Who The Fuck is That? He's a man outta time!
Who The Fuck is That? He likes to fight crime!
Who The Fuck is That? But he ain't a fool!
Cable is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics
. The character first appeared in "The New Mutants
" #87 (March 1990), and was created by writer Louise Simonson and artist/co-writer Rob Liefeld
Cable, or Nathan Christopher Charles Dayspring Askani'son Summers
, is a time-traveling soldier from the future who is here to prevent his apocalyptic timeline
from coming to pass. He is biologically the son of X-Men
Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey
) and Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, and the step-son of Jean Grey. As an infant, he first appeared in "Uncanny X-Men
" #201 (January, 1986), though it took years for said infant and the time-traveling adult to be revealed as the same individual.
Thanks to the machinations of Mr Sinister, he was born with a destiny—to kill Apocalypse. Not being an idiot
, Apocalypse took steps to prevent this at an early stage by infecting Nathan with a special "techno-organic virus
" which severely limited his powers and would have killed him if his loving father and, uh, step-mother hadn't sent him 2,000 years into the future to be raised by his alternate-universe sort-of-half-sister's
all-female psychic death cult (it's okay—Scott and Jean spent their honeymoon living in cloned bodies in the future in order to raise little baby Nathan up to be a man).
Once he had grown into a grizzled old veteran, Nathan came back in time to the present in order to kill Apocalypse before he could conquer the world.
Now that Cable has accomplished his mission (repeatedly), he has become a man without a purpose; the character has been bounced around through a variety of new concepts. He's been a member of the X-Men more than once, became a messiah figure
and developed an Odd Friendship
with a certain psychotic katana-wielding mercenary
, then adopted and raised Hope, the first mutant born after the mass depowering, while traveling through time. After returning to the present with a teenaged Hope, Cable appeared to have made a Heroic Sacrifice
at the end of the Second Coming X-Men event but has since returned
. His powers have fluctuated as well, regaining and losing both his techno-organic symbiote and his mutant powers.
Also has the notorious reputation as a Game Breaker
in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes
. He's also a playable recruit in Marvel: Avengers Alliance
Cable originally got his first ongoing solo series in 1993, which lasted 108 issues before it was cancelled and relaunched in 2002 as Soldier X
that lasted for 12 issues. In 2004, Cable then appeared in the Cable & Deadpool
series that lasted for 50 issues (the last 7 Cable didn't appear in due to the events of the X-Men
event, Messiah Complex
). In 2008 he received another solo ongoing that lasted 24 issues. In 2012 he returned in the Avengers: X-Sanction
mini series and starred in a new series titled Cable and X-Force
, which was then followed with him starring in a new volume of X-Force
This comic contains examples of:
- Antagonistic Offspring:
- His son, Tyler, aka Genesis, who was kidnapped by Stryfe spent several arcs making his father's life miserable before being killed by Wolverine.
- Stryfe himself is arguably this to Scott and Jean.
- Anti-Hero: Usually type a Pragmatic Hero, but introduced as type a Vicious Antihero. (Sticking enemy heads on pikes as a warning, etc)
- Archenemy: Stryfe and Apocalypse.
- Arch Nemesis Dad: His son Tyler was turned against him by Stryfe.
- Artificial Limbs: The techno-organic virus has transformed most of the left half of his body into metal.
- Even after being cured of the techno-organic virus a few times, he usually winds up losing one of his limbs and replacing it with cyber enhancements.
- Artistic License – Biology: Marvel canon states that Cable is biologically the child of Jean Grey-Summers because his actual mother was her clone, Madelyne Pryor. In fact, Nate Grey (X-Man) is his Age of Apocalypse counterpart, driving home the idea. However, modern science has discredited that possibility. Even if two individuals (such as twins or clones) are genetically parallel, they are not identical, due to the epigenetic markers shaped by the individuals' unique environments. Even a clone that is produced on the spot will not be completely identical to its progenitor, no less producing the same sperm or egg cells which carry its genetic material.
- Badass Beard: Has sported one on a couple of occasions, but usually sports Perma Stubble/Perma Shave.
- Badass Grandpa: His exact age is hard to pin down due to the amount of time-traveling in his history; he was around 50 in his first appearances as an adult, and must be around (or over) 70 at this point after having raised Hope for 17 years on top of that. He's still not someone you should mess around with.
- Big Brother Instinct: has a degree of this towards Nate, who most certainly looks up to him as his big brother.
- Body Horror: While Cable's body was still infected with the TO virus, he could become hideously distorted◊ if it was allowed to run unchecked. At one point in his childhood (as depicted in one issue of The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix), he looked like something out of The Thing (1982).
- BFG: One of Cable's trademarks.
- Cain and Abel:
- Cable and Stryfe.
- Cable also has an Absalom thing going on with his son Tyler...or at least, he did, until Wolverine killed him.
- Cloning Blues: Stryfe (Cable's clone) and his mother Madelyne Pryor (Jean Grey's clone).
- In the latest X-Force series, literally has to have a clone bred everyday with uploaded memories due to being exposed to a genetic virus that turns him and his clones into bombs that blow up at the end of every day.
- Cool Old Guy: Cable's role in many comics.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: In Cable's attempt to unite the world against him in a Genghis Gambit, SHIELD and Reed Richards get nervous. So they call in the Silver Surfer to take care of Cable. It... does not end well for Cable. This was a shocking event, given that the Surfer generally does not get involved in Earth's affairs.
- Darker and Edgier: Cable's initial appearances.
- During the War: A lot of Cable's backstory comes from his conflicts in the future against Apocalypse and the New Caananites.
- Evil Twin: His clone Stryfe.
- Fights Like a Normal: He has powers (very strong ones) but they're largely ignored in favor of his really big guns.
- Future Me Scares Me: In Ultimate X-Men, a different version of Cable is revealed to be Wolverine from the future, sans an arm. (Which Apocalypse tore off and used to fillet his face.).
- Genius Bruiser: He's a huge, intimidating man and a highly experienced, very dangerous warrior and soldier whom some accounts describe as having an intellect rivaling Reed Richards. He also apparently has a law degree. When he he reveals this, he makes an offhand comment about finding the New York bar exam laughably easy.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Well, one eye, anyway.
- Good Is Not Nice
- Guile Hero: Pulled off some messed up decisions sometimes balanced by his Omniscient Morality License from being a time-traveller, to make sure the world doesn't lead to the future he grew up in. Such as turning the everyone pink to eliminate racism and changing them back, showing Knight Templar tendencies and playing up his role as a messianic figure when his powers were boosted to get the world's leader to unite against a common enemy: himself; And later reviving his arch-enemy Apocalypse for the same reason when the mutant race threatened extinction, in the aftermath of the Decimation Wave.
- Harmful to Minors: Poor Hope lives in constant danger of this.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Deadpool, sort of...
- Hot Librarian: Irene Merryweather.
- Hypothetical Casting: Watching Avatar made Rob Liefeld wish on Twitter that Stephen Lang (Col. Quaritch) would play Cable in the X-Men movies. Some of Cable's fans, and even Lang himself, wish the same.
- Informed Ability: In his early years, his telekinesis was so weak that he could only use it to move really small objectsnote . Later RetConned that he was probably the most powerful non-Phoenix telekinetic on Earth, but 99.9999999999% of his power was committed to holding back his techno-organic infection.
- It's Personal: Apocalypse and Stryfe have more or less killed everyone that Cable has ever loved respectively.
- Knight of Cerebus: His first appearance in New Mutants marked the beginning of the Dark Age.
- Knight Templar: Cable continually verges on this.
- Lighter and Softer: Over time, he became this thanks to a burgeoning sense of heroism.
- Lightning Bruiser: Cable's not only huge, he's capable of reacting and moving at higher than normal speed, although it's not really Super Speed in the traditional sense.
- Messianic Archetype: Cable is always like this but totally embraces this role in Cable and Deadpool.
- Morality Pet: Hope; Sam Guthrie (Cannonball); Deadpool (!!).
- Cable and Deadpool seem to function as Morality Pets for each other. That's the weird part.
- It could be read as Cable teaching Deadpool about morals and the like, but having to constantly change his own actions so he doesn't end up saying "Do as I say, not as I do.".
- Nineties Anti-Hero: Cable is probably the original; if not, he's certainly a major Trope Codifier. However, in a much later subversion by Fabian Nicieza, he will apparently try to leave the territory entirely at times.
- Odd Friendship: Part of the fun of Cable and Deadpool was the acknowledgement that the two had nothing in common and probably should be mortal enemies.
- Should be enemies? Deadpool debuted as Cable's enemy! Most of the defining aspects of each of their characters didn't get revealed until later, though.
- Papa Wolf: Cable is very protective of the new mutant child Hope
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Sent to the future as an infant - Returned a few decades older than his parents, before the point he was abducted.
- Power Limiter: It's stated that Cable's inherent telepathic and telekinetic powers are almost off the charts, but he can very rarely use them to their fullest extent because the techno-organic virus that makes him a cyborg could completely consume him if he wasn't constantly, actively suppressing it. When he broke free of that, he could use his powers to their maximum... and promptly burned them out with over use.
- Interestingly enough, he has two sets of powers and they both act as Power Limiters to each other. His techno-organic virus has been compared to the virus that created the Phalanx, a Hive Mind behind a Crisis Crossover. Phalanx members and a few rare Phlebotinum Rebels have shapeshifting powers and technopathy, and both abilities can be seen in Cable in minor ways: whenever his psychic powers are overtaxed the metal body parts physically grow and start to take over the rest, and he can physically interface with machines. If the virus ever really consumed Cable, his Phalanx-like abilities would be used to their fullest... but presumably he would be patient zero for a serious threat.
- The result of Cable becoming the virus was actually shown in an AU that Deadpool hopped into while he was looking for Cable - it's where the infamous "tentacle scene" comes from.
- X-Man is a literal example of what Cable is capable of without the virus — this alternate Cable without the TO virus is "the ultimate telepath and telekinetic", "the most powerful psychic in any reality" and comparable to Dark Phoenix. And this last was said when he was only approaching his full power. A possible future showed a fight between Nate and an evil Cable. It wiped out half the planet.
- Red Herring: At the start of X-Force, false hints were dropped that Cable and his arch-enemy Stryfe might be the same person (they use a bunch of the same catchphrases, and Stryfe removes his helmet for the first time showing readers that he has the same face as Cable), playing X-Force and the MLF against each other for some reason.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: The main theme of the David Tischman run was averting this trope, with Cable using his godlike powers to solve real-world problems like terrorism and ethnic conflicts (albeit with decidedly comic-booky twists like super-plagues and clones).
- Remember the New Guy: Cable was introduced in the 1990's, but once he was introduced he was treated as though he had been known for a long time. Justified mostly by Time Travel.
- Rugged Scar: Has a scar (or several, Depending on the Artist) over his right eye. It serves to show that he's a Future Badass from a Bad Future, although his early appearances played up the gruff aspects of his character as well.
- Sociopathic Hero: In his original portrayal. Louise Simonson made a personal statement that this was to introduce a "constructive" youth role model teacher counter to Xavier's "whiny" idealism. He was later clarified as trying to prevent the engineering of an apocalyptic warzone... Then Nicieza turned him into a Pillar Of Moral Character instead, and nowadays he seems like a much tamer "general non-bloodcrazed soldier" version of the original.
- Status Quo Is God: No matter what changes are made to Cable, be it killing his archenemy, getting a new power, curing himself of the techno-organic virus, getting weapons other than guns, etc. He always comes back to being a white haired, time tossed soldier with the BFG and metal arm.
- Tangled Family Tree: Cable is a member of the Summers family, and contributes a lot to the complexity of said family tree. His biological parents are Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey), he grew up in the future, was raised by Scott and Jean inhabiting the bodies of people from that period as arranged by his sister from a different future timeline, returned to the present before he was born (or maybe slightly after, and then went back even further), and, as of 2011, he seems to have acted as adoptive parent to the reincarnation of Jean Grey (in another future timeline). He's not His Own Grandfather, but he might as well be.
- Tele-Frag: A problem that Cable has occasionally suffered from.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: He's older than his father, mother and step-mother, all thanks to time travel.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Back when he was just little Nate Summers. It's been a long time since then.
- Walking the Earth: Cable does this whenever the pressures of being a time traveling demigod get to him.