Winter Sunlight

Things I'm into: X-Men and Cable (and Deadpool)

I took a recent dive into the Cable side of the X-Men comics and I regret nothing.

I've been reading X-Men comics for nearly my entire life, starting with the Claremont version in the mid-80s. But I never actually had any interest in Cable, who was introduced around the time that my interest in superhero comics took a nosedive (the early to mid 90s were not a good time for comics) and started reading mostly indies and manga instead. I remember him as basically a walking testosterone fantasy in the form of a large slab of muscle with a giant gun, usually depicted via Rob Liefeld's special brand of art (muscles! pouches! tiny feet!).

So imagine my surprise to find out that this dude is pure fangirl catnip. He was raised to be a sort of savior/messiah by a cult 2000 years in the future (which is part of the reason - but only part of the reason - why one of his nicknames in the fandom is G.I. Jesus); he suffers from a "techno-organic virus" (don't ask) that forces him to constantly use his telekinesis to keep it from overwhelming and killing him (hence his default state is "in constant pain and exhausted"); throw in a highly conflicted relationship with his "we didn't meet until I was older than you because you sent me into the future to be raised by a cult" dad Cyclops, a snarky-affectionate bond with his arguably-best-friend Deadpool, and a loving-yet-difficult relationship with his adopted daughter Hope (who he raised in a post-apocalyptic wasteland while being pursued by a time-traveling killer; long story, but you haven't lived 'til you've seen Cable, who is basically 400 lbs of solid muscle and guns, running around with a baby strapped to his chest); plus, he's actually a genuinely sweet and surprisingly laid-back guy (when he's not going partial-supervillain and trying to take over the world with the best of intentions, and/or coming up with plans that involve his own death - seriously, I've been reading these comics for a week, and he's already died THREE TIMES), and a lot of the Cable-focused comics are really good, particularly the X-Men Messiah Complex/Second Coming storyline (this is the one that introduces Hope), and the entire run of Cable & Deadpool, which is both hilarious and adorable.

... so yeah. I'm having fun! And since he's been in almost everything Marvel puts out on the X-Men side of things since the early '90s (except when he's dead), there's plenty to read. If you haven't read any of his comics, the Cable & Deadpool series from the early '00s is actually a really good place to start (collected as Deadpool & Cable just to make things more difficult). It's funny, sweet, and both the writing and art are really solid. If you, like me, have a thing for gruff reluctant mentor/dad-figures and their adopted little girls, the Cable series from the late '00s has the Hope storyline (it starts in X-Men: Messiah Complex and finishes up in X-Men: Second Coming, but in between there's like 50 issues of solo Cable comics which are mainly focused on Cable and Hope running around in the desert while he raises her from a baby and teaches her to shoot big guns and survive in the wilderness, and various people they meet along the way.

A side note on that storyline: one thing I absolutely love about it is that there's not even a whiff of Mr. Mom-type, guys-can't-take-care-of-babies nonsense. He's actually good at it! The things he doesn't know are things you legit wouldn't know if you hadn't been around small babies (like the finer points of what to feed them), but he's completely dedicated to this kid from day one, he's competent at taking care of her, and he works his ass off making sure she's fed and protected and safe. It's great.

(The one thing I do kinda wish is that they hadn't made Hope yet another red-headed Jean Grey type. For one thing, since her costume is strongly reminiscent of Jean's, it makes her difficult to recognize in pictures. Making things even worse, there's an entire subplot in the Cable comics where he romances a woman who is ALSO a red-haired Jean Grey type and basically looks like a grown-up Hope. It's not that there's even a hint of anything inappropriate in the relationship that he and Hope have - they're completely adorable, and have turned into one of my favorite things in Marvel comics from the last decade - but c'mon, X-Men writers, there are more looks for women than "long red hair", y'know.)

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