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Apr 29

Cable #10 annotations

Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

CABLE vol 4 #10
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable surrounded by his supporting cast and plot elements from the series, basically. That’s Esme and Domino, the older Cable, Stryfe in the background, and the Order of X cultists.

PAGE 2. Data page. The point is obvious enough: Cable’s history is mired on time paradoxes, and if you’re trying to kill him, the important thing is to do it at the right point in the timeline.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGES 4-8. Emma stop Cable from taking Cerebro.

Cable has come to the point of deciding that he’s not up to the job of being Cable, and that it was a mistake to replace his older self in the Extermination miniseries. Quite why he felt the need to kill the older Cable was always a little hazy. But the broad idea is that he believed it was necessary in order to unscramble a time paradox which his older self had allowed to emerge, in part by tolerating the presence of the Silver Age X-Men in the present day for such an extended period (in All-New X-Men). Cable has now decided he wants to reverse that.

Throughout this series, we’ve seen subplots of the older Cable off in some unspecified apocalyptic timeline, suggesting that he didn’t really die after all – though those scenes could come from an earlier point in his personal history. However, Kid Cable doesn’t seem to have any inkling of that; instead, he’s apparently proposing to bring back the original Cable through Krakoan resurrection. Quite how he plans to pull that off is rather vague – presumably he plans to coerce or persuade the Five into making the new body, and then use Cerebro himself to perform the telepath role of restoring Cable’s mind.

In his flashback, Cable seems to be saying that he’s come to the view that his trip to the present didn’t sort out the timeline after all. Instead, by returning to the present day early, Cable has left Stryfe unchallenged in the far future, turning him into a bigger threat than ever. He makes a somewhat similar point on page 16, where he says his decision to stay in the present is hypocritical. His whole agenda in Extermination was to unscramble the timeline by sending the Silver Age X-Men back where they came from and doing everything he could to allow them to pick up their lives without alteration. But by remaining in the present he has screwed up his own timeline in precisely the same way.

“Why the hell did Apocalypse do this to me?” Leaving aside his comments about Stryfe immediately after, Cable seems to be referring more generally to Apocalypse’s meddling in his back story. Most obviously, Apocalypse was responsible for infecting him with a techno-organic virus as a baby, which in turn led to him being taken to the far future timeline where he grew up (way back in X-Factor vol 1 #68). The standard explanation for a while was that Apocalypse needed new host bodies from time to time, and that his interest in Nate and Stryfe came from their potential as hosts. Emma’s answer – that Apocalypse is just into testing people, to destroy them or make them stronger – is consistent with both his Krakoan-era persona and the way he was written under Louise Simonson.

“He’s responsible for turning Stryfe into the threat he’s become.” According to the Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix miniseries, Stryfe was a clone of Cable created by the Askani as a back up plan, in case Cable died of the techno-organic virus. He wound up in Apocalypse’s custody being raised in his imagine and groomed as a future host body; after that plan failed, he became a dictator. This story comes from an era where Apocalypse was generally being written as a hypocrite mainly concerned with his own long term survival.

Esme. The events referred to here took place in the previous issue. Cable basically just ran off to deal with the stolen babies plotline because he was so preoccupied with it. His claim that he had a “good excuse” for leaving without saying goodbye is wishful thinking.

PAGES 9-10. Cyclops gets fitted for a costume for the Hellfire Gala.

Jumbo Carnation, the mutant fashion designer from Marauders, seems to be coming up with the designs for everyone. He’s sensible enough to realise that Cyclops would like something relatively conservative. And indeed the promotional art for the “Hellfire Gala” crossover – yes, we’re having a crossover about a party, which is different – shows Cyclops wearing something somewhere relatively sober and ceremonial.

Cable apparently hasn’t turned his attention to the Gala at all, which makes sense given that the Stryfe plotline is obsessing him so much.

You know, for a fashion designer, you’d think Jumbo Carnation wouldn’t spend so much time in basically the same outfit.

PAGES 11-20. Cable and Cyclops arrive in London to deal with Castor and Pollux.

Cyclops is taking the father role here, and tries to give Cable some of the encouragement he seemed to need, by urging him to put himself forward for the X-Men election. As the fight goes on, their telepathic conversation makes it obvious to Cyclops that Cable is wanting to turn the clock back and bring back the older guy. Cyclops is not keen on this at all. There are at least three good reasons why that might be. Firstly, it would violate the Krakoans’ rules about reviving duplicates (which Kid Cable may not be entirely aware of). Secondly, he realises that Kid Cable is proposing to go back to a dystopian future – the timeline he wants to preserve is a nightmare one. And third, he’s finally got the father-son relationship with this Cable that he couldn’t have with the older version; he’s not keen to give that up.

Our heroes have come to London to sort out a diplomatic problem with two Arakkii mutants getting into a bar fight. We haven’t seen much of the rank and file Arakkii since they arrived on Earth, and this is the first confirmation that they’ve got access to the same gate network as the Krakoans (or an equivalent). Since Arakko has its own government and isn’t part of Krakoa, it’s not entirely obvious what the Krakoans are sorting this out – fair enough, they don’t want the Arakkii running around damaging the reputation of Krakoa, but do the Arakkans approve of this?

Castor and Pollux are named after the twins of Greek mythology (which I suppose is an old enough story that the Arakkii could be aware of it without much trouble). Ultimately they got transformed into the constellation Gemini. These characters are new.

PAGE 21. Data page about Cable. This is a mixture of recap of what we’ve seen in the series to date, with some additional material.

  • Cable’s protocols for his own death, and the involvement of Deadpool, were seen in issue #3.
  • The destruction of Cable’s safe houses on his instructions has also come up before – Deadpool was carrying it out on Cable’s orders in X-Men: The Exterminated #1, for example.
  • Graymalkin was Cable’s orbiting space station from the early 90s. The original Graymalkin station was co-opted by Magneto, and became part of his orbiting Avalon base (see X-Force vol 1 #25), which eventually got destroyed in X-Men vol 2 #44. Cable rebuilt some of its components into the Providence base that he used in Cable & Deadpool, which he eventually blew up himself. The “second Great Armor Wars of the 3030s” could be anything.
  • “The Professor” was the A.I. which ran Graymalkin. The bit about him being compromised by Stryfe doesn’t ring any bells. The Professor became Prosh, and left Earth in X-Force vol 1 #39.
  • “Belle” was an AI which appeared on Cable’s arm in the form of an animated pin-up tattoo. She first appeared in Uncanny Avengers vol 3 #2, which was a Gerry Duggan story, so it’s no great surprise to see her being worked back in.
  • The material about baby kidnappings is the main plot of the series to date, though Belle’s monitoring is new.

PAGES 22-23. The future Cable.

It turns out that he’s been carrying the Light of Galador sword around all this time. It wasn’t obviously on his person in previous scenes, but he had a fair amount of generic luggage with him, so fair enough.

PAGE 24. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: THE OLD MAN.


Bring on the comments

  1. Daly says:

    Am I the only one that doesn’t want the old Cable back ? I just find young Cable more interesting and intriguing.

  2. Si says:

    Wasn’t there a big event in the early 90s where Cable died, and he just reappeared a bit later with no explanation? I think there was something about time travel mentioned but no actual answer. Or maybe I missed an issue or two?

  3. MasterMahan says:

    So the reveal is that the Old Cable we’ve been seeing bits of isn’t the previous Old Cable, but the future version of Kid Cable? I guess?

  4. Luis Dantas says:

    Apparently so far it is a hint as opposed to a revelation as such.

  5. Paul says:

    They already did a time loop plot in issue #4 where Kid Cable apparently alters history by deciding to alter his own cybernetic arm in the future (thus altering the one he’s holding in his hands at the time). So we’ve already essentially established that Cable Classic is – at least for some purposes – an older version of Kid Cable.

  6. ASV says:

    There’s something so grating about time travel stories that approach time as a place. Why would it matter when you kill Cable given that a version of him from earlier in his life could simply time travel in a moment later? Why does Kid Cable not being in the future allow Stryfe to run wild when Kid Cable could just return to the future the moment after he left? Why would Cable auto-destruct all his stuff at the time of his death when versions of him are still going to be popping in and out of times that come after that? I actually kind of enjoyed the pre-Extermination volume of Cable because it a bunch of weird time travel stuff without needing it to make sense, but this is doing the opposite.

  7. Oscar says:

    Daly says:
    April 29, 2021 at 11:47 PM
    Am I the only one that doesn’t want the old Cable back ? I just find young Cable more interesting and intriguing.

    You are definitly NOT the only one who wants the kid to stay around longer.

    i am enjoying the family dynamics, and there is a lot more to explore.

  8. Luis Dantas says:

    I can take or leave this Cable, but I am hardly missing the previous one.

  9. Daibhid C says:

    I’m probably taking a long draw on a short bow here, but I would speculate that the “second Great Armor Wars of the 3030s” has something to do with The Stark, the race of Tony-worshipping aliens from Guardians of the Galaxy (original). Possibly, by analogy with the original Armor Wars, they attempted to destroy all Stark-derived tech that wasn’t under their control? Or something.

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