Cable (comics)

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250px Cable promo image Cable
Cover of Cable #1 (March 2008).
Art by Ariel Olivetti.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance New Mutants #87
(March 1990)
Created by Louise Simonson
Rob Liefeld
In story information
Alter ego Nathan Christopher Charles Summers
Species Human Mutant
Team affiliations X-Men
Six Pack
New Mutants
The Underground
Secret Avengers
Notable aliases Nathan Winters/Dayspring, Askani’Son, Soldier X, Chosen One, Campbell
Abilities Psychic powers
Enhanced physical attributes
Expert marksman and hand-to-hand fighter

Cable is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in The New Mutants #87 (March 1990), and was created by writer Louise Simonson and artist/co-writer Rob Liefeld.


  • 1 Publication history
  • 2 Fictional character biography
    • 2.1 Future
    • 2.2 Modern era
    • 2.3 The Underground
    • 2.4 Savior
    • 2.5 Second Childhood
    • 2.6 Civil War
    • 2.7 X-Men again
    • 2.8 Blinded by the Light
    • 2.9 Messiah Complex
  • 3 Powers and abilities
  • 4 Other versions
  • 5 Bibliography
    • 5.1 Collections
  • 6 In other media
  • 7 Awards
  • 8 Notes
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links

Publication history

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The New Mutants #87 (vol. 1, March 1990). Art by Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane.

Though Liefeld is responsible for his visual design, name, and much of his personality, it is claimed that Cable also got some inspiration from editor Bob Harras. Liefeld explains the creation of the character:

I was given a directive to create a new leader for the New Mutants. There was no name, no description besides a ‘man of action’ the opposite of Xavier. I created the look, the name, much of the history of the character. After I named him Cable, Bob suggested Quinn and Louise had Commander X.” [1]

In 1992, the character had a two issue mini-series, titled Cable: Blood and Metal, written by Fabian Nicieza, pencilled by John Romita, Jr., and inked by Dan Green, was published in October 1992 and November 1992. The series explored Cable and the villain Stryfe’s ongoing battle with one another, and its effect on the people that surround Cable.

Shortly after Blood and Metal, Cable was given his own ongoing title; issue #6 (vol. 2, December 1993) confirmed the character to be Nathan Christopher Summers, the son of the X-Man Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor who had been taken to the future in X-Factor #68 (vol. 1, July 1991), introduced by writer Chris Claremont and appeared in Uncanny X-Men #201 (January 1986). The series ran from May 1993 until August 2003 (which includes the tail-end revamp Soldier X), the book would at first have trouble finding a stable creative team. A writer/penciller team would complete no more than three issues in a row until Jeph Loeb and Ian Churchill would begin work on issue #20 and finish on #35. Loeb and Churchill would provide for the first stability the title would have, working together on fifteen of the twenty issues from #20-#39. During their run, they would explore characters in Cable’s past, his feeling of responsibility toward Nathan Grey, Cable’s relationship with Domino and Blaquesmith, and further adventures with Kane, the Sugar Man, and the Microverse.

After his solo series ended he was paired with the mercenary Deadpool in a new ongoing series. The series largely dealt with Cable’s efforts to change the world for the better, including turning his old spaceship Greymalkin into the floating utopian island of Providence. In preparation for Messiah Complex, Cable seemingly died when Gambit and Sunfire detonated Providence, causing the series to focus mostly on Deadpool for the next six or so issues. This series “terminated” at the fiftieth issue and was quickly replaced with another Cable solo comic.

After the events of X-Men: Messiah Complex (2008), Cable once again received his own series. Reminiscent of Lone Wolf and Cub, the series follows Cable, and the messianic child’s time traveling adventures. The dangers of the future and pursuit by Bishop are balanced with the humor of “Cable the soldier” becoming “Cable the Nanny.”

Fictional character biography

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Panel from X-Factor #67 (June 1991); Cable as a young child in the clutches of Apocalypse, before becoming infected with the techno-organic virus. Art by Whilce Portacio.

Cable was born Nathan Christopher Charles Summers, the child of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey), created by Mister Sinister for the express purpose of mating her with Scott to create Cable; she dubs him “Nathan” in order to taunt Scott by reminding him of a childhood bully, as she prepares to sacrifice him before the X-Men and X-Factor saved the child. Sinister carefully orchestrated Cable’s birth, planning to use him as a weapon against his hated master, Apocalypse. As a child he formed an instant bond to his alternate future half-sister Rachel Summers and periodically was under her care after Madelyne’s death. Apocalypse learned of Sinister’s treachery and eventually infected the child with a techno-organic (“T-O”) virus that would slowly kill him.

When Apocalypse is defeated on the Moon, a woman from the future appeared to Cyclops, calling herself Askani, she tells him that the only way to save his son would be for her to take him into the far future.


In the future, Mother Askani, a time-displaced Rachel Summers, had Nathan cloned in case he succumbed to the T-O virus. Minions of Apocalypse attacked the temple and kidnapped the clone, whom Apocalypse assumed was Nathan (Apocalypse mistakenly believed that Nathan’s telekinetic powers had successfully eliminated the T-O virus, which had been Apocalypse’s intention when infecting the infant in the first place). Apocalypse then raised the clone as his heir, naming him Stryfe. Using her chronoskimming power for the last time, Rachel pulled the minds of Scott and Jean into the future where, as “Slym” and “Redd”, they raised Cable for twelve years. During their time together, the “family” prevented Apocalypse from transferring his essence into a new body, ending his reign of terror.[2]

The vacuum of power was filled by a group called the New Canaanites, which established a new dictatorial state led by figures such as Tribune Haight and Administrator Umbridge. Cable was arrested and learned from fellow inmate Blaquesmith where to find the last enclave of the Askani. Blaquesmith helped him escape and Cable joined the Askani resistance against the New Canaanites. Meanwhile, Stryfe, Nathan’s clone, also set up his own plans to defeat the New Canaanites and install himself as the world’s ruler, as he considered himself the heir of Apocalypse.

Modern era

When Stryfe traveled to the past, Cable followed him with the aim of stopping Stryfe’s plans as well as preventing Apocalypse’s rise to power. Cable formed a group initially called the Wild Pack, but conflict with Silver Sable, who already had a group called the Wild Pack, forced him to change the name to the Six Pack. Cable traveled between the 1990s and his future with his ship Greymalkin, which contained a sentient computer program called Professor, the future version of the program built into X-Factor’s Ship.

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X-Force #18 (vol. 1, January 1992). Art by Greg Capullo.

The Six Pack performed missions for “Mister Tolliver”, which put the group in direct conflict with Stryfe. In their last mission, Cable and the Pack confronted Stryfe but they refused to fight because they weren’t getting paid. Cable did not listen and even when Stryfe threatened the lives of his comrades, Cable did not back down. He abandoned his team in an underground base in order to follow Stryfe, which resulted in him shooting Hammer in the back causing him to become paralyzed from the neck down and Garrison Kane’s limbs being ripped off.

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Cable #35 (vol. 2, October 1996). Art by Ian Churchill.

Cable came into conflict with Stryfe’s Mutant Liberation Front,[3] the United States government, and Freedom Force.[4] The New Mutants intervened and he asked for their help against the Mutant Liberation Front.[5] Cable saw them as potential soldiers in his war against Stryfe. He became their new teacher and leader, and outfitted them.[6] He came into conflict with Wolverine,[7] noting that the two had an old feud between them. Cable and the New Mutants teamed up with Wolverine and Sunfire against the MLF.[8] Cable also led the New Mutants against the Genoshans.[9] Soon after that, Cable renamed the team X-Force[10] Cable rescued Domino from a year of imprisonment and learned from Kane that Stryfe was apparently his identical twin. In return, Cable took Kane to the future and had him outfitted with bionics to restore his functionality. Cable also promised Kane that he would use future bionics to heal Hammer.

Stryfe attacked Professor X while posing as Cable, initiating a series of momentous events, starting X-Cutioner’s Song. When Cable returned from the future, he found that nearly every super-powered force on the planet was after him, including multiple X-teams. After convincing Wolverine and Bishop of his innocence, Cable battled Stryfe on the Moon, culminating in a temporal explosion that seemed to kill both. Cable reappeared in the Clan Chosen future, with Stryfe’s consciousness riding along in his mind. He destroyed the New Canaanites’ time travel device, returned to the present to confront the consequences of the X-Cutioner’s Song, and learned from Mister Sinister that Stryfe was his clone and not the other way around as Stryfe had told him.

During the Onslaught Saga, Cable was involved in a plan to rescue the son of Reed Richards and Susan Richards from the body of Onslaught on the Astral Plane. On this team was Cable, whom was losing his psionic control over his Techno-Organic Virus, Susan Richards, and the unlikely ally Apocalypse. Once they enter the Astral Plane and encounter the place where Franklin Richards is present, Susan and Cable react to protect him from Apocalypse and ruin their chances at freeing him from the existence of Onslaught. However, soon after the destruction of Onslaught, his mind cannot contain the Techno Organic Virus as he is sent to the headquarters of the Fantastic 4 to be operated on and save his life. While he is being operated on by Reed’s father, he sees visions of the future society he came from as they tell him he is not yet ready to leave this world. He dies on the operating table as the T-O virus takes over the majority of his body. However, with the amazement of everyone present, his mind is sent back to his body, he begins to overcome the T-O virus and lives again with his strength increased.

Cable later began to connect with his parents Cyclops and Phoenix soon after they had returned from his trip into the future, where they had raised Nathan as a child. However, a few years later, Cyclops supposedly died in a battle against Apocalypse. Feeling that he failed his father, Cable joined the X-Men and began growing closer with his “mother” Jean Grey, who trained him in the use of his mental powers. Cable eventually fulfilled his destiny and killed Apocalypse using a “Psimitar” after Jean Grey managed to separate Cyclops from Apocalypse’s essence. His purpose in life as Sinister had ordained it now completed, Cable rescued Rachel Summers from an alternate future where she had become trapped, then became a globe-traveling mercenary dubbed “Soldier X” for a short time.

The Underground

Cable, alerted by Domino to the “Neverland” concentration camp run by Malcolm Colcord’s Weapon X organization, then recruited Blaquesmith, Meltdown, and a new Maverick to lead an underground, who proceeded to capture the Weapon X agents and former Mutant Liberation Front members Wildside and Reaper. Cable attempted to interrogate them telepathically, but his malfunctioning powers caused him to accidentally lobotomize them, reducing them to drooling wrecks, before gaining any useful information.

However, an alternative subsequently presented itself in the form of Agent Brent Jackson of Weapon X, who arrived at their base with several other Weapon X agents, offering the Underground a truce and requesting their help in deposing Colcord. Cable accepted suspiciously.

On their raid, they were surprised by his former friend Garrison Kane, now a cyborg agent of the Program. Furious at the intervention, Cable shut down Kane’s mind, ran into the office of the unconscious Colcord, and probed his mind. When he discovered the truth of the mutant genocide, Cable tried to kill the Director, before being stopped by the brainwashed Madison Jeffries. Jeffries tried to destroy the underground with the help of “Boxbots” but was stopped with the help of Kane, who, released from Weapon X’s mind control when Cable rebooted his systems, used his cyborg parts to “download” Jeffries’ power and absorb the Boxbots, killing himself in the process.

Jackson then betrayed the Underground, captured them, and mind-wiped them into forgetting Weapon X. Marrow, arriving to rescue the Underground, instead used the wider Underground as the basis for a new Gene Nation.


Cable then achieved the peak of his powers. Knowing this could not last long before he burned out as X-Man almost always did at those power levels, he arranged for what he thought would be the best thing he could do in his last days. He recreated his long-destroyed spaceship Greymalkin as the airborne city of Providence. Although a mishap meant that the teleportation matrix on board registered Deadpool as him, meaning that he could not use it without taking Deadpool with him and Deadpool could trigger a “Bodyslide”, he continued with his plan to espouse a philosophy of moderation and offering invitations to the world’s top thinkers, scientists and philosophers to live on Providence. Delivering a stark message to the world’s leaders, he deliberately set them all against him by threatening to throw all their missiles into the sun.

Meanwhile, the X-Men, including his father Cyclops, hired Deadpool to put together the pieces of a mini-teleporter that they could use to stop him without quite knowing what it was. After they mounted an attack on Providence, Cable confessed to Deadpool after Deadpool had declined to play his role and disable him, that he’d wanted Deadpool to kill him. Expanding on this to Cyclops that he knew he was about to burn out, he wanted to set an example of how the world could work together, even if it was against him. However, the Silver Surfer, called by the Fantastic Four, saw his “passion” and disturbed by it, defeated him in battle and ripped the techno-organic tissue from his body, disabling him. As Providence, which had been supported by Cable’s telekinesis, was crashing towards the ocean, Deadpool teleported to one of Cable’s safehouses with him and at his prompting used the teleporter to lobotomize him to save him from burning out, giving him a few seconds to lower Providence gently into the ocean and give a final message to the world. While he was left in a coma and with many people around the globe now referring to him as “the Savior” and applications to immigrate to Providence going through the roof, Deadpool hired the Fixer to bond benign techno-organic mesh to Cable, saving him although he remains hugely depowered.

Second Childhood

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Deadpool holding the de-aged infant Cable. Art by Patrick Zircher.

Shortly thereafter, Cable vanished in killing a mutant-hunting beast called the Skornn at the head of a reformed X-Force. Cannonball and Siryn then traveled to Providence, with Forge in tow, to try and find any trace of him, and whether he survived. At roughly the same time, Deadpool, having been brainwashed by a supervillain information broker called the Black Box to kill the “Greatest Threat to Mankind”, teleported to Providence to find and kill Cable, who he perceived as the greatest superhuman threat. After Cannonball and Siryn had calmed him, he suggested they use his teleportation-link with Cable to find him and Forge constructed a harness to allow the two X-Force members to follow him.

They then proceeded to travel through three alternate worlds, one where Cable had become War; a Horseman of Apocalypse, one where Cable had succeeded in his messiah-like mission and had become a benevolent dictator (where even mild indigestion was immediately dealt with through outside help), and one where Cable had become the central consciousness of a Phalanx infestation of Earth. Finally, they landed in the House of M reality and found an infant Cable being raised by the marginalized Mister Sinister on a farm. Sinister used an extract from Deadpool’s immune system to accelerate Cable’s physical development; however, this also caused Cable’s powers to almost immediately manifest, and the infant Cable lashed out indiscriminately with his newfound telekinesis. Before Sinister could regain control over Cable, Deadpool grabbed the baby and teleported seconds before the world reverted from the House of M reality to the normal Marvel Universe. Since the pair were in transit when the reversion occurred, Cable was unaffected and thus was still a child as Deadpool returned with him to Providence.

There, when Forge ran tests and discerned that the child was, in fact, the real Cable, Deadpool’s brainwashing kicked in once more and he attempted to kill Cable. Siryn and Cannonball delayed him until Deadpool shot himself in the head. As Cable rapidly aged back into mid-childhood, he read Deadpool’s mind and found who had brainwashed him. As X-Force went to confront the Black Box, Cable decided that he wanted to have his memory restored and cure Deadpool’s brain damage, even though it would once more cost him his powers. He succeeded, although X-Force found only a LMD Black Box at his base and he soon returned to his original age, whereupon his accelerated aging stopped.

It is revealed that, during a battle thousands of years ago, a younger time-traveling Cable (then known as “The Traveler”) was accidentally responsible for infecting En Sabah Nur with the techno-organic virus with which Apocalypse would one day infect Nathan Summers.[11] Cable also revealed that he was the one responsible for Apocalypse’s post-House of M revival, stating that the Mutant community needed a powerful threat to rally against. Believing that the X-Men would inevitably defeat Apocalypse yet again bringing the remaining mutant community together, Cable judged “the risk’s worth the rewards.”

Civil War

Cable chose Captain America’s anti-Registration side during the Civil War event, in which certain heroes battle against the Registration Act and operate from SHIELD safe-house number 23. It was he who discovers that they had walked into a trap and he tells Deadpool that Thor killed one of the Secret Avengers. It appeared he left the Secret Avengers after the death of Goliath.[12] Despite this, he maintained his views on the Civil War, and put considerable effort into discrediting Deadpool’s association with the pro-Registration heroes in an attempt to bring Deadpool over to his side. The attempt half-succeeded; Deadpool was disgraced, but instead of joining Cable, he ended their friendship in fury.

X-Men again

Cable becomes a member of a team of X-Men that consists of Rogue, Iceman, Cannonball, Sabretooth, Mystique, Lady Mastermind, and Omega Sentinel. He helps the team out during the fight with the Children of the Vault. He joins the team and goes with them when Rogue decides to leave the mansion. Their next mission involved finding a man called Pandemic. They fight him and win but Rogue is infected with Strain 88 which was created by Pandemic. Cable decides to take the team to his island so Rogue can be given immediate care as the mansion is too far away. While there a Shi’ar weapon called Hecatomb attacks Providence and kills citizens. Cable lets the Mummudrai that had been occupying Lady Mastermind and then Mystique into him in order to reawaken his telepathy and telekinesis. This however is still not enough to defeat Hecatomb so in a final desperate attempt awakens Rogue from her coma to defeat the creature. With her powers changed through the Strain 88 virus, Rogue defeats the mind of the creature leaving the explosive core to be destroyed by Cannonball and Omega Sentinel. With the Hecatomb defeated, Rogue in the process of recovering from the ordeal, Sabretooth missing, and the team’s flying base the Conquistador destroyed in the battle, the X-Men depart from the island.

Blinded by the Light

Cable stays on Providence as it sinks into the ocean and learns that there are others on the island as well who are after the knowledge of the future stored in the island’s computers. After making peace with Deadpool after Deadpool arrives to help fight, Cable sends him to obtain a backup copy of the information while he goes to destroy the island’s primary power source. Cable is then attacked by Gambit and Sunfire and leads them to the storehouse containing his information on the future. It is revealed that Cable’s intention is to destroy the island and everything on it and has sent Deadpool on a wild goose chase to retrieve a teleportation device in order to get him away from Providence. Cable speaks a codeword into his computer and successfully detonates the island’s power source, destroying the island and supposedly killing himself in the process.

Messiah Complex

It is revealed that Cable survived, and has the mutant baby girl that the X-Men, Marauders, and Purifiers have been seeking[13]. Recent events have seen Cable heading to Forge’s Aerie with the mutant child, seeking his help in repairing his time-travel equipment. The X-Men, Cyclops in particular, wrongly assume Cable was responsible of a recent assault on the Xavier Institute by Cassandra Nova’s Nano-Sentinels. As Cable arrives at Eagle Plaza, he finds Forge wounded by gunfire and unconscious and is shot from behind by Bishop, who wants to kill the mutant baby to repair his timeline. The Marauders then arrive at the Aerie, defeat Bishop and take the child into their possession. Cable, realizing he cannot save the baby alone, contacts Professor X for help. He reveals to the Professor that the baby, who will eventually be known as the Mutant Messiah in some circles is responsible for saving both humanity and mutantkind from some unspecified threat and that this event will change everything. After the X-Men defeat the Marauders and Predator X, Cable, Professor X, and Cyclops discuss the baby’s future. Cyclops decides that the child is safer with Cable, and gives her to him. As he teleports into the future to protect the child, Bishop tries to shoot him, but misses and hits Xavier, seriously injuring him.

Powers and abilities

Cable was born with vast telepathic and telekinetic abilities, which were limited by his need to restrain his techno-organic infection. His techno-organic body parts possess enhanced strength and durability, and his techno-organic eye gives him enhanced eyesight, allowing him to see further than a normal human and in the infrared spectrum. He is also able to interface his techno-organic body parts with machinery, using them to hack into computers and open electronic locks. Cable’s telepathy is now inactive, but his telekinesis remains at a diminished level, [14] and he has since developed technological aids to mimic his depleted powers. [15] For example, he can now use his technopathy as a form of telepathy, incapacitating foes by sending large amounts of data into their brains.

Cable is trained in the use of many futuristic and conventional firearms, unarmed combat, and guerrilla tactics. He has extensive training in military combat techniques and the martial arts, and is an extraordinary combat strategist. When his powers were temporarily reduced, he used a weapon from his own timeline, known as a “Psimitar.” which has the ability to focus and increase his telepathic and telekinetic powers.

Other versions

In addition to his mainstream incarnation, Cable has had been depicted in other fictional universes. In the Earth X reality, the Techno-Organic virus has overtaken Cable’s body, and has become a blob of organic metal. In the Ultimate Marvel series, Cable is a future version of Wolverine who goes back to the past to prevent Apocalypse from taking over the world.


Main Series (in chronological order):

  • Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 1) #201 (1986, as Nathan Summers)
  • New Mutants (Vol. 1) #87-100, Annual #6-7 (1990-1991)
  • Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 (1991)
  • X-Force (Vol. 1) #1-70 (1991-1997)
  • Cable: Blood and Metal #1-2 (1992)
  • Cable #1-107 (1993-2002)
    • X-Force & Cable Annual(s) ’95, ’96, ’97
    • Cable Minus 1 (1997)
    • Cable & Machine Man Annual 1998
    • Cable Annual 1999
  • The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1-4 (1994, as Nathan Dayspring)
  • Askani’son 1-4 (1996)
  • X-Men: Books of Askani #1 (1996)
  • Uncanny X-Men #381-391 (2000-2001)
  • Soldier X #1-12 (2002-2003)
  • Weapon X #6-13 (2003)
  • Cable & Deadpool #1-42 (2003-2007)
  • X-Force (Vol. 2) #1-6 (2004)
  • X-Men (Vol. 2) #188-200, 205-206 (2007-2008)
  • Cable (Vol. 2) Ongoing series (2008)

Reprints & Specials:

  • Cable Second Genesis #1
  • Ghost Rider and Cable: Servants if the Dead #1 (Reprints Marvel Comics Presents 90-97)
  • Prophet/Cable #1-2
  • Wolverine/Cable Guts and Glory #1
  • X-Men: Cyclops and Phoenix Novel. (Novelization of Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix #1-4)

Ultimate Marvel:

  • Ultimate X-Men #75-80


See also: Cable & Deadpool#Collections

The stories have been collected in a number of trade paperbacks:

  • Cable Classic Volume 1 (collects New Mutants #87, Cable: Blood and Metal and Cable (1993) #1-4, 248 pages, Marvel Comics, March 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3123-X)
  • Cable (1993):
    • Shining Path (collects Cable #97-100, May 2002, 0-7851-0909-9)
    • The End (collects Cable #101-107, November 2002, 0-7851-0963-3)
  • X-Force and Cable: Legend Returns (collects X-Force #1-6, 144 pages, April 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1429-7)
  • X-Force: Shatterstar (collects X-Force: Shatterstar #1-4 and New Mutants #99-100, 160 pages, August 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1633-8)

In other media

Cable made a number of appearances in the X-Men: The Animated Series, voiced by Lawrence Bayne. Cable also appears in the video games Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Cable has made an appearance as an exclusive hidden character in the PSP version of the role-playing game X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. Similarly, Cable was a hidden character in the Sega Game Gear platform game X-Men 2: Game Master’s Legacy. Cable is seen in the X-Men: Reign of Apocalypse video game for the GBA.


Cable #34 and #35 were part of the Onslaught storyline which was a top vote getter for the Comic Buyer’s Guide Fan Award for Favorite Comic-Book Story for 1997.


  1. ^ Rob Liefeld interview, 14 January 2007
  2. ^ The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix
  3. ^ New Mutants #87
  4. ^ New Mutants #88
  5. ^ New Mutants #89
  6. ^ New Mutants #90
  7. ^ New Mutants #92-93
  8. ^ New Mutants #94
  9. ^ New Mutants #95
  10. ^ New Mutants #100
  11. ^ Cable & Deadpool #27
  12. ^ Civil War #4
  13. ^ X-Men #205
  14. ^ Cable & Deadpool #10
  15. ^ Cable & Deadpool #23


  • Cable at the Comic Book DB
  • Cable at the Internet Movie Database

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