We are continuing our long and twisted path exploring the history of Cable, who truly is a product of the crazy X-Men mythology. Son of the leader of the mutant race, witness to the future of the mutant race, and protector of the destiny of the mutant race. Basically, he is kind of a key character when talking about the mutant race. I may have overused the term mutant race.
Mutant race. Last time.
Anyways, our previous entries covered Cable’s early years spent in the future, as well as his beginning legend in the present. While his past up to this point is anything but typical, what is still to come can be considered even crazier than what we have already covered. Crazy, in fact, doesn’t cover it, but we’ll get to that.
Cable & Deadpool
While both Cable and the Merc-with-a-mouth Deadpool have had many run-ins over the years, nobody ever really expected the two of them to have a friendship that would end up defining them both. Wade (Wilson AKA Deadpool) and Nathan (Christopher Charles Dayspring Askani’son Summers – have you been paying attention?) had both been created by Rob Liefeld in the ’90s, and both recently had series canceled, so what better plan than to put them in a book together? Turns out it was a plan that really, really worked.
In their first outing together, both were working a separate case and ended up having their DNA mixed in such a way that when one of them teleported, it automatically brought both of them to the same destination. While Cable had given up his ability to teleport (or Bodyslide, as he called it) Deadpool still frequently teleported, dragging Cable along with him. This often resulted in some very humorous “odd couple” like adventures. During this time Cable would also restructure his long-abandoned space station Graymalkin into a floating fortress he mentally controlled that he called Providence.
Cable would embark on a new mission as the self-titled ‘Saviour’ of humanity, and welcomed any and all onto his island city of Providence. Here, along with Deadpool, Nathan found a new role for himself that was quite different from any he had experienced before. In the past, he was a weapon, a general, an X-Man, and a mercenary. On Providence he preached peace and understanding, all while sharing his beliefs in the Askani religion he had learned growing up in the future.
This period of time featured some great moments, like Cable taking over the war-torn country of Rumekistan, and seeing a new Six Pack (which was also known as the Wild Pack) put together to investigate Providence. In his new belief of peace, he asked the governments of the world to destroy their armaments which caused a retaliation that Cable defended against with just his telekinesis, proving how powerful he really had become. Cable and Domino somewhat rekindled their long-running romance, he revived Apocalypse in order to give the X-Men a worthy threat to deal with and was reborn as a baby only to rapidly age back into the man he had become, albeit with reduced powers. Pretty ordinary stuff.
While Nathan and Wade quite often didn’t see eye to eye, their forced partnership eventually grew into a pretty deep friendship and saw a change in not only Nathan’s actions but in Wade’s as well. The series lasted 50 issues and lodged itself securely in the hearts of Cable and Deadpool fans alike.
During his time on Providence, Cable rejoined a team of X-Men led by Rogue. The team featured Iceman, Sabretooth, Mystique, Omega Sentinel, Lady Mastermind, and Cable’s former protege Cannonball. While Cable’s time with the team wasn’t as consistent as some of the other members due to his responsibilities on Providence, he was a valued member and acted as second in command of the team. Once again dealing with his reduced powers, Cable played the role of the tech/strategies/big gun carrying member of the team.
His relationship with Cannonball was strained as they had drifted apart over the years, but the respect and love for each other was clearly evident. During this time he would assist the team as they fought the Children of the Vault, Pandemic, and the Hecatomb. They would also deal with the Marauders (generally used as pawns of Mr. Sinister), whose new members included the X-Men’s Gambit and Sunfire, who had previously been turned into Horsemen of Apocalypse. It would be these two members who would end Cable’s involvement with this team of X-Men.
The Death of Cable
Now, obviously, since this part is called “The Death of Cable” it means we have to be nearing the end of Cable’s story, right? Wrong. But I’m getting ahead of myself. While on Providence, Cable was the first target in a strategic set of attacks by the Marauder’s against the X-Men, in an effort to find the Diary’s of Destiny, a mutant who could foresee the future. Cable was attacked by both Gambit and Sunfire, who had been powered up by none other than Cable’s lifelong enemy Apocalypse. Ironically enough, Cable was the one responsible for Apocalypse’s revival earlier, so he really only had himself to blame. Sunfire and Gambit apparently succeeded in their mission, and both Cable and Providence were considered destroyed.
This event needs a little bit of an explanation, which takes us back to another Marvel event that changed the course of the X-Men stories. It was called House of M, and the important thing to take away from it is that reality-altering mutant Wanda Maximoff AKA The Scarlet Witch went crazy and decimated the mutant population, effectively turning them into an endangered species. So when the first mutant birth since the event happened and registered to every mutant tracking device on the planet, it was clearly a big deal.
Now as we know, Cable is presumed dead after an attack on Providence by Sunfire & Gambit. So imagine the X-Men’s surprise, when after heading to the town the first new mutant was born in and finding it utterly destroyed with no survivors, all signs seemingly pointed to Cable. While the worse scenario is automatically assumed, Cyclops puts together a new incarnation of X-Force to hunt down Cable and the baby, who most believe to be the mutant messiah. There is a bit of irony here as the first team of X-Force was put together by Cable, and now he is being hunted by the group’s successor.
Cable successfully protects the baby, even with pretty much every factor that was relevant in the X-world at the time against him. Eventually, the only way to truly keep the baby safe was for Nathan to bodyslide into the future, effectively removing the mutant messiah from the very crisis that was threatening her life. The decision was left to Cyclops, who places the hope for the mutant race in the arms of his only son, and set the mutant race in a war for survival. It was a move that didn’t sit well with some of the X-Men, one in particular.
Bishop, another time lost mutant who traveled back to the present in order to fix the future, was none too happy about the birth of the mutant messiah. Bishop believed that this mutant birth was the catalyst for his hellish future, and pretty much lost his mind, adding to the growing threat to the baby mutant. He effectively hounded Cable, and in the moments before Cyclops entrusted the baby into Nathan’s care, he lost his arm in battle. He disappeared amidst the confusion (after shooting Xavier accidentally), stole a robotic arm from mutant machinesmith Forge along with a time machine, and headed after Nathan to finish his mad goal of destroying the mutant baby.
This was a big change for Bishop’s status quo, as he had always been an ally of the X-Men, and even of Cable at various times in their career. He faithfully followed the teachings of Professor Xavier and dedicated his life to the dream, fighting alongside mutants for the benefit of his future. When he snapped, he went full bore and became such a threat to Cable that it was hard to remember him ever being an ally. Bishop’s betrayal was one of the most memorable moments of Messiah Complex, and certainly wouldn’t be the last time we heard from him. Also, we can’t forget about this touching goodbye between old friends:
Obviously, that can’t be the end of our journey, so we will once again have to continue looking through the Convoluted Case of Cable next week. Be prepared for some mind-blowing events, a new path for Cable as well as a new member of the Summers clan!
Images: Marvel Comics