Issue Date: November 2004
Story Title: The Spectre Of Things To Come
Staff: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Rob Liefeld (pencils), Matt Yackey (colors), VC’s Rus Wooton (letters), Sean Ryan & Stephanie Moore (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)
Having left the X-Men to heal from his wounds, Cannonball has returned to his hometown in Kentucky and to help his family with the harvest. There, he is attacked by a man called Jon Spectre, who came from the future to ask for Sam’s help. Spectre claims to be there to fight a man that causes trouble for both mutants and humans - a man that is known as Cable! Spectre explains to Sam why he hates Cable. At the same moment, Cable becomes aware of Spectre’s presence and believes that Spectre is always trouble. Cable, Domino and Shatterstar enlist the help of Sunspot, Meltdown and Wartpath and move over to action.
Cannonball is back in his hometown of Kentucky, where he tries to heal from his wounds he received in a recent battle with the X-Men. On the family farm, he helps with the seeding and flies over the barn Sam was able to buy for his family with the money he earned from his services when he was a member of the X-Corporation. When he is finished and lands on the ground, Sam doubts if he still wants to fight for peace between mutants and humans, or stay here with his family. But his sulking gets cut sort when suddenly a bright light appears from inside the barn.
Inside, the man, a mysterious-looking man in costume materializes after having teleported. The first thing he noticed when having landed is the strange smell of the air, which is so different where he came from. Where the man came from, the air smelled like blood, since forever. The man asks his computer, which he calls Timecode and is built in his armor, for a confirmation. Timecode confirms, saying, “Temporal wash point confirmed”.
The man asks for a quarry track. Timecode explains: “Potential linear divergences sorted. Confirmed clear.” Continuing, it says, “Sam Guthrie, alias Cannonball, the Messiah of Massacre/the Lionheart of Greymal-” The man stops his computer, just wanting to know where he is. Timecode confirms Sam’s location to be eleven meters to the man’s right.
Not understanding this, the man gets attacked by a flying Cannonball! The man can’t believe that he is actually seeing the Lionheart. Sam says that, normally, he would ask for the man’s name, but now he simply isn’t interested in that. The man smiles, saying that Sam is younger than the man expected him to be. The man also notices Sam’s moppy hairstyle, as the man had pictured him with a clean top.
The man says that he didn’t come there to fight – at least not Sam, at any rate. Cannonball flies towards the man but, as Sam wants to attack the man, he quickly turns intangible and Sam flies right through him. Turning back visible, the man says that, if Sam wants to challenge him, he would be honored. Sam flies through the barn’s wall, recognizing the way the man talks, as it is similar to Cable’s speech.
Outside, the man confirms that he came from the future. Sam begs to not ask him to save the world again. The man says that he doesn’t have to tell Sam what shall be, as Sam’s destiny has been forged. Sam orders the man to just tell him what he wants. The man introduces himself as Jon Spectre and he needs Sam’s help to battle a threat that harms both mutant and human alike, and is caused by a man they both know. Sam quickly comes to the conclusion that Spectre must be talking about Cable. Spectre confirms and begins to reveal his story.
Spectre reveals that it all began like most days do: with a call to battle. Cable tries to convince the Askani Council to battle En Sabah Nur and his forces, who have begun to re-arise. Though they first had their doubts, the Council realizes that Cable will do anything to bring peace and to sacrifice himself when he needs to - to fight when he needs to - though Cable doesn’t like to fight. But the Council had to be sure and tests Cable in an arena, making him prove himself against the Protectorate Council Guards. Jon remembers how proud he was to finally see his Uncle Nate fight, as he never had seen him in action. Specter says he never saw how beautiful fighting could be, though he tells “Lionheart” that he knows better now. Specter explains how Cable bravely fought and destroyed the Guards using his Psimitar weapon.
Spectre says he did some research later and never did found any exact proof, but knowing that Guards aren’t made out of flesh and blood that they might have been programmed to lose. Spectre remembers how Cable asked the Council if they were now convinced that the fires of battle still rage inside of him. The Council regretted to admit, but Cable’s desire indeed raged on like an inferno. Cable’s request was granted and soon people came to help him.
The names of Cable, Tetherblood, Dawnsilk, Adam Spectre, Lark and Sepulcher soon were learned by every school kid. They fought many battles and Jon’s father paid the ultimate price, only for having believed in a man who claimed that it was a time for action. A man who believed in a man who didn’t realize the very action he initiated nearly destroyed all life on Earth!
Meanwhile, elsewhere, Cable has summoned up the help of Warpath, Sunspot and Meltdown and has told them and Domino and Shatterstar the exact same story Spectre told Sam. Shatterstar can’t believe that Cable actually admits one of his mistakes, as he rarely does that. Warpath wants to know how these events affect the time now, as both he and Sunspot have responsibilities towards X-Corps, especially with them being under attack. Meltdown agrees, saying that she helped Cable in the Underground fighting Weapon X, but doesn’t feel like fighting. Cable explains to her and the rest that this isn’t a life choice, simply a mission. Cable says that he has recruited them because he needs people he can trust, as they have history together and history builds the future.
Speaking of which, the computer screens in Cable’s base go on and reveal Spectre. Domino asks Cable if he knows him, which he confirms. Cable claims that Spectre is always trouble, no matter what timeline he is haunting. Domino finds out that Spectre is in Kentucky now, with Sam. “Not good,” Cable says. Domino wants to know if Spectre if part of the Helix group they fought earlier, but Cable denies that. Meltdown wants to know what Spectre wants with Sam.
Warpath realizes that Spectre is from the future and asks if this is more of the High Lord events they had to deal with when confronting the Externals. It doesn’t matter to Shatterstar, as their ally is in danger and so they must protect him. Warpath thinks that Shatterstar just wants to kill something, but this time actually agrees with him.
Cable uses a Bodyslide and the team begins to teleport away. Meltdown now remembers how much she hates all this. Sunspot asks her what: fight or teleport? “Both,” Tabitha says. Holdings his guns ready, Cable comforts her, saying that it won’t be much of a fight, as Spectre won’t know what hit him!
Cable, Cannonball, Domino, Meltdown, Shatterstar, Sunspot, Warpath
In Spectre’s flash-back to his future:
Adam Spectre, Dawnsilk, Lark, Sepulcher, Tetherblood
2 Protectorate Council Guards
Cannonball was injured in a recent battle of the X-Men, when they were fighting the Fury [Uncanny X-Men #445-447]. Sam was a member of the X-Corporation of Paris, but left when he found himself unable to deal with Darkstar’s death [New X-Men #128-130, X-Treme X-Men #24]
Warpath is indeed a member of the X-Corporation, at the station situated in Mumbai, as revealed in New X-Men #134. Sunspot is the leader and director of the X-Corporation in Los Angeles, as seen in X-Treme X-Men #31 onwards.
X-Force first had to deal with the Externals, who believed that Cannonball was their next High Lord in the events in X-Force (1st series) #10-15. The Externals were later all killed, some drained by Selene or killed by the Legacy Virus. Selene later stated that Cannonball never was an External and that it was all just a ploy made up by Cable. It has never been cleared up whether Cannonball is or is not an External. [X-Force (1st series) #20, #37, #52-54]
Meltdown helped Cable out fighting Weapon X as a member of the Underground in Weapon X (2nd series) #6-13.
Tetherblood and Dawnsilk were first seen in Cable (1st series) #1, as members of the Clan Chosen. Adam Spectre, Lark and Sepulcher are first seen in this issue.
First appearance of Jon Spectre.
The menace of the Skornn was first seen last issue.
Cable, Domino and Shatterstar fought the Helix last issue.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
X-Force / Cable Vol. 1: The Legends Returns (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Homer Jay