Cable: The Greatest Superhero

Yes, I like X-Men. I have ever since I was seven. My first exposure to the X-Men was an issue of Classic X-Men where the X-Men took on the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard. I really liked the leader guy, Cyclops; he could shoot laser beams from his eyes and the pretty red-haired lady was his girlfriend.

I read another Classic X-Men where the X-Men had to fight the pretty red-haired lady–Dark Phoenix–and they won because Cyclops loved her.

Between those issues, my primal, childhood mind was already geared toward these two characters. The others were fun also, but it was always going to be Scott & Jean Forever for me.

OK, that’s not Cable. We’re getting there.

In the early 1990s, I watched and adored X-Men: The Animated Series. It sowed much of my love of comics, shifting me from a person who had comic books to a regular comic book reader.

One of the major steps on that journey for me was getting three regular issues of X-Men in a short time frame. Everything was building to Scott & Jean getting married, which had my full fan approval. On the cartoon, a newer character showed up and appealed to every part of me that adored Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. This gun-toting superhero (how is such a thing possible?) was called Cable and he was more capable than all the X-Men combined.

I started learning about Cable. He was a time-traveler, he’s not a cyborg, but a man with a science fiction disease that turns his body into metal and circuits. His name is Nathan.

Some of the comics leading up to Cyclops and Phoenix getting married talked about Scott having given up his son to save the baby from a sci-fi illness. The son’s name was Nathan.

My teenage brain thought Could Cable be the son of Cyclops?

The last issue of Uncanny X-Men before Cyclops got married featured Cable coming without guns to confront Cyclops, his father.

My teenage fan theory was validated. I was hooked.

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I started reading the solo series Cable close to the time when Jeph Loeb started writing. As of this writing, Loeb is in charge of Marvel’s TV division. In the 1980s, he wrote the Schwarzenegger movie Commando. Loeb has written many of the key Batman and Superman stories people have adored in the past few decades.

In Jeph Loeb’s Cable, Nathan Dayspring Summers is a soldier from the future who is trying to be something more than than what he has been. Cable found ways to use his powers to do more than hold his sickness at bay. He tried to be more than a fighter, he tried to be a hero.

Here was a man who’d lived by the code “In order to save the village we had to burn the village.” But he wanted to help people. Sure, Cable had his guns, but he also got a Jedi-like mentor and a weapon to help him channel his powers (the psimitar).

At the start of Jeph Loeb’s run, Cable was a soldier with a sci-fi disease. By the end of Loeb’s run, Cable was an emerging hero who could fight with guns and warfare, but he could also use his mutant powers, his psimitar, and his own personal perseverance.

For me, Cable would never be just a soldier. Cable is a soldier, a friend, a son, a student, a mentor, a man fighting a disease.

Cable is a superhero–my favorite superhero, in fact.

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