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Sep 2

Cable #4 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

CABLE vol 4 #4
“The Big Bang”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable and Esme fight the Spaceknights. This is bannered as a “Path to X of Swords” issue, presumably for sword-related reasons that would have applied to the whole series to date.

PAGES 2-5. Esme recounts the history of the Spaceknights.

We’ve covered this before, but the Spaceknights form part of the back story of Rom, the 1980s licensed series. In Rom, the established back story saw the Galadorians coming under attack from the Dire Wraiths about two hundred years ago, and the Spaceknights such as Rom being volunteers who gave up their normal bodies to become cyborg warriors. (The basic set-up of most issues of Rom was that Rom kept showing up to kill Dire Wraiths disguised as ordinary humans, and people kept mistaking him from a murderous killer robot.)

This version of history is claiming that an earlier batch of Spaceknights had been created three thousand years previously, from dupes. The implication is that the technology was kept around in some form and dusted off in the Dire Wraith emergency.

The Spaceknights were always somewhat clunky in their visual design, to match the aesthetic of the Rom toy. The three we’ve seen so far – named here as Tarq, Brakk and Kron – are new characters for this series.

“While they slept, Galador was destroyed.” In Infinity #1. As previously mentioned, the recent Yondu miniseries reveals that the planet secretly survived, but there’s no reason for any of these characters to know that.

PAGES 6-7. Recap and credits

PAGES 8-10. Cable replaces the time machine with a bomb and takes the Spaceknights to the desert.

The implication seems to be that Cable decides to get a message to his older self in the past, and successfully alters history in advance of actually acting on that intention. Or then again, maybe not, because he also explains later in the issue that the older Cable couldn’t use his time machine to escape in Extermination #1 because it wasn’t there any more. So really the big question is why the bomb isn’t there in the earlier panel – maybe it’s just an illusion?

Purists will tell you that Marvel Universe time travel isn’t meant to work this way, but there have been so many counterexamples over the years that there are clearly ways of time travelling in which this sort of thing can work – albeit that it might be a very bad idea.

The Time Variance Authority is a seemingly self-appointed body which monitors the integrity of the timeline. Sometimes it’s played more or less straight, sometimes it represents continuity-minded editors. If Cable keeps messing around with time like he does in this scene, we might see them for real later on.

Arbor Magna is the resurrection chamber on Krakoa.

PAGES 11-12. Flashbacks to Cable swapping his arm, and then getting killed by the younger Cable.

The first page seems to show Cable replacing his normal time-machine arm with the bomb arm – and seemingly leaving the time machine just lying around in his safehouse. More generally, Duggan seems to be trying to explain the bizarre events of Extermination #1 by suggesting that the older, more experienced Cable was manipulating the young moron version all along.

PAGES 13-20. The Spaceknights walk right into the trap.

Speaks for itself, really. The Spaceknights really do come across as suckers, but it looks like they’re only really here to set up a bigger threat for X of Swords, so whatever.

“Tell Phoebe I’m excited to see her tomorrow.” Remember, Phoebe is the one who was seeing Kid Omega in X-Force #11, and seems significantly less interested in Cable than any of her sisters.

PAGE 21. Data page. The dying Spaceknights’ last message to the one remaining Spaceknight, largely just recapping the plot. None of the names are established characters.

PAGE 22. Another data page, with a message from the X-Desk to Molina and DiStefano. The X-Desk is presumably Delores Ramirez, same as ever. Molina and DiStefano are the two cops who were investigating the mutant baby theft in issue #2, and who were putting out feelers to make contact with the X-Men by the end of the issue.

Delores is pointing them in the direction of the Order of X. We know from the previous issue that these mutant-obsessed cultists did indeed steal the baby, and Delores presumably found out because their messages are being tapped. The leader of the Order (or at least this particular cell) is identified simply as “M”. It’s not at all clear why he’s so keen for Stinger’s dog to die.

PAGES 23-25. Cable is persuaded to stick around for family dinner.

It’s a rather heavy-handed “normal family dynamics but with Cable” scene. For some reason, the only characters at the family dinner are Cyclops, Cable, Prestige, Havok, Corsair and Marvel Girl – no Wolverine (who isn’t a blood relative), but also no Vulcan (which is harder to explain).

PAGES 26-27. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: X OF SWORDS.

Bring on the comments

  1. SanityOrMadness says:

    > The implication seems to be that Cable decides to get a message to his older self in the past,

    I think it’s not so much “get a message” as “he resolves, when he gets old and reaches the day his young self shoots him, to swap his time-machine arm…”

  2. Paul says:

    But the young Cable is from a different version of his future timeline – the original Cable didn’t come back until he was much older. If we’re going with the idea that this is literally the same character with an alteration to his history then that hasn’t been made at all clear, I think.

  3. Col_Fury says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the Time Variance Authority (since they appeared here) will eventually do to nu-Cable what nu-Cable did to the time-displaced original X-Men. Meaning, wipe his memory and put him back in his proper time.

  4. Luis Dantas says:

    The TVA was used fairly often around 1990, and was mentioned as one of the time control factions in Avengers Forever (circa 2000 or so). Considerably later it played a key role in the plot that made Two-Gun Kid part of the She-Hulk supporting cast.

    I don’t think that we saw much of them since – for instance, they seem not not have been shown at any point in the last six years or so reacting to the displacement of versions of the original five X-Men, nor to have acknowledged the effects of the 2015 Secret Wars-related changes – but word has it that the Loki live action series will introduce them to the MCU continuity (or did already).

    Using them is a nice way of giving some plot to timeline-restructuring stories, though. Maybe they were somehow reinstated by the 2015 rearrangement itself?

  5. Andrew says:

    I always dug Rom as a comic. It was a real blast at the time and long outlived the toy as I recall.

  6. Luis Dantas says:

    He definitely did.

    I take it that you are not aware that IDW has resumed the publication of Rom since 2016 (albeit in another continuity)?

    He is now a “Solstar Knight” as opposed to a Spaceknight. Marvel apparently retains the rights for the name “Spaceknight”.

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