Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.
Nathaniel Summers never stops fighting for the future, even if that means traveling to the past. Readers got a new look at that unconquerable spirit as his new series CABLE launched this week from James Robinson and Carlos Pacheco, but it’s been there since the beginning. And, of course, that start came back in 1990’s NEW MUTANTS #87 when the gun-toting soldier fully debuted in the issue created by Louise Simonson and Rob Liefeld. He literally burst onto the scene to stop the Mutant Liberation Front’s attack on a top-secret energy research station.
Readers also got to know another new character a bit better in this issue, Stryfe! He debuted in issue #86 as the leader of the MLF and sent the group to another locale, but this time Cable lied in wait! Unfortunately, the bad guys got the drop on him and left him unconscious so they could achieve their true goal of grabbing Rusty and Skids from a government facility. At the end of the installment—which also featured the title team making the long trek back from Asgard—Cable realized that he’d need a team of his own to go up against Stryfe’s. In the next issue, he escaped Freedom Force’s clutches and finally met up with the New Mutants in #89.
Cable eventually took over the team and the book morphed into X-FORCE. The militant mutant helped turn the kids into a well-oiled tactical squad that continues to influence the X-books in various ways to this day. In 1993, Cable scored his first solo series which ran until 2002. Creators like Fabian Nicieza, Art Thibert, Steve Skroce, Jeph Loeb, Ian Churchill, Joe Casey, Jose Ladronn, David Tischman and, of course, Liefeld, all lent their talents to the book in that time.
The longer Cable stuck around, the more readers learned about him. For instance, he technically first appeared back in UNCANNY X-MEN #201 as Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor’s son Nathan. In X-FACTOR #68, they sent the child to the future for protection. There, Mother Askani helped raise him and he also ran into his lifetimes-long enemy Apocalypse for the first time. For more even more on Cable’s youth, check out ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX!
Though he’s carried out many important missions over the years, Cable’s most important assignment came during the Messiah CompleX crossover. That story took place after Scarlet Witch decimated the homo superior population, but found one single mutant birth popping up on everyone’s radar at the same time. As the various factions fought over the baby girl, Cable swooped in, grabbed her and made off through the time stream with the savior named Hope. After the crossover ended, they moved on to a new volume of CABLE wherein he trained her as they traveled through time, avoiding enemies like fellow future mutant, Bishop! They succeeded and eventually returned to the present where they went their separate ways, but still share a strong bond.