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Oct 15

Cable #5 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #5
“X of Swords, Chapter 8”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1: Cable, Cyclops and Jean Grey on the SWORD base with scary aliens in the background.

This post is going to be short – Cable #5 is a straightforward horror story introducing a new race of aliens and with little continuity baggage.

PAGE 2. Cable, Cyclops and Jean wonder where everyone is.

We’re picking up from a scene in X of Swords: Creationseven chapters ago – with no apparent interruption in time. I think we’re probably meant to take it that Scott, Jean and Cable’s mission over the closing pages of Creation took quite some time, and that they were quite badly out of synch with the rest of the storyline by the end of that issue, but it does read quite strangely, since there was no sign of that at the time.

Anyway, in Creation, Cable had a vision of Saturnyne showing him something he needed to find in order to win the tournament. Cyclops recognised it, and took Jean and Cable to SWORD’s orbiting Peak base. He identified the item in Cable’s memory as the igniter that reopens the “trans-space bridge” that powers the Peak. In other words, by turning this thing on, Cable has reactivated some sort of space portal. We were also told that something awful seemed to have happened on the Peak three weeks ago.

PAGE 2. Recap.

PAGE 3. Jean goes one way, the boys go the other.

PAGE 4. Data page on Blightspoke. Apparently, this realm is a dumping ground for failed realities and things that would endanger their home worlds. It’s potentially full of valuable things but they’re far too hard to get to – though the profiteers of the Crooked Market realm would be quite keen to try.

Blightspoke’s sheriff Gia Whitechapel is a new character and presumably we’ll be seeing her in due course.

PAGES 5-6. Magik calls to chase Cable to come home.

This is a follow-up call to the one that we saw in the previous chapter.

PAGES 7-13. Jean encounters a surviving SWORD agent who tells her that something horrible has happened, and then commits suicide.

Speaks for itself, really.

PAGES 14-21. The Vescora attack until Cable shuts down the bridge again.

“Was she trying to warn us?” Cable and Cyclops were sent here by a message from Saturnyne in X of Swords: Creation, which led them to the power source that Cable activated. It might be pure coincidence that the alien invaders are here, but it seems much more likely that Saturnyne wanted Cable to meet them for some reason. Cyclops and Cable wonder if she was just trying to get them killed… but that would be odd, because Cable is one of the swordsman champions that Saturnyne herself selected.

The portal seems to be formed of the bodies of individual Vescora. It’s very Minecraft.

The Vescora themselves appear to be some sort of human-size insectoid virus. Jean talks about them as if they don’t have much going on intellectually beyond that. But they do talk about “learning” and “mining the truth of the past”, whatever they mean by that. They seem to come from another dimension which views ours as “decaying”, and they seem to see themselves as some sort of cleansing force. Basically, there’s a mismatch here between the way Jean describes them and what they actually say about themselves – though they’re a danger either way. Perhaps they’re something to do with the world where the older Cable was banished, as seen in previous issues?

PAGE 22. Data page: basically the Peak’s black box recorder.

PAGE 23. Cable returns to Krakoa to take his space at the Hub.

His exchange with Cypher references the previous chapter (New Mutants #13), which is all about Cypher being a non-combatant unsuited for the tournament.

PAGE 24. Data page about the Light of Galador. It’s mostly just recapping what we’ve already been told about the sword in the course of this series. We’ve covered the destruction of Galador before, and the references to its apparent survival in the recent Yondu mini – this page squares them by explaining that Gladorian civilization survived to some extent thanks to the people who were away when the planet was destroyed.

Plandanium was the metal used to create the Spaceknights’ armour in Rom. It’s said to have been used to make the Light of Galador along with an “unknown metal” from group 6 on the periodic table. That would be chromium, molybdenum, tungsten or seaborgium, none of which sound like obvious story fodder, but there you go.

PAGES 25-26. Cyclops, Jean and Magik discuss plans.

From the look of it, Cyclops is planning to cheat and find a way for everyone else to get involved in the fight. They don’t share this with any of the other champions (apparently including the telepathic Cable).

PAGE 27. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: AVALON.

Bring on the comments

  1. Ben says:

    Not really much to say about this.

    Just heaps more new ideas that don’t seem to connect to anything.

  2. Luis Dantas says:

    At one early point Cable (the previous version) was strongly hinted to have a full cyborg body.

    This version holding what seems to be a nearly messianic Galadorian weapon is probably going to have significance at some point.

  3. Paul says:

    In his early appearances, Cable was written as a straightforward cyborg. It’s particularly obvious in X-Tinction Agenda, where his cyborg arm is actually removed while he’s a prisoner in Genosha. But by the time they settled on it being techno-organic, everyone had long since forgotten about that.

  4. The Other Michael says:

    Has anyone ever asked, in-universe, why the hell Cable is named Cable, anyway? Even for “random word as codenames” it’s one of those that doesn’t exactly make sense given his entire shtick.

    I know the whole “blah blah cable between past and future” explanation the creators tried to sell us, and I still think that was a desperate attempt to justify it after a stupid name stuck.

  5. Ben says:

    Controversial opinion…

    Cable is a great name.

    I love all the nonsense Cable future names.

    Tetherblood is the best name ever.

  6. Chris V says:

    In the future, no one watches network TV. They only watch cable television!
    Cable’s name shows us that crazy far future world.

  7. neutrino says:

    Gia Whitechapel is apparently a porn star with a fetish for public urination.

  8. Si says:

    My idea of Cable’s name is that definitions and meanings of words can change significantly over time. In the far future, the word “cable” probably has profound meaning that we just don’t have. Like imagine if a guy from today called himself Firewall because he protected people from malicious attacks by the Hacker Empire or something. Then he travels time back to 1955, and the few people who’ve heard of a firewall know it as a layer of asbestos. That’s us and Cable.

  9. Paul says:

    Originally, “Cable” was probably just meant to be his surname – that’s how it was listed in the Official Handbook at the time. I think there’s a story somewhere which attempts to justify “Cable” as a codename by claiming that it represents his role as a symbolic link between present and future, but that’s obviously a ludicrous stretch. The simplest explanation would be to say it was a name he picked for a cover identity once, and stuck with because he liked the ring of it.

  10. Luis Dantas says:

    Or maybe they thought of that X-Tinction Agenda cover where he fights Hodge (X-Factor Vol 1 #6) early on and reverse engineered his name from that?

    Hey, that was the first time I ever saw the character, and the name sort of made sense there.

  11. Chris V says:

    Cable was meant to be his surname?
    He had a relative who turned in to a raven.
    That would have made for a truly interesting secret from Cable’s past.

  12. The Other Michael says:

    “Originally, “Cable” was probably just meant to be his surname – that’s how it was listed in the Official Handbook at the time.”

    Just like those other X-Men mainstays from that era, Lucas Bishop and Aloysius Percington Gambit IV!


  13. wwk5d says:


    Cable never had his arm removed in that crossover, but it was deactivated for a while.

  14. Chris says:

    The arm was accidentally deactivated during X-TINCTION AGENDA

  15. bnyblm says:

    “From the look of it, Cyclops is planning to cheat and find a way for everyone else to get involved in the fight. They don’t share this with any of the other champions (apparently including the telepathic Cable).”

    Doesn’t Cypher “hear” that conversation between Cyclops and Magik? He responds to it, no? Not sure how that works considering it was in their heads unless it was supposed to be broadcast to everyone present, including Cable.

  16. Luis Dantas says:

    I can’t point a finger to when that happened, but I get the sense that Cypher was established at some point as a superb reader of facial and body language as well. In the present circunstances that should not even be much of a feat.

    As an aside, for someone who has a perception of inadequacy as a main character trait, he sure keeps getting new and impressive powers as derivations from his mutant power.

  17. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    He basically had Cassandra Cain’s ‘martial arts are language’ fighting skills after his Necrosha resurrection, though that was dropped pretty fast. As in, I’m not sure if it was used at all after Necrosha.

  18. Luis Dantas says:

    It was, in the latest issue of New Mutants at least. Paul mentioned it in his annotations.

  19. Si says:

    Was he doing martial arts in Necrosha or was he just fighting people that were too dumbfounded by their dead friend appearing and suddenly being evil to fight back effectively?

    Either way, Cypher should definitely be able to read body language, which would give him an advantage in close combat against regular folk. I mean, real people can do that. But anyone actually good at fighting would know how to not telegraph their moves.

    And even if he somehow understood the “language” of a flying flipkick to the head, doesn’t mean he can physically lift his leg high enough, jump far enough, or kick hard enough to do much good, right? That goes for Prodigy too.

  20. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I haven’t read Necrosha since it came out, but the way I remember it was that was basically what he did – not only did he ‘read’ his opponents, but was able to counter and defeat them.

    Honestly, that goes for Prodigy, too. I don’t recall a single instance where he couldn’t outfight a martial artist. Logically, yes, his body shouldn’t be able to catch up with his mind, but… it always did?

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