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

Cable, or Nathan Christopher Charles Dayspring Askani'son Summers, is a time-traveling soldier from the future who is here to prevent his apocalyptic timeline from coming to pass. He is biologically the son of X-Men Jean Grey (through her clone Madelyne Pryor) and Scott Summers a.k.a Cyclops. As an infant, he first appeared in "Uncanny X-Men" #201 (January, 1986). Though it took years for said infant and the time-traveling adult to be revealed as the same individual.

Thanks to the machinations of Mr Sinister, he was born with a destiny -- to kill Apocalypse. Not being an idiot, Apocalypse took steps to prevent this at an early stage, by infecting Nathan with a special "techno-organic virus" which severely limited his powers and would have killed him if his loving father and, uh, step-mother hadn't sent him 2,000 years into the future to be raised by his alternate-universe sort-of-half-sister's all-female psychic death cult (it's okay -- Scott and Jean spent their honeymoon living in cloned bodies in the future in order to raise little baby Nathan up to be a man).

Once he had grown into a grizzled old veteran, Nathan came back in time to the present in order to kill Apocalypse before he could conquer the world.

Now that Cable has accomplished his mission (repeatedly), he became a man without a purpose; the character has been bounced around through a variety of new concepts. He's been a member of the X-Men more than once, became a messiah figure and developed an Odd Friendship with a certain psychotic katana-wielding mercenary, and then adopting and raising of Hope, the first mutant born after the mass depowering (and who may be the reincarnation of Jean Grey), while traveling through time. After returning to the present with a teenaged Hope, Cable appeared to have made a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the Second Coming X-Men event but has since returned. His powers have fluctuated as well, regaining and losing both his techno-organic symbiote and his mutant powers.

Also has the notorious reputation as a Game Breaker in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

Tropes used in Cable include:
  • Action Girl: Domino.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: His son, Tyler, aka Genesis, who was kidnapped by Stryfe spent several arcs making his father's life miserable before being killed by Wolverine. Stryfe himself is arguably this to Scott and Jean.
  • Anti-Hero: Usually type III, but introduced as type IV to V. (Sticking enemy heads on pikes as a warning, etc)
  • Arch Enemy: Stryfe and Apocalypse
  • Artificial Limbs: The techno-organic virus has transformed most of the left half of his body into metal.
  • Artistic License: Biology: Marvel canon states that Cable is biologically the child of Jean Grey-Summers because his actual mother was her clone, Madelyne Pryor. In fact, Nate Grey (X-Man) is his Age of Apocalypse counterpart, driving home the idea. However, modern science has discredited that possibility. Even if two individuals (such as twins or clones) are genetically parallel, they are not identical, due to epigenetic markers; these are markers that are shaped by the individuals' unique environments. Even a clone that is produced on the spot will not be completely identical to its progenitor, no less producing the same sperm or egg cells which carry its genetic material.
  • Badass Normal: Subverted. Cable is one of the most badass characters in the Marvel Universe. He has powers but they're largely ignored in favor of his really big guns.
  • Body Horror: While Cable's body was still infected with the TO virus, he could become hideously distorted [dead link] if it was allowed to run unchecked. At one point in his childhood (as depicted in one issue of The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix), he looked like something out of The Thing.
    • One typical way of depicting him losing control of the virus was to have his left arm grotesquely deformed
  • Big Freaking Gun: One of Cable's trademarks.
  • Cain and Abel: Cable and Stryfe.
    • Cable also has an Absalom thing going on with his son Tyler. Or at least, he did, until Wolverine killed him.
  • Cloning Blues: Stryfe (Cable's clone) and Madelyne.
  • Cool Old Guy: Cable's role in many comics.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: In Cable's attempt to unite the world against him in a Genghis Gambit, SHIELD and Reed Richards get nervous. So they call in the Silver Surfer to take care of Cable. It... does not end well for Cable.
  • Darker and Edgier: Cable's initial appearances.
  • During the War: A lot of Cable's backstory comes from his conflicts in the future against Apocalypse and the New Caananites.
  • Evil Twin: His clone Stryfe.
  • Executive Meddling: Cable was *not* originally meant to turn out to be Cyclops' son; that was a Retcon done to tie in some loose plot ends.
  • Future Badass
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom
  • Harmful to Minors: Poor Hope lives in constant danger of this.
  • Hot Librarian: Irene Merriweather.
  • It's Personal: Apocalypse and Stryfe have more or less killed everyone that Cable has ever loved respectively.
  • Knight of Cerebus: His first appearance in New Mutants marked the beginning of the Dark Age.
  • Knight Templar: Cable continually verges on this.
  • Lighter and Softer: Over time, he became this thanks to a burgeoning sense of heroism.
  • The Messiah: He had a brief stint as this during his severely powered-up phase, at which point he left the antihero teritory entirely and went more into Pillars of Moral Character territory.
  • Messianic Archetype: Cable is always like this but totally embraces this role in Cable and Deadpool.
  • Morality Pet: Hope; Sam Guthrie (Cannonball); Deadpool (!!).
    • Cable and Deadpool seem to function as Morality Pets for each other. That's the weird part.
      • It could be read as Cable teaching Deadpool about morals and the like, but having to constantly change his own actions so he doesn't end up saying "Do as I say, not as I do.".
  • Nineties Anti-Hero: Cable is probably the original, if not, he's certainly a major Trope Codifier. However, in a much later subversion by Fabian Nicieza, he will apparently try to leave the territory entirely at times.
  • Odd Friendship: Part of the fun of Cable and Deadpool was the acknowlegement that the two had nothing in common and probably should be mortal enemies.
    • Should be enemies? Deadpool debuted as Cable's enemy!
  • Papa Wolf: Cable is very protective of the new mutant child Hope
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Sent to the future as an infant - Returned a few decades older than his parents, before the point he was abducted.
  • Power Limiter: It's stated that Cable's inherent telepathic and telekinetic powers are almost off the charts, but he can very rarely use them to their fullest extent because the techno-organic virus that makes him a cyborg could completely consume him if he wasn't constantly, actively suppressing it. Or later just burning them out with over use.
    • Interestingly enough, he has two sets of powers and they both act as Power Limiters to each other. His techno-organic virus has been compared to the virus that created the Phalanx, a Hive Mind behind a Crisis Crossover. Phalanx members and a few rare Phlebotinum Rebels have Shapeshifting powers and Technopathy, and both abilities can be seen in Cable in minor ways: whenever his psychic powers are overtaxed the metal body parts physically grow and start to take over the rest, and he can physically interface with machines. If the virus ever really consumed Cable, presumably he would be patient zero for a serious threat.
      • The result of Cable becoming the virus was actually shown in an AU that Deadpool hopped into while he was looking for Cable - it's where the infamous "tentacle scene" comes from.
  • Psychic Powers
  • Remember the New Guy?: Cable was introduced in the 1990's, but once he was introduced he was treated as though he had been known for a long time. Justified mostly by Time Travel.
  • Sociopathic Hero: In his original portrayal. Louise Simonson made a personal statement that this was to introduce a "constructive" youth role model teacher counter to Xavier's "whiny" idealism. Of course, he was later clarified as trying to prevent a Complete Monster from engineering an apocalyptic warzone... Then Nicieza turned him into a Pillar Of Moral Character instead, and nowadays he seems like a much tamer "general non-bloodcrazed soldier" version of the original.
  • Status Quo Is God: No matter what changes are made to Cable, be it killing his archenemy, getting a new power, curing himself of the techno-organic virus, getting weapons other than guns, etc. He always comes back to being a white haired, time tossed soldier with the Big Freaking Gun and metal arm.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Cable is a member of the Summers family, and contributes a lot to the complexity of said family tree. His biological parents are Scott Summers and a clone of Jean Grey, he grew up in the future, was raised by Scott and Jean inhabiting the bodies of people from that period as arranged by his sister from a different future timeline, returned to the present before he was born (or maybe slightly after, and then went back even further), and, as of 2011, he seems to have acted as adoptive parent to the reincarnation of Jean Grey (in another future timeline). He's not His Own Grandfather, but he might as well be.
  • Technopath
  • Tele Frag: A problem that Cable has occasionally suffered from.
  • Walking the Earth: Cable does this whenever the pressures of being a time traveling demigod get to him.