Having been raised in one of the Marvel Universe’s worst possible future dystopias, Nathan Summers knows the importance of the present. Because of this, since arriving in our time period, the mutant revolutionary known as Cable has fought to make sure the brutal reality of his formative years never comes to pass.
One move Cable made to help ensure the safety of the futureÂ was raising and protecting Hope, the mutant messiah. In the aftermath of “Avengers Vs. X-Men,” Cable narrowed his focus to give his surrogate daughter a better future — until heÂ beganÂ receiving mysterious visions of looming apocalypses. Setting aside his desire for a peaceful and safe life, Cable recruited a new version of X-Force to help him save the world.
As illustrated in writer Dennis Hopeless’ “Cable & X-Force,” while the team’s inaugural mission was successful, several unforeseen complications lead to them becoming fugitives, eventually leading to Cable’s apprehension by the Uncanny Avengers. Shortly after that, Hope traveled into the future where she discovered the reasons why her father has been receiving his troubling, prophetic visions.
CBR News spoke with Hopeless about the current and future developments facing Cable’s renegade mutant squad, the potential ramifications of Hope’s jump to the future, how learning the truth about Cable’s prophetic visions will affect the series and more.
CBR News: Dennis, you co-wrote “Cable and X-Force” #12 and #13 with Cullen Bunn, who is actually credited for the scripts on both issues. What’s it like working with Cullen? Will you guys continue to split the plot and script duties on the book moving forward, or was Cullen just providing a temporary assist?
Dennis Hopeless: Cullen is a good friend of mine and it was a lot of fun getting to work with him. The process was actually even more collaborative than the credits imply. We talked over the plot for those two issues on the phone, tossed ideas around and built a rough plot together. Then I wrote up a scene by scene plot outline and Cullen wrote a draft of the script. When the art came in, Cullen and I tag-teamed the final dialogue pass. I’m really proud of the end result. Those two issues don’t read exactly like me or like Cullen. They turned out to be a nice blend of our two writing styles.
We brought Cullen in to help out with 12 and 13 to get a jump on our schedule. I’m back solo on issue #14, but had a great time working with Cullen and would love to do it again.
We now know where Cable’s visions have been coming from: A future version of Hope and his old ally Blaquesmith are manipulating him from their base in a dystopian future. I’m curious — where did the idea for this part of the story come from? What made you want to use Blaquesmith and future Hope for this part of the plot?
I always wanted to use Blaquesmith in the book. In doing my Cable research, he was one of the supporting cast members who jumped off the page. I like writing extremely motivated characters, and Blaquesmith is absolutely that. He’s devoted his entire life to the cause of making sure Cable fulfills his destiny. Since we started our story with Cable attempting to shrug off his supposed-destiny in favor of a quiet retired life, Blaquesmith seemed like an obvious part of the story. He’s front and center in my earliest notes.
In fact, I had originally planned for Blaquesmith himself to be our primary villain. It just made sense to me that this guy would be willing to do almost anything if it meant pulling Cable back onto the Askani path. Once our first arc began to take shape and it became clear Hope and Cable’s relationship would be the emotional core of the book, we rethought Blaquesmith’s role. I’m really glad we did. Having middle-aged Hope and Blaquesmith working together as our well-meaning but misguided villain team fits nicely. It also allows both characters to do a lot of damage while remaining at least somewhat relatable.
When future Hope explains to her present day self why they started sending Cable visions, young Hope calls her out on her selfishness. So how did meeting her future self affect Hope? Will the actions of her future self haunt her moving forward?
I think meeting a self-centered and slightly unhinged version of yourself would be upsetting for most people. Hope went into the future looking for answers and found herself at the center of all this trouble. On top of all that, the future this other Hope has been fighting to fix remains a post-apocalyptic nightmare. I think if anything, Hope will do everything she can not to grow into Lady Stryfe. The question is, does she really have a choice?
The mystery behind Cable’s visions has been revealed, but it seems to me that there are still two lingering questions: Why do the team’s missions almost always go awry? And why are all these apocalyptic world ending scenarios popping up right now almost one after the other?
Those are definitely good questions, and I’d expect X-Force will be asking similar questions as we go forward. Coincidence or not, these jobs have been barely salvageable clown shows from the start. Experienced professionals like Cable and Domino aren’t likely to ignore such things. We’ll be dealing with all of this in the next two arcs.
For the past few issues, X-Force has been in action without their leader, and it seems to have brought the team closer together. How would you describe the dynamic of the team going into issue #14?
I’d say they’re a pretty tight knit group at this point in the story, even if they don’t always act it. They’ve worked together to narrowly escape disaster on several occasions, which has prepared them for what would appear to be unbeatable odds. You don’t just attack Avengers Mansion, grab a prisoner and stroll out the back door. They have a big ugly fight ahead of them and will have to work well together to even stand a chance.
As you mentioned, the end of Issue #13 set the stage for a big confrontation between the team and the Uncanny Avengers as X-Force tries to free their captured leader. Can you give us a taste of what to expect from the showdown in “Cable & X-Fore” #14?
It’s a last-ditch, no holds barred, fool’s errand of a mission. X-Force is going to pull out all the stops, and even then, they’re still probably screwed. That said, this issue is the culmination of the story we’ve been telling since issue #1. And as we’ve seen, anything is possible when X-Force’s collective back is against a wall.
Then, in “Cable and X-Force” #15, you kick off the book’s next storyline. Who will Cable and his crew be facing in this arc?
I’m really excited about this arc. It’s a big Forge/Nemesis story in which our Mad Science Commandoes finally get to take center stage. We’ll be bringing in an important character from Forge’s past and playing with some ideas we last saw in our original Marvel Point One short story. This might be the most fun I’ve had writing the series so far.
What can we expect from the visuals of “Cable and X-Force” in the months to come? Is Salvador Larroca still on pencils?
Issue #14 will be Salvador Larroca’s last. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him. I’m thrilled that we got to tell a 14-issue story with one incredible artist drawing almost every page. That’s really rare on a more than monthly title like this. It helps that Salva’s style and designs were pitch perfect for the series. His visuals set the grounded action movie tone we were aiming for, and let us go in all sorts of crazy directions without losing the reality of the thing. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to work with him.
In December, you’ll be celebrating the book’s first anniversary. Any big plans for that?
BIG. BAD. X-FORCE. CROSSOVER. That’s all you get.
I want to thank every for reading “Cable and X-Force.” Writing this book scratches an itch I’ve had since I was 10-years-old. It’s the kind of story I’d almost forgotten I always wanted to write. Just an absolute blast, every single page.