In 2018, Deadpool 2 is set to give moviegoers their first introduction to Cable. While most audiences can still look forward to meeting Josh Brolin’s version of Nathan Summers, longtime X-Men fans already know Cable as Marvel’s most complex mutant. From his earliest days as a baby in a telepathic bubble to founding the iconic X-Force team, Cable has played drastically different roles all around the Marvel Universe. Whether he’s acted as a soldier, father, religious icon, mercenary, president or just an X-Man, the time-traveling mutant has always been an unpredictable, often explosive part of the X-Men’s world.
Now, CBR takes a look at some of Cable’s most insane, darkest secrets. In this list, we’ll be exploring Cable’s often confusing, needlessly complex history to find out what fuels the X-Force leader. Even for fans who already know his lengthy backstory, we’ll be reexamining how truly unnerving some of the details of his deeply weird life truly are. We’ll also be taking a look at how some of these stories could have an impact on Deadpool 2. Whether you’ve been following Cable for decades or are just getting to know him, this list will unveil the secrets that link the time-tossed parts of Cable’s history together.
15. DESIGNED TO FIGHT APOCALYPSE
Throughout the 1990s, Cable and Apocalypse had one of the fiercest rivalries in X-Men comics. In a dystopian alternate future, Cable lived in a broken world ruled by the ancient powerful mutant. While Cable used his immense power against his nemesis, he didn’t realize that he was literally designed to defeat Apocalypse by another X-Men villain.
The pair got married and had Nathan, the baby who was destined to destroy Apocalypse.
While a time-traveling adult Cable made his full 1990 debut in Rob Liefeld and Louise Simonson’s New Mutants #87, Nathan Summers first appeared as a present-day newborn in 1986’s Uncanny X-Men #201, by Chris Claremont and Paul Smith. Mr. Sinister, another one of Apocalypse’s rivals, realized that the child of Cyclops and Jean Grey could defeat Apocalypse. Since Jean was seemingly dead around then, Sinister cloned her to create Madelyne Pryor. After Pryor and Cyclops had a quick courtship, the pair got married and had Nathan, the baby who was destined to destroy Apocalypse.
14. CABLE’S ALWAYS BEEN SICK
While Cable was still a child in the present day, Apocalypse infected him with the Techno-Organic Virus, a deadly disease that turns biological matter into machinery. In Whilce Portacio, Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s X-Factor #68, Cyclops sent his son into the far-future, where Nathan had a better chance of surviving the T.O. Virus.
Although Cable survived into adulthood, he had to keep the infection from spreading beyond his left arm with his vast telekinetic powers. Throughout his life, Cable has struggled to keep the T.O. Virus at bay. Because of the infection, the strength of Cable’s powers has varied drastically, and he’s had to channel them through a spear-like Psi-Mitar. The virus has gone from being effectively neutralized to completely consuming Cable in the 2012 series Avengers: X-Sanction. Although Cable’s been healed a few times, he usually gets reinfected by the T.O. virus or something else before too long.
13. PARENTAL CONFLICT
Even before baby Cable was sent into the future, he had a rough early life. After he was kidnapped by Mr. Sinister, his mom, Madelyne Pryor, was corrupted by demonic creatures from the Limbo dimension. As the Goblin Queen, Pryor unsuccessfully tried to sacrifice Nathan and several other infants to bring those monsters to Earth in the 1988 crossover “Inferno.”
Since he was sent 2,000 years into the future by Cyclops, Nathan naturally had some abandonment issues with his father.
Shortly before Cyclops married Jean Grey, Cable confronted his dad about his actions. After the pair reconciled, Cyclops got a chance to spend some serious time with his son in Scott Lobdell and Gene Ha’s The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix. In that 1994 miniseries, Cyclops and Jean were transported into Cable’s future, where they raised him for 12 years before returning home.
12. CABLE’S CHILD SOLDIERS
More than anything else, Cable is a warrior. Between his constant no-nonsense attitude and his massive arsenal, it’s easy to see why Cable was almost named “Soldier X.” While that militaristic stance stands in opposition to Charles Xavier’s dream of a peaceful tomorrow, Cable convinced an entire generation of Xavier’s students to follow his point of view during Rob Liefeld’s run on The New Mutants.
While the New Mutants started out as the junior X-Men, Cable completely reshaped the team in his image to form the strike team X-Force. This change turned familiar characters like Cannonball and Boom-Boom into violent outlaws who were no longer welcomed at the X-Mansion where they grew up. While most of X-Force eventually got on good terms with the X-Men, Cable’s violent efficiency became a defining feature of the group, even long after he left the team.
11. THE DEADPOOL CONNECTION
Deadpool and Cable have always had an odd relationship. When he first appeared in Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza’s The New Mutants #88, Deadpool tried to kill Cable. But when they’ve been paired together on friendly terms since then, Cable’s absolute seriousness has perfectly complimented Deadpool’s aggressively silly antics. In the aptly-titled 2004 series Cable & Deadpool, Nicieza and Mark Brooks brought the pair closer together than ever before.
While investigating a group of blue people called the One-World Church, Cable and Deadpool were infected with the Facade Virus.
After the pair merged to save each other, their DNA mixed. After this, neither one could use a teleporting device without bringing the other along, regardless of where they were. While it’s not clear how they’ll interact in Deadpool 2, Cable and Deadpool have met as fierce opponents as often as they’ve worked as unlikely allies since then.
10. CABLE, RELIGIOUS ICON
As if Cable wasn’t enough, Cyclops and Jean Grey are also the surrogate parents of Rachel Summers, their child from a totally separate dystopian future. After Rachel got lost during a time-traveling mission in 1994’s Excalibur #75, by Scott Lobdell and Ken Lashley, a copy of her was sent into the future where Cable would eventually grow up. In that dark future timeline, Rachel founded the Clan Askani, a religious order dedicated to defeating Apocalypse, and became known as Mother Askani.
Inspired by distant memories of the X-Men, the group believed that a savior called the Askani’son would ultimately kill Apocalypse. When a 100-year-old Mother Askani finally wanted to fulfill the prophecy, she sent the Askani into the past to retrieve baby Nathan. In that future, Cable continued the Askani’s practices as he grew to embrace his role as a leader in the resistance against Apocalypse’s forces.
9. CABLE’S EVIL CLONE
When Cable initially arrived in the far future, the Techno-Organic Virus seemed like it could still kill him, despite their advanced technology. In what soon proved to be a monumentally bad decision, Mother Askani ordered her followers to clone the young Cable, just to be safe.
Apocalypse kidnapped this clone, named him Stryfe and raised him to be a tyrant.
After taking over Apocalypse’s forces in the future, Stryfe traveled the modern age where he formed the Mutant Liberation Front and starred in memorable 1990s’ stories like “X-Cutioner’s Song.” Largely fueled by his insecurity and anger about being a clone, Stryfe viciously fought Cable in both eras. While he’s almost always been defeated by Cable, X-Force or the X-Men, Stryfe facilitated the release of the Legacy Virus, a mutant plague that decimated Earth’s mutant population.
8. CABLE CREATED A COUNTRY
Like a weirdly high number of comic book characters, Cable had his own space station in the 1990s. Almost a decade after the Graymalkin station split into pieces and crashed to Earth, Cable decided to build something new from its scraps in 2006’s Cable & Deadpool #6. In Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher’s story, Cable used his newly unlocked telekinetic powers to turn Graymalkin into Providence, a floating island nation.
Located 40 miles off the coast of Tahiti, Providence was Cable’s attempt to build a modern-day utopia. The technologically-advanced nation attracted brilliant minds from all around the world. While S.H.I.E.L.D., the X-Men and the Silver Surfer all attacked it, Cable stood strong and kept his nation standing. Providence prospered for a short time, but it was attacked by the Hecatomb, an alien weapon of mass destruction that gained sentience. After the survivors of the attack evacuated, Cable destroyed his nation.
7. CABLE’S MERCENARY SQUAD
When Cable returned from the future to the modern age, the world was totally alien to the time-traveling mutant. In order to learn about present-day threats and make some quick cash, he put his skills to use by forming a mercenary group called the Six Pack. Although they were originally called the Wild Pack, this group was forced to change its name after meeting Silver Sable’s Wild Pack, which claimed the name first.
The team carried out several black-ops missions that usually had significant body counts.
Led by Cable, this group included Cable’s Deadpool 2 co-star Domino, Grizzly, Hammer, Kane and future S.H.I.E.L.D. agent G.W. Bridge. The team carried out several black-ops missions that usually had significant body counts. After their last mission failed, Cable deserted the team in the battlefield. Years later, the Six Pack reformed to hunt Cable down. While nothing’s confirmed, a new Six Pack may have been glimpsed in one of the Deadpool 2 trailers.
6. THE TRAGEDY OF CABLE’S SON
The greatest tragedy of Cable’s life is his son, Tyler Dayspring. After his mother, Aliya, was killed in battle with Apocalypse’s forces, Tyler was abducted by Stryfe. In order to save another one of his teammates, Cable had to shoot his son, who had been brainwashed by Stryfe. This incident cemented Tyler’s misguided hatred for his father.
Taking on new identities like Mr. Tolliver and Genesis, Tyler traveled to the present day where he tried to ensure Apocalypse’s future rise to power by killing Cable. However, Tyler decided to take on Apocalypse’s role and even convinced the Dark Riders, Apocalypse’s former team, to serve him. In 1996’s Wolverine #100, by Larry Hama and Andy Kubert, he tried to draft Wolverine into his fight by brainwashing Logan and replacing his lost adamantium skeleton. When this plan backfired spectacularly, a feral Wolverine went on a bloody rampage that ended Tyler’s tragic life.
5. CABLE FOUGHT (AND JOINED) THE AVENGERS
Like most of the Marvel Universe, Cable wasn’t particularly close to the Avengers until they took over pop culture in the 2010s. However, after he learned that the Avengers would kill Hope Summers, his adopted daughter, Cable went on the warpath against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in 2012’s Avengers: X-Sanction, by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Although the team defeated him, his warning helped the X-Men prepare for the mega-crossover Avengers vs. X-Men.
Despite that, Cable found himself as a member of the Avengers Unity Squad a few years later in 2016.
In Uncanny Avengers #3, by Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman, Cable joined some former teammates like Rogue and Deadpool on the mutant-friendly Avengers squad. He stayed with the team through Civil War II to help them stop the Red Skull from misusing Professor X’s powerful psychic brain until he and Deadpool left in Uncanny Avengers #23.
4. CABLE RAN ANOTHER COUNTRY
Shortly before his time leading Providence ended in tragedy, Cable was put in charge of another fictional country, the Eastern European nation Rumekistan. Originally created by Fabian Nicieza and Lewis LaRosa in 2002’s impressively-titled Citizen V and the V-Battalion Everlasting #1, the nation was conquered by a supervillain called the Flag-Smasher.
After Domino assassinated Flash Smasher, Cable revealed that he had quietly led the resistance against the villain. For his efforts, Cable was spontaneously declared President Pro Tem in 2006’s Cable & Deadpool #28, by Nicieza and Reilly Brown. Despite Cable’s efforts to improve the Rumekistan, the U.S. government ordered Deadpool and a new Six Pack to discredit Cable by destabilizing the country. Although these efforts were revealed to the world, Cable eventually left a new government in his place. Rumekistan honored Cable by following his ideas and building a giant statue in his honor.
3. A VILLAIN LIVED IN CABLE’S BRAIN
At the end of the warmly-remembered 1992 X-Men crossover “X-Cutioner’s Song,” Cable and Stryfe fell into a time vortex where the villain was seemingly annihilated. Since that was an X-Men story, Stryfe’s demise didn’t last for long. Because of their identical genetic structure, Stryfe’s consciousness was able to hide in Cable’s body.
Stryfe also made Cable grow an evil goatee.
In the first few issues of Cable’s solo series, Stryfe began to influence Cable’s actions. In addition to forcing Cable to make offhand comments about killing the X-Men, Stryfe also made Cable grow an evil goatee. In classic Star Trek fashion, this goatee captured Cable’s potential evil side until he expelled Stryfe in 1994’s Cable #8, by Fabian Nicieza and Aron Wiesenfeld. Although it made him look both rugged and distinguished, Cable shaved the goatee when he came back to his senses.
2. TURNING HOPE INTO A SOLIDER
After a while without any new mutant births, the birth of the new mutant Hope Summers was at the center of the 2008 crossover X-Men: Messiah Complex. After various heroes and villains fought over Hope, she ended up in the care of Cable. In order to save her from the deranged X-Man Bishop, Cable traveled into the future, where he raised her and trained her for the fights of tomorrow.
Despite Cable’s best efforts, Hope still had a childhood filled with violence. In the same way that he turned the New Mutants into X-Force, Cable turned Hope into a warrior with brutal efficiency in the pages of the Duane Swierczynski-penned 2008 series Cable. Thanks to Cable’s influence, Hope couldn’t stand living a more traditional life for more than a month, and she’s consistently found her way back onto the battlefield.
1. CABLE REVIVED APOCALYPSE
In a move that seems like the complete opposite of his lifelong mission, Cable helped bring Apocalypse back from the dead. In 2006’s Cable & Deadpool #26, by Fabian Nicieza and Lan Medina, Cable revealed that he helped make Apocalypse immortal centuries ago by exposing him to a small amount of the Techno-Organic Virus through his blood. When Apocalypse was in the process of a present-day resurrection, Cable strengthened the villain by giving him some of his blood.
As Cable explained, he did this because he thought Apocalypse could give mutants a cause to rally around.
At that time, the global mutant population had been plagued by tragedy. Even though Cable saw Apocalypse take over the world and kill untold scores, he revived his nemesis to help inspire the X-Men. Despite his outlandish action, Cable still promised Apocalypse that he would ultimately defeat him on the battlefield.
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