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Mar 24

Cable #9 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #9
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable and Esme share a drink in the Green Lagoon, while a woman with a logo for a head stands over them. Okay, it’s Emma and her head is actually off the top of the page… but it does look a little odd.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from an anonymous customer at the Green Lagoon, basically making the point that nobody really treats Kid Cable seriously. Partly that’s because he doesn’t have the gravitas and experience of the familiar version, but we’ve also seen before that Cable himself has serious doubts about whether he’s really up to the role that he’s taken on.

PAGES 3-5. Cable and Esme deal with an A.I.M. submarine.

As any longtime Marvel reader will know, these guys are from A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), which is basically a group of scientists who want the world to be ruled by a scientific meritocracy (i.e., them). They’re serving here as generic walk-on villains.

Cable started this series dating all five of the Stepford Cuckoos – or perhaps just four of them, given that Phoebe is dating Quentin Quire – but we seem to have quietly settled down to just him and Esme. Back in issue #2, Esme is the one that Emma Frost singled out in her conversation with Cyclops. (“Do not let him [Cable] break their hearts, except Esme. She needs it, Scott.”) Emma’s reaction to Esme’s behaviour here should be seen in that light.

PAGES 6-7. Cable and Esme debrief.

Cable and Esme really are full of puppyish enthusiasm here, which is particularly out of character for Esme. But once the immediate crisis is out of the way, Nate is completely preoccupied with his main goal of tracking down Stryfe, and pretty much wanders off immediately to deal with that. He doesn’t even say goodbye to her, for no readily obvious reason beyond his own self-absorption. Emma, in keeping with her comment in issue #2, doesn’t exactly go out of her way to cover for him.

Cable has apparently been asking every major telepath on the island to help him locate Stryfe, but specifically not Jean Grey. Emma describes that as keeping it private, but that’s hardly what’s going on when you consider that he’s going to the major authorities and asking everyone under the son. There seems to be some particular reason why Cable doesn’t want to involve Scott and Jean – he steers Emma away from Scott before starting this conversation. Perhaps he feels that Stryfe is a personal responsibility and doesn’t want to bring in more senior X-Men who will see it as a sort-of family responsibility too. Or maybe he sees this as a coming of age challenge, where asking his parents for help would defeat the point.

Most of this issue consists of Cable asking various other people to help him locate Stryfe; this scene is the first of many.

PAGE 8. Recap and credits.

PAGES 9-10. Cable and Wolverine.

Wolverine owes Cable a favour (a “marker”) after losing to him in the Quarry in issue #1.

Wolverine is presumably in Madripoor, since he’s wearing his Patch outfit. For the purposes of this series, this is just a generic Wolverine story that Cable blunders into and messes up, because he’s too naive to recognise subtlety when he sees it. However… it sounds as though Wolverine is investigating some sort of blackmail plot against the Madripoor royal family. That might be significant to events over in Marauders, where the takeover of the Madripoor government by Homines Verendi is a major plot point.

PAGE 11. Cable and Prestige.

Cable tries his sister Rachel – so clearly it’s not just the family connection that’s putting him off speaking to Jean. As Rachel says, Stryfe is likely to have excellent psi-shields because he’s the same as Cable.

In the previous issue, Cable said that he had killed Stryfe before coming back in time. This issue he also mentions mindwiping Stryfe, which refers to X-Force vol 5 #7-10 (the previous run). That story seemed to have been overlooked in the previous issue. Later in the issue (on page 22), Cable acknowledges it again and handwaves it away, claiming that the mindwipe must not have worked because Stryfe wasn’t “in his prime body.”

Rachel suggests that the abduction of mutant babies might have something to do with a story where “demons once needed mutant baby blood to cast a spell.” That’s the Inferno crossover from 1989, which got some oblique mentions much earlier in the Krakoan era, suggesting that we should be looking out for it. Rachel says that it was “not exactly before your time” – though she doesn’t spell this out (at least in the part of the conversation we get to see), Cable was one of the babies. Presumably, from the next scene, Rachel goes on to bring him up to speed about the Inferno crossover.

PAGES 12-16. Cable and Magik.

Magik is training some of the children on Krakoa, as per the current status quo in New Mutants.

N’Astirh was the main demon villain in Inferno. Basically, he wanted to use the mutant babies to open a portal through which the demons of Limbo could invade Earth. He’s chained up in a cave in Limbo, where Magik is apparently forcing him to listen to minor demons playing Proclaimers songs on the recorder. Because of the weird nature of time in Limbo, he’s apparently been there for a century from his perspective.

Magik glosses over the question of why N’Astirh is chained up, because it doesn’t really matter. As best as I can tell, though, he’s being punished for his attempted coup against Magik’s rule in X-Men: Hellbound, an obscure miniseries from 2010 which was a minor tie-in to the “Second Coming” crossover.

PAGES 17-20. Cable and Wildside.

As Cable says, Wildside was a member of Stryfe’s Mutant Liberation Front back in the 1990s. But this seems like just an excuse for Cable to take out his frustrations on somebody he knows won’t be co-operative. He has no real reason to think that Wildside will know where Stryfe is, and besides, there are plenty of other former MLF members on Krakoa who would be more willing to share any information they had. Tempo, for example.

PAGES 21-23. Cable and Hope.

A rare sighting of Hope apart from the rest of the Five. The original Cable wasn’t Hope’s biological father, but he did raise her from childhood (in a lengthy time travel storyline). Hope has always made it clear that she doesn’t take kindly to this Cable replacing the older version, for fairly obvious reasons.

Cable says he’s been “on my heels since the tournament in Otherworld”. He lost his one-on-one fight against Bei in “X of Swords”, and also got handily beaten by Knull in the “King of Black” tie-in in S.W.O.R.D.. He could use a win.

At any rate, Cable has decided that they need the original Cable back – he’s figured out from earlier issues that when he thought he had killed Cable I, he was being manipulated in some way. As we’ve seen in subplots in earlier issues, this appears to be right – Cable has been out there somewhere in a post-apocalyptic timeline. The issue ends with a further panel of that. When we left off this subplot last issue, Cable had apparently walked into a trap and fallen into a pit. He hasn’t landed well.

PAGE 24. A data page on duplicates and their resurrection – though since Kid Cable seemed to be talking about literally retrieving Original Cable from the time stream, it’s not immediately clear where this comes into play. Perhaps the point is to establish that, once the original Cable is brought back, Kid Cable can have no guarantee (to put it mildly) of being resurrected should anything happen to him.

The point about duplicates and clones not being resurrected has already been addressed in New Mutants and (especially) Hellions. The unspoken issue is that the whole resurrection thing depends on everyone accepting the resurrected character – restored from back-up – as the original. So the inadvertent creation of a duplicate would bring to mind all sorts of awkward questions about whether this is just a system that churns out replacement clones who think they’re the original. Or, if you believe that resurrection is more fundamental than that – that, say, Proteus’s reality warping is genuinely assisting in retrieving the soul from the afterlife – then awkward questions would still arise about the nature and status of a copy whose intended soul was already in use. The refusal to resurrect duplicates is part of that.

The Stepford Cuckoos are acknowledged to be an exception to that – some of them were dead before the Krakoan era, so we know they’ve been revived. The reason given here is decidedly unconvincing. Apparently there’s an exception for cases where the duplication arises from mutant powers themselves. So Madrox can be revived even if one of his dupes is still around, which is fair enough. But the Stepford Cuckoos are said to qualify so that they can “be resurrected back to their five selves.” But while it’s true that the Cuckoos use their powers synergistically, their back story is simply that they’re clones of Emma Frost, as established in X-Men: Phoenix – Warsong. They were duplicates before they were a hive mind, in other words.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: COME BACK. (Or maybe COMEBACK, it’s impossible to tell.)


Bring on the comments

  1. SanityOrMadness says:

    I think the point of the last page is simply to explain WHY Old Man Cable (who, remember, left a body – we even saw it in Deadpool’s pool table earlier this series) hasn’t been resurrected, since Hope has every reason to prioritise him.

  2. Si says:

    But kid Cable is old Cable, just as a kid. If kid Cable died, old Cable would fade away like Marty McFly, and you’d have to reincarnate the kid version because the old version doesn’t exist any more. Unless kid Cable is from an alternate timeline, in which case he’s a distinct personality with a distinct soul, and should be all clear. If not, if Rachel Summers died, would they only bring her back as an un-united sperm and egg because that’s the real 616 version? Man, I wish Jim Shooter would come back and ban all time travel.

    AIM always struck me as bizarre. All of the members have doctorates and so-on, but they spend their time in literally faceless uniforms, getting beat up or killed en masse? I mean, maybe they’re really bad scientists and deep down they know it, but they must be self-aware enough between them to not be an entire army of mooks.

    And by the way, I loved the “under the son” typo. Because he’s Jean’s son. We can see Paul’s brain!

  3. Mark Coale says:

    “ it’s Emma and her head is actually off the top of the page… but it does look a little odd.”

    How many times per day must Emma say “eyes up here.”

  4. SanityOrMadness says:


    It’s pretty simple, albeit crude – they will only resurrect one version of a person, as defined by DNA, unless the living versions can argue (however tenuously, based on the Cuckoos…) that the dead one/s is/are essential to their mutant powers.

    So Rachel or Bishop are fine BECAUSE they have no MU counterpart. But Old Man Cable’s blocked by Kid Cable.

    This is manifestly unfair to clones who are nonetheless distinct persons – Evan/Genesis, Gabby/Honey Badger, Madelyne Pryor, etc – of course. Also to any other-dimensional people who are on Marvel Earth and happen to have live counterparts there – Rachel should hope Scott & Jean are using good contraception (While logically the chances of the DNA lottery rolling a precise counterpart of her should be millions or billions to one… it’s a story, so probability comes a distant second to drama).

    [With Cable, there is the secondary problem of Stryfe, of course. Multiplied since he apparently has a bunch of clones of himself working for him – that should probably mess up the resurrection protocols further.]

  5. Mikey says:

    I had to look up Wildside to make sure he wasn’t Hellions’ *Wild Child*

  6. Taibak says:

    SanityOrMadness: It also leads to the question of whether or not the resurrection protocols sanction murder if there are duplicates running around.

  7. The Other Michael says:

    I’d like to see an actual formal chart delineating the exact status of known clones, time travelers, extra-dimensional duplicates and so on. Because you can’t tell me that one of the big brains on Krakoa, like Sage, hasn’t sat down to write it all up.

    Cable: Only one version at a time.
    Laura: Yes.
    Honey Badger: Yes.
    Stepford Cuckoos: Yes to a maximum of 5.
    Madelyne Pryor: No.
    Dark Beast: HELL no.
    Bishop: Yes.
    Rachel: Yes.
    The young O5: Fuck no.
    Bloodstorm: No.
    Old Man Logan: No.
    Phoenix Logan: Hell no.
    X-Tremely Gay Logan: No way.
    Jimmy Hudson: Er.. okay?
    Joseph: Clone of Magneto so… no.
    Madrox dupes: um…
    Literally any other member of the Exiles: Hahahaha.

  8. Michael says:

    I have to wonder if the twist is going to be that Stryfe’s silent partner is Havok’s evil personality, not N’astirh or Maddie.

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