Time travel is a reality in the Marvel Universe, which means history is constantly vulnerable to ruthless temporal opportunists who want to change the past --or even the future -- for their own gain. Fortunately, there’s one Marvel hero who’s especially suited to tracking down villainous time travelers and rectifying the historical messes they make; the time traveling, mutant soldier from the future, Cable. This April, he’ll embrace his role as Marvel’s top time cop as writer James Robinson and artist Carlos Pacheco expand Marvel’s “ResurrXion” line of titles with an all new “Cable” ongoing series.
In the series' opening arc, Cable will undergo a baptism of fire as he steps into his new role to pursue a new villain out to manipulate the time stream and seize a weapon of ultimate power. CBR spoke with Robinson about this new villain, the weapon they’re after, and the settings Cable will visit as he hunts his quarry across time.
CBR: Cable is, of course, a powerful and prominent mutant, but he's also perhaps the Marvel Universe's premier time traveling hero. I understand that aspect of the character will be sort of the central focus of your new series.
Yes. Time travel has always been a part of his makeup. He comes and goes, from the present to the future and back again. Admittedly, sometimes he has more control over that then others. In this series, we’ve decided to make him become sort of Marvel's mutant time cop. He's traveling time and fixing problems in the past, and one of such problem comprises the first arc of the series.
So if I were to do a Hollywood-style elevator pitch for this new book it would be something like “'Doctor Who' as a futuristic soldier."
Yeah, “'Doctor Who' meets 'Time Cop.'” That's very much what we're doing. Imagine a Cable movie where you don't need to know very much about the character in order to enjoy the story. That's the approach we're taking.
Many of the temporal problems Cable encounters in this initial arc will stem from a new villain you created for the series: Conquest. What can you tell us about the character?
He's a power hungry, weapons-centric technocrat who lives up to his name. He's discovered an ancient weapon called the Time Sword. It was part of a war many eons ago between the Eternals and the Inhumans. It was broken into five pieces and scattered throughout time, and Conquest is going after those fragments in order to reassemble the sword. If he obtains it, he’ll be able to control and manipulate time and reality in a way that would make him tantamount to a god. Cable is trying to stop him.
What can you tell us about the initial sort of rivalry between Cable and Conquest? How do they view each other?
Well, they’ve just learned of each others’ existence at the start of the series, each coming from a different future reality, so they’re pretty much enemies. One’s the good guy, the other is the bad guy. Simple, clean motivations, like a Western or an ancient myth.
There's a central plot of Cable trying to stop Conquest, so I imagine there's a lot of different settings as he pursues the villain through time.
Yes, we'll have a variety of settings and periods in history in our first arc which is about this sort of cat and mouse style chase through time as Cable tries to prevent Conquest from reassembling this ultimate weapon before he does.
The first issue takes place in the Old West and also in Feudal Japan. We visit other periods too as the story progresses but I can't talk about them without spoiling things.
Each issue will have a cliffhanger jump in time akin to shows like “Time Tunnel” and “Quantum Leap.” That's part of the fun of the series.
A trip to the Old West of course begs the question of will we get some guest appearances from some of Marvel's Old West characters like the Two-Gun Kid? Or the Rawhide Kid?
Not this time. We're trying to keep this a very clean, direct story that focuses solely on Cable. That's not to say that in the future (pun intended) we won't see characters from Marvel's past or future crossing Cable's path.
What can you tell us about Cable's exploits in Feudal Japan?
In one of the points of time Cable visits in his pursuit of Conquest, he'll be fighting augmented Ronin and stopping them from the evil path they've embarked on with the advanced technology that Conquest has given him. At the same time we're trying to be as historically accurate as we can with the setting and the historical aspect of it.
What's it like putting a futuristic soldier like Cable against backdrops like the Old West and Feudal Japan?
That incongruity of having Cable appear there is fun. We're all familiar with the scenario of the town that's been over run by bad guys and the good guy enters the bar and there's a confrontation. When Cable enters that bar though suddenly there's a feeling of, “What the hell is going to happen next.”
We have the future warrior with his cybernetic arm and his big guns popping up at various points in history, and it leads to some unique and fun scenarios. We don't see this approach very often with Cable.
I want to help define Cable's role in the Marvel Universe. So to make him this sort of time cop that has to fix these things is a nice, organic role for him that makes sense when you look at his history.
Finally, what's it like working with veteran artist Carlos Pacheco, a guy who can and has drawn almost everything. Have you worked with him before?
No, I've been waiting 20 years to work with the guy. It's very exciting to collaborate with him now. He's brilliant. It's a thrill to see him bring to life these different periods of history. In terms of capturing the man out of time, future warrior in these ancient worlds aspect he's doing an utterly spectacular job.
So it's been a great thrill to finally do this. He's another name I can cross off my bucket list of artists to work with. To get a chance to work with him means the world to me.