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Nov 20

Cable #6 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 20, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #6
“X of Swords, Chapter 19”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. Generic pin-up of Cable and other characters from “X of Swords” (including Betsy, who’s been absent from the plot for several chapters now).

PAGE 2. Epigraph from Cyclops. The point here, of course, is that generally Scott is giving teen Cable fairly conventional advice, but in this issue Cable is fretting that the older, more experienced Cable that he forcibly replaced would have been much better suited to the occasion.

PAGES 3-6. Mister Sinister reports to the Quiet Council.

The Quiet Council members present here are Professor X, Magneto, Mister Sinister, Exodus, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw and Kate Pryde. Apocalypse and Storm are absent because they’re in Otherworld for the contest. The final Council member, Marvel Girl, is on the island – we see her later – and our attention is drawn to the fact that she’s not answering. Presumably the idea is that she needs to be by the portal in order to maintain her psychic link to Cable, and she’s not willing to move.

Mister Sinister is claiming to have returned from the Hellions’ mission to Arakko, as shown in Hellions #5-6. In fact, he apparently sent a clone in his place, and wiped out the Hellions on their return, in order to stop them reporting what he’d done. His actual agenda was to recover a bunch of DNA samples, but the rest of the Quiet Council don’t know that.

So this Mister Sinister hasn’t actually been to Arakko and presumably shouldn’t know anything about what’s going on there – though he is a telepath, and he could have read the minds of the returning Hellions before he killed them. Besides, what he reports here is all pretty generic.

“I needed to stop and fetch a cape.” At the end of Hellions #6, Sinister deliberately tears his costume as part of his ruse. If it’s been that long that everyone’s been waiting for him, it’s hardly surprising that he got changed. Sinister was also rather obsessed with his cape in Hellions #5-6.

Kate’s costume. Sinister seems to be alluding to the fact that before Marauders, Kitty Pryde had spent some time wearing generic X-Men outfits.

“You should see what they did to the poor fish-people.” Referring to the attack on Dryador in X of Swords: Creation (which this Sinister could plausibly know about to some extent from the previous raiding party that returned to Krakoa in Creation).

The External Gate remains open, and Krakoa continues to veto any suggestion that it be closed.

PAGES 7-8. Credits and recap.

PAGES 9-13. Cable fights Bei.

This is actually a straight sword fight “to the death” of the sort that readers would initially have been expecting. Bei “married” Cypher in Excalibur #14 as part of the increasingly surreal contest, and the two do seem to have at least some attachment. Cable nearly wins, but hesitates to kill Bei in Cypher’s presence. For her part, Bei stops when Cypher steps in… and Saturnyne decides that this is a sufficiently crushing humiliation that she’ll count it as a death.

PAGES 14-16. Cable reports telepathically to Cyclops and Marvel Girl.

Cable’s report of the plot is all basically accurate, and this is where we really hammer the point that Cable feels the original would have done better.

“I can’t lose him again, Jean.” Cyclops is referring to Cable’s convoluted back story in which he’s sent to the far future and grows up there (and then Cyclops and Jean join him there for a bit…)

PAGES 17-23. Gorgon fights the White Sword… kind of.

The White Sword decides to make Gorgon fight all one hundred of his soldiers first, though he rather sportingly starts by sending them in small groups. In the grand scheme of things, this is remarkably unhelpful to Arakko – because Saturnyne counts each soldier killed as a point for Krakoa, and so Gorgon singlehandedly draws level for Krakoa. Quite why it suited Saturnyne better to do it this way is unclear, but that’s arbitrary magic-based stories for you.

As for the White Sword, bear in mind that he doesn’t really like the rest of his team at all. He spent centuries obsessively fighting against the Amenthi who now run Arakko. So it’s entirely possible that he’s trying to throw the fight, or at least hand Krakoa a bunch of points. He only steps in when the Horsemen twig to the fact that their lead is evaporating, and he specifically says “I was just waiting for you to grovel.” Saturnyne, in turn, only flags the point to the Horsemen once Krakoa has caught up.

Gorgon uses his rarely-seen power to petrify opponents here, rarely-seen because it’s usually a plot-wrecker. He’s a career villain but he does go down fighting. Note that he dies in Otherworld, so while he can be resurrected, he’ll be unpredictably altered as a result.

PAGES 24-25. Apocalypse and Annihilation prepare to fight.

Neither Apocalypse nor Annihilation have featured in any of the previous contests, so it’s logical that they would be in the final battle. But quite why they’re assuming that the plot of this issue is going to be logical…

PAGE 26. Data page. This is a recap of the 24 contests to date, and a confirmation that the 25th will be the last. It sheds a bit more light on the montage sequence from this week’s X-Force, but I already covered that in the X-Force annotations.

Of slightly more note, the White Sword/Gorgon contest is actually described as “One Hundred to One”, which suggests that White Sword may indeed have been aware of the rules and of what he was doing. Note also that while Bei and Cable’s battle is listed as “Battle to the Death”, Isca and Captain Britain’s is “Battle to First Kill”. Is the plot twist here going to be that Annihilation wins the 25th contest, but Betsy turns up alive so Arakko forfeit their first point, and it turns out to be a draw?

PAGE 27. Trailers. The Krakoan text reads NEXT: ASUNDER.

Bring on the comments

  1. Chris V says:

    Sinister also has a hive-mind with all of his clones. I believe he should have knowledge of anything that any other Sinister has been doing.

  2. MasterMahan says:

    I always figured Gorgon avoided using his stone gaze thing because he might end up murdering himself with a shiny surface. That’s a hell of a drawback.

  3. Matt C. says:

    After being pretty aghast at last week, I found the first two issues this week (X-Force and Hellions) pretty good. Unfortunately, this issue really slams home just how off the overall plot and pacing have been – especially the Gorgon/White Sword fight conveniently evening the score up, and Apocalypse/Genesis (correctly) assuming they are the final battle, even though Saturnyne said nothing to indicate that.

    I thought the art was a real disappointment in this issue – some stuff (like the Cyclops/Jean/Cable scenes) is fine, but the actual battle scenes are pretty bad, especially the Gorgon/White Sword one. I didn’t even realize Gorgon was using his… erm, gorgon vision to petrify the guy, until I read it here. Some panels like Gorgon getting stabbed by White Sword, and the panel with War yelling “finish him!” (just look at Genesis and Bei lol) are particularly bad. Really sucks out the moment, I think.

    Definitely be interested to see what happens to Gorgon though, since I think that’s the first real death in Otherworld on the X-Men side (fair to assume something is up with Betsy). Wouldn’t surprise me if he told the powers that be to just not bring him back.

  4. Nathan Mahney says:

    Is Jean on Krakoa, or are her and Scott still on the SWORD space station?

  5. Ben says:

    Two things I haven’t brought up yet from this week.

    1) In spite of the hype, the Arakko team actually got their asses handed to them in almost all of the actual physical fights. War, Summoner, Pogg, Bei, & Death all went down. Isca won because Betsy’s sword broke via shenanigans. White Sword won because he cheated. They actually suck.

    2) In a contest between mutants, they actually don’t use their powers much. It feels like they should have just made that a rule.

  6. Luis Dantas says:

    I must admit, despite my misgivings about this event this issue sounds funny. Having Saturnyne of all people refuse to even pretend to have any respect for either reason or her own allies/patsies is so absurd that it ends up being funny. And this tragicomedy of Gorgon turning the tables all by himself without perhaps even noticing it is of such sublime silliness…

  7. K says:

    One of the themes of this story has been whether Krakoa makes mutants “soft.”

    Isn’t it nice to not have a repeat of the cliche that living in an unending hellscape makes you the stronger ones automatically?

  8. Ben says:

    But that’s what the build to the story was all about.

    Krakoa is screwed in a fair fight, so the tournament is their only shot.

    Now it seems like they would have been just fine fighting these guys on their home turf, with only a tiny gate for the enemy to attack through.

    Especially with all the stuff about teaming mutants together for ultimate battle combo moves like when the tree people invaded.

  9. Loz says:

    So so far no-one has died that can’t be resurrected usually or, if they come back ‘weird’ it would have no real importance to the storyline (Gorgon and Apocalypse) but Saturnyne now has set things up so that presumably Cyclops will lead most of the combat ready Krakoans into Otherworld in the mistaken belief that they’ve lost the contest so they might as well because they have nothing to lose? This has the possibility of having some big names fall for a while and maybe forcing them to destroy the gate and antagonise Krakoa.

    Or maybe I’m giving this story too much credit for anything meaning anything.

  10. K says:

    Well, it wasn’t going to be a fair fight because Amenth had basically endless hordes on its side. So it turns out the tournament was their only shot at anything close to a fair fight.

    Powercreep was a concern but it turns out these guys are basically on the same level, they just have an army. I expect a couple of them will probably even join the cast in the end.

  11. Adam says:

    Seems like Cypher’s new wife and Redroot are the most obvious choices to stick around as new cast members, since neither one has been depicted as crazy or evil.

    Isca by definition ought to also switch sides at some point.

  12. Dave says:

    Gorgon’s not getting a Krakoan resurrection or a final death, is he? White Sword says HE’s going to restore him and keep him in his service. I could see him releasing him back to Krakoa sometime afterwards. Or Saturnyne undoing the tournament deaths.

  13. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    It kind of read to me like the White Sword was agreeing not to do that, seeing Gorgon defy him?

  14. Dave says:

    Oh yeah. I’d already forgotten the ‘So be it’ part.

    Here’s some speculation on the crossover ending.
    In CREATION, Saturnyne tells Cable, psychically:
    ‘There is a great game afoot. And if you want to play…want to win…then this is what you want. This is what you’ll need. Find it.’
    Why do they need to find that gate/door/portal on the SWORD station? It wasn’t Cable’s literal sword quest – he had his Spaceknight sword already. Cyclops has something in mind following the SWORD station mission, and I’m saying that the something is the Vescora on the other side of that door. Sure looks like they could come in handy against an army of mutants/demons, doesn’t it?
    I’d have thought the Vescora appearing in one single issue of Cable would have made it too much of an ending out of nowhere, except for how that SWORD station part was the ending of Creation, as if it was going to be significant.

    I also noticed looking back at that previous Cable issue that Jean says Otherworld is telepathically locked down, but if they had enough psychics working on it they might be able to punch through. But then this issue she’s contacting Cable just fine, until Saturnyne THEN locks it down, and Jean says that with Emma and the girls, they could punch through together.

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