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Thursday, April 2, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #87

"A Show of Power!"
March 1990

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of Cable & Stryfe. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: M. Rockwitz
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The Mutant Liberation Front attacks a Federal energy research facility, setting a bomb to destroy the facility. A man named Cable arrives just as the MLF teleports away, and is caught in the blast. Meanwhile, in Asgard, Tiwaz gives the New Mutants a map through the dimensional eddies that can bring them home, but Dani announces she's staying behind. In Washington DC, Mystique visits the recovering Skids, asking her why the MLF is so interested in her & Rusty, but Skids insists she has no idea. In Asgard, the New Mutants say a tearful goodbye to Dani and the rest of their friends, then depart for home aboard Warlock. At the MLF's hidden base, their leader, Stryfe, sends the team to rescue Rusty and Skids, the government having refused to release them. They arrive at the detention facility, where Cable is lying in wait, determined to protect Rusty and Skids.


Elsewhere, the New Mutants fight off a group of Mindless Ones, then enter the last warp to get them back to Earth. Meanwhile, Cable battles the MLF, but is overwhelmed. The New Mutants emerge on Earth, but X-Factor's ship is missing, so they resolve to wait for it. In DC, the MLF bursts into Rusty and Skids' room, the guards inside attacking them. Skids throws her force field around the MLF, and in the face of the humans' hostility towards them, agrees to leave with the MLF, along withe unconscious Rusty, and all the mutants teleport away. Later, the New Mutants spot Ship returning to the city, but it appears to be crashing, and they rush off to help however they can. Meanwhile, Cable stews on his failure to save Rusty and Skids, and realizes that if he's ever going to take down the MLF and their leader, he's going to need to swallow his pride and get some help.

Firsts and Other Notables
After a brief one panel tease last issue, this issue marks the first appearance of Cable. He will soon join the New Mutants as their new mentor figure, and eventually be revealed to be Cyclops' son (currently appearing as a baby in X-Factor), returned from the future (originally, to shepherd the development of Cannonball, later to save existence from Apocalypse), his cybernetic parts actually a result of the techno-organic virus that brought him to the future in the first place, and in possession of tremendous telepathic and telekinetic abilities (the latter of which keeping the virus in check). He will receive a handful of ongoing series through the years, and despite being very clearly a product of the then-burgeoning 90s aesthetic, has managed to stay mostly relevant within the X-books since his creation.


But pretty much all of that is stuff tacked onto the character by later writers; as Rob Liefeld initially envisioned him, he was little more than a grizzled time-traveler intended to be the latest teacher of the New Mutants, even though he quickly began dropping hints at a larger backstory for the character (this Comic Book Legends Revealed post does a nifty job of tracking down all the various developments in the origin of Cable, who thought of what when, etc., and tackles the question of how much credit Simonson deserves for the creation of Cable, while this one offers one more bit of Cable info. Spoilers, of course).

In this issue, all we really learn about Cable is that he has an impressive dossier (consistent with later developments, as Cable spent much time prior to joining the New Mutants as an international mercenary), has a grudge against Stryfe, and is interested in recruiting the New Mutants to help in his battle against the Mutant Liberation Front.


The Mutant Liberation Front appears in full for the first time this issue with their full roster, and we learn everyone's names and powers. In addition to Wildside (manipulate perceptions so as to appear invisible), Tempo (erroneously called Strobe last issue, can locally speed up or slow down time) and Zero (the teleporter), there's Reaper (generates a paralyzing neuro-toxin he distributes through his scythe), Forearm (he's super strong and has four arms, possibly the only mutant whose power is also a pun, thus making him the greatest character ever), Thumbelina (shrinks), and the actual Strobe (generates intense heat).


Also teased last issue, the leader of the Mutant Liberation Front, Stryfe (please note the cool 90s way the "i" in "strife" is replaced with a "y") appears in full for the first time. Fittingly, given their debut in the same issue and their roles as heads of organizations with opposing views on mutant rights, Cable and Stryfe will quickly become inextricably linked, and it will eventually be revealed that Stryfe is in fact a clone of Cable (after we spend some time thinking Stryfe is the real Nathan Christopher and Cable the clone). Here, he is simply the mysterious, Mr. Sinister-esque leader of the Marauders-like MLF, and seems genuinely interested in the Brotherhood-esque goal of making things better for mutants through terrorist actions, something that later stories will retcon as cover for his true goals in this era, making the MLF more or less his unwitting stooges.


Stryfe will soon rise to prominence within the X-books, and spends the early 90s as one of the franchise's signature villains, on par with Mr. Sinister and Apocalypse, and will be the chief antagonist of his own crossover, 1992's "X-Cutioner's Song". Once the connection with Cable is fully revealed, though, Stryfe fades into the background, and though he's popped up a few times since then, he's very much a character of his time, one who burned hot but fast, and never really managed to survive the transition out of his early 90s heyday.

Much more significant to the series at the time than all the Cable/Stryfe/MLF business, this issue marks Dani's departure from the series, as she resolves to stay behind in Asgard to help atone for the damage done while the Valkyrie were under Hela's control. At one time arguably the series POV, most significant, and most developed character, she hasn't really been in the book since issue #77, when Hela's transformation first took hold, which takes some of the sting out of her departure. She'll actually remain out of the X-books for a good chunk of time, eventually popping up as a member of the MLF just after "Fatal Attractions", and then rejoining her old friends in X-Force after "Age of Apocalypse". I have no idea if her departure was something Simonson had planned all along, or something Liefeld asked for, but given the timing, I suspect the former.


This issue also marks Rusty and Skids' departure from the series, as they take the MLF up on their offer of freedom and escape from government holding with them. It's a development that Simonson has seemingly been building up for a few issues, as Skids had been growing increasingly hostile towards humans in the face of what she and Rusty were dealing with, and it's worth noting that Rusty, always the more traditionally heroic of the pair, was pretty out of it when Skids made the decision to join the MLF for them. Not sure if this was something Simonson had planned all along as well, but given that Liefeld including sketches of Rusty and Skids in his preliminary and pin-up work prior to this issue, it seems likely to have come from her.


The pair will appear again occasionally as members of the MLF and elsewhere in the years ahead, but this pretty much marks the end of Rusty and Skids' time in the spotlight. A shame, as neither really got much of a chance to be New Mutants in anything other than name, and Rusty, who was introduced in the first issue of X-Factor and was a fixture of that series all the way into "Inferno", gets written out in another book, without so much as a mention in X-Factor (made even more egregious by the fact that the books share the same writer...).

This leaves the team consisting of Cannonball, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Warlock, Boom-Boom and Rictor, which, with the addition of Cable, will be the main cast moving forward, at least until "X-Tinction Agenda" and the transition to X-Force that follows it. 

And then, finally, after nine issues in Asgard, the New Mutants return home. They arrive before X-Factor does, and end up hanging out over the ocean looking for Ship (which is where New Mutants Annual #5 picks up, aside from the fact that "Atlantis Attacks" has to take place before this issue) until they see it seemingly crashing into New York (it's actually landing, as seen in X-Factor #51).


Not surprisingly, this was a highly sought after back issue during the speculator boom of the early 90s, and cost big bucks as a back issue. I actually read it for the first time via trade, and the first copy of the issue I owned was the second printing, with the gold background (years later, after the bubble burst, I picked up a first print at a con for probably all of a buck or two).

A Work in Progress
Any Thor readers concerned about the fate of Karnilla's followers, they are transformed from stone to flesh in this issue, thanks to a spell from Tiwaz.


Mystique pops up in this issue to threaten Rusty and Skids, her first appearance since the death of Destiny in X-Men #255.

In the wake of Dani's departure, Sam is now the solo leader of the New Mutants, though again, that's been the case pretty much for the last dozen or so issues, as Dani dealt with the effects of Hela's curse.

Not sure if this is deliberate or coincidental, but in his debut scene, Stryfe chokes out and tosses Wildside in a show of his displeasure, just as Mr. Sinister did to Sabretooth in his debut scene, in X-Men #221.


The MLF get a few limitations put on their powers: Zero can only teleport places he's been, while the effects of operating within the range of Tempo's time manipulation is physically taxing. It's also suggested that Tempo is Southern (she says "sugah" at one point).

En route to Earth, the New Mutants battle some Mindless Ones, occasional foils of Dr. Strange.


Cable's bionic hand is melted by Strobe in this issue, which isn't quite consistent with later revelations regarding the character.
Boom-Boom refers to Professor X as "their" mentor, even though she and Rictor never studied under him. 

The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
Cable is, well, Cable, vaguely-futuristic guns a-blazing, tough guy attitude, robotic arm, while Stryfe is Stryfe, covered in armor and spikes. Welcome to the early 90s, people. Hope you survive the experience.

501 Genes
It may not all be entirely Liefeld's fault, but the storytelling is already suffering in this issue. Cable survives the explosion at the research facility, which killed other people, without explanation, Stryfe admonishes Wildside for getting injured but Forearm is the one who was hurt, Reaver paralyzes Cable and Strobe melts his hand, but the MLF don't bother killing him despite him being entirely defenseless, and Cable appears to be in government custody at the end of the issue, though its unclear (as a kid, I always thought the last few panels were meant to imply he was working for the government).  

Rob Liefeld on Cable's Name
"Bob [Harras] said, 'Let's call him Quentin.' ... I said, 'Yucch!' I had already put 'Cable' down as his name on the sketches. Then, in Louise's plot, after being told his name was Cable, he was called Commander X throughout. I said, 'If this guy is called Commander X, I want nothing to do with it.' That seemed ridiculous to me."

Howe, Sean. Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. New York: HarperCollins, 2012. p321

Teebore's Take
You guys, I love Cable. Genuinely, not ironically. Not for the guns and cyborg parts and the bad attitude (though I certainly did love that stuff when I was twelve), but for the great big convoluted mess of retcons and motivations and twisted family tree stuff that the character becomes. I came into comics through the X-Men when, arguably, one of the biggest mysteries across the line (aside from the identity of the X-traitor) was the question of Cable's identity and his relationship to Stryfe. Even then, without having a read a ton of the back issues, the idea that Cable was Cyclops' infant son returned from the future was being floated about, and once that was confirmed, I was hooked: he's the son of my favorite character? Returned to the past to save the future (in some vague way)? Mystery, time travel, a link to my favorite character? What's not to love?

Cable, in his ways, represents some of the worst excesses of superhero comics in the 90s: the guns, the attitudes, the overall character look designed to be cool first and logical much lafter. Even the mysterious past angle was just a clear attempt to replicate the success of Wolverine. But Cable is also representative of just how thoroughly unique superhero comics are, the way these great twisting mythologies are formed as the result of the collaborative nature of an ongoing, decades-long shared universe. They may be messy, but they're thoroughly unique, and it's one of the things that makes me love comics. And Cable is emblematic of all that.

But that's all well into the future at this point. For now, Cable really is just an enigma with a big gun and a cool metal arm. We know he's a good guy, because he wants to help Rusty and Skids and is fighting the clearly evil mutants (Stryfe admits their desire to save Rusty & Skids is a smokescreen for their true purpose), and even without knowing what's to come, it's clear that Simonson and Liefeld are setting up the character to be something big. Guest stars and one-off characters usually get introduced to the reader via the main characters. Here, we meet Cable before the New Mutants do. In fact, the New Mutants are almost guest stars in their own series in this issue; this is Cable's story, as though he's already a member of the book's regular cast, even though the main characters don't even know he exists.

New Mutants is a series that can be broken down into distinctive era a couple different ways, either by the set of artists who lent their distinctive styles to the series (Sienkiewicz, Blevins and Liefeld) or by the character charged with teaching the New Mutants (Professor X, Magneto and technically X-Factor). With Liefeld already on board, this issue marks, with the introduction of Cable, the beginning of the series' final incarnation, the Cable Era. Neither New Mutants, nor comics, for better or worse, will be the same.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Archangel fights Sabretooth while everyone else goes on a date in X-Factor #52. Next week, Avengers West Coast #56-57 and #60, followed by Excalibur #20.

Collected Editions

103 comments:

  1. I'm almost embarrassed by how awesome I thought Stryfe was as a kid and how many characters I would draw with impossible headgear, spikes and capes.

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  2. And somewhere, an ominous voice is heard saying "It begins..."

    Gotta love how Cable went from "Badass cyborg who uses big guns" to "eventually be revealed to be Cyclops' son (currently appearing as a baby in X-Factor), returned from the future (originally, to shepherd the development of Cannonball, later to save existence from Apocalypse), his cybernetic parts actually a result of the techno-organic virus that brought him to the future in the first place, and in possession of tremendous telepathic and telekinetic abilities (the latter of which keeping the virus in check)". Because, comics!

    Ridiculous costume aside, I prefer this version of Stryfe to the later cackling nutjob we get later. And the idea of him being a future Cable sounds pretty cool, and actually preferable to being Cable's clone.

    "this issue marks Dani's departure from the series"

    On the one hand, sad to see her go. On the other hand, she does dodge quite a few awful 90s bullets, so good for her.

    "In fact, the New Mutants are almost guest stars in their own series in this issue"

    Going forward, it won't just be this issue...

    "Neither New Mutants, nor comics, for better or worse, will be the same."

    Ominous words indeed!

    I will say Bob Wiacek does a good job on the inks, and def gives the art a certain something that makes it less laughable.

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  3. the idea that Cable was Cyclops' infant son returned from the future was being floated about, and once that was confirmed, I was hooked: he's the son of my favorite character? Returned to the past to save the future (in some vague way)? Mystery, time travel, a link to my favorite character? What's not to love?

    Incoming message from 'Rachel Summers, Crybaby': [Accept] [Decline]

    Are we still into sister-girlfriends? Because I've seen it noted somewhere that Rusty with his firepowers and/slash Sally with her force-fieldpowers are essentially fan fiction of a better-known pair.

    "Bob [Harras] said, 'Let's call him Quentin.'

    Hilariously another household name for the 90's. Would have been endless fuel for puns, or Le Puns as we call the in Europe.

    I refuse to acknowledge the Stryfe as Synyster scene would be unintentional, but I don't have a clue what's the intention. I'm also certain it's not coincidental that you held the 90's segment headline for this very issue. The last issue saw the longest comments portion ever, and I believe as posts go another length record was broken there now. As we look into the 90's and rush headfirst at it, a part of me fears the 90's is looking back into us and is currently waiting us unflinchingly with face painted half blue: "Hold...! Hold...! HOLD...!"

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  4. Cable survives the explosion at the research facility, which killed other people, without explanation

    Now-now, don't you rather think it would be a thing craving for explanation much more, if a Liefeldian superhero would be effected by an explanation just like any regular facility goon? Action heros get only flesh wounds from things that'd pulverize mere mortals.

    Stryfe admonishes Wildside for getting injured but Forearm is the one who was hurt

    You know, I did always feel the scene was not about establishing Stryfe as a Mister Sinister level villain (too childish for Mr. Liefeld anyway, and not yet having gotten much show at this point) BUT setting up Wildside as Liefeld's response to Sabretooth. Bloodthirsty sadist with throat-cutting claws, did the synopsis say? Only COOLER, or course. And Stryfe gets off the charts, by courtesy of pushing him around, naturally.

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  5. I for one welcome our new techno-organic, cybernetic, time displaced, hand cannon toting overlords.

    Ah, the wild man of Borneo is here at last, to rescue us all from the drudgery of pouch-less heroism.

    I really like Cable. I STILL really like Cable. I don't know what public opinion ended up being on the Messiah War/Second Coming arcs, but I dutifully bought all the issues of him protecting Hope from Bishop in the far flung future. It was a storyline that I actually found myself invested in, and it's hard for me personally to get too worked over comic plots as I am no longer a pimply teenager. For all the absurdity and excess and overkill that's ahead, he still registers strongly as a net-positive character for me. Stryfe on the other hand... (I'm kidding! Any villain with a moon base is alright by me.)

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  6. This is it. This is where *my* X-Men begins. I first learned of the X-Men when I was 6 through the animated series in 1992. And that iteration of the X-Men really couldn't have happened without the stories between New Mutants #87 and Uncanny X-Men #280.

    Needless to say, it's going to be interesting in the next year or so to read your reviews of the earliest comics I ever read. Sure, I've read most of Claremont's run before reading your reviews, but by the time I got into the X-Men those were considered classics and were talked about everywhere. But the 90's issues don't get much love. I really enjoyed them as a kid, so are they great stories that were forgotten to time? Or did they absolutely suck and that's why no one devotes time to talking about them?

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  7. @Ian: so are they great stories that were forgotten to time? Or did they absolutely suck and that's why no one devotes time to talking about them?

    I'm curious to see what the consensus is here. I know for me, I think the cutoff is probably after X-Cutioner's Song. I feel like up to that, the line gives you all the nineties goodness you can handle, while still being entertaining and feeling like they belong in the same world as Claremont's run. After that it gets a little sketchy. I'll stick up for adjectiveless X-Men during that period, but it doesn't hit the same heights. Age of Apocalypse brings everything back big time, but then it's pretty weak until Morrison pops up.

    Don't get me started on the era of Lobdell writing both books.

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    1. I agree 100%. I stopped soon after X-Cutioner's Song, and other than the blip that was the Kelly/Segal era, I didn't come back until Morrison took over.

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    2. I agree 100%. I stopped soon after X-Cutioner's Song, and other than the blip that was the Kelly/Segal era, I didn't come back until Morrison took over.

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  8. While much of the 90s did have terrible stories, there is lots of good stuff out there. Peter David's X-factor, Davis' solo Excaliber Run, Hama's Wolverine, Ellis' Excaliber, Nieza's X-force, John Francis Moore's X-force, and yes, Lobdell did have some good runs as well (Generation X, and he did some good work on Uncanny in-between Fatal Attractions and AOA). And quite of the stuff I listed above was after AOA.

    And pre-AOA there was quite a bit of garbage as well. If anything, the 90s was a very inconsistent decade, featuring the best and the worst the X-office could offer.

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  9. One thing that's still so surprising is how quickly Cable made his present felt in these books. As I mildly joked before, even hete, you can easily how this book is becoming "Cable and the Supremes" if ya know what I mean. Since he'd hijack this post as well, I 'd have to talk more in depth about the poster-boy for 90s excess in separate entry.

    One thing I didn't get was Mystique's utter fervor for protecting the secret about the Inferno babies. She's seemed a lot more venomous toward Skids than seems necessary since she's more the type to UNDERMINE such a project than protect it, plus this whole Freedom Force stint is more for self-preservation than any genuine believe in the government. Then again, Mystique is one of this characters that's always been inconsistently portrayed ("I live Rogue. No, I hate her. I'm nutty as a loon. Oh wait, no I'm not. I want to be heroic. Nope, just kidding!") In any case Liefeld does have her overact though with his trademark "Constipation face."

    Boo on the lame way Dani was being written out. It's not like she would ever be used in any Asgard stories so mewling that she had to stay" was just dumb. I would have liked to see her interaction with Cable, since Dani always came across as someone who didn't easily defer to authority, which would be counter to Cable's more militant direction for the team. The upside is that this is where Cannonball finally started to come into his own as a leader. despite arguably being co-leaders it always seems like Dani was the one who took over the reins of leadership most of the time, while Sam usually was just there, almost as a figurehead. With Dani gone it was suddenly Sam's turn to shine displaying a surprisingly cunning and tactical mind. Unfortunately in doing so, Cannonball lost his the "wiry, jug-earred farm-boy" that defined him up to this point for something a bit more generically Liefeldian. I liked the former look better.

    I also liked the MLF (except Wild side, who as Teemu mentioned was a blatant Sabertooth clone who's show of unrestrained savagery and Wolverine-esque mane would become the cliched traits of chromium age supervillians.) Here they seem to have traces of personality (and Peter David did a pretty good character study on a few of them) although they're unfortunately never developed beyond their potential, except maybe Tempo and Dragoness. I did like that, in contrast to the overinflated power levels we'd get from our 90s villains, the MLF had realistic power limitations, but not in a way that made them too ineffective (they DID achieve their objective, after all.)

    But Styfe sucks though. His "myzspelyng iz k00l" name would be enough proof of that.

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  10. I dunno, I have a feeling had Dani stayed, she'd have fallen in line just as quickly as the rest. I mean, Roberto was also shown to be somewhat rebellious (more due to his pride and arrogance) when it came to authority figures, and Rictor thought Cable had killed members of his family...but within a few issues, both will be vocally and mentally masturbating at how awesome Cable is.

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  11. "Neither New Mutants, nor comics, for better or worse, will be the same."

    If I may be permitted to dispense with Claremontisms in favor of an Ostranderism: "Oh, worse. Definitely worse."

    "You guys, I love Cable. Genuinely, not ironically. Not for the guns and cyborg parts and the bad attitude (though I certainly did love that stuff when I was twelve), but for the great big convoluted mess of retcons and motivations and twisted family tree stuff that the character becomes. I came into comics through the X-Men when, arguably, one of the biggest mysteries across the line (aside from the identity of the X-traitor) was the question of Cable's identity and his relationship to Stryfe. Even then, without having a read a ton of the back issues, the idea that Cable was Cyclops' infant son returned from the future was being floated about, and once that was confirmed, I was hooked: he's the son of my favorite character? Returned to the past to save the future (in some vague way)? Mystery, time travel, a link to my favorite character? What's not to love?"

    One thing I love about this blog is seeing how we can all look at the same stories from similar perspectives and have such different takes. For me, I'm coming from a similar background -- I first became aware of the X-Men at around the time of X-Cutioner's Song, and started reading in earnest with Fatal Attractions. This should be my jam, I should love Cable and Bishop and all that. But I don't. Ironically, I think I resent Cable for exactly the same reasons you like him, Teebore: they had to go and make him Cyclops' son, forever chaining one of my favorite characters to this cyborg paramilitary waste of space. Without the Summers connection, he probably would've been allowed to gracefully slip into the ether with so many other '90s excess characters. Instead he's allowed to hang around long after his useful shelf life as a character has expired.

    To be honest, I didn't hate Cable so much as was completely ambivalent about him until I bought a huge run of New Mutants issues off eBay in college, circa '99 or so. I steadily read through the whole run, loving the Seinkiewicz issues and the Adams and Davis annuals, patiently making my way through Gossamyr and the Asgard year (fortunately broken up by Inferno)... and even though I knew full well it was coming, I hit this issue and knew, just knew, it was all over. And my completionist soul rebelled at having to search out the last few missing issues (95, 98, the Summer Special), even though I knew full well they were going to be the absolute worst.

    I agree with Jonathan about Dani's departure, and I'll go further in saying that (while of course writers can and will make characters do whatever the story demands) she pretty much had to be written out, because she would never have let Cable turn the New Mutants into his own personal strike force. The girl who didn't defer to Professor X or Magneto certainly wasn't going to put up with Cable's shit. One of my all-time favorite issues of X-Force is when Dani resurfaces, Cable asks her to join the team, and she tells him "Yeah, no, if you're going this way, I'm definitely going that way over there" -- and EVERYBODY follows her, because obviously -- officially kicking off the "New Mutants 2.0" era of X-Force. Likewise, my single favorite scene from Messiah Complex (maybe tied with Wolverine insisting on carrying Doug himself) was when Dani got furious at Cable and Hope. You have to assume girl is harboring a loooooot of resentment for what Cable put her friends through in service of his little crusade.

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  12. Ha, what Drew said about Dani makes me want to think if Louise didn't get a phone call one late night: "Remember the time when they messed up Carol and I did have to write her away from them? And when the, gah, X-Factor started unwinding, and I brought Maddie over to UNCANNY? I've heard the rumors of this 'Commander X'... don't you think Danielle should be needing to spend some extended time in Asgard?"

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  13. "One thing I didn't get was Mystique's utter fervor for protecting the secret about the Inferno babies. She's seemed a lot more venomous toward Skids than seems necessary since she's more the type to UNDERMINE such a project than protect it, plus this whole Freedom Force stint is more for self-preservation than any genuine believe in the government."
    Simple- Mystique knows that if it gets out that Freedom Force kept children from their parents and left the parents to suffer not knowing what happened to their children, public opinion will turn against Freedom Force and force the government to try them for their crimes. But she doesn't want to admit to Skids that she's ruining parents' lives just because she's a selfish jerk.

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  14. I have nothing new to add to anyone else's observations about Cable (including joining in the chorus of people guiltily liking him, probably because of how much he has been continuously reinvented), but I do have a weird fondness for the MLF. They had a lot of weird powers & looks with potential, we got a few glimpses of their backstory later on, and I think they were never used as well as they could have been. What can I say, I like villain teams.

    "I have no idea if [Dani's] departure was something Simonson had planned all along, or something Liefeld asked for, but given the timing, I suspect the former."

    I do as well, probably for different reasons. Simonson never really seemed to have a handle on Dani & kept tweaking her or sidelining her. It always bothered me that she went from being a good leader whose defensive powers didn't weaken her to just running around poking things with a spear. I like to think she dodged the Nineties Bullet as well, but then I remember her "arrows made of fear" phase.

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  15. Personally I found the scene with the bomb having a wire cut just so that Thumbelina would have to shrink herself and fix it stupid. Stryfe sends her to a mission with the expectation that she'll just exhaust herself in Tempo's timefield and just by courtesy of a freak chance she ends up with having anything sensible to do . I question Stryfe's mission planning, I question Louise's plotting.

    About Cable, I can't really remember my response to him. Lukewarm, mayhap. Nothing ecstatic to no direction. It's the old story of the guy points at his eye and tells it's bionic and gets coolness points and the gal comments on the reveal on-panel with a "Wow!" and all the coolness points gained are lost there and then. "Cable and the Supremes" indeed; please tell me more, writers and characters, how freaking awesome he is!?

    You know who had bionic eyes of deepest blue? British Betsy. Remember that one time, Tabitha, when the New Mutants had... oh, right. You don't, how could you really.

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  16. We finally got Cable!

    @Teebore

    But Cable is also representative of just how thoroughly unique superhero comics are, the way these great twisting mythologies are formed as the result of the collaborative nature of an ongoing, decades-long shared universe. They may be messy, but they're thoroughly unique, and it's one of the things that makes me love comics. And Cable is emblematic of all that.

    Well said sir. Could we expect anything else? Look who his parents were...

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  17. In this issue, all we really learn about Cable is that he has an impressive dossier (consistent with later developments, as Cable spent much time prior to joining the New Mutants as an international mercenary), has a grudge against --

    -- everyone who's a who in the World of X really. With the risk of jumping the gun a bit, but I'll do it because jumping with guns is such a Liefeldian action, in following issues we'll learn that everyone we know has a past with Cable, which is a 90's thing - and cheating. Past implants worse than Weapon X, including from Weapon X! He's essentially yanked up to par if not even a bit above the established A-listers from the get-go, and it may be there was a room for a Cable in the X-verse, but it's damned well cheating akin to the Hellfire Club killfest the minute after Claremont was gone to make the new villains look cool-extreme. The 90's didn't pay their dues.

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  18. "It may not all be entirely Liefeld's fault, but the storytelling is already suffering in this issue. Cable survives the explosion at the research facility, which killed other people, without explanation,"

    *** Also, there's allusions in the dialogue right before a scene change that the MLF are about to pump Cable full of bullets.

    Later, when he's in the government facility, they tell him "You looked like hamburger when we found you." But then we see the image of Cable, and he doesn't seem to have a mark on him. Healing factor?

    Strange decision on Simonson's part ... I guess she wanted to explain why the MLF would just leave him in the hallway, so she have them talk about shooting him. But when he shows up later, un-bullet-wounded - and more dialogue is required to be thrown in to try and smooth it over ("you look fine now, but earlier you looked just awful!") it kind of makes the dailogue's earlier efforts seem wrong-headed.

    " ... this pretty much marks the end of Rusty and Skids' time in the spotlight. A shame ... "

    ***Nice one! High five! Wait ... are you not being sarcastic?

    "But Cable is also representative of just how thoroughly unique superhero comics are, the way these great twisting mythologies are formed as the result of the collaborative nature of an ongoing, decades-long shared universe. They may be messy, but they're thoroughly unique, and it's one of the things that makes me love comics ..."

    ***As much as I'd like to rebut ... your reasoning is not too different from some of the reasons I love Madelyne Pryor (who is, when all the retcons are said and done, Cable's mommy,as Zephyr alludes to).

    Speaking of that, it's funny how Claremont had -- post-"Inferno" and also in the upcoming "Days of Future Present" arc -- Rachel calling Nathan Summers her "baby brother," considering that Claremont at some point decided he wanted to reveal that Rachel was a "miracle-birth," with Jean as the mother and the Phoenix force as the father. (There's a clue in "Days of Future Present" that Cyclops is not her father.)

    So if Jean is the daughter of Jean and Phoenix, while Nathan is the son of Scott and Maddie ... then the two of them really wouldn't be related at all.

    But I digress. Bottom line, this issue sucks. :)


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  19. Whoops, sorry, should read: So if RACHEL is the daughter of Jean and Phoenix, while Nathan is the son of Scott and Maddie ... then the two of them really wouldn't be related at all.

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  20. He's her clone-brother, with a sprinkling of Phoenix dust!

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  21. @Jason

    I would say Cable and Rachel have to be somewhere between brother and sister and first cousins on the family tree. Maddie is Jean's clone, which is probably closer than a sister in terms of genetic makeup.

    Cyclops and Jean did get married as well. Jean also spent a lot of time with Nathan as a baby and adolescent. So they are definitely step/foster-siblings.

    With a cosmic entity, a clone-demon and a psychic Ginger for parents, its no wonder Rachel wore a rat tail and cried a lot. Things could have been much worse.

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  22. @Jason: Rachel still believed Cyclops was her dad at this stage.

    And we all know Wolverine was her father anyway don't we;) Isn't that why she takes her boyfriend Franklin to meet him in the second story of Uncanny X-Men Annual #14!

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  23. I'd like to add: I don't think an organization with the initials MLF could be created in a post-American Pie world.

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  24. "And we all know Wolverine was her father anyway don't we;) Isn't that why she takes her boyfriend Franklin to meet him in the second story of Uncanny X-Men Annual #14!"

    That is the theory I prefer, yes. :)

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  25. "I'd like to add: I don't think an organization with the initials MLF could be created in a post-American Pie world."

    Which brings us to this:

    http://www.progressiveboink.com/2012/4/21/2960757/robliefeld3?_ga=1.78444372.1578712230.1428196367

    One of my favorite lines in a piece full of great lines:

    "They used to be in the New Mutants, but now they're in the dreaded MILF."

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  26. Oh man, that website was awesome. Then again, did we need it to confirm Liefeld is a shitty artist?

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  27. Wolverine Rachel's a what now where what? I've been kept out of this loop.

    Of course it would explain Scott's total disconnectedness every time Rachel tried to bring the matter up with him, he just didn't feel it. No wonder then she made an especially good Hound back... then, her daddy was a master tracker too. No wonder he always was a bit annoyed and unforgiving about that, that's the kind of connecting that Summers was lacking.

    When did the whole Sabretooth is Logan's dad thing begin? Because the House of Logan seems to have this Technarch sort of thing going.

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  28. @Jason: Yes I know that's both our preferred theory;)

    @Teemu: I think it has been hinted more than once, but I can only think of one very, very subtle hint right now. In Uncanny X-Men 384, Tullamore Voge attacked Phoenix (Jean) and Wolverine on the Astral Plane and turned them into hounds briefly. Voge is a slave trader, and he told Jean and Logan that their offspring would have a skyrocketing, extreme price on the slave market. In the background there are illusionary images of Logan and Jean in... intimate poses. As you may know, Rachel was the best hound… period. Ahab considered her to be his “favourite hound”. Her telepathy made her such a superb tracker that Rachel became the prototype for the hound program. Aside from her telepathy, Rachel may have also been the best hound because if Logan is her father, then she may have inherited his animal keen senses, which is a useful ability for tracking, especially familiar scents, since she often led Ahab to her friends and family to be killed by one of his energy harpoons.

    Another hint lies earlier in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14, Ahab turned Cyclops (and Sue Richards) into his hounds, to track down Rachel. Cyclops was unable to find her. This surprised Ahab, who always thought that hounds can easily track down their blood relatives. This hint does not necessarily allude to Wolverine being Rachel’s father, though it does hint that Cyclops is not her father. But what is telling is that back-to-back to this lead story is another in this annual where, upon first meeting up with the future Franklin Richards in Days of Future Present, who does Rachel take him to see? Wolverine in Madripoor.

    I would also throw in the example of Logan gutting Rachel in Uncanny #207. Logan’s teammates saw it as him appointing himself the keeper of the X-Men’s conscience. But isn’t it a perfect painting of a child walking in her father’s footsteps while her father is desperate to prevent her from making the same mistakes he did? Why did Logan respond so strongly to everything Rachel went through, while Cyclops was barely affected? The ol’ “Scott’s lame” theory doesn’t explain enough. Why did one man respond on an instinctive level to Rachel while the other barely noticed her as “the new girl”.

    But now? Now there’s no question.

    Most recently, in Uncanny #451, Rachel says about Logan, “I called him ‘Old Man’, Bishop... because in the best sense of the words... that’s what he is to me.”

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  29. Thanks once again, Nathan. Gosh, #207 was harsh to begin with, a real taster for the Massacre to come in gloominess, but ain't this a whole new level to it.

    I did buy (and still would) the explanation for their common nightmares that their psyches were a bit linked after Rachel stole his life-essence for to fight the Beyonder, and I didn't really question why it was only Logan of all the X-Men who did actively stay linked in such fashion, but it being a family matter in the end is a plausible explanation if any.

    Well, of course he may partly also have been itching to ram his claws into the guts of a Phoenix gone bad for a while now after he did a mess of it during DPS.

    Anyone know how did the Phoenix thing unwind in Rachel's past in the DoFP timeline? From her various rememberings and whatnots I've gathered that her mother Jean was the Phoenix (properly perhaps and not a cosmic carbon copy?) but things didn't go down the DPS path and upon her arrival Rachel expected her to be still alive. Killed by the Sentinels then, was she? And before that cheating on Scott with Logan at the time of Rachel's conception, what with the Phoenixian hunger thing acting up a bit and whatnot but not corrupted by Wyngarde that time?

    And then our local variety 616-Logan goes and guts Rachel, by a move possibly subconsciously partly motivated by the envy at his alt-timeline self and anger at how unfairly things went in this timeline and then he finds out that Jean Grey is alive after all. No wonder he went a bit mad upon that reveal.

    Yeah let's rather talk about Rachel. Cable, pah.

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  30. "I'd like to add: I don't think an organization with the initials MLF could be created in a post-American Pie world."
    There was an Indonesian terrorist group called MILF at the time- that might be where Liefeld got the name.

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  31. @Teemu: Recall Rachel came from a timeline where Jean didn't commit suicide as Dark Phoenix but instead got a frontal lobotomy by the Shi'ar. When she later recovered (around Uncanny X-Men #150 in that timeline), I'd posit Scott had moved on (unable to reconcile that she was Phoenix and had killed billions), and Logan stepped in.

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  32. @Teemu: As for Cable, I still don't accept him as young Nathan Summers, believing Claremont and Simonson had young Nate pegged to get whisked away to the 31st century and eventually go on to become Immortus.

    My believe for the true identity of Cable, and his supposed clone, Stryfe? They're not clones, they're identical twins, Thomas & William Maximoff, the stolen children of the Scarlet Witch!

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  33. Anonymous: There was an Indonesian terrorist group called MILF at the time- that might be where Liefeld got the name

    I'm inclined to think the name has the Animal Liberation Front, or ALF, as the immediate inspiration. (especially cats, haah, HAAH!)

    @Nathan, that's the thing, I haven't been privy to that information. But it's nice that Claremont got his way with the Phoenix at least in the other timeline. Rachel at least seemed to be in the belief that Scott and Phoenix were together. "She used to change her dress continuously with her powers which immensely annoyed my dad" or something like that... of course they may have tried to give it another go, raising Rachel up in a somewhat strained relationship after Logan had again stepped out. Scott would understandably be annoyed about Jean playing with her powers like that in that sort ot setup, won't nobody think of the asparagus people?!

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  34. @Nathan, grown-up Tommy and Billy do have the silvery Maximoff hair, now that you mention it. Keen on technology too, like their granddad.

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  35. @Teemu: Did you not ever realise Alf had a nose like a pizzle and liked eating pussy;)

    As for Scott stepping in, I'd suggest that Rachel was conceived when Jean went undercover to save Logan during the Dark Wolverine Saga, and he left the X-Men after having his Hand conditioning reversed (too shamed to face the team), not knowing she had become pregnant with Rachel.

    Oh and just wait until you hear what I've figured out for Claremont's intended origin for Mystique;)

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  36. @Teemu: And Cable did have that similar blue energy field to his grandfather when using his power in X-Force #1.

    But my preference for Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch's father isn't Magneto, but who I believe Kirby intended. In X-Men #11, the mutant twins say they are leaving the Brotherhood to return to their home in the Balkans, the same area Lucifer (intended by Claremont as a mutant) operated suggesting he was intended as their father. So the twins, Pietro and Wanda were the children of a lord of mutants, but Lucifer not Magneto! And yes my fixes span further back than Claremont;)

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  37. With the Lucifer reveal, funny that her own kids ended up being fragments of Mephisto.

    But, I don't care if he too has been canon since EVOLUTIONARY WAR, I don't need ALF fixed! Wait, let me rephrase...

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  38. @Teemu: Lucifer was intended by Kirby as an ancient mutant mistaken for a demon, not an actual demon like Mephisto.

    And hey that segmented nose of ALF's, I think the problem is they beat us to the "fix" and that's the problem;)

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  39. Gettyng bakk to Cable fer a sec:

    Yt wuz kewl dat a old guy wuz da breakout charakkta of da '90z. Y rememba hym bein all XTREME! when da Noo Mutantz were all nycey nyce. He wuz sumpthin dyffrent & ynterestyn. 2 badd da mister-e a who he wuz got figgered out so quykk n he became just anudda 2-complykated x-guy.

    -Mykk Loughlyn, hyt bi a Lyefeld spellyn ray

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  40. "when she later recovered (around Uncanny X-Men #150 in that timeline), I'd posit Scott had moved on (unable to reconcile that she was Phoenix and had killed billions), and Logan stepped in."

    But as per Rachel's memories (see Uncanny #199) Scott and Jean were raising her together. Would be weird if he ditched her and then shrugged his shoulders and said "Oh well, bygones, lets get back together". Then again, this is Scott we are talking about...

    "My believe for the true identity of Cable, and his supposed clone, Stryfe? They're not clones, they're identical twins, Thomas & William Maximoff, the stolen children of the Scarlet Witch!"

    The closest thing we got to a link before the clone revelation was Liefeld wanted Stryfe to be a future of Cable...I doubt either Liefeld or Simonson had ever entertained the idea of them being the children of Wanda.

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  41. wwk5d: Then again, this is Scott we are talking about...

    And what's more, comics! One day you're married, the other no one knows your name but your aunt lives.

    And anyway, it's a return to normal status quo, it's not like they even need, or are willing to deliver, an excuse.

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  42. @wwk5d: Oh, I'm not suggesting Scott didn't stick around to raise Rachel, but rather that he didn't stick around in that reality directly after she was lobotomised by the Shi'ar.

    But I'd posit Scott returns when Jean is pregnant after a proposed Dark Wolverine Saga (Logan bailing unable to face the team he was against while a Hand assassin, not knowing Jean is carrying his child).

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  43. okay, Cable. I always have a rollercoaster of emotions when it comes to Cable. Depending on which era of the character we are talking about, I either like Cable or I think he represents all that was wrong in the comic book world of the nineties. Here, Nathan's not as bad as he'd be later on. Most of his more annoying traits pop up in the transition to X-Force and are tones down at this point.

    However one major irritant shows itself right from the start in this very issue as Liefeld and Simonson try way too hard to "sell" Cable, resulting in him such a freaking Mary sue. He hasn't even established himself in the Marvel Universe, yet we'll get page after page (after page) of character shilling about how Cable is such "legend." Even his villains look on him with awe as their "greatest challenge" or something. And yes having "everybody" know who he is (or at least his mythicized version of him) doesn't help and in fact makes his eventual origin overtly complicated (because he has to go in the past AND the past if you get what I'm saying?)

    Finally I always found it amusing that around this time Cable AND baby Nathan were often occupying the same space. Now if my PhD in Pseudoscientific Timefuckery (achieved at the College of the Sequential Arts) is any indication, this should have caused the universe to implode or something. Or did his bad case of Retcon-itis prevent him from distrupting the time stream?

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  44. Oh by the way, Teebore, one funny segment you might want to implement is a Rictor Hairstyle Watch. It's one of Liefelds most consistent inconsistency as Rictor will have a completely different from issue to issue (and sometimes from page to page). Hell it's actually ALREADY starting if you look back at NM# 85 and this one.

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  45. @Jonathan Washington: Rob's Rictor is up there with Chris Wozniak's in the New Mutants Annual for sure;)

    Hoo boy I can't wait until we get to the Days of Future Present annuals!

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  46. Jonathan: Finally I always found it amusing that around this time Cable AND baby Nathan were often occupying the same space. Now if my PhD in Pseudoscientific Timefuckery (achieved at the College of the Sequential Arts) is any indication, this should have caused the universe to implode or something. Or did his bad case of Retcon-itis prevent him from distrupting the time stream?

    I've heard it takes about seven years for every single cell in the human body to be replaced. So, there's no one single same atom in the child and this bad mo-fo Child of Atom existing here now in same place at the same time.

    That's how there could co-exist two Marty McFlys when he travelled time fo-or the-e future of mank... himself, to that distant year of future, 2015. Good enough for two Martys, good enough for our Marty Stu. Now, has any of you guys yet received his hoverboard?

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  47. Egad! 46 comments! I think I said it last week about Liefeld, but the same applies here for Cable: we're still buzzing about this stuff twenty-five years later. It's amazing.

    I think Cable's okay, but he's never done much for me. Bishop is my preferred time-traveling X-character. As a kid I never read NEW MUTANTS/X-FORCE or Cable's solo series, so I only saw him when he popped up as a guest star in the core X-books.

    Personally I think I would like Cable a lot more if his story had just ended with "X-Cutioner's Song". Let him die with Stryfe and leave the X-Men (and readers) wondering forever which was the clone and which was the real Nathan. Obviously Marvel couldn't have done it since the character was so popular, but I really think that would've been a perfectly satisfying end to his story and his life. He didn't need to keep appearing in comics after that crossover.

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  48. @Kris: I'm almost embarrassed by how awesome I thought Stryfe was as a kid and how many characters I would draw with impossible headgear, spikes and capes.

    I'm right there with you. I have some drawings I did back in middle school/early high school that are so 90s it's embarrassing.

    @wwk5d: And the idea of him being a future Cable sounds pretty cool, and actually preferable to being Cable's clone.

    I really like the idea of Stryfe being a future Cable (or vice versa), but I'm a sucker for that stuff (see also: Kang/Immortus).

    @Teemu: Incoming message from 'Rachel Summers, Crybaby': [Accept] [Decline]

    Ah, but that's where timing is everything: I encountered Cable first, at a time when Rachel was off in EXCALIBUR, a series I wasn't even aware of and then not interested in reading until "Fatal Attractions", so he got his hooks in me first as the time lost Summers child.

    And, frankly, when I did eventually encounter Rachel, it was her connection to Cyclops that piqued my interest in the character as well.

    @Miguel:
    I for one welcome our new techno-organic, cybernetic, time displaced, hand cannon toting overlords.


    Ha! Nicely done.

    I don't know what public opinion ended up being on the Messiah War/Second Coming arcs, but I dutifully bought all the issues of him protecting Hope from Bishop in the far flung future.

    I'm similarly in the dark about the popular consensus, but I too enjoyed the "Cable as Hope's protector" arc of the late 00s.

    @Ian: And that iteration of the X-Men really couldn't have happened without the stories between New Mutants #87 and Uncanny X-Men #280.

    Definitely. My X-Men were the post-relaunch X-Men, but I've always had an affinity for this era, because so much of the groundwork for those stories is laid here (and, being more recent, because the back issues were easier to find than older stuff).

    But the 90's issues don't get much love. I really enjoyed them as a kid, so are they great stories that were forgotten to time? Or did they absolutely suck and that's why no one devotes time to talking about them?

    As with most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, methinks. But we'll get there.

    @Jeff: I'll stick up for adjectiveless X-Men during that period, but it doesn't hit the same heights. Age of Apocalypse brings everything back big time, but then it's pretty weak until Morrison pops up.

    I'm locked in until "Operation: Zero Tolerance", the first crossover to feel really half-assed even to teenage me and which I didn't enjoy much. The era from there to Morrison, with a few blips of goodness along the way (the Davis run is pretty solid, at least until "The Twelve" botching comes along, and Colossus' farewell issue is pretty strong) and in other series, is the "dead era" for me.

    @Jonathan: The upside is that this is where Cannonball finally started to come into his own as a leader.

    I have a lot of affection for Sam, and most of it stems from his portrayal here through to his time running the Cable-less X-Force.

    . I did like that, in contrast to the overinflated power levels we'd get from our 90s villains, the MLF had realistic power limitations, but not in a way that made them too ineffective (they DID achieve their objective, after all.)

    For a team of, essentially, grunts, the MLF is pretty much perfect. Unique visuals, well-executed powers, just enough individual personality to pop without overshadowing the fact they're a group first and foremost.

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  49. @Drew: I'll go further in saying that (while of course writers can and will make characters do whatever the story demands) she pretty much had to be written out, because she would never have let Cable turn the New Mutants into his own personal strike force.

    Which, again, makes me wonder if Weezie saw the writing on the wall and protected the character/did what she could to ensure Rob's vision made as much sense as possible, or if Dani's departure was just a fortuitous coincidence of timing.

    @Mela: Simonson never really seemed to have a handle on Dani & kept tweaking her or sidelining her. It always bothered me that she went from being a good leader whose defensive powers didn't weaken her to just running around poking things with a spear.

    Good point. Weezie definitely didn't have the connection to Dani that Claremont did, and it showed.

    @Teemu: we'll learn that everyone we know has a past with Cable, which is a 90's thing - and cheating. Past implants worse than Weapon X, including from Weapon X!

    A. Wolverine having a past with everyone started sneaking in prior to the 90s, and Cable is very much a case of trying to catch the Wolverine lightening in a bottle.
    2. I don't think Cable ever had any memories implanted by Weapon X.

    When did the whole Sabretooth is Logan's dad thing begin?

    I'm pretty sure Claremont had that in mind mostly from the beginning, or shortly thereafter. It'll be definitively refuted shortly, in an early Hama-penned WOLVERINE issue.

    @Jason: Also, there's allusions in the dialogue right before a scene change that the MLF are about to pump Cable full of bullets.

    I thought I mentioned that? That the MLF have Cable at their mercy, but between panels just don't kill him for some reason?

    Nice one! High five! Wait ... are you not being sarcastic?

    You be nice. Poor Rusty and Skids have suffered enough. :)

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  50. @Jeff: I'd like to add: I don't think an organization with the initials MLF could be created in a post-American Pie world.

    Totally. As it is, I can't not see it, and I knew about the MLF well before American Pie.

    @Nathan: As for Cable, I still don't accept him as young Nathan Summers, believing Claremont and Simonson had young Nate pegged to get whisked away to the 31st century and eventually go on to become Immortus.

    I wonder if Claremont & Weezie genuinely thought they could get away with that (and the Thomas/William connection) given that those characters were so firmly lodged in the Avengers' camp. I mean, Claremont lost control of Magneto, I doubt he'd think he could make so sweeping a change to an established Marvel villain like Immortus and not get shot down, especially at this point in his relationship with Marvel.

    the same area Lucifer (intended by Claremont as a mutant)

    Interesting. What's your source for thinking Claremont wanted to make Lucifer a mutant? AFAIK, he never even touched the character.

    @Jonathan:
    However one major irritant shows itself right from the start in this very issue as Liefeld and Simonson try way too hard to "sell" Cable, resulting in him such a freaking Mary sue.


    Yeah, he is a total Mary Sue, though I never realized that at the time - heck, I didn't even know of the concept of a Mary Sue until I got older and spent more time on the internet (the internet: spoiling everyone's fun since the late 90s!). So now his Mary Sue-ism is protected by his being grandfathered in. Or something. :P

    Oh by the way, Teebore, one funny segment you might want to implement is a Rictor Hairstyle Watch.

    Good call. I'll keep an eye out for that.

    @Matt: Egad! 46 comments! I think I said it last week about Liefeld, but the same applies here for Cable: we're still buzzing about this stuff twenty-five years later. It's amazing.

    To be fair, about half those are just Teemu and Nathan riffing on Rachel Summers. Which is totally cool, of course. :)

    I think Cable's okay, but he's never done much for me. Bishop is my preferred time-traveling X-character.

    Whereas Bishop is my "time traveling 90sfied X-Character about whom I have few strong feelings", mainly because Cable was already occupying that slot.

    He didn't need to keep appearing in comics after that crossover.

    My teen self would have revolted at that idea, but as an adult, you're totally right. If they'd revealed his origin once and for all and then ended his story there, it would have worked fine (which is pretty much what happened to Stryfe, a few later appearances notwithstanding. He did his thing, we learned his deal, and he was done).

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  51. Teebore: To be fair, about half those are just Teemu and Nathan riffing on Rachel Summers.

    As time-lost alleged Summers kids go, we all have our favorites. Plus, that sounds dirty and perhaps a little bit titillating.

    I don't think Cable ever had any memories implanted by Weapon X.

    Well, no memory implants, but retroactive continuity implants concerning his former associate, nowadays enemy Garrison Kane A.K.A Weapon P.R.I.M.E. or what the hell ever he was supposed to be, cool 90's characters who apparently were cool already when Scott was still Slim

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  52. @Jason & Teebore: The reason the MLF don't kill Cable is because Stryfe stops them (workable on both fronts, firstly if he was intended to be an older version of Cable, or my own preference that Cable was his twin as he'd know "mother wouldn't like it" and you just don't piss the Scarlet Witch off;)

    @Teebore: You know young Nathan Christopher so works as Immortus though. Avengers #2 established that physically identical beings can’t co-exist in the Marvel Universe at the same time, a fact later reinforced during the Gatherers Saga, so when the Space Phantom took on the appearance of someone in our universe they were shifted to Limbo. And guess who was sent to Limbo when "Jean Grey" returned in X-Factor? So was this suggesting the Jean Grey that returned in Fantastic Four #286 was a Space Phantom? Or alternatively when Jean died as Dark Phoenix, she did not go to Death's realm but was rather quarantined in Limbo, its temporal energies restoring her to the age she was just before her powers manifested; forcing the Space Phantom to Earth in the physical form of young Jean. The first time we saw him in this form was in Avengers Annual #10. Yep I’m suggesting that young Madelyne Pryor was an amnesiac Space Phantom. And what powers does Nathan Christopher manifest after his "mother" returns from Limbo with him? He manifests curious force field powers for the first time in X-Factor #42. And he then grows up to become Master of Limbo, kicking the demons out as payback for what they did to his "mother", the hint of her surname meaning "existing or coming before in time". And if that doesn’t knock your socks off, I don’t know what will;)

    @Teebore: Sorry re: Lucifer, I meant Kirby, not Claremont. I'd have edited the comment but Blogger doesn’t appear to have that facility, so can you go back and correct that for me?

    @Teebore: Thanks for being cool with us hijacking your comments thread;)

    @Matt and Teebore: And yes if they'd have revealed Cable’s origin earlier, we wouldn’t have gotten De Falco planting seeds that he was a younger version of Reed Richards' father!

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  53. @Teemu: I'd certainly riff on Rachel Summers. But no crossing swords;)

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  54. Oh come on, it's 2015!

    Those fucking hoverboards, though?

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  55. You know Cable in New Mutants started the ultra-macho trend in the X-titles, starting with X-Force, and the next four new female characters added to the X-mythology were Revanche, Cecilia Reyes, Marrow and Stacy-X, none of which made an indelible mark, unlike Claremont's creations Phoenix, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Rachel Grey, Psylocke, Emma Frost, Moonstar, Mystique, Magik, Karma, Jubilee, etc. And yet, despite this downturn the X-Men still have a reputation for strong female characters more than two decades after the end of Claremont’s initial run.

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  56. @Nathan, it's those Claremont characters who are the ones still running around as the A-list while the others become footnotes of comic history. Though, Storm technically wasn't his, expect from the first sixteen defining years right after her initial premiering.

    At some point the lasting A-list character creations just stopped happening, barring those few exceptions like Cable, Deadpool... did the comics media reach a saturation point of some sort sometime around the Secret Wars, or do anyone have any theory on that? I've been thinking about this for some time, especially when there comes an ado about race-swapping an existing character. As a rule I'm not in favor of that, but it's also true that bringing in a new character for representativeness reasons is a no-go for practical reasons because the readership as the whole won't accept the newcomer characters as just as good as the established ones like Rogue or the initial cast of New Mutants.

    Did Claremont somehow "lock it" with the X-mythos at his initial departure and the X-Men revamp? Anything after adjectiveless #3 won't stick? Though, the phenomenon is by no means limited to the X-universe.

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  57. Teebore: Wolverine having a past with everyone started sneaking in prior to the 90s, and Cable is very much a case of trying to catch the Wolverine lightening in a bottle.

    This one deserved a note too. With Wolverine it was (until this far at least) more a case of there springing up a hitherto-unknown old acquaintance, a friend even, a CIA link, anyway a very minor supporting character created on the spot, right? Whereas Cable, we'll learn, has apparently known Moira MacTaggart and go at it on the first sight with Wolverine over some unfinished business. Also, 'lightening' warning. (yes i do know there's an expectation that i'll personally mess with 'except' myself, just like in my previous comment once again)

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  58. @Teemu: I included Storm as Claremont built Ororo from the ground up, weaving in the wonderful H. Rider Haggard "She" background (i.e. Rain Queens of Balobedu), and of course Faltine;).

    Yes the A-list character creations stopped happening, barring Liefeld's "Kirby flukes" Cable & Deadpool... but the saturation point happened earlier than Secret Wars since which characters after the early 1980s have since held down an ongoing title at Marvel bar the company's Silver Age stalwarts? Even popular mutants besides Wolverine never managed to, including Claremont's female furies! So I'm not even sure Claremont somehow "locked it" as you suggest!

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  59. "With Wolverine it was (until this far at least) more a case of there springing up a hitherto-unknown old acquaintance, a friend even, a CIA link, anyway a very minor supporting character created on the spot, right?"
    Keep in mind that by this point, Wolverine had already been retconned into knowing Nick Fury and Carol Danvers, hardly minor characters.

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  60. @Anonymous: It was revealed much earlier that Logan knew Carol Danvers (Uncanny X-Men #154 & 158 from 1982).

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  61. Anonymous: Keep in mind that by this point, Wolverine had already been retconned into knowing Nick Fury and Carol Danvers, hardly minor characters

    Okay... my hand is up to mark the foul. Even though I kind of would like to spin it as "organic" reveal considering all parties' independent histories as governmental agents rather than a Cablesque instant fame retcon plug, I'd be in shallow waters with my Claremont apologism.

    @Nathan, I may be off with my feel that there is a point in time when you have to have been there for to fully be counted as an X-character. Maybe it's Claremont's departure, maybe X-Men '92 or the animation, at when, if you weren't in the source material for THAT popular iteration, you're kind of ignorable especially in and after a creative team change. Claremont's run is solidly non-ignorable, after that it gets kind of hazy what's in the core, if you will, of the X-mythos. Hazard and Trevor Fitzroy's friends aren't.

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  62. @Teemu: We forgot the X-characters that probably did stick the most were Blink and Marrow, both designed by Joe Madureira.

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  63. Now Blink is a fun case: pulls a Thunderbird in the very first story of the GENERATION X and then goes capitalize on it big time on the alternative timelines.

    But hot damn if Anonymous' comment on Nick/Carol didn't tilt me off-balance. I've since been thinking reasons why it's okay for Wolverine that's egregious to Cable. It seems that the Canadian special government agency thing came in already in Giant Size X-Men #1, and do I remember it wrong if it wasn't a bit air force-y setup, so it's not that massive a reach for him to have common history with Carol Danvers of USAF/NASA security fame. And of course, when the spy business is out there, it's hard to NOT make the connection to Nick Fury, Marvel's top spy. The first instance for this is Marvel Fanfare #24 by Claremont (right?), in a cutesey character bit during a superhero poker night. There's something slashy what and how Binary-Carol says about the last night in Lubyanka KGB prison... Anyways, at this point it had been Wolverine's turn ever since he himself had said so in the Hellfire Club sewers, so it's not like it was tapping into the fame of Nick and Carol, even if the two had 200+ issues as the titular between themselves on their belt/red silky scarf at that point.

    It's not like having a mile-long dossier on your first issue and vague-but-doubtlessly-awesome history between you and the mainstays after five. Though, it's not like Rob Liefeld is exactly the only one thinking that Cable is the best thing ever, so who am I to say what works.

    Regarding that, Marrow may not exactly have suffered from having been the young female protege of Wolverine(TM). ;)

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  64. About MLF, it's a shame that Cable's entrance overshadows their arrival. I've always been busy writing them off as a thing and then some of the 90's, but I realize now I have actually read of them (or X-Force really) very little. I guess I'll have to rein in the cynicism a bit and give them a chance to unwind. At this point I have to note that they say the 90's was grim n' gritty, and so it may well be with the Punisher or the black-paged Texeira GHOST RIDER that stained the fingers and mind, but on the X-world we'll see the return of the bright colors that have been absent since I don't know when. Funny that it's the mutant terrorists who get to be the harbingers for that.

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  65. @Teemu: Well JoeMad did make Blink more adorable in Astonishing X-Men than Phalanx Covenant, so understandable. Now there's an idea. With Secret Wars appearing to retcon heaps, how about undoing her being related to Apocalypse and starting her origin afresh? Suggestions?

    The thing with Wolverine is he was long known to have military/ intelligence under his belt from early on so it goes without saying he'd have known a lot of the spy-end of the MU, including Nick, Carol and of course Natasha. But Cable had been around for a decade or so, had all these ties with characters but had never been seen in a public adventure… despite being a cyborg armed to the teeth… with pouches and huge shoulderpads;) And the Wolverine and Carol stuff was much earlier than Marvel Fanfare #24 as I pointed out above it first gets raised in Uncanny X-Men #154 & 158 from 1982.

    I will give Liefeld credit though for coming up with some interesting power sets for the MLF, particularly Tempo.

    Speaking of Marrow and Wolverine, she did have bone protrusions so it's not out of the realm of possibility, but who did Logan date that had pink hair? But seriously, propose parents for her and Blink, I dare ya;)

    Speaking of Texeira's Punisher War Journal there was mention in its letter pages at the time that they were proposing a "Justice League of Vigilantes" that would include Frank, Moon Knight, so we should try and figure out who else they had in mind too, just to help Teebore break a comments thread record for his blog;)

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  66. Yeah, I meant MARVEL FANFARE #24 specifically for Nick Fury, but made it confusingly enough what with it being foremostly a Carol story. As I gather it the Wolverine & Nick Fury: SCORPIO CONNECTION graphic novel was announced around the time of publication so I don't know if this was meant as a teaser for their connection.

    I so ain't gonna touch the matter of Logan's many temporary loves... like, any further.

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  67. @Teemu: No prob. Not a big fan of the Scorpio Connection, but then if you haven't noticed by now, I'm a Claremont-purist;)

    Oh come on re: Marrow and Blink, live a little.

    Re: Blink, in Uncanny X-Men #316, the first part of the Phalanx Covenant, her hometown seems to be placed in either New England or across the border in Quebec, Canada. This is established by a Cerebro map pinpointing the hometowns of the other Gen X'ers, and listing their names. Clarice is included in the list, and the dot which should be her is in that area, but the map is not precise enough to decide for sure where it is.

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  68. I never thought of Liefeld as being influenced by Art Adams until it was mentioned here and you shared those early NM character designs of his. That closeup of Dani you posted as part of a tier, right after Rahne hugs her, could easily be Adams' work. Plus those legs!

    // he's super strong and has four arms, possibly the only mutant whose power is also a pun //

    Forearm's name doesn't really work as a pun for me. I mean, I get the homophone, but since "forearm" is a word and since everybody actually has forearms his name should be Fourarm and that should be the pun.

    // And then, finally, after nine issues in Asgard, the New Mutants return home. //

    While the storyline had already dragged on too long, it's kind-of ridiculous that Simonson bothers to have Balder tell them the interdimensional journey back will be "fraught with peril" only for them to spend barely a page fighting the Mindless Ones and that's it. Neat of Wiacek to ink the creatures with thick brushstrokes that immediately recall their Ditko origins, though — as usual, he does a good job all around.

    // They arrive before X-Factor does, and end up hanging out over the ocean looking for Ship //

    So what's the over/under on how many days they'd have spent floating there before going to find shelter had the plot not contrived for Ship to show up within hours?

    // the first copy of the issue I owned was the second printing, with the gold background //

    Did Marvel just drop in a white background on the digital edition instead of red for the hell of it, or was there another variant?

    // Boom-Boom refers to Professor X as "their" mentor, even though she and Rictor never studied under him. //

    That's so wrong it's ridiculous.

    // It may not all be entirely Liefeld's fault, but the storytelling is already suffering in this issue. //

    You can definitely blame him for the next-issue box having to go to the left of the last panel on the final page. Maybe part of the responsibility is Simonson's for throwing in so many thought bubbles that the box couldn't get full-page width but it's also Liefeld's fault, especially if they were working full-script, that previous panels couldn't accommodate some of them.

    // Cable is also representative of just how thoroughly unique superhero comics are, the way these great twisting mythologies are formed as the result of the collaborative nature of an ongoing, decades-long shared universe. //

    I don't know if there's a more fundamental double-edged sword in the entire genre. No question we get all sorts of stuff that's more than the impossible-to-anticipate sum of its parts, often via a remarkable connection of dots that had no intended relationship to one another, yet just recently we've discussed the considerable and perhaps inevitable on-page infighting that can result. Running with Magneto alone, we'd have a field day — his fundamental nature, Pietro and Wanda's parentage, the status of Wanda's own children...

    // this is Cable's story, as though he's already a member of the book's regular cast, even though the main characters don't even know he exists //

    I had that exact thought, which is nice to have reinforced. When I clicked through to the Brian Cronin post, I almost couldn't believe that Cable and the New Mutants TPB cover was for real, so hilariously does it by-the-way the title characters of the series that introduced him.

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  69. @Teemu — I must confess that your usage of the phrase "too childish for Mr. Liefeld" lit up whatever section of my brain is responsible for incredulousness, big-time.

    @Jason — Speaking of the MLF pumping Cable full of bullets (and of course anyone can answer here): What is he supposed to be shooting? Lethal ammo feels like a big step for the book to take, even with Punisher headlining his own series by this point and this mysterious new New Mutants commander potentially having a military background, but set-to-stun laser blips or whatever don't exactly go "budda-budda-budda".

    @Teebore — You can add the earlier Warlock/Magus, Starlin's not Claremont & Sienkiewicz's, to the list of future versions of a character who become that character's nemesis.

    @Mike — I'm happy to give Liefeld all kinds of grief for his art, designs, and codenames, but changing one or more letters when making a word a proper noun is a time-honored tactic in making it more unique or identifiable brand-wise (if not actually more trademarkable), as in "Magik ate Froot Loops and listened to Def Leppard, unaware that Stryfe was stealing her Blu-Ray player." Unkewl, if you ask me...

    @Nathan — Ooh! Could Blink's mother be that lady in leather Wolverine sees before Jean, Mariko, and Yukio?

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  70. @Blam: In the Mutant Report of Marvel Age #86 (March, 1990) Liefeld reveals in his interview there that Art Adams is his biggest influence.

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  71. @Blam: Are we sure that wasn't Yukio? Otherwise who do you propose Claremont would reveal her to be?

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  72. @Blam: To open up my logics, my starting point was the premise that Claremont meant Mister Sinister to really be a projection by young Nathan at the Nebraska orphanage of a supervillain as imagined by a child, with the sharp tooth and everything. I'm inclined to believe that for the fourteen-years-old's sensibilities that Mr.Liefeld sports this kind of approach would be childish! more than anything else and prompt him to imagine his supercool approvable-to-fourteener villain with chrome and lots of spike, except he did it with total seriousness.

    I should know because if there's one thing constantly nagging me when partipating in commenting on this fine blog, it's awareness that inside me there's a fourteen-years-old boy flailing at it all uncontrollably. My years actually allow me having exactly two of them, and I still have years left over to allow for the almost-eight bright-eyed boy who just read his first issue of UNCANNY and is/was set for life.

    Though I gotta note, I was nine when reading #221(?) and totally bought Mister Sinister straight up as someone who clearly means business. Or, "Mister Evilness", as the local translation has it.

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  73. @Teemu: That recapturing the 14 year old is what my own blog's all about (or shall I say dripping;)

    @Teebore: Hey we've gotten it past 70. Shall we go for 80? Come on commenters:)

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  74. Nathan, re: comments, let it happen, but organically, like an early Wolverine retcon and not forcibly like a Cable retcon.

    Also, celebrate the 14! Except not in Liefeld.

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  75. @Teemu: Adamantium isn't organic, last I recalled;)

    Don't worry I was 15 by the time Liefeld rolled around;)

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  76. @ Blam: now I'm wondering if Liefeldian words bear the responsibility for the boyz n grrls of the '90s spelling everything wrong.

    Re Blink's parentage:

    Oddly colored skin & teleportation powers, much like Nightcrawler whose mother is... Mystique.*

    Pink energy signature and charging up those little spears remind me of... Gambit, unfortunately.

    While in New Orleans 18 years ago Mystique infiltrated the Thieves Guild and used a teen-aged Gambit to steal for her. They had sex, and she got pregnant. Eventually, she made her way to Quebec and/ or upper New England and gave the baby up. Did she feel bad about cheating on Destiny? Possibly, but she knew the McGuffin she stole was worth it.

    - Mike Loughlin

    * The Draco and subsequent events involving Nightcrawler's brother(s) were a hallucination caused by Mastermind, of course. He used a telepathic device a la the Dark Phoenix Saga to implant the events in the involved characters' brains. A demon was so amused by the whole thing that he took on the Azazel identity, and that's who showed up in the 1st Amazing X-Men arc.

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  77. Mastermind! It was Mastermind inducing Phoenix's hallucination into Mystique's dream during Paul Smith era! Just before he surfaced again to pester the X-Men, also putting Emma Frost into coma!

    Yeah I buy it all, pink hair coming from Mystique's darker red, and anyway it's pretty open relationship Raven and Irene had anyway. Necessarily. Besides, Irene could call Raven's cheating even before she goes to a job-related travel. "You'll meet a tall, handsome stranger. Slut."

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  78. @Anonymous: While Blink was later shown to have pinker skin (Andy Lanning and Maria Parwulski), then purple (Joe Pimentel and Gloria Vasquez), she originally had lavender skin (Steve Buccellato). So I'm unsure about Mystique, and re: Gambit, the darts would seem to be more indicative of Pete Wisdom (but I'm sure that's not what SLobdell had in mind;)

    Speaking of Gambit though, shall we start speculation about his parents? If so, I'd go Jean-Paul DuChamp and Isabelle Kristel (I'll leave they why of until Teebore gets to #266;). And was Mystique's McGuffin her little skull? Better that as I just can’t contemplate Gambit's sperm as a McGuffin (I don’t think the Cajun's charm extends that far unless his father is Fortunato from Wild Cards;)

    And excuse me Mike Loughlin?

    @Teemu: There’s a case to be made for Mastermind being a pawn of the Shadow King (cf. Excalibur #22 among others). And yes Irene was pushing Raven into the path of all these dudes;)

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  79. @ Nathan Adler: yes?

    Oh, and I didn't intend for Gambit's little charged cards to be the McGuffin, the sex merely being part of the cover. I like the idea of it being the tiny skull.

    Pete Wisdom? Maybe you or someone else could line up the times to tie her being in England to events in Captain Britain's series. I haven't read most of them yet.

    I had to look up DuChamp... Frenchie? Sure. I'd love for Gambit's father to be Batroc, although he might be too young. But c'mon, ze two mozt outray-zjus French accents in the MU, teaming up as father and son to jump around in ridiculous costumes and fail to beat Captain America? I'd buy that comic.

    @Teemu: Ha! That's alright, Destiny had a piece on the side for when Raven was out of town, eventually revealed to be... The Man Called Cable!

    - Mike Loughlin

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  80. So that's why he's called "cable"!

    "Irene, that's pretty harsh name you got me under on your speed dial. Objectyfying."
    "Sorry, Nathan." *wry knowing Destiny smile*

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  81. ... aaand there's Marvel Comics ruined for me forevermore, with the retcon inserts getting a totally new meaning with all the people going "Cable!". Moira going "Cable!". Wolverine going "Cable!".

    For someone most of the timing keeping people's futures hidden, she certainly passed the phone number around.

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  82. @ Anonymous: Wow, THE Mike Loughlin. I am astounded and humbled at the same time:)

    And I know you didn't mean his little charged cards, I was just being facetious;)

    Glad you like the idea of it being the tiny skull, so now it’s origin please:)

    I lost my sight by the time Wisdom became a more popular character at Marvel, so no idea how. But Mystique running ops alongside Black Air isn’t outside the realm of possibility (for me it would be though, again being a Claremont-purist). Speaking of Black Air, did anyone ever think the smoke monster from Lost was stolen wholesale from Kirby's Diablo, the Demon from the Fifth Dimension?

    As for what makes it more likely it was DuChamp is he was of the lineage of Seth Phalkon, who similarly had auburn hair and RED EYES. And he was a Templar. Oh am I going to town on the comments re: that thread once we get to #266;)

    Destiny and Cable, say what!?

    Hey, I noticed we've surpassed 80. Can we reach 87, the number of this issue?

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  83. @Nathan: // @Blam: Are we sure that wasn't Yukio? Otherwise who do you propose Claremont would reveal her to be? //

    I don't. Honestly it was just a callback gag.

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  84. @Blam: Helping the thread reach 87;)

    3 more to go:)

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  85. Cable on that cover though... dye the top of his hair brown and draw him a moustache, and what you got is Eddie Blake/the Comedian from that one title that inspired the comics of the 90's. Not so when drawn by Liefeld on the inner pages, but the cover I can't unsee. Gloves, hairy arms, shoulder thingies and the straps for them...

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  86. @Teemu: Alan Moore would be rolling in his grave before he's dead if he'd picked up on that. And we'd never have gotten his Supreme.

    Don't also forget Valance the Hunter though.

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  87. Oh bloody hell, I did not know of such character, and on a comic drawn by Walt Simonson, too! Pissing myself over the idea that Imperial Forces appatently had strong policy against cyborgs. "Lord Vader, Lord Vader! We found a 'borg! May we burn 'im?"

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  88. I forgot to mention another idea I floated over twenty years ago:
    The retconning of Cable as Nathan Summers doesn’t make sense, especially the later elements such as his using his powers to suppress the TO virus, which makes scenes that happened during the X-Tinction Agenda even more strange - when Cable’s and everyone else’s powers were shut off, shouldn’t the virus have gone crazy?

    And it also makes scenes in early X-Force issues, where Cable’s fake skin was damaged and he looked the Terminator also strange…of course, if he was using fake skin to cover up part of his face, why not cover up the arm as well? I guess he thought a cybernetic arm looked cool…but I digress…

    So who was Cable originally intended as?

    What if he was originally intended to be Longshot who disappeared during the whole Siege Perilous fiasco? The glowing eye and the name Cable support this. As did Longshot’s wish to become “a better fighter”.

    Recall Longshot became disillusioned with himself right before the Siege Perilous Fiasco. (This was from how Inferno ended and happened in Uncanny 248.) He literally disassembled himself, talking to Storm, and said something to the effect of “I need to become better, stronger… a better fighter.” He was then not seen again until his appearance in
    X-Men #5-7.

    Now this does not mean that idea was entertained for long, but the name Cable (TV themes in Mojoworld), the glowing eye (both of their left eyes glow), the idea about becoming a better fighter and the mysterious arrival of Cable shortly after Longshot’s disappearance lend credence to this theory.

    Scratch that, Thomas and William Maximoff it is;)

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  89. @Nathan Adler: But, if Cable is Longshot, where did the extra fingers come from :)

    That scene in X-tinction Agenda in which Cable loses his power and can't control his bionic arm is hilarious. It's so clear they had no idea what Cable was supposed to be besides "tough guy with guns."

    Re being "THE Mike Loughlin:" I am probably missing the joke and/or I'm not who you think I am because I have no known significance to this timeline. Unless I do something cool in the future and you really are a time traveler, in which case I hope you didn't convolute my past when I wasn't looking.

    @Teemu: wow, now I can't unsee Cablemedian.

    - Mike Loughlin

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  90. "So who was Cable originally intended as?"

    Either the younger version of Stryfe or a future version of Cannonball seemed to be the 2 early ideas initially favored by Liefeld.

    "Recall Longshot became disillusioned with himself right before the Siege Perilous Fiasco. (This was from how Inferno ended and happened in Uncanny 248.) He literally disassembled himself, talking to Storm, and said something to the effect of “I need to become better, stronger… a better fighter.” He was then not seen again until his appearance in X-Men #5-7."

    No, Longshot told Storm he needed to go find himself. As per the summary of #248 from uncannyxmen.net:

    "Storm turns to see a phantom image of Longshot. The X-Man's ghostly form resembles his normal one, save that it is translucent, lacking color, and for some reason lacks a left eye.
    Indicating that he is very busy, the phantom Longshot picks up a piece of a right arm, severed at the shoulder and the hand. With purpose, Longshot attaches the severed limb to himself. Longshot shows great relief and satisfaction when he realizes that it fits. Scattered on the ground around him are the rest of his body parts, which Longshot pleads with Storm not to step on as she approaches. When Storm asks what he is doing, Longshot simply replies that he is trying to find himself. He explains that everyone and everything that he encounters has a sense of history. He himself lacks this. All that he knows about himself began the moment that he teleported into the X-Men's Danger Room. Claiming that he needs to find where he comes from, and the purpose of his existence, Longshot tells Storm that as much as he does not want to leave, he must go. There must be more to what he is out there, and to be whole, he must find it."

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  91. Longshot with his naivety and superpower that needs pure motives is pretty much as far as you can be from Cable, and I find for example the Doug Ramsey theory much easier to buy. Even if he did have peculiar artificial skin and Mojo is someone who deals with some serious cybernetics and has some history with his "sister".

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  92. @Teemu: So Cable is Doug Ramsey revived and transmoded:) What are the details of this theory, and where from?

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  93. @Nathan, the horror got uncautiously unleashed on the comments for X-amining NEW MUTANTS #60, the Doug's death issue, and I learned I wasn't alone with it.

    But shortly, take a look at Doug's costume in UNCANNY ANNUAL #10 and then try coming back to tell me that isn't young, pre-partly-techno-organic Cable tauntlingly sporting a Summers visor. Doug Ram, Day Spring.

    Mike Loughlin mentioned there how he considers that issue to be the Rosetta stone for an era, and I believe we are now at the other end of the wormhole.

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  94. If our esteemed host so wishes, there actually might be a call for "We're getting Cable!!" segment, where various hints of the identity of our mystery man could be brought up to help us solve the mystery as the story starts to unwind, not unlike what Matt did on his blog for Hobgoblin when going through Roger Stern's Spider-Man run. Though I like TOTALLY understand if he feels we so do not need any more encouraging.

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  95. @Teemu: Thanks. Re: Annual #10, or any others, I can't take a look as I'm a blinkie these days;)

    But what I took away from 'Lock in that annual was that Mojoworld had access to the transmode virus (similar to how Claremont suggested Genosha did with their transmodation process, hey what was up with that when Warlock was the first Technarch on Earth).

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  96. Just FYI (where Y = anyone who isn't already aware): Once we hit 101 comments, Blogger will create a second comments page — unless things have changed since the last time I saw this happen. The first was over at Nikki Stafford's blog during Lost's heyday. While it feels like an achievement it also means toggling betwixt pages, either through the back/forward buttons or by keeping another tab open, if you want to reread earlier bits of the conversation.

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  97. @Nathan, Doug wore what essentially was Byrne's Cyclops costume done totally in very light blue, with a pouchy/padded grey vest covering his torso and the whole ensemble crowned with a cautious thigh pouch hanging from a strap on his belt. Only thing missing is a metal arm, a massive gun, and some decades of age and some bulkiness brought with it.

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  98. @Nathan: The reason the MLF don't kill Cable is because Stryfe stops them

    Good enough as a No-Prize explanation, but there's nothing in the text itself to suggest that, especially since Strobe specifically talks about finishing him off (using him for target practice), but doesn't.

    @Teemu: At some point the lasting A-list character creations just stopped happening, barring those few exceptions like Cable, Deadpool... did the comics media reach a saturation point of some sort sometime around the Secret Wars, or do anyone have any theory on that?

    I've read a lot of thoughts about this, and while the exact point where new characters seemed to stop sticking (and how "sticking" is defined) is debatable (some have even suggested that Wolverine is the only non-Silver Age character to consistently hold down his own title, though that was before Deadpool became the sales juggernaut he is now), I think it boils down to two things:

    1. The comic book audience gets injected with much less new blood relative to readers who have stuck around since they were kids these days than in the past, so the audience as a whole already has their favorites and is less likely to embrace a brand new character like they would have as kids.

    It'll be interesting to see if the rise of comic book movies and TV shows helps stave off this trend, bringing in, if not more kids, at least more new readers. But even then, they'll likely have an inclination towards the character(s) whose filmed adaptation led them to comics in the first place.

    2. Since the rise of independent comics in the late 70s/early 80s (tied to the rise of the Direct Market) and cemented by the success of Image in the early 90s, there are tons more avenues for creators to successfully publish their work in a manner that still affords them complete control over the characters. So even if creators are working for one of the Big Two, they're more likely to save their best creations for a creator-owned project where they get to still own the character they create.

    I mean, we can quibble over the quality of the various series Mark Millar has launched that led to movie adaptations, but the fact remains, he's made tons of money on his creator-owned series whereas, had he done that work for Marvel or DC, they'd be making the bulk of the money off the adaptations.

    So nowadays, there's less incentive for a creator to give Marvel or DC the next Wolverine, Cable, Deadpool, etc. when they can just keep it for themselves and reap the full benefits should the character become successful.

    Also, 'lightening' warning.

    Goddamnit, I just can't get that right...

    @Nathan: We forgot the X-characters that probably did stick the most were Blink and Marrow, both designed by Joe Madureira.

    Blink, I think, moreso than Marrow. Blink came back in the 00s, made it into a movie, etc. Marrow's been pretty much forgotten since her late 90s heyday.

    Speaking of Texeira's Punisher War Journal there was mention in its letter pages at the time that they were proposing a "Justice League of Vigilantes" that would include Frank, Moon Knight, so we should try and figure out who else they had in mind too

    They kind of did that with a Marvel Knights series called...Marvel Knights, in the early 00s. The roster was, IIRC, Daredevil, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Shang Chi, Cloak and Dagger, with the Punisher loosely affiliated.



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  99. @Blam: but since "forearm" is a word and since everybody actually has forearms his name should be Fourarm and that should be the pun.

    Yeah, I'm not sure why Liefeld went with Forearm instead of the more obvious Fourarm.

    So what's the over/under on how many days they'd have spent floating there before going to find shelter had the plot not contrived for Ship to show up within hours?

    I'd set the over/under at "far too many". :)

    Did Marvel just drop in a white background on the digital edition instead of red for the hell of it, or was there another variant?

    As far as I know, that was a Marvel Unlimited "for the hell of it" change. I was puzzled by it too, when I saw it. Maybe there was a later variant with which I'm unfamiliar, but as far as I know, there was just the original red and then the gold second printing.

    @Nathan: So who was Cable originally intended as?

    As wwkd5 said, either a younger Stryfe or an older Cannonball, though it seems even those two are ideas Liefeld came to later, having initially created the character as little more than "gun-totting mentor for the New Mutants who is clearly tonally different than Professor X".

    We can certainly speculate on better origins for the character, but there's a difference between what we may like the intentions to have been and what they actually were. Here, at least, we have a pretty clear sense of the actual intentions.

    So Cable is Doug Ramsey revived and transmoded:) What are the details of this theory, and where from?

    If memory serves, "Cable is Doug Ramsey!" is one of the various teases that gets tossed out between now and when Cable's actual origin is revealed, along with Cable is Cannonball, Cable is Ahab, Cable is Nathaniel Richards, and, of course, Cable is Nathan Summers.

    From all accounts, it sounds like the "Cable is ___" stuff was all very free form, just a bunch of different writers teasing different stuff to maintain the air of mystery surrounding the character until a definitive reveal was settled on.

    @Teemu: f our esteemed host so wishes, there actually might be a call for "We're getting Cable!!" segment, where various hints of the identity of our mystery man could be brought up to help us solve the mystery as the story starts to unwind

    I was indeed planning on starting just such a section with the next NM review. Not sure on the name yet; "We're Getting Cable" is good though. "The Cable Guy" was my work-in-progress title.

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  100. Teebore: It'll be interesting to see if the rise of comic book movies and TV shows helps stave off this trend, bringing in, if not more kids, at least more new readers. But even then, they'll likely have an inclination towards the character(s) whose filmed adaptation led them to comics in the first place.

    You may be onto something there. Miles Morales and Kamala Khan seem to have raised uncommonly lot of fans for new characters, and a portion of that audience may be totally new readers who are tagging along for the well-marketed diversity angle for the comics medium, having had little interest for the medium before.

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  101. ... hey. A while back I noted at Matt's blog that the cover of this issue may owe something to that of The New Teen Titans Annual #2, but apparently everyone at the internet seem to know that the inspiration (quotes optional according to your own liking) for it was in fact Avengers #145.

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