X-POSITION: Duane Swierczynski

At some point, every kid considers running away from their parents. Those that do get out the front door typically only make it a block or two home before they turn around. Hope - the "Messiah child" in "Cable" - doesn't have that option. In trying to get away from her surrogate father Cable, she has accidentally jumped into a future where she knows no one and has no place to go.

Poor Hope, being the savior of mutantkind is rough. Fortunately, writing about her adventures isn't. At least, not according to Duane Swierczynski. Now that he's completed guiding Cable and Hope through the "Messiah War," the writer joins CBR's X-POSITION to answer your questions about recent events in Marvel Comics' "Cable."

Hang on to your X-hats...

CBR: Hunter Lambright kicks things off for us today with a few questions, including one about characters feeling their age.

Cable's body seems to have been taking a beating lately, and his age is starting to show. Stryfe even referred to him repeatedly as an "old man." Just how old would you guess Cable is by now (since he was no spring chicken to begin with), and will his age become a problem in future issues?

DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI: Good question, Hunter. I'd guess that Cable is somewhere between "receiving his first AARP mailers" and "able to qualify for the senior discount at car rental agencies." I imagine him as a tough old uncle, who could be anywhere from 50 to 70. You're just not sure because of how tough the son of the bitch looks.

And yeah, Cable's age will definitely continue to be a problem as time goes on - you know how hard it is to find denture cream in the apocalyptic future? Seriously though, my plan from the beginning was to break Cable down, piece by piece, and see what remains under all of those guns and pouches.

As we edge closer to Cable's era, will we be seeing any of his old crew, like Tetherblood? It might even be a breath of fresh air to have more established characters around other than Cable, Hope, and Bishop...

You're going to be seeing some classic X-characters soon. But I don't know if Cable, Hope or Bishop will want to see them...

And a non-X question: will "Iron Fist" be relaunched or continued following the "Immortal Weapons" miniseries? And if so, how will the direction be changed by the fact that he has a child on the way?

The adventures of Danny Rand will continue after the "Immortal Weapons" one-shots, but I can't say anything else quite yet.

With all the "Dark" titles currently running around the Marvel Universe, Chris is wondering how dark things can possibly get in "Cable."

Thanks for the great Bishop miniseries! Do you see any opportunity for a redemptive path for this character? With all the horrible acts Bishop has committed, can he be redeemed as a usable character in the X-universe beyond the insane, obsessed child-killing monster I'm reading now (although I understand how he got here, accept it and enjoy the story)? It feels as though his story is rocketing towards an inevitably dark conclusion...

Don't forget - Bishop is targeting the one person who he knows will be responsible for the deaths of a million people and the downfall of mutantkind. If you knew what Hitler was up to, would you hesitate to go back and take him out? So I don't think it's fair to call Bishop a "child-killing monster." If anything, he's closer to an Inglourious Basterd.

That said, I do think Bishop has a chance for redemption. The problem is, his idea of redemption is killing Hope. He snuffs her, all will be right in the world.

Marc Ravens is hoping one of his favorite characters makes a showing soon. Can you keep his hopes aloft?

I loved the quick Blaquesmith shout-out by Domino in "Messiah War." Any chance we might see an appearance by Blaquesmith again?

Not in the near future, but down the road anything is possible.

Mauro doesn't mean to be critical, but he wants to know about critiques.

While I may not agree with them, there are some online critics who say the book has become "stale" and/or "repetitive." When you read criticism like that, does it motivate you to change the status quo to broaden the book's audience? What do you do with criticism like that?

When I read criticism like that, Mauro, I cry. And I drink because I cry. So thanks, online critics.

But I never write a story in reaction to critics - therein lies the road to madness. The story is, and always will be, boss. Everything you've seen unfold in "Cable" had its roots in the very first idea meetings I had with Axel Alonso, Nick Lowe and the other X-editors. We're telling a specific story in "Cable," and I'm just happy so many X-fans have come along for the ride.

Will we see any new villains and/or supporting characters in the near future?

Yes. There is a gang of classic, old school X-characters that will be ruining Cable's day in the near future. Like, say, oh I don't know... issue #18, maybe?

Is Gabriel Guzman going to be the new regular artist? That guy is awesome!

Gabriel is on board for a few issues starting with #20; from there, stay tuned. But I agree - he's amazing. Of course, I've been ridiculously lucky with "Cable" for the entire run - to have worked with Ariel Olivetti so long, and then Jamie McKelvie and Michel Lacombe, and most recently Paul Gulacy. It's an embarrassment of riches.

Are we ever going to find out what happened to Cable after "X-Men" #200?

Yes, but not right now. (I think he was having a long stay-cation, catching up on his spaghetti westerns.)

Matt Osborne feels bad for Cable and is curious if he's going to get some assistance soon.

With the ever-expanding list of people who want Hope, Cable is in desperate need of allies. How likely is it that he could make a return to the timeline in which he was raised? If so, will he run into members from the Clan Chosen and will any accompany him on the rest of his journey, possibly even back to the X-Men's present day?

You're totally right, Matt. Cable needs help. But knowing Cable, he won't seek it out until the time is right. And only Hope will be able to tell him when the time is right.

In the final issue of "Messiah War," I got the feeling that Apocalypse's role in the future of Hope is not quite over. So how involved will old blue lips be in regards to Cable's mission and Hope's destiny?

Gee, what gave you that idea? The fact that Apocalypse told Cable, "We will meet again, when the girl is ready"? Ah, you know that Apocalypse - such a big kidda.

Will we be seeing any familiar faces outside of the main cast? Or will the next couple of arcs focus on the added development/relationship of Cable and Hope?

Actually, both.

Look Matt, a two-fer! Maybe MikeyAnd will have his wishes granted as well.

Can you give us any indication when we'll learn the "secret" of what Hope is? And why the Phoenix eyes in issue #5?

Let's see...it's July. I'd say you're going to start to learn Hope's "secret" within the next six months. Don't forget: "Messiah War" was part two of an X-trilogy that began with "Messiah CompleX." Part three is in the works right now.

Cable seems to be getting a hang of being a "dad" to lil' Hope...but he already raised a son - Tyler. Are we ever going to see flashbacks of his former family?

There's a big difference between Tyler and Hope - Hope isn't his daughter. At the end of "Messiah CompleX" she was just an assignment. Keep this kid alive somewhere. Bring her back when it's time. But of course, Cable's feelings about Hope have deepened over the years. And yes, I'd say he might think back to his former family from time to time. Keep reading.

Will Cable be a part of the next (and last) chapter of the Messiah Trilogy?

Yes. Unless he runs out of denture cream.

We conclude things on a literary note with an interesting observation by Andre4000:

In reading much of Cable and Hope's trip through time, I see a strong parallel with Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." This is especially apparent in the scenes such as the one where Cable is starving but only has enough food to feed Hope. Did "The Road" serve as an inspiration in any way?

Funny you mention that. [Editor] Axel Alonso loves - I mean loves - "The Road," and has been recommending it to me since we started working on "Cable" together. But I've held off on reading it, only because I don't want to accidentally start aping Cormac McCarthy. For the same reason, I didn't go back and re-read my "Lone Wolf and Cub" collection, for fear that I'd unconsciously borrow something.

My stories tend to be situation and character-based, and part of the fun as a writer is guiding particular characters through a difficult situation. I'm glad you mentioned the food stuff - that's one of my biggest fears as a parent. If the bomb drops, or whatever, how will I feed my kids? Do I eat a little so that I stay alive long enough to protect them? Do I eat nothing, and give them everything? Do I go out and start hunting radioactive pigeons? Ah, the joys of parenthood. Careful readers will see a lot of my dad paranoia in Cable.

That wraps up today's X-high jinks but fear not - we'll be here in one week's time with writer Mike Carey to discuss "X-Men: Legacy." The writer likes his queries challenging, so think up a few good ones and email them to me ASAP. Put "X-Position" in the subject line, and my email filter won't treat you like an ad for Acai Berry. See you in seven!

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