I remember the birth of Nathan Christopher Charles Summers as if it were yesterday in the pages of Uncanny X-Men. Not since the birth of Franklin Richards in Fantastic Four had a wee one created so much controversy – and so many storylines!
Of course, the fact that the babe was the son of X-Men leader Cyclops and his wife, Madelyne Pryor (a faux-Jean Grey clone), started the anxiety off right. And with the arrival of Rachel (from an alternate future), who loved her “baby bro,” and the later revelation that the adult Cable, he who took over the New Mutants and made them into X-Force, was in fact the baby Nathan of the future, sure added to the mystery.
That is probably why, during the late 1980s and early ‘90s at least, the militaristic X-Man from the future was as popular as Wolverine.
The flark is gonna hit the fan again in the mutant world!
Cable (the adult Nathan) is first seen in conflict with Stryfe’s Mutant Liberation Front and Freedom Force. The New Mutants intervened and Cable asked for their help against the MLF. He saw them as potential soldiers in his war against Stryfe and thus became their new teacher and leader.
With the aid of Domino, Cable reorganized the New Mutants into X-Force. The X-Force series provided further detail for the character's back story, revealing that he was from the future and that he had traveled to the past with the aim of stopping Stryfe's plans as well as preventing Apocalypse’s rise to power. Cable traveled between the 1990s and his future with his ship Graymalkin (named for the Westchesterstreet on which sat Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters).
In 1992, the character had a two-issue mini-series titled Cable: Blood and Metal which explored Cable and Stryfe’s ongoing battle with one another, and its effects on the people that surround Cable.
Shortly after Blood and Metal, Cable was given his own ongoing. Issue #6 confirmed the long-suspected (at least by this once-enthusiastic X-fan) notion that Cable was indeed Nathan Summers. During its run, the book explored characters in Cable’s past and his relationship with Domino and Blaquesmith.
Before I took a “hiatus” (a word we Marvel Cosmic fans simply love) from comic books, my last romp with Cable was a good one in the superb 1994 mini-series. The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix. This book provided further information on the Cable’s back story and revealed how Scott and the returned Jean Grey raised the lad.
It seems that Mother Askani, a time-displaced Rachel, pulled the minds of Scott and Jean into Cable’s alternative future, where as "Slym" and "Redd" they raised the young Nathan for 12 years. During their time together, the "family" prevented Apocalypse from transferring his essence into a new body, ending his reign of terror … or so they thought.
Since that time, both the character and his popularity have bounced around the MarvelU.The 2010 event Second Coming built upon the events of both Messiah Complex and the cancelled Cable series, and as part of the storyline, the character was killed. Within the narrative, the character succumbs to the techno-organic virus in his bloodstream while holding open a time portal that allowed other members of X-Force to escape from the future.
It will be great to see Loeb, who wrote many issues of Cable’s first title, back on the X-Man of Tomorrow. This time around, let’s hope Nathan can sustain an existence better in the 616.
Cable Reborn hits stores in December 2011!