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Jul 28

Cable #12 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #12
“Shakespeare in the Zark”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. A close up of the older Cable’s face. This is a companion piece to the cover of the previous issue, which features the other half of the young Cable.

PAGE 2. The opening quote – “Cable, you’re relieved of your duty” – is what the younger Cable said when he killed his older self in Extermination #1. This issue completes the exercise of reversing all that, as the young Cable goes back to his own time to pick up his life as it ought to have proceeded, while the older Cable resumes his place as… well, Cable.

This is the final issue of Cable, though there’s a “Last Annihilation” tie-in oneshot to follow.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGE 4. Cable Classic and Stryfe fight.

“Maybe I’ll keep you alive until Krakoa burns.” Stryfe might be anticipating that he’s going to burn down Krakoa, or he might be aware of how Krakoa turns out. Certainly Destiny’s instructions to Mystique in X-Men #6 were to “burn that place to the ground”, hence the title of the upcoming Inferno miniseries.

PAGE 5. Kid Cable and Cyclops fire on Stryfe.

Cyclops is still trying to encourage Cable to rise to the challenge of the situation, paternal to the last.

Note that the damage to Stryfe’s helmet exposes his glowing left eye, thus helping to make his similarity to Cable more visual.

PAGE 6. The cavalry arrive.

That’s Prestige, Esme of the Stepford Cuckoos, Hope, Deadpool, Marvel Girl and Domino. I’m assuming you don’t need Deadpool’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles references explained.

PAGE 7. Esme and Deadpool.

“Guns are so human.” Esme was using her gun on the previous page. Presumably she thinks of guns as “human” because mutants ought to fight using their powers, or at least with mutant technology. Issue #1 started with Wolverine destroying Kid Cable’s gun in the Quarry. (“That a joke? Bringing a ___ human idea like that into our dojo?”) This series has made a point of keeping Cable away from guns in favour of swords. With the natural order reasserting itself, we’re back to guns in our Cable comics.

“The ‘Four In One’ has a nice ring to it too.” The Stepford Cuckoos are sometimes called the Five in One, though it’s not a term that comes up that often these days.

PAGES 8-9. Esme reads Stryfe’s mind.

Since this is Stryfe’s mind, the opening two panels appear to show an infant Stryfe being held by Apocalypse, who tells him to “Prove your worth.” I think the dialogue is new, but Apocalypse’s retrieval of baby Stryfe was shown in flashback in Cable vol 1 #8.

Everything else seems to be new, and basically just illustrates that Cable and Stryfe have fought each other in all manner of time periods, of which the present day is just one.

PAGES 10-11. Esme understands now.

In other words, now that she’s seen the history of battle in Stryfe’s memories, she realises that young Cable can’t simply skip all that and remain on Krakoa, presumably because (1) someone has to deal with Stryfe, and (2) the knock-on effects for the timeline of removing so many events are too dangerous.

“You were a mission.” Esme explains that the Cuckoos were originally asked to keep an eye on Cable in order to make sure that he wasn’t a disguised Stryfe – though they were satisfied on that point almost immediately, so Esme’s relationship with him was understandable. That would explain why the Stepford Cuckoos suddenly started showing an interest in Cable and asking to be set up on a date with him in Wolverine #3.

PAGE 12. Esme is upset.

This is a bit heavy handed. The basic idea is that Esme (or rather, all the Cuckoos) broke up with Cable rather than watch him go back to his own time and play second fiddle to his drama, but now she’s quite upset about losing him. I’m not quite sure why Jean tells Esme to “take a breath then … help the boys finish this”, since Hope and Rachel are still fighting too.

PAGES 13-16. Stryfe is defeated.

This Stryfe is middle aged, so we seem to be meeting him at an earlier point in his personal timeline than his debut in the Liefeld era (when he looked like Cable Classic). Everyone apparently turns a blind eye to Stryfe’s appeal to the Krakoan amnesty, though Cable says that he does have other bodies in the future. (That rather suggests he’s got an independent resurrection method, but okay. Maybe the idea is that he can transfer his consciousness just before death; various villains have had that gimmick before.) Stryfe does have a point – if you’ll take Apocalypse, why not him? – but Krakoa also doesn’t look kindly on duplicates and clones, besides which he isn’t native to this timeline.

PAGE 17. Cable Classic deals with the Galadorian Knight.

This subplot turns out to be just a rudimentary exchange to tie up the loose end of the Light of Galador. The last Galadorian, whoever he may be, is transformed by the Sword’s energy to become the start of a new mechanical lifeform. Cable still has the sword at the end of the issue, but it seems to be just a regular old sword now.

Note though that the implication here is that a mechanical Galadorian race shows up in the future, which is not an encouraging thought from the standpoint of Hickman’s cosmology as established in Powers of X.

PAGE 18. Cable and Esme spend their last night together.

Note that Esme takes Cable’s necklace (which he has indeed been wearing throughout this series).

PAGE 19. Cable bids farewell to the Summers family.

“I call in the marker Logan owes me from our fight back in the Quarry.” Issue #1.

PAGES 20-21. Cable Classic gives Cable his equipment.

Cable Classic declines to answer questions about how Krakoa turns out, but instead of citing the usual timeline-preservations reasons, he simply tells Kid Cable that if he wants the good ending, he needs to fight for it.

Note, though, that Kid Cable tells us outright that he doesn’t know how Krakoa turned out. Cable Classic apparently does, which ought to be seriously alarming for Moira – in fact, he may know more than her about the fate of this particular version of Krakoa. The most Cable will say is that “the Krakoan Age changed everything for the better”, which is not a statement about how long it lasts.

PAGE 22. Flashback: The older Esme visits Cable Classic just before his death.

Lucky Esme took that necklace so that we can recognise her. Apparently she also has time travel available to her in the future.

The new material here fits between the panels of the flashback on page 11 of issue #4.

PAGE 23. Cable bids farewell to himself.

Cable’s new cyborg arm has the Belle AI from Uncanny Avengers and other stories. This is an apparent paradox: Cable gets Belle from his own older self. (Of course, you can rationalise it away pretty easily. Maybe this version of Belle gets destroyed at some point, and Cable gets her for real later on, for example.)

PAGE 24. Kid Cable rejoins the battle in the future.

PAGE 25. Stinger and Omerta have a second baby now.

Stinger and Omerta’s baby was kidnapped in issue #2. It’s been returned to them with a second baby who has Cable’s signature eye. Presumably this is one of the clones that Stryfe created over the course of the series, but time will tell what personality this one has.

PAGE 26. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: CABLE RELOADED. That’s the tie-in one-shot for Last Annihilation.





Bring on the comments

  1. Claus says:

    Esme and the guns may be an allusion to her assassinating Emma Frost by means of a diamond bullet back during Morrison’s run.

  2. Jack says:

    By “the boys” I think Jean is referring specifically to the Cables rather than ‘everyone else fighting’; the way the line was delivered brings to mind the idea of a mother speaking to her son’s girlfriend.
    They do indeed then strike the blow against Stryfe that allows the two Cables to finish the fight.

    I rather liked this issue, and the whole series. Can’t quite believe I’m slightly sad about Kid Cable going, a character I really didn’t think I would take to. But I enjoyed just getting to hang out with a seemingly genuinely nice and wanting-to-be-helpful a perhaps more typically angsty or obtuse solo hero. Similarly, I rather took to Noto’s art in the end, despite not being overly enamoured with his sequentials previously. The humour was unexpected, slightly corny but charming, and it gave us some fun ‘parenting with Cyclops’ scenes also.

  3. Allan M says:

    I’m also going to miss Kid Cable. The series was ultimately decompressed to no particular benefit and I can’t unreservedly recommend it, but I felt like Duggan found a workable middle ground between the ultra-ruthless Extermination Kid Cable and the moronic comedy Hickman Kid Cable. Duggan’s version is dumb, ruthless, but with heart.

    A tangible example of the Krakoan effect being a net positive, where the Summers family is really, actually, for the first time, a family. Cyclops being a dad worked for me. I’m sorry we’re losing that.

  4. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    I hung in to the end but I can’t say I’m going to miss this book, though there are things I liked about it.

    Honestly after the last two issues I think this book would have been much better as a team up book with both Cables.

  5. Rob says:

    I don’t understand the significance of Esme taking the necklace. What do you mean about it helping to rescue her?

  6. D says:

    Ok, so…

    Waaay back before everyone drank Krakool-Aid, Old Cable was basically a Time-Cop. But he never dealt with the time-displaced Original Five X-Men, so Kid Cable took it upon himself to kill Old Cable, tear off the wings of Mimic to graft them onto Angel, etc., and return all the O5 X-Men back to the 60s, or whenever.
    Kid Cable stuck around for the Krakoa, including some adventures with Spaceknights and clones of his “son’s” ex-girlfriend, but when he needed to fight Stryfe, he convinced everyone to resurrect his Old Cable self in order to have a team-up, and now he’s returned to somewhere in the future and the Old Cable remains in the present day?

    Did I get that right?

  7. SanityOrMadness says:

    Rob> I don’t understand the significance of Esme taking the necklace. What do you mean about it helping to rescue her?

    It’s a typo. He meant *recognise* her.

    (I’m not sure Old Esme was time-travelling so much as Cable was to see her before his “death”.)

  8. Paul says:

    Yes, it’s meant to be “recognise”. Fixed now.

  9. Allan M says:

    D, that’s all broadly accurate. The missing pieces are a) Brisson’s X-Force run, post-Extermination in which he teams up with the original X-Force roster, and they broadly accept him into the X-Men fold by the end of that story.

    b) Fallen Angels, which everyone rightfully ignores, and

    c) Kid Cable gets his ass kicked really badly in both of X of Swords and then King In Black (in SWORD), which crushes his self-confidence and sets the stage for him wanting Classic Cable back for the fight with Stryfe. He’s introduced as someone who thinks he knows better than Classic Cable, Krakoa amps that up, he gets knocked down a few pegs and admits that his future self is worthy, too.

  10. Joseph S. says:

    I really enjoyed this book much more than I expected. Especially since it was Duggan/Noto the whole 12 issues. Honestly, although it’s a surprise it lasted as long as it did, I would have liked to see more of it. I suppose it’s better to leave them wanting more than overstating their welcome. X-Man never really worked, I think, because he was too different from Cable. He wasn’t even a real person, just an artificially aged alt. But Kid Cable really struck the right tone. Maybe a bit like Batman year one or whatever, but there was a lot of mileage here to explore the character’s insecurities and trials on the road to becoming the hyper confident character we know. The family stuff was really important as well. It felt essential to the spirit of the Krakoan era being full of wins for mutants.

  11. neutrino says:

    Has Esme compelling New Yorkers to march themselves into extermination camps during Morrison’s “Planet X” story arc?

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