Warning: The following contains major spoilers for House of X, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.
While countless comic books have been sold on the promise of changing everything forever for iconic superheroes, House of X has been the rare comic to deliver on that ambitious promise. Even though it's not quite done yet, Marvel's ongoing X-Men relaunch has featured a few dramatic, truly surprising revelations.
Charles Xavier founded a mutant nation that's welcomed the X-Men's worst foes, and longtime X-Men ally Moira MacTaggert was revealed to be a mutant with reincarnation powers and knowledge about possible futures that she's used to shape mutant history.
Furthermore, House of X #5 revealed that Xavier had developed a process to essentially defeat death in perpetuity by telepathically transferring back-up copies of mutant minds into cloned, artificially-aged bodies. While this raises a number of moral and ethical questions, Xavier has already announced his intentions to restore the lives of millions of fallen mutants.
Starting in 2014, Simon Spurrier, Rock-He Kim and Jorge Molina brought aggressive mutants like Cable, Hope Summers, Psylocke, Fantomex, Marrow, Domino and Doctor Nemesis together in a brief X-Force run. After an explosion caused by a mutant with weaponized powers killed thousands, Cable re-formed X-Force to ensure that mutantkind had a stake in the world's future.
Shortly before the blast, Cable was injected with an experimental super-soldier serum by Volga, a black market weapons dealer who was behind the initial attack. But instead of giving him Captain America-esque powers, this serum had the nasty side effect of killing Cable within 24 hours.
To keep that from happening, Cable turned to Nemesis, an ethically flexible mutant mad scientist, and developed a process that's remarkably similar to House of X's clones.
While the real Cable slept in a life-saving cryogenic chamber, a Nemesis-created clone of the X-Man served as Cable for a day. At the end of each day, each Cable clone's memories were transferred to the real Cable, who would be thawed out for two minutes. After that, a new Cable clone was activated and given the real Cable's memories as the process repeated itself.
Although the real Cable was eventually cured, X-Force even unleashed a small army of Cable clones against a power-mad Fantomex who had turned against the team.
Since one of his clones became the deadly X-villain Stryfe, Cable has always been linked to the idea of clones to some extent. His mother, Madelyne Pryor, is even a clone of Jean Grey. While those ideas and likely inspired this story, it retroactively seems like a major tease for House of X, especially considering his relationship to Moira MacTaggert.
Although he was born to Pryor and Cyclops in the modern age, he was sent to grow up in the far future, where he received treatment for the deadly Techno-Organic Virus. When Cable first returned to the present, he found himself in a completely unfamiliar world and ended up on Muir Island, Moira's longtime base of operations in 1997's Cable #-1, by James Robinson and Jose Ladronn.
After saving him from an angry mob, Moira took Cable to her lab to study and help him. After his immense mutant power overloaded her equipment, Cable telepathically entered Moira's mind, where he learned English and a few things about the modern world.
At the time, Cable apologized for the intrusion and vowed to keep a secret about Moira's son, the Omega-Level mutant Proteus. In retrospect, Cable may have also glimpsed Moira's memories of her past lives and her potential plans for House of X.
If Cable did see any of those thoughts, he seemingly didn't have any problems with them, since he and Moira remained good friends until her apparent death in the early 2000s.
While this version of Cable was eventually killed and effectively replaced by a young version of himself last year, he's still arguably the prime example of what a mutant soldier willing to do whatever it takes to save the future looks like. Even if he's gone, his spirit lives on in the hard-earned hope and pragmatic planning that defines the X-Men in House of X.