In 1989, Rob Liefeld was doing the artwork on The New Mutants and was asked to create a new character. The new mutant would be the leader for the group, but besides being described as a “man of action” and being the opposite of Professor Charles Xavier, Liefeld wasn’t given any other information. In March of 1990, The New Mutants #87 featured the first full appearance of the mutant known as Cable. Fans were definitely interested in knowing more, and we bet not even Rob Liefeld himself could have predicted that over 25 years later we’re still just getting to know the character.
Where do we begin when describing Cable? He’s a leader and a time-traveler and does more fighting in one day than most superheroes do in a lifetime. Besides having famous parents, he is responsible for writing and rewriting history. Because of this, perhaps you may not know Nathan Christopher Charles Summers as well as you think. Can you name both of his wives? Is he a cyborg or just bionic? What country did he serve as President? Learn all of this and more as CBR uncovers 15 Dark Secrets Even Super Fans Didn’t Know About Cable.
15. CABLE WAS ON THE AVENGERS
Remember when Spider-Man was on both the Avengers and The Fantastic Four? How about Wolverine? It seemed like Logan’s mutant super power was to appear in almost every other issue of Marvel. Maybe being a superhero also involves incredibly powerful time-management skills. In Marvel Comics the team that comprised members of the Avengers and X-Men was referred to as the Avengers Unity Squad, but to us mere mortals they’re called the Uncanny Avengers.
After Spider-Man quits the team, Cable time-travels to join the Unity Squad and stays with them for about 20 issues. Not only did this signify Cable’s return, it also once again paired Cable with Deadpool, who was also on the team at the time. The Unity Squad was very important to mend the wounds caused during the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, involving the return of the Phoenix Force.
14. HE WAS LOBOTOMIZED
Cyclops was an incredibly powerful mutant, able to destroy whole buildings with his optic blasts. Colossus, with his body covered in organic metal, had immense strength and could practically lift mountains. Mutants with abilities that deal with the mind always impress due to the unlimited potential that the brain stores. Cable had telekinetic abilities, and at one point also had possible visions of the future. Cable became so strong that his “buddy” Deadpool had to lobotomize him.
Cable uses his enhanced mental powers to construct a floating island over the South Pacific Ocean that he named Providence, and was even able to use his telekinesis to defend it from an immense missile attack while keeping it floating in the air. Using a mini-teleporter, Deadpool lobotomizes Cable to put an end to his impressive powers, allowing S.H.I.E.L.D. and the X-Men to breathe a little easier.
13. BRIEFLY PRESIDENT OF A EUROPEAN COUNTRY
In Marvel Comics, there are a lot of famous fictional countries, such as Doctor Doom’s Latveria or The Black Panther’s Wakanda. Have you heard of the Republic of Rumekistan? It’s a fake European country that was formerly a part of the Soviet Union. The country was overthrown by the villain Flag Smasher and the organization U.L.T.I.M.A.T.I.U.M. but that group was taken down by a resistance movement. The leader of that movement? Cable!
Cable went from being the leader of the resistance to the President of Rumekistan. Cable appeared to have been shot and killed by Deadpool, and although he survives the attempt the people of Rumekistan assume that he’s actually dead. A large statue in his honor is built for him in the capital of Barjnov. Being President of a country is quite the resume builder!
12. IN AN ALTERNATE REALITY, HE’S REALLY WOLVERINE
At one point, Marvel’s main continuity followed Earth-616 (a random number chosen by Alan Moore); but on occasion, we would be exposed to characters from other realities that lead very different lives. For example, on Earth-2107, the battle between the X-Men and Apocalypse had disastrous results. Not only did Apocalypse kill most of the X-Men, he also did some serious damage to Wolverine. Apocalypse took away his healing factor, ripped off his left arm, then used that arm to main his face.
Wolverine found a way to travel back into the past to try and kill Apocalypse, but not before getting a metallic arm. Sound familiar? That’s because, in this reality (back when Marvel had their Ultimates universe), Cable is not the son of Cyclops, but actually Wolverine! The dramatic reveal happens when Wolverine fights Cable and cable pops his claws. It certainly was a surprise to fans (and to Wolverine as well).
11. CABLE’S SON WAS KILLED BY WOLVERINE
When learning about Cable, make sure to have handy a pen and paper to take notes because he has a lot of complex relationships with complex people that wind up being other people related to him. For example, the woman that cloned Cable and acted as a protective mother figure was actually his sister, Rachel. Cable and his first wife had a son named Tyler, and before she was killed he was kidnapped and brainwashed to hate his father.
Tyler time traveled to the past and took the identity Tolliver. Without Cable knowing it was his son, he interacted with Tolliver on various occasions. After Apocalypse’s death in present day, Tyler re-named himself Genesis and along with the Dark Riders kidnapped Wolverine, who at the time did not have Adamantium bonded to his skeleton. Genesis attempted to brainwash Wolverine and re-apply Adamantium but he broke free and killed Tyler.
10. CABLE HAS AN EVIL CLONE
In The Empire Strikes Back, we are given the iconic moment when Luke Skywalker finds out his nemesis, Darth Vader, was actually his father. There is a certain poetry when heroes find out that they have undiscovered, intimate relationships with their biggest rivals. The relationship between Stryfe and Cable is no different. The two men are bitter enemies, vowing to kill each other. In The New Mutants #100, Stryfe takes off his helmet to reveal that he looks exactly like Cable.
No, they’re not brothers. Stryfe is a clone of Nathan Summers, the man known as Cable. Cable was cloned as a baby in case they couldn’t cure him of his Techno-Organic virus. Apocalypse attacked the Askani and stole the clone from them, thinking that he was actually robbing them of baby Nathan. Apocalypse raised the boy to be cruel and villainous and continues to be the main antagonist for his genetic twin.
9. CABLE HAS THE WORST FAMILY. EVER.
If you don’t like Cable, you can blame his parents. Where do we begin? His parents are Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor. Turns out, Madelyne was a clone of Jean Grey, the love of Scott’s life. Jean was thought to be dead and he moved on, eventually having a son with Madelyne. Once he learned that Jean was alive, he basically abandoned his family to return to her.
Cable’s mom wound up gaining mystical powers and became known as the Goblin Queen. She even tried to sacrifice her infant son in order to open a demon portal between Earth and Limbo during Inferno. After being infected with the Techno-Organic virus, Cyclops let his son be brought to the future where he was taken care of by Mother Askani, who was really his sister Rachel Summers. She also cloned Cable, and that clone later grew up to be his mortal enemy, Stryfe.
8. HE WAS A HORSEMAN OF APOCALYPSE
In Cable&Deadpool #15, Cable had gone missing and Deadpool, using a interdimensional teleportation harness made by Forge to travel dimensions, was looking for Cable. On Earth-5701, Deadpool encountered a reality where not only was Apocalypse the ruler over this devastated world, but he had four very unique Horsemen. Death was Archangel, Famine was ironically Blob, Spider-Man was Pestilence, and War was none other than Cable.
It’s very sad that in this reality not only was Cable unable to beat Apocalypse, he was also working for him as one of his Horsemen! Cable as War used telekinetic bolts for attacks. Spider-Man also had extra arms and legs and Blob wielded a giant warhammer. Archangel had almost the same appearance and powers that he did in normal Marvel continuity.
7. RIDICULOUSLY POWERFUL
Arguably a superhero character’s strength is determined by what the writer allows, and in the series Cable and Deadpool, written by Fabian Nicieza, his powers go completely off the charts. Cable gets enhanced powers and decides to take an active role in making the world a better place. He heals people with his powers and using his telepathy can rebuild buildings, keep his spaceship aloft in the air, even keep his Techno-Organic virus at bay without struggling.
The X-Men are worried about his agenda and are also worried that he will burn himself out with all of the feats he is performing. It even takes the power of the Silver Surfer to stop Cable at one point. Cable is able to hold his own and even was able to destroy the Surfer’s board, but ultimately lost. Considering that he was able to pit his mutant powers against the Power Cosmic, that’s no small feat to say the least.
6. CABLE WAS A FUTURISTIC ARMS DEALER
Cable is a time traveler, and although he was born in the 20th century, he was raised thousands of years in the future. To try and make the future a better place, he has traveled back in time to present day to stop his clone Stryfe as well as Apocalypse, who controls the world 2,000 years into the future. Whereas most time travelers, such as Doc Brown and Marty McFly from Back To The Future, try and be as subtle as possible, Cable is brazenly trying to alter history and change the past.
Because he’s from the future, Cable has access to very advanced technology, including a “bodyslide” that allows him to teleport. In order to raise money and exert influence, Cable has sold futuristic weapons to various parties. C’mon, Cable, you’re from the future. Can’t you get the week’s lottery numbers or bet on winning horses?
5. ABANDONED HIS FORMER TEAM
Although Cable is a one-man army, there are threats that even Nathan Summers can’t handle alone. That’s why he formed the Wild Pack, consisting of himself, Kane, Domino, Grizzly, Hammer and a dude literally named George Washington Bridge. Changing their name later to Six Pack, the team attempts to foil Stryfe’s activities and prevent the rise of Apocalypse.
One of their missions ends terribly, and Cable does the doubly awful task of shooting a team member in the back, then abandoning the Six Pack by time traveling back to the future while a building exploded around them. They all survive with a strong desire to kill their former team leader. The team is later reformed by S.H.I.E.L.D. to capture Cable (and also to get revenge for what he did to them). Why so mean, Cable?
4. ARGUABLY NOT A CYBORG
“Wait a second, Cable has an artificial eye and a robotic arm… you’re telling me he’s not a cyborg?” Well, arguably he’s not. The term cyborg was first used by scientists Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline in 1960. A cyborg is someone that has restored, modified or enhanced their abilities using technology or artificial components. So, how is this not Cable?
Clearly we’re getting into semantics, but the Techno-Organic virus isn’t transforming you into a robot; instead, it turns your organic material into, for lack of a better term, “technology.” Just because Cable’s part metal doesn’t mean he’s a cyborg — in the same way, Colossus isn’t considered a cyborg. His glowing eye is more about his biological connection to Cyclops. Although he does get cybernetic enhancements thanks to Forge, Cable might be considered less of a cyborg and more bionic, or even biorobotic. Confused? Welcome to the X-Men!
3. MARRIED TWICE; BOTH WIVES KILLED
Cable’s entire life was surrounded by death and suffering. It may be surprising that the man was married twice, but not surprising that each relationship had tragic endings. Cable was first married to a woman named Aliya Dayspring. Aliya lived thousands of years in the future and fought against oppressive rulers called the New Canaanites. Aliya fought alongside young Nathan Summers and even bore him a son named Tyler. She was unfortunately killed during an attack by Stryfe.
Cable met his second wife, Hope, also in the future at a place called New Liberty. The two fled together after New Liberty was invaded by giant insects (the future is a weird place). Cable and Hope alternated between fighting and running from the insects, but ultimately she was killed not by bugs but by a gang at a settlement they encountered.
2. DYING FROM THE TECHNO-ORGANIC VIRUS
Before you get excited about getting infected by a virus that turns you into former football player Terrell Owens, the T-O virus refers to the Techno-Organic virus that instead of turning you into a wide receiver, transforms your biology into metal and data. Once again (debatably), it does not turn you into a cyborg, although at first glance the virus turning your body into metallic counterparts does look like it’s making you a robot. This is different from the Transmode virus, used by the Phalanx to create cybernetic life forms.
Cable had to use much of his telekinetic powers to prevent the T-O virus from overtaking his body. Although he has successfully purged the T-O virus from his body, there are other versions of Cable that have not. On Earth-9997 (also known as Earth-X), Cable has lost his battle with the Techno-Organic virus and is basically a puddle of organic metal.
1. SHORT-TERM CLONES
Cable was the leader of the mutant team X-Force, the group that fought against Russian billionaire Yevgeny-Malevitch Volga. Volga was an arms dealer and had created biological weapons that could turn mutants into human bombs by supercharging them with energy. Unfortunately, Cable gets exposed to the virus that Volga created and with the help of Dr. Nemesis creates a clone of Cable so that he doesn’t die.
Actually, though, he kind of does die. The clones only last for a day and with every clone Dr. Nemesis has to “reload” memories to a new clone. This feels less like an issue of X-Force and more like an episode of Rick and Morty! The clones do become super-useful in a battle with Fantomex, though, when Hope Summers has Fantomex go up against multiple Cable clones.
What’s your favorite Cable storyline? Post your comments below!
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