Comics
Published July 30, 2021

The Life and Death and Life of Cable

Look forward to 'Cable: Reloaded' #1 with a look back at Nathan Summers!

When Cable made his debut in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #87, readers correctly guessed that he had seen a lot of action in his long life. Few could have predicted that his history was even wilder than they imagined.

His younger counterpart, sometimes called Kid Cable, took over Nathan Summers’ place in the timeline during EXTERMINATION. But now, the old man is back in the driver’s seat and headlining his own one-shot on August 25 in CABLE: RELOADED #1.

Al Ewing and artist Robert Quinn aren’t giving Cable a chance to catch his breath. THE LAST ANNIHILATION is upon us, and Nathan is bringing the biggest guns available in the fight against Dormammu.

CABLE: RELOADED 1 (2021) #1

How did Cable survive his own murder? With style, of course. But it also helps that Nathan has had a lot of experience eluding the grim reaper. Even when he was just a baby, Cable has never gone down without a fight. Here are just a few of those standout, death-defying moments.

A Living Death – X-FACTOR (1986) #65-68

In the far future, Apocalypse is Cable’s greatest enemy. However, En Sabah Nur was unaware that Nathan Summers would grow up to be his nemesis when he infected him with the techno-organic virus. This was a blow that was meant to kill the spirit of Cyclops and the original X-Factor team. With Nathan on the verge of death, Scott Summers was forced to let Sister Askani take his infant son into the future to save his life even though there was no guarantee he would ever see him again.

Living in the Future – ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX

From the perspective of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, they already knew that Cable was the long-lost Nathan Summers when their minds were transported to the future. What they didn’t realize was that the T-O virus infection was so severe that the Askani sisterhood created a clone in case he perished. That clone grew up to become Cable’s mortal enemy, Stryfe.

Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix (1994) #1

Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix (1994) #1

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Meanwhile, Scott and Jean got a second chance to raise and protect Cable as a child. He survived the ravages of his disease thanks to their guidance.

X-Cutioner's Song – X-FORCE (1991) #18

At this point in the timeline, Cable believed that he was the clone and Stryfe was the original son of Cyclops and Jean’s clone, Madelyne Pryor. That’s why Stryfe kidnapped “his” parents and tried to take his revenge on them. Cable led the effort to rescue them and confronted Stryfe himself. The ensuing battle appeared to claim the lives of both Cable and Stryfe, and that left Scott and Jean mourning their loss again.

Two Minds, One Body – CABLE (1993) #1-8

Surprise! Cable wasn’t dead. Get used to that. Nathan escaped his fate by traveling into the future. However, Stryfe’s physical death wasn’t the end of his story. Instead, his mind was linked to Nathan’s body, even though Cable wasn’t initially aware of what happened.

While the two clone brothers were sharing the same space, Stryfe’s influence almost overwhelmed Cable and completely took over his body. It was at this time that Scott and Jean finally realized that Cable was the real Nathan and Stryfe was the clone. Naturally, they were able to help Nathan save himself.

Skornn Warning – X-FORCE (2004) #1-6

A few years after the original X-Force disbanded, Cable got the band back together to face the threat of the alien Skornn as well as Stryfe and the Mutant Liberation Front. Although Cable had recruited Caliban, Domino, Meltdown, Shatterstar, and even Deadpool, he still had to lay down his own life in order to stop the Skornn. And once again, Cable’s friends and extended family were forced to mourn him...but not for too long

X-Force (2004) #1

X-Force (2004) #1

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They Grow Up So Fast – CABLE & DEADPOOL (2004) #15-19

Cable wasn’t actually dead, but getting him back really took some doing. Especially since it involved jumping into alternate timelines just before the HOUSE OF M rewrote reality. Deadpool found Cable reduced to infancy in the world created by the Scarlet Witch, and Nathan was briefly stuck at that age when they returned to their home timeline. As Nathan’s body regressed to his natural age, Deadpool made sure to take him out for a very Deadpool bonding experience.

Providence’s End – X-MEN (2004) #200

After everything he had been through, Cable wanted to leave a permanent mark on the world. That’s why he formed the island nation, Providence, from the remains of his space station, Graymalkin. He even rejoined the X-Men during this time period. However, Providence was badly damaged during an attack by an alien weapon called the Hetacomb.

X-Men (2004) #200

X-Men (2004) #200

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With his team badly injured, Cable stayed behind as the Marauders attacked. To keep them from stealing Providence’s secrets, Cable triggered the island’s self-destruct sequence and he was once again thought to be dead.

Back in the Game – X-MEN: MESSIAH COMPLEX

Once again, Cable survived by traveling into the future. This time, he didn’t stay away for long. The young girl destined to become the mutant messiah was born, and Cable made it his mission in life to protect her. With the blessing of his father and the X-Men, Cable took the infant girl into the future and raised her as his daughter. He also named her Hope Summers, after his second wife.

Sacrifice Play – X-FORCE (2008) #28

During the events of SECOND COMING, Cable took Hope back to the present and introduced her to their extended family on Utopia. However, Bastion and his Human League pulled out all the stops to prevent Hope from living up to her status as the mutant messiah.

At a critical point, Cable and X-Force were trapped in the future and separated from the past by a time portal that would only open for inorganic beings. To save everyone, Cable allowed the T-O virus to completely overtake his body. After the team made it through the portal, the resulting explosion appeared to kill Cable.

X-Force (2008) #28

X-Force (2008) #28

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Target: The Avengers! – AVENGERS: X-SANCTION

After once again retreating into the future, Cable learned that the Avengers had gone on to kill Hope during a battle with the X-Men. This may have been the future’s misinterpretation of the events that took place during AVENGERS VS. X-MEN. Regardless, Cable returned to the present with a grudge against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Even with the T-O virus ravaging his body, Cable almost took down the Avengers by himself. But it came down to Hope to save Cable’s life, and she used her powers to cure him of the T-O virus.

Early Retirement – EXTERMINATION (2018)

Bringing the original five X-Men to the present turned out to be one of Beast’s worst ideas. As Ahab and the Hounds hunted them down in an attempt to ruin mutant history, Cable stepped forward to protect them. Unfortunately, this caught the attention of Cable’s much younger counterpart from the future. “Kid Cable” took the drastic step of “retiring” his older self. And let’s not mince words: Kid Cable killed "Old Man" Cable because he was getting in the way of sending the young X-Men back where they belonged. Naturally, Cable’s friends and family were upset about this, but they came to accept Kid Cable as one of their own.

Extermination (2018) #1

Extermination (2018) #1

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Resurrection Protocols – CABLE (2020) #11

In the DAWN OF X, death isn’t quite the immovable object that it used to be. That said, it still took some doing for Kid Cable to convince the Quiet Council to allow the Five to resurrect his much older counterpart. So, the original Cable is back from the dead. The price is that Kid Cable no longer has a place in the Resurrection Protocols. That spot is now reserved for his older self.

What’s next for Cable? Preview CABLE: RELOADED #1 with the gallery below, then read it on Wednesday, August 25! 

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CABLE: RELOADED #1 preview art by Bob Quinn with colors by Java Tartaglia

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