This Marvel Universe review is being done by request of friend of the site, Sidus Ang. Nathan “Cable” Summers was not exactly high on my list of figures to review because he was never a character that I liked very much. I do however know quite a bit about him because he’s been forced on me a few times over the years. I’ve talked about how I got into comics a few times on this blog but here’s a quick recap. It was 1986 and my brother Doug and I were over at my cousin Greg’s house. He was showing us his comic collection which seemed huge to us at the time and we were both hooked. We were of course familiar with many of the Marvel characters by way of their cartoons and merchandising but never before had we seen mature super hero stories being told with sex and violence. We went down to the Green Gables corner store and loitered around long enough to finally drive the kid at the counter to open up his latest shipment of comics. I started with Spider-Man and Doug with X-Men. We were still quite young at the time so the next ones we were drawn to were titles from Marvel’s defunct all-ages imprint called “STAR COMICS”. I collected Spider-Ham, about a pig version of Spider-Man, The Ewoks, and Heathcliff. Doug collected a couple licensed books, G.I. Joe and Transformers, plus the STAR title Top Dog about a detective dog.
A mere 2 or 3 months into our new comic collecting habit Marvel celebrated their 75th anniversary by releasing all of their books with collectable covers that month. The covers featured the star’s face in the center with a surrounding boarder made up of Marvel’s most popular heroes. I talked more about this back in my Marvel Select Thor review. In true collector fashion Doug and I made it a mission to buy up as many of these anniversary covered books as we could. One of the books I picked up that month was The New Mutants issue 45. It was about a bunch of teens that lived in Xavier’s school for gifted youngsters who were being trained as the next generation of X-Men. Even though I wasn’t familiar with any of the characters beforehand I immediately liked the book. It might have had something to do with the fact that this particular issue was a tie-in to the Mutant Massacre; my favorite X-Men storyline of all time. I continued to buy the New Mutants comic for years afterwards until it ended with issue 100. It was an oddity in my roster of books because Doug collected all of the other mutant related titles.
New Mutants was always an under-the-radar type of book with mediocre sales. In the late 80s the series got a much-needed boost in popularity when superstar artist Rob Liefeld (yeah I know) was assigned the penciling chores. Under Rob and writer, Louise Simonson, The New Mutants went through a radical transformation. Team members left, new ones joined, they got new costumes, new villains were introduced, and the kids left Xavier’s school. They found a new leader in Cable, who first appeared in New Mutants issue 87.
I must confess that I liked Rob’s art at the time. But I didn’t care for all of the changes being made to the book. Under Cable’s tutelage the kids became more militant and a lot of the book’s fun factor was lost. It no longer felt like The New Mutants to me. I guess that’s why they cancelled the series and relaunched it as X-Force. Apparently being casually related to the top-selling X-Men books wasn’t good enough, they needed that giant “X” in the title to make sure readers made the connection and shelled out their cash.
There were multiple reasons why I didn’t like Cable. One of them being that he was too old to suddenly be the star of what had previously been a teen-centric team book. I didn’t like his design, I wouldn’t have been able to say why exactly at the time but I can now, it was too damn 90s. Pouches, straps, massive guns, metallic arm, glowing eye…there was way too much going on and there didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to any of it. Plus new characters started coming out of the woodwork, all with ties to Cable’s mysterious past. Bridge, Kane, Gideon, Domino, the Wolf Pack, and the Mutant Liberation Front were all mediocre characters that popped up during that time. I was, and still am, very loyal to my comics. It takes a lot for me to drop a book from my pull list. I made it to issue 15 of X-Force before I jumped ship. Cable had taken over and ruined one of my favorite comics.
Another character that Rob Liefeld had a hand in creating during his New Mutants run, Deadpool, became a favorite character of mine once he got his own book written by Joe Kelly and drawn by the brilliant Ed McGuinness. This was long before the character became the fan-favorite that he is now. I collected his solo book for years until it was eventually cancelled due to decreased sales. It was later relaunched as Cable & Deadpool. In order for me to get my Deadpool fix every month I had to tolerate Cable hanging around. I found Cable looked much better when drawn by other artists but no writer ever managed to make him seem interesting to me.
For those of you not familiar with Cable, he is the time displaced son of Cyclops and Jean Grey’s demon clone Madelyn Pryor. That’s comics for ya. I haven’t read any Cable comics since Cable & Deadpool ended years ago so I’m not super up to date on his current status. He had his own solo book for a while and he is now leading a new incarnation of X-Force. The premise behind his most recent solo book was that he had taken it upon himself to protect baby Hope, the first mutant to be born since Scarlet Witch cast her no more mutant spell (don’t ask). That is why this Cable figure has a baby strapped to his chest in case you were wondering. The figure did come with an alternate babyless chest piece if you prefer but I like this one because it’s weirder.
So let’s talk about the figure itself. I actually like it. It’s a good figure of a bad character. It’s got a ton of detail, good paint aps, the baby Hope is a nice touch, and he’s got some big (but not too big) weapons. I think the face is especially good because it has a darker flesh tone wash over the base color which brings out a lot of the detail. He’s also bigger than your average MU figure which is good as he was always drawn to be a pretty big guy. This is a good example of when Hasbro does their Marvel Universe figures right. I often feel like Hasbro cheaps out on these figures but Cable has a bunch of new tooling and it all comes together very nicely. Color me impressed. 8 out of 10.