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Jan 20

Cable #7 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

CABLE vol 4 #7
“Gritty Days in the City of Brotherly Love”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable holding a baby. Unusually for this series, Cable is holding his more traditional Big Gun rather than his shiny new Big Sword. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the 2008 Cable series, in which Cable was on the run through time with baby Hope in tow – though it doesn’t seem to be a homage to any specific cover.

PAGE 2. Epigraph. The “past that comes back to haunt” Cable is presumably the villain who gets identified at the end of the issue.

PAGE 3. Gorgon is remembered.

Gorgon died in “X of Swords” (specifically, in the previous issue). Grasscutter and Godkiller were the swords he was using in the tournament, arranged in an X design. They’re “wait[ing]” for Gorgon because he’s presumably going to be resurrected. But because he died in Otherworld, he can’t be resurrected as normal; instead, he’ll return as some sort of alternative incarnation of himself. Hence, everyone else is treating him as dead.

If this is anything other than a spontaneous gathering, it’s a pretty poor turnout – and a slightly random selection regardless. The characters in attendance (from left to right) are Cypher, Bei, Magik, Callisto, one of the Stepford Cuckoos (probably Phoebe, given who she’s with), Kid Omega and Mondo. Kid Omega’s presence on the island raises questions, but we’ll cover that in the X-Force annotations.

Meanwhile, Cable wants to get back to the plot that was in progress before the crossover interrupted them. Of course, Cable’s concern for lost mutant babies ties in with his own back story of being spirited away to an alternate future for his own safety when he was an infant.

PAGE 4. Recap and credits. The small print text has changed – it now reads “The Young, The Old – Past, Future”. Before “X of Swords”, it read “Guns & Swords – Swords Don’t Need Reloading.”

Gritty is the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team, but that’s probably not the intended reference.

PAGE 5. Cable meets up with Rachel Summers.

Rachel Summers. Her codename “Prestige” isn’t used in this issue (mercifully). For anyone who’s new to this: Rachel is the daughter of Scott and Jean/Phoenix from an alternate future timeline, who travelled back in time to the present. She and Cable are often described as siblings, but strictly speaking both are only children – and Cable’s mother isn’t Jean, but her clone Madelyne Pryor.

Rachel was already living in the present when Nate was conceived, and her discovery that Nate was a boy was one of things that finally proved her timeline wasn’t coming to pass. She always treated him as a baby brother when he was an infant; they were both living with the Summers Family in the Krakoan era (at least until Rachel moved out to live with X-Factor).

The Otherworld fiasco is “X of Swords.” Cable is very much downplaying it here (and in the previous scene), perhaps because he didn’t make a very good showing in it, and needed Saturnyne to spell out the plot to him in the end. Cable is still carrying the Galadorian sword that he picked up in previous issues.

PAGES 6-8. Cable introduces Rachel to DiStefano and Molina.

Cable and Cyclops met these two detectives before in issue #2.

“I found the house, but I got attacked by some Space Knights.” Again, issue #2.

“Still getting used to that.” Rabid pro-mutant cultists are specifically a feature of the Krakoan era (though the Morrison-era U-Men were close). Marauders has suggested that there was a specific upsurge in this sort of cult linked to the announcement of Krakoa and, perhaps, to Xavier’s telepathic address to the world in House of X #1. Most of the Order of X cultists seen in this story appear to be genuine true believers.

PAGES 9-10. Cable, Rachel and the detectives arrive at the mansion.

“How are we gonna explain this for a warrant?” Um… by explaining that you got the information from a credible informant, i.e. Rachel? It doesn’t seem that hard.

PAGES 11-16. Cable fights the cultists.

“A false mutant.” The Monsignor is simply lying to the other cultists, and may just be coming up with an excuse to make them fight Cable. He might also be referring to Cable’s techno-organic parts and trying to suggest that Cable is really a cyborg, rather than a mutant. Or, given his links to the villain revealed at the end of the issue, he might be buying into said villain’s traditional view of Cable (of which more below).

“Otherworld… That’s where I learned, if a woman runs at you waving something sharp, don’t hesitate.” Cable’s referring to his duel with Bei (which he lost) in the previous issue.

PAGE 17. Cable reads the Monsignor’s mind.

The Monsignor answers to Stryfe, Cable’s arch-enemy from the 1990s. Like Cable, Stryfe has a rather convoluted back story, but the general thrust is that while Cable was growing up in Apocalypse’s dystopian future, Apocalypse had him cloned in the hope of creating a future host body. That clone is Stryfe, but Stryfe grew up thinking that he was the original and Cable was the copy. (Because that was the original plot, and it got swapped later in a retcon.) Stryfe’s agenda is usually a mixture of gratuitous chaos and retribution for what he considers to be his mistreatment by others. He’s not an especially well rounded character.

We saw a Stryfe from this Cable’s home timeline in the previous volume of X-Force, but this one is dressed as a more traditional Stryfe, which might imply that he’s from the timeline of the original Cable.

PAGE 18. Cable doesn’t explain about Stryfe’s involvement.

Understandably enough, Cable wants to portray this to the cops as a straightforward win over some dangerous cultists, and not complicate matters by having to explain that his own clone is behind it all.

PAGES 19-21. The Summers family home.

Continuing the running joke of the Summers family doing very domestic things on the moon. Cable seems to view all of this as a distraction from pursuing his admittedly-important agenda, while the rest of the family are more keen to insist on making time for normalcy now that Krakoa gives them the chance.

Hope Summers. I’m not immediately sure why Rachel suggests that Cable check in with Hope Summers. Cable raised her as a baby in the far future in the 2008 series, but of course that was the previous version of Cable. This one has no particular connection to her, and it’s not obvious what Hope would do to help.

“The team that Jean and I are putting together.” The X-Men, in current issues of X-Men. Incidentally, there’s no mention in this issue of Cable’s involvement in the new S.W.O.R.D. – given that we’re picking up on an urgent plotline from before “X of Swords”, this story probably happens before S.W.O.R.D. #1.

PAGE 22. Data page. Sage asks the Beast – a very morally dubious figure over in X-Force – whether to let Cable see the files on Stryfe. Sage indicates that these files are classified for two reasons: (1) they involve future events, which people should probably not know about in order to minimise the scope for time paradoxes; and (2) they involve Apocalypse. Apparently the Krakoans have been suppressing records of Apocalypse’s history given his involvement in the government, and presumably the same applies to the likes of Mister Sinister. Not very encouraging for Krakoan democracy.

PAGES 23-24. Cable and Domino in the Green Lagoon.

Domino was the original Cable’s lover, at least from time to time. The new Cable has deal with her before, and at least smoothed things over with her, in the previous X-Force run, so it’s hardly surprising that she’d be willing to help him out. At the same time, she’s a member of Beast’s X-Force team, and we just saw on the previous page that X-Force are taking an interest in Cable’s inquiry. Does that have anything to do with her involvement?

The customers in the background are mostly randoms. The one on the left in page 23 panel 2 seems to be Gentle, and the guy next to him might be Kid Gladiator – though he isn’t a mutant.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: GET LUCKY.

Bring on the comments

  1. SanityOrMadness says:

    Is there a reason I’m missing for Domino’s weird, red eye (on her “patch” side) on the last page?

    Paul: Rachel was already living in the present when Nate was conceived,…She always treated him as a baby brother when he was an infant; they’re both living with the Summers Family in the Krakoan era.

    Isn’t Rachel living in the Boneyard as of X-Factor? (Incidentally, weird costuming choice for her in this issue. It seems to be civvies – it certainly isn’t any costume of her I recognise, let alone her DOX or X-Factor costumes – but Krakoans seem to wear costumes…sorry, “mutant clothes”… 24/7 for the most part.)

    Also, when was the last time she identified herself as Rachel Summers before this?

    Paul: Rachel is the child that the same parents had instead, in a different timeline. / Rachel was already living in the present when Nate was conceived, and her discovery that Jean was having a boy…

    Uh, Madelyne is Cable’s birth mother, no?

    Paul: I’m not immediately sure why Rachel suggests that Cable check in with Hope Summers. Cable raised her as a baby in the far future in the 2008 series, but of course that was the previous version of Cable. This one has no particular connection to her, and it’s not obvious what Hope would do to help.

    I think that may be to do with Hope hating him for killing Old Man Cable, and Rachel wanting them to start getting along?

  2. Chris V says:

    You know, I just thought about this…the problem of reincarnation involving those from Otherworld…I’m wondering if what is occurring is that these individuals from Moira’s ninth life are being resurrected instead.

    Otherworld exists outside of normal time and space, which might be the reason.

    We saw a scene at the end of Moira’s ninth life where Xorn removes his helmet to reveal his black hole for a mind mutant power, and everyone is sucked in to the black hole.
    Now, if you remember from Hickman’s “machine god” mythology, at the highest levels of machine evolution, we have the knowledge that a Titan intelligence is a singular black hole.
    So, the goal of the post-humans and the Phalanx is to assimilate knowledge for the Titans, which at greater cosmological levels create tears in the fabric of existence.
    Hence, if the Phalanx choose to assimilate a race, their knowledge becomes part of the Titan intelligence, and then lives on for eternity outside of the bounds of time and space.
    Meaning, Moira’s power won’t effect anything that has already become part of a Titan consciousness.
    It’s interesting about Xorn’s power and the relation about black holes.

    My hypothesis is that, even though when Moira dies and is reborn it starts reality over again from a certain point meaning her past actions have been wiped clean; because of what happened in life nine with Xorn, the intelligence of the characters from life nine still exist outside of space and time.

    Since Otherworld also exists outside of space and time, when a character dies in that realm, Cerebro is mistaking the character from life ten with the character from life nine, still in existence outside of space and time because of Xorn’s actions in life nine.

  3. Paul says:

    Yes, Cable’s birth mother is Madelyne, of course. I’ll fix that.

  4. Chris V says:

    I wanted to look up what Hickman wrote in regards to Xorn’s black hole.
    The Omega Sentinel’s narration in that scene from Powers of X #3 is also quite distinct. Hickman had some sort of deeper meaning.

    The Omega Sentinel said, “Do you know what lies at the heart of a real black hole? I’ll give you a hint. It’s where we’re headed. It’s where we’re all headed.”
    Which seems to be a reference to singularity.

  5. Rob says:

    Wasn’t Stryfe actually originally cloned by Mother Askani/Rachel specifically to fool Apocalypse while Redd and Slym raised the real Nathan?

    Also, maybe you can help me understand something… I’ve seen it said that Stryfe was originally intended to be the real Nathan and Cable the clone several times including in this blog, but I honestly never read it that way when the family connections were revealed in X-Cutioner’s Song. Why would the clone (Cable) have the T-O Virus that baby Nathan had, while the real adult (Stryfe) didn’t? I thought it was pretty clear in the end when Cyclops says about Cable “we had to sacrifice him, a second time…” that the implication was that Cable was the real Nathan. Where in the stories does it suggest Stryfe is the original (other than in his own ranting)?

  6. Anthony says:

    I took Cable’s tie to kidnapped babies as a nod to Inferno but guess being sent to the the future works too. Poor babies in the MU really do exist just to be kidnapped

  7. Si says:

    Cable originally had nothing to do with Nathan Summers. He was just a man with robot parts. The robot parts weren’t explained really, but they definitely weren’t a techno-organic infection. So they were no barrier to Cable being the clone.

    I don’t remember when it was implied that Cable was the clone, but it was probably done by Fabian Nicieza, who loves to play that bait and switch game with character identities.

  8. Diana says:

    @Rob: X-Cutioner’s Song was presumably where the swap happened – I think the implication in some of Stryfe’s earlier appearances was that because Cable was a clone, his resistance to the T-O virus was weaker (hence why he had it and Stryfe didn’t). But it wasn’t really explored all that much before the canon went in a different direction

  9. Rob says:

    @Diana and @Si: Thanks! I was aware that Cable originally had no connection to Nathan. I thought that people were saying X-Cutioner’s Song was where Stryfe was established as Nathan and Cable the Clone and that it was reversed a few months later in “Fathers and Sons” in Cable. But that’s clearer.

  10. evilgus99@hotmail.com says:

    @ChrisV
    I really like that as a theory for ‘wrong’ resurrections! Guess it would be very complex to play out, though…

  11. Evilgus says:

    @Sanity
    I’d also be interested to learn when Rachel was reconciled to using ‘Summers’ as her surname again. Was that every on panel? Or just quietly dropped after Claremont left?

  12. Chris V says:

    I would think that alternate realities are a problem for Hickman’s grand theory.
    If Moira wants one world where mutants are eternal instead of headed to extinction, it’s very contradictory to say that in the entire Multiverse, mutants are always killed by the machines.
    Moira has only experienced Earth-616, she doesn’t explore every iteration of Earth.
    She said that “mutants always lose”. If she has no issue with using her power to revert the Earth-616 timeline, I don’t see why an alternate Earth disproving her idea wouldn’t be acceptable to her.

    Stryfe would be a glaring problem.
    He comes from a future where humanity is nearly extinct. Apocalypse rules the planet. Technology has been repressed.
    It was once the future of Earth-616, but Cable travelling back in time eventually split the timeline so that his future diverged as an alternate Earth.
    It seems that mutants will win in that alternate reality.

    At least Rachel is from a future that progressed similarly to Moira’s last life.

    That led me to come up with my life nine is still in a possible state of existence theory.
    The concept of multiple Earths would seem to preclude Moira’s pessimism.
    However, this comic bringing in Stryfe seems to be contradictory with Hickman’s mythology.
    I wonder if that is going to be addressed or if we are supposed to ignore it?

  13. Chris V says:

    Xavier’s response to Moira should have been, “Moira, dear. There is a world where mutants rule. It’s a hellish place. Remember Cable? Let’s brainstorm together to come up with a plan to make my dream more feasible. We can contact the Avengers and Fantastic Four, and we’ll all work together to stop the Phalanx. OK?”.

    It’s a major reason why Hickman’s run doesn’t work in a shared universe.
    He’s really telling a science fiction story, but has gotten stuck having to work with superheroes.

  14. Diana says:

    @Chris V: The problem with multiple Earths as it specifically pertains to Moira is that if her past lives still exist as divergent timelines, then there’s no justification for the urgency that supposedly motivated everyone into this new Krakoa era (which, in turn, is the reason most readers are willing to handwave the cultish, out-of-character behavior of pretty much every mutant on display). If life 9 still exists, then life 6 still exists and the posthumans *were* absorbed into the Galacticongularity or whatever the hell it was; and it also means it doesn’t really matter whether Moira dies or not, because her starting life 11 won’t undo this timeline.

  15. Allan M says:

    It’s still Rachel Grey at the end of X-Men Gold in 2018, but she’s Rachel Summers in Brisson’s X-Force in 2019. Named as such, admittedly, by Stryfe, but the narrative captions and recap pages roll with it. Nothing on-panel to explain the change. It honestly makes more sense that she changes it to symbolize the newly close-knit Krakoa-era Summers family all living together, but the books are calling her Summers a few months early.

  16. Chris V says:

    Diana-Moira’s lives are not alternate Earths. Hickman outlined the reasoning explicitly, so that the reader knew.
    Moira dies and it restarts the Earth-616 timeline back to the time of her birth.
    The old 616 timeline is wiped away.

    My argument about life nine explicitly relates to Xorn’s opening his black hole mind. All the other timelines are completely wiped out.

    I’m not saying that the ninth life continued. It effectively ended at the point where Wolverine killed Moira and restarted the timeline for our current 616.
    I am saying that because the “heart of a black hole” is the singularity, based on Hickman’s machine mythology, that the intelligence of those characters who once lived in life nine has been preserved outside of space and time.

    Hence, my theory was, when a character dies in Otherworld (outside of space and time), Cerebro is able to record the history of characters from life nine as well as life ten, so the two are jumbled together when they attempt resurrection.

  17. Diana says:

    @Chris V: But the whole point of the posthuman plan was that for them to survive inside that singularity, they *had* to be assimilated by the Phalanx. That machine mythology at no point suggests that organic beings – human, mutant or posthuman – could survive the transition.

  18. Chris V says:

    That’s for immortality of the race though. If humanity is assimilated by the Phalanx, they will (for all intents and purposes) be made immortal as part of the Phalanx hive-mind.

    There isn’t anything in Hickman’s writing about what happens if a being travels in to the heart of a black hole.
    The Omega Sentinel seemed like she had some idea and was giving some sort of hint, maybe.

    I’m not saying that anyone from life nine survived. They did not. They are effectively erased from existence. Their timeline ended and was erased when Moira died.
    However, their intelligence may still exist outside of time and space due to going through Xorn’s black hole.

    So, if Rockslide dies in Otherworld (outside of space and time) and Cerebro attempts to record his mind for resurrection, it may record the mind of Life-9 Rockslide, which also exists outside of time and space.
    For all intents and purposes, Life-9 Rockslide no longer exists, but when Krakoa attempts to resurrect Life-10 Rockslide, Cerebro implants the history of both life nine and ten Rockslide in to the body.

  19. SanityOrMadness says:

    Chris V: For all intents and purposes, Life-9 Rockslide no longer exists, but when Krakoa attempts to resurrect Life-10 Rockslide, Cerebro implants the history of both life nine and ten Rockslide in to the body.

    But Rachel scanned New Rockslide in X-Factor and found him to be pretty much a blank slate.

  20. Chris V says:

    Oh, Ok, thanks.
    I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on with Rockslide.
    The review for this issue mentioned Gorgon becoming an “alternative incarnation” when resurrected.

  21. Luis Dantas says:

    I have come to expect that we will at some point learn that Moira’s power is much less influential than she believes it to be.

    She comes back in time when she dies, sure. But what evidence do we have that the changes involve a while new timeline each time?

    We have had alternate timelines created by mutants before, certainly. But they tended to involve actual time travel, the obvious example being Age of Apocalypse.

    Moira’s power is not quite that. At the very least, she has very specific limitations built inside her power. Limitations that so far rely on us trusting Destiny’s word, when she has very good reason to lie and there is little to support her claims.

    So I would not bet too much on Moira’s beliefs about her own powers being quite accurate. There are quite a few loopholes to exploit.

    One of the most obvious is having her die while powerless (say, by being right next to Leech). But the one that I would find interesting is having her significantly mistaken about herself.

    For instance, maybe her power is sending her own mind to alternate timelines and she just doesn’t realize that. Or instead she is tralling through alternate futures and her power is a temporary displacement of the main timeline.

    Having her learn that could make for a poignant limited series.

  22. Chris V says:

    She obviously doesn’t learn as much as she believes she does in each life. That’s something that is glaring in Hickman’s writing.

    In life six, Nimrod says to the Librarian, “Homo Sapiens, so glad to be done with all of that”.
    The point being that to Nimrod and Homo Novissima, baseline humans and mutants are the same species, while it is they which are truly something different.

    This was just hinted at again in the new issue of Hellions, when the Right don’t get the result they expected by scanning Psylocke.

    I realize that Moira’s plan involves saving both humanity and mutants from the threat of the Phalanx and extinction, but she certainly is going about it in a mutant supremacist manner.
    Which makes one wonder how much she has actually learned in her prior lives.

  23. Diana says:

    @Luis: Hickman may be a messy writer who isn’t half as clever as he thinks he is, but even he knows how to set up basic foreshadowing. Destiny says Moira has ten lives, maybe eleven; Krakoa is life ten; so when Hickman’s done or Marvel needs to reboot the damn line again, she’ll die and reset everything back to whatever status quo editorial wants.

    This whole Noun of X thing is on a countdown timer, we just don’t know how long it’s supposed to go on.

  24. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    They must be kicking themselves right now over the fact that they already published Age of X ten years ago… 🙂

    On the other hand Marvel has teased yesterday something new called Heroes Reborn, so if they wanted to, they’d just put out another Age of X because why not.

  25. Chris V says:

    Unless Hickman signs an extension on his deal (which would be based on sale’s figures for Marvel), there is only one more chapter after “Reign of X”.
    Each of his chapters last for roughly one year. So, Hickman’s run should be ending around January 2023, barring any new major delays.

    Considering that Hickman likes to use X as both a consonant and numeral, “Age of X” could be read oddly.
    It would either refer to Krakoa ten years after establishment, or refer to mutants and humans acting like ten year old children.

  26. Luis Dantas says:

    @Krzysiek Ceran: Indeed. I did not know that they were planning to recycle the “Heroes Reborn” name. But if they dare to go there, I can’t believe that “Age of X” would be off-limits.

  27. Luis Dantas says:

    @Diana: Hickman has certainly offered that foreshadowing. But he has shown to be friendly to a bit of misdirection at critical moments. Moira’s sixth life’s end scene comes to mind.

    We are set up to expect Moira’ tenth life to, for lack of a better description, encapsulate and compartimentalize this status quo. And that is probably what will happen eventually.

    I just happen to think that an alternate eventual resolution is both very possible and considerably more interesting.

    But I do not expect it. I don’t think Hickman has either the drive or the environment that would be necessary.

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