Comics
Published August 11, 2023

Cable and Bishop's Fraught History, Explained

As Cable and Bishop team up for 'Children of the Vault' #1, revisit the highs and lows of their complicated relationship.

Ever since they joined the X-Men, Cable and Bishop have been brothers-in-arms and bitter rivals who have hunted each other throughout the timestream. After chasing villains from their dystopian futures to the present, these two battle-tested soldiers found a new home with the X-Men and dedicated themselves to forging a better future for modern day mutants. But when their visions for a better tomorrow clashed, Lucas Bishop went on a rampage against Nathan Summers that took both of these X-Men to the end of time and back.

Now, we're taking a closer look at the complex history between Cable and Bishop. As this unlikely duo teams up in CHILDREN OF THE VAULT (2023) #1 by Deniz Camp, Luca Maresca, Carlos Lopez, and VC's Cory Petit, let's break down how these two met, how they became bitter rivals, and how they eventually made peace.

X-CUTIONER'S SONG

Cable and Bishop met each other during the "X-Cutioner's Song" storyline in X-FACTOR (1986) #85 by Peter David, Jae Lee, and Al Milgrom, which took place shortly after both time-travelers arrived in the present. Originally, Cable traveled back in time to hunt Stryfe, his evil clone who was raised by Apocalypse. Meanwhile, Bishop came to the present in pursuit of a serial killer, only to stay with the X-Men to save them from a future traitor by appointing himself Charles Xavier's personal bodyguard. At the start of "X-Cutioner's Song," Stryfe shot Xavier while posing as Cable, which sent Bishop on the hunt for the X-Force leader.

Alongside Wolverine, Bishop tracked down Cable and confronted him at a Department K armory. As the three heroes fought and tried to intimidate each other, Cable proclaimed his innocence. When Cable initially dismissed Bishop and shot him, Bishop responded by unleashing a devastating blast of kinetic energy that sent Summers crashing through a wall. While Wolverine was willing to hear Cable out, Bishop kept attacking Cable until Logan sliced his gun in half. Once Cable explained what was going on, the three X-Men teamed up and joined their teammates to fight Stryfe.

CABLE AND BISHOP ON THE X-MEN

After this initial encounter, Cable and Bishop stayed on relatively friendly terms, although they rarely interacted since they served on different X-Men squads. As Bishop adjusted to the present, he spoke with Cable about the unique pressures of being a time-traveler stuck in the past during X-MEN: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF LUCAS BISHOP (2009) #3 by Duane Swierczynski, Larry Stroman, and Mark Farmer. Then, Cable teamed up with Bishop to stop the cybernetic time-traveler Sinsear from using a potentially explosive machine to return to his time in CABLE (1993) #41 by Todd DeZago, Steve Crespo, and Scott Hanna.  

While Bishop was possessed by an ancient entity known as the Bete Noir, he and Gambit stopped Cable from killing a seemingly repentant Stryfe in GAMBIT & BISHOP (2001) #5 by Scott Lobdell, Joe Pruett, Georges Jeanty, Cary Nord, Mark Lipka, Jon Holdredge, and Sean Parsons. Stryfe still sacrificed himself to destroy Bete Noir, possibly with a telepathic push from Cable. Additionally, during CIVIL WAR (2007), Cable and Bishop were two of the few X-Men who took sides in the conflict, with Bishop joining Iron Man's Pro-Registration Heroes and Cable teaming up with Captain America's Secret Avengers.

MESSIAH COMPLEX

Cable and Bishop became bitter enemies after the arrival of Hope Summers, the first mutant born after the Scarlet Witch depowered most of the world's mutants in HOUSE OF M (2005). The X-Men, Mister Sinister, and the mutant-hating Purifiers all tried to claim Hope during the MESSIAH COMPLEX storyline in X-MEN (2004) #205 by Mike Carey, Chris Bachalo, and Tim Townsend. Where Cable believed Hope was the prophesized "mutant messiah" who was destined to save both mutantkind and humanity, Bishop thought she would cause the deaths of millions and drag the world into his dystopian future timeline. 

As Purifiers descended on the newborn Hope's hometown, Cable saved her and went on the run, while Bishop lost his arm to a genetically engineered mutant-hunting creature called Predator. With so many threats to Hope in the present, the X-Men allowed Cable to take her into the future for her protection in X-MEN (2004) #207 by Carey, Bachalo, Townsend, Victor Olazaba, Jon Sibal, and Al Vey. Just as Cable and Hope left for the future, Bishop accidentally shot Xavier, seemingly assassinating him. He then stole a cybernetic arm and time-travel technology from Forge's lab to continue chasing Hope.

MESSIAH WAR

As Cable and Hope time-traveled through different eras, Bishop relentlessly pursued the pair starting in CABLE (2008) #1 by Duane Swierczynski and Ariel Olivetti. While Cable raised and trained Hope in a relatively stable future home for years, Bishop tracked them down and killed millions of people in the process. In Bishop's troubled mind, he believed the people he murdered did not really exist, because their timeline would never come to be if he completed his mission to kill Hope. 

When Cable and Hope went back on the run, Bishop teamed up with Stryfe to trap Hope in the far future during MESSIAH WAR. But after Stryfe and Bishop could not agree on what to do with Hope, Cable joined forces with Apocalypse, while the modern-day X-Force teamed up to save her. Bishop lost an eye in the subsequent conflict before he tried to kill Hope by detonating a nuclear weapon. 

By the time Hope had grown into a teenager, she was ready to return to the present day. Cable ultimately sent Bishop to the year 6700 A.D. and stranded him there in CABLE (2008) #24 by Swierczynski, Giancarlo Caracuzzo, Alejandro Garza, Denys Cowan, and Sandu Florea. With the threat of Bishop finally neutralized, Cable and Hope returned to the modern Marvel Universe, where they reunited with the X-Men. 

However, Cable seemingly died to protect Hope around this time in the X-MEN: SECOND COMING crossover in X-FORCE (2008) #13 by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, and Mike Choi. Still, the legacies of Cable and Bishop lived on through Hope, whose worldview was shaped by Cable's care and militaristic teachings, as well as the threat of Bishop's zealotry.

BISHOP'S RETURN

Although Cable and Bishop were thought dead, both time-travelers managed to return to the present day after extended stays in the future. Shortly before AVENGERS VS. X-MEN (2012), Cable came to the X-Men and warned them about the upcoming conflict and the danger it posed to Hope. 

After fighting the monstrous Revenants in a desolate future, Bishop became possessed by the Demon Bear and a future version of Cassandra Nova known as the Revenant Queen, who used him to travel to the modern day in UNCANNY X-FORCE (2013) #1 by Sam Humphries, Ron Garney, and Danny Miki. When Storm and Psylocke's X-Force encountered the possessed Bishop, they helped free him from the Demon Bear and tried unsuccessfully to erase his memories of his obsession with Hope. Nevertheless, he helped them take down the Revenant Queen and joined the team. Around the same time, Cable formed a new X-Force team to keep his horrific visions of the future from coming true. 

Cable and Bishop's respective X-Force squads met face-to-face in the 2014 crossover "Vendetta," which started in CABLE AND X-FORCE (2012) #18 by Dennis "Hopeless" Hallum and Ángel Unzueta. When Hope realized Bishop was in the present, she tracked him down and tried to kill him. However, Stryfe captured them both and tried to goad Hope into killing the apologetic Bishop. 

Ultimately, Cable and Storm's teams teamed up to save the pair from Stryfe, and Hope spared Bishop's life. After Bishop saved Hope from Stryfe's final attack, Cable and Hope made a tense, uneasy peace with Bishop in UNCANNY X-FORCE (2013) #17 by Humphries and Harvey Tolibao.

CHILDREN OF THE VAULT

By serving on different X-Men squads, Cable and Bishop largely stayed away from each other. Even as the world's mutants came together on the mutant nation Krakoa, they kept their distance and remained uneasy allies at best. 

Leading up to X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2023) #1, the mutant-hating organization Orchis captured Cable and imprisoned him before he could stop their devastating attack. Unfortunately for Bishop and the rest of the X-Men, Orchis' attack left most of the world's mutants dead or missing and forced the surviving X-Men underground. 

In CHILDREN OF THE VAULT (2023) #1, Bishop attacked the Orchis facility that imprisoned Cable and rescued his former nemesis. Now, these two time-travelers must face the Children of the Vault, a hyper-evolved group of powerful beings who want to reshape the world in their image. Even though Cable and Bishop have chased each other all over time, they must put aside their differences and work together to save mutantkind's future.

Catch up with Cable and Bishop in CHILDREN OF THE VAULT #1, now on sale!

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