join the reformed New Mutants, the team Cable had taken control of and reformed into X-Force so many years ago. Interestingly, Cable now thinks of Nate Grey as his younger brother, and the two are heading towards a reconciliation in the pages of Cable.
Then came a storyline called “Apocalypse: The Twelve” in which Apocalypse attempted to overtake the body of Nate Grey, much like he tried to do to Stryfe (again, that was in Part I). Cable watched as his father sacrificed his body in place of Nate’s, bonding the two together. This led to not only the rebirth of Apocalypse but the presumed death of Cyclops. Cable joined the X-Men in place of his father and began using an ancient Askani weapon known as the Psimitar to focus his mutant energies. During this time his paths would cross with Stryfe, Nate Grey, and even his mother Madelyne Pryor.
Eventually, the X-Men found Apocalypse, who was still bonded with Cyclops. Cable managed to finally kill his age-old foe, and with the help of Jean Grey, he split Cyclops from En Sabah Nur, saving his father. Cable was momentarily unsure of his future, as he had finally accomplished his mission in the past. He decided to remain dedicated to his mission of ensuring a better future for all mankind, whatever that may be.
Cable’s time as Soldier X was short but sweet, and lasted only 12 issues. It brought Nathan back to his roots (err, the present day roots) as a soldier of fortune, and he did some world traveling while dealing with the temporarily weakened T/O virus in his system. While this slightly beefed up his powers, he mainly stuck to his guns by using a lot of guns. The T/O virus eventually replicated and regained its hold over Nathan’s body, but at the end of his time as Soldier X his power had reached a peak unlike any Nathan had seen before. I did enjoy this take on Cable, but it never really took off and we weren’t left with too much to remember it by. Some key parts of the series were some of the training we got to witness behind Cable, showing off some of his unique strategies and talents that can only be learned as a soldier of his caliber.
Soon, Cable would find not only a new mission for himself but a strange and unusual companion that would define the next stage of his journey. Which is where we are going to end it today, but there is still a lot to tell in the story of Nathan Dayspring Summers, and while it starts to get a little less complicated, it continues to get better as we continue to examine the convoluted case of Cable
Images: Marvel Comics