WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Cable #158 from Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, German Peralta, Jesus Aburtov and Travis Lanham, in stores now.
The history of Cable and his X-Force team has always resonated deeply with X-Men fans. When the time-traveling mutant known as Nathan Summers decided to venture into the past (aka, our present), he went about safeguarding the future of mutants and his own family by transforming the New Mutants into a proactive military assault unit. In time, he'd come to find he needed something more aggressive, leading to the evolution of the black-ops squad known as X-Force.
The latter has taken on several different incarnations over the subsequent years, with the modern run recently being ushered by Wolverine into arguably its bloodiest era. But it's always remained a popular X-squad, so much so that Fox took a chance to bring an iteration of the squad to the big screen along with Cable in Deadpool 2, thus setting up a spinoff movie.
However, there's a lot more to the kill-squad's early days than just being a lethal mutant-protection unit. As Cable #158 reveals, Nathan did, in fact, want to mirror a lot of what Professor Xavier was doing at the time, which led to him building his charges their very own Danger Room. The thing is, theirs had a very deadly twist to it.
The new arc focuses on Cable being haunted by a techno-organic monster, Metus, which has a powerful mental grip on the soldier. This leads to him mentally time-tripping back to various events in his life where the entity exerted its influence on him in torturous ways. One such attack was revealed to be during Messiah War when he had to protect Hope Summers, and as the latest issue shows, Metus' antagonizing delves way deeper into Cable's history. In fact, it goes right back to 1991's X-Force #2 when Cable had just started training the team and decided to engineer a Danger Room.
In the old story from Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, Cable was mentoring the original lineup (Boom Boom, Cannonball, Domino, Feral, Shatterstar and Warpath) in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, teaching them about battling in the field so they could be better prepared to face Stryfe's (a Cable clone) armies later on. However, it was just your run-of-the-mill tactical session in the forest. Cable #158, however, retcons a little more depth to the squad's experience there, and reshapes how impactful their Danger Room truly was.
The latest issue sees Domino lecturing Cable on how rough he's treating the relatively young team as they're holed up at the mountain base which Xavier had repurposed. In their chat, we actually witness Cable hacking into the mainframe, retrofitting it for his own ambitions. He's rerouting power and adjusting the compound's artificial intelligence, ironically named Professor, and as he does so, various simulations from the Danger Room appear: the Savage Land, Stryfe's Mutant Liberation Front, and lastly, the Astral Plane.
Eventually, Cable gets his team inside a simulation to take on Deadpool, but it's quickly hacked by Metus, who then proceeds to create a lethal version of Warlock, a former New Mutant teammate who had just died. X-Force is taken aback, shocked Cable would bring up such a haunting simulation, while the leader insists the system is going haywire.
They're forced to fend off a bloodthirsty Warlock in what is a genuine fight to the death. Cable's team eventually escapes, but even though Warpath points out Metus was merely toying with them, Domino having sustained critical injuries draws the ire of the squad who found themselves unsure whether they could trust Cable's methods, adding yet another layer of discord to the mix that would eventually cause the first iteration of X-Force to disband.