Cable (1st series) #151

Issue Date: 
January 2018
Story Title: 
The Newer Mutants, Chapter 2

Ed Brisson (writer), Jon Malin (artist), Jesus Aburtov (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Jon Malin & Federico Blee (cover artists), Tom Grummett, Cory Hamscher & Tamara Bonvillain (variant cover artists), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Mark Basso (associate editor), Darren Shan & Mark Panicca (editors), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Thirteen years in the past, the time-traveling Cable has met up with that time period's Shatterstar, Longshot and Doop in an effort to find out who killed Candra, and left Selene as the final External – only Selene has revealed she is not the last, as Nicodemus, Crule and Absalom are with her. Absalom and Crule want to fight, but Selene calls them off and warns Cable that the Externals handle their own. Cable and his allies retreat to one of Cable's many safehouses and they continue to discuss the Externals, with Cable deciding that if the Externals Selene killed are willing to work with her, it must mean they are scared of who killed Candra. Cable points out that those Externals who have not joined up with Selene might be talking, as it is safe to assume Burke, Saul and Gideon have returned from the dead as well. When Doop asks Cable about Cannonball being an External, Cable explains that it was a rumor, nothing more. Cable knows where Burke and Saul are, but tells his allies that Gideon is off the grid. He adds that they are going to need reinforcements, and that he has candidates in mind. Meanwhile, off the coast of Greenland, Selene and her associates are on a yacht, where Selene is searching for a secret weapon – and pulls a woman from a portal and tells her that she is here to make the pain go away. Cable arrives at the Xavier Institute, where he finds Armor. She is interested in the future, but he is vague, however she agrees to help him on his mission. In Central Park, X-23 is making light work of Facility agents, which is seen by Shatterstar, who asks X-23 to help Cable on his mission. Cable, Doop and Armor arrive in Tonasket, Washington, where they find the External Burke, waiting for them. Burke is a precog, and after inviting Cable and the others into his home, he reveals that he has died many times before across several centuries, and that he only wants to die again, to be with his family. Cable wants Burke to assist them, but Burke tells Cable that he doesn't know what he is up against, and that he just some self-appointed time cop, and that the Externals don't want his help. Cable tells Absalom that he assumed he was on his own, and Burke warns Cable that his friends in Mongolia are too late.  Longshot, Shatterstar and X-23 are indeed in Mongolia, where they find bodies strewn about a temple. They discuss Saul, but very little is known about him. Once inside the temple, they are attacked by Crule and Absalom. X-23 and Shatterstar keep them busy, X-23 even shoves her claws into Crule's head, while Longshot makes his way down a corridor and finds more bodies. Back in Tonasket, A mysterious shadowy figure talks to Burke, before Burke tells them to make good on their promise – and they shove a large blade through Burke, killing him, while, at that moment, Longshot walks into another chamber and discovers Saul's body on the floor, and standing over him are Selene, Nicodemus and Blink!

Full Summary: 

13 years ago:
Inside the Manhattan branch of the Hellfire Club, where Cable, from the present day, finds himself and Longshot, Shatterstar and Doop from this time period, confronted by the External Selene, along with the thought-dead Externals Nicodemus, Crule and Absalom. Selene the Black Queen tells Cable to put down the gun, and that as much as it would please her to snuff he and his merry band of idiots out, it is clear that their fight is not with one another – which means that her Externals and she have more pressing concerns to see to. 'We'll do no such thing, witch! We've come for answers and we shall -' Shatterstar begins, swords at the ready, but Cable tells Shatterstar that Selene is right, and as he puts his gun in its holster, tells everyone to stand down, as they are leaving. 'Are you serious? After she just -' Longshot begins, but Cable, turning away from Selene, declares that she didn't kill Candra.

Cable points out that Selene thought they had killed Candra, and that tells him that she knows about as much as they do – maybe even less. Cable adds that there is no use beating up these clowns if they are not going to get what they need. He remarks that, given their history, he is surprised to see Nicodemus, Crule and Absalom by Selene's side. 'Selene gave you the option to leave in one piece! But you had to keep pushing!' Absalom exclaims as he leaps towards the departing heroes, his blades at the ready. 'Suits me! Been wanting to whip Cable's ass for decades' Crule adds as the large purple-skinned External lunges towards the heroes. Selene, with the tall Nicodemus towering behind her, tells Cruel and Absalom to stand down, and instructs Cable to show himself out before she has a change of heart. Cable tells Selene not to push it, and warns her that if he thinks for a second that she was involved, he will be back. Selene's eyes glow purple as she tells Cable that he would be wise to stay out of Externals business. 'We can handle our own' Selene boasts, the other three Externals standing behind her.

Later, a shirtless Cable sits at a large computer monitor, while Doop hovers over him, and Shatterstar, also shirtless, leans against the monitor. 'So, this is where you call home?' Longshot asks as he approaches Cable, who explains that this is one of his safe houses. Longshot points out that it feels more like a bunker – a fancy bunker. 'That's the point' Cable states, adding that he wants to make sure his safe houses are still here if he needs them two thousand years from now. 'What happened back there?' Shatterstar asks. 'You walk us into a battle and then, just as things get interesting, you pull the plug? Selene gave us nothing! What was the purpose of that?' Shatterstar enquires. Doop remarks something, hands on his sides, while Cable looks at a small vial that he holds and tells his allies that they gave him more than what he had before, and adds that there was no point in putting their lives in danger when they wouldn't have gained anything from fighting them.

'If Absalom, Crule and Nicodemus are willing to work with her...' Cable's voice trails off as Shatterstar points out that he thought Selene killed them all more than a decade back. 'She did. Clearly, it didn't stick' Cable declares, adding that if they are working for the woman who tried to kill them, then they are clearly more terrified of what's after them. Cable stands up and walks across the large chamber, announcing that more important than the Externals who have joined up with Selene is those that haven't. Large headshots of Burke, Saul and Gideon fill up one wall and Cable points out that if the other Externals have come back from the dead, it is safe to assume these three have as well – and perhaps, unlike Selene, they will be interested in talking. Doop makes a comment in his native Doop Speak, to which Cable states that Cannonball is not an External, that it was just a rumor, nothing more, before Longshot asks how they play this.

Cable reports that they  are going to split into groups, with half going after Burke and the other half after Saul, see what they know, what their part in this is and why they are not with Selene. He informs his allies that he has come up with reports on both – Burke was last seen hiding out in some hippy commune in Washington, while Saul is most likely back home in Mongolia,. He adds that Gideon is off the grid. Cable sits on the large computer monitor and decides that after Selene nearly took down all four of them on her own, they are going to need some reinforcements. Doop asks him something, and Cable reports that he has a couple of candidates in mind.

Under the light of the moon, a small yacht-like ship sits off the coast of Greenland in the Atlantic Ocean. Absalom declares that this is ridiculous and asks what they are doing in the middle of the Atlantic. 'Right now, Cable is out there, trying to -' he begins, but Selene tells him that she has had enough of his whining. Along with Nicodemus and Crule, they stand on the deck, and Selene declares that whoever killed Candra did it brutally, while somehow managing to block them from seeing who they are, which is no easy feat, as Candra was no easy prey. Selene tells her companions that they need assistance, and reveals that she has been setting on this “secret weapon” for more than a decade – waiting for the right time to use it. 'That time is now'. Selene raises her hands and energy glows around them. She orders her companions to stop the boat as her hands reach through the glowing energy, and someone screams as Selene pulls them through a portal. Selene stands over the mysterious figure who exclaims 'Oh God it hurts so much' and Selene tells them that it is okay, they are here to help – here to make the pain go away.

The next day at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, where the young mutant called Armor is sitting on a bench among the trees. A voice calls out to her and she looks up: 'Oh, Dang! You're Cable! And you... you're Doop! I know you!' she exclaims as Cable appears before her. 'I know you, too' Cable remarks before sitting down next to Armor. 'Oh, my God. Right. Because you're from the future. Do we... do we know each other in the future?' Armor asks. Cable tells her that they do, to which Armor exclaims 'Cool' and asks him what she is like in the future, to which Cable explains that he can't tell her that. 'Right, right. Of course' Armor remarks, before enquiring as to whether he can tells her if she comes up with a cooler codename than “Armor”. 'You're asking the guy who goes by “Cable”' the time-traveler replies, while Doop flies after a butterfly nearby. Cable then tells Armor that he came here because he needs her help. 'In the future?' Armor asks. 'No. Now' Cable explains, admitting that he doesn't fully understand what is happening, but that he does need help. 'And you're coming to me? I mean... I'm not even an X-Man yet' Armor replies. 'Yet' Cable points out. 'Wait... are you saying that I become an X-Man?' Armor asks. 'Shhhh...' Cable utters, putting a finger to his mouth. 'Cooool!' the wide-eyed Armor exclaims.

Central Park, Manhattan, where agents of the Facility are being slaughtered by X-23, whose bloody claws cut through her foes with ease. 'Come on, you meatheads! She's just a girl! How hard can it be...?' one of them standing nearby calls out, before X-23 turns his attention to him and walks across the bodies of the dead agents, towards him. 'You little -' the agent calls out, before a double-blade sword is shoved through his chest. Shatterstar greets X-23, calling her Laura, and informs her that he has been watching her fight. 'When Cable told me about you – a weapon bred to kill – I was sceptical. Warriors are trained, not created in a lab' Shatterstar remarks, before the agent drops from his sword onto the ground. Shatterstar tells X-23 that, watching her, he is impressed.

'I don't know you' X-23 tells Shatterstar, who introduces himself and explains that Cable sent him. 'Don't know Cable' X-23 adds, her claws ready for action if needed. 'He knows you' Shatterstar tells X-23, before informing her that they are about to embark on a mission and need soldiers – people willing to fight to save the future. He crouches down beside Laura and tells her that Cable wants her to assist them. 'Will you?' he asks. Laura doesn't answer, she just stares back at Shatterstar.

Tonasket, Washington, that evening, a small cabin can be seen deep within a thick forest, near a lake. Cable, Armor and Doop are behind some trees. Doop remarks something in Doop Speak, to which Cable tells him that he doesn't know – Burke is one of the Externals they know least about, a precog, but mostly kept to the background, and not much is known about him. Suddenly, 'Cable! Please – please come out from there. There's no need to hide. I've been expecting you' Burke calls out from the cabin doorway. Armor and Doop looked confused, while Cable frowns. Burke announces that he has put on some tea and suggests they sit down and talk like civilized human beings. 'So much for the element of surprise' Cable mutters, before he approaches the cabin, 'Come. Come. I rarely get guests out this way. This is exciting!' Burke exclaims, smiling, raising his arms into the air.

Shortly, Cable and Armor sit at a basic table in a very basic cabin, while Doop relaxes in a chair nearby. 'How did you -' Cable begins as Burke sits down opposite them, 'Know that you were hiding out in my woods? I'm a precog, I've known you were coming for days' Burke explains. He tells Cable that he knows he is here to ask if he knows who killed Candra – not just who, but why and where – no – when they're from. Burke informs Cable that he needs him to understand something, and explains that he has been alive for a long, long time, but a good portion of that time he has also been dead. Burke pulls a teabag from his mug and explains that in the 17th Century, he was burned at the stake, and in the 18th Century it was the guillotine, while in the 19th Century he was hanged – and in the 20th Century it was the Legacy Virus that did him in. Burke tells his new companions that each time he prayed, hoped that it would be the end, but it never held. 'You want to die?' Armor asks. 'More than anything' Burke admits. 'But you get to live forever!' Armor exclaims. Burke tells her that the idea of it is far removed from the reality of it, as you spend your whole life watching those you love pass away, and he is ready to move on and join them. He reports that, for that reason, he is not going to be able to help them.

Meanwhile, in the Orkhon Valley, Mongolia, warriors lie strewn across a hillside as Shatterstar, Longshot and X-23 climb a long staircase leading to a temple. 'Well, if there were any doubt that we were on the right path...' one of them remarks. Longshot tells Shatterstar that when he thinks of men named Saul, he doesn't generally think of them living in temples in Mongolia. Shatterstar reports that Saul's real name is Garbha-Hsein, one of the oldest Externals who had been around for about a thousand years before Selene killed him. 'Though, with the other Externals back, who knows if he's actually dead' Shatterstar adds. Shatterstar reports that Saul can apparently emit energy blasts and, according to his file, can turn himself into a dragon. 'Or so I've heard. I've always wanted to battle a dragon' Shatterstar adds. 'Older than dirt and he changes his name to Saul?' Longshot asks, surprised. 'Perhaps he was tired of hearing people butcher the pronunciation of Garbha-Hsien' Shatterstar suggests. He turns to Longshot and tells him that, regardless, these people were killed with a sword, no scorching or dragon bites, so they should assume that their killer is coming for Saul, that he or she is inside.

Longshot asks if they should wait and take a look around first, see what they are walking into. 'Where is the fun in that?' Shatterstar asks, and as X-23 walks through the large doors at the front of the temple, Shatterstar points out that it appears she agrees with him 'I like her spirit' he adds. Making their way into a darkened corridor, which is littered with the bodies of the warriors who live in the temple. Longshot tells his companions to keep an eye out and to see if any of the guards are still breathing, as maybe one of them can tell them what happened here. 'Get those luck powers of yours to work then' Shatterstar replies. 'They don't work that -' Longshot begins, before X-23 suddenly unsheathes her claws and announces that someone else is here. An instant later, Cruel and Absalom leap towards them. 'We warned you to stay out of External business!' Cruel exclaims, asking Shatterstar why they couldn't listen, while Absalom fires razor-sharp blades at X-23 and points out that this time Selene is not here to stop them.

Back in Burke's cabin, Burke remarks that someone has finally figured out how to kill the Externals – for good, and he can't risk Cable ruining this – not until after he has gone, at least. Cable stands up and reminds Burke that he can see the future, and asks him if he can see who is doing this. 'I need you to tell me. I can make you tell me' Cable boasts, but Burke reminds Cable that he is immortal, so his threats won't work – there is no pain he can inflict upon him that he hasn't already suffered. 'You don't even know what this person...these people...are trying to do. All you know is that someone's here, from where? The future? The past? You don't know. Yet, here you are, the self-appointed time cop. We don't need your help' Burke exclaims, to which Cable asks 'We? Who's we? You're not with the other Externals, so I assume you're on your own'. Burke sips his drink, 'They want it to stop. I don't' he replies. 'Stop what?' Cable asks. Burke tells Cable that he can't help him, and that he has distracted him long enough. 'your friends in Mongolia...are too late to stop it, too' he reveals.

At that moment, Shatterstar's foot connects with Absalom's face, knocking the External backwards. Shatterstar tells Longshot that he and X-23 can handle these two, as X-23 leaps onto Crule's back and shoves her claws into him. Shatterstar tells Longshot to get inside and find out what they are keeping from them. 'I can't leave -' Longshot begins, but Shatterstar tells him to go. 'Stop him, Crule!' Absalom calls out, 'On it!' the behemoth responds as he races after Longshot. 'No' X-23 declares as she leaps onto Crule's back and shoves her claws into his head. Longshot continues on down the corridor, slowing down when he comes to another trail of bodies. In native Mongolian, someone calls out 'Help' as they reach up and grab Longshot by his ankle. '...please, I'm going to die' the warrior adds. 'I don't understand. I -' Longshot begins, while another voice, in an adjacent room exclaims 'What the hell is taking those two so long?' Longshot tells the warrior that he will be back, but the warrior tells him not to go in there, as the Devil is in there. Peering around the corner, Longshot looks shocked: 'It can't be!'

Back in Burke's cabin, Cable, Armor and Doop ride away on a motorcycle. Burke hangs his head, as someone standing in the shadows and carrying a very large blade tells him 'I thought that Cable would never leave. You did good'. 'I didn't give you up' Burke replies, before asking the mysterious figure to make good on their promise. An instant later, the large blade is shoved through Burke's body. Blood splurts out of Burke's mouth as he utters '' before he seemingly passes away.

'...BLINK?' Longshot calls out as he steps into the adjacent room back in the temple. 'What have you done?' Shatterstar asks as he finds Nicodemus, Selene and Blink standing over the blood-covered body of Saul!

Characters Involved: 


13 years ago:
Armor, Blink, Doop, Longshot, Shatterstar, X-23
Absalom, Burke, Crule, Nicodemus, Saul, Selene (all Externals)

Facility agents
Shadowy figure

file images on screen:
Burke, Gideon, Saul (all Externals)

Story Notes: 

Cannonball and Apocalypse were both rumored to be Externals, but this has not been confirmed.

The Externals first appeared as a group in X-Force (1st series) #10, and most of the members were killed in X-Force (1st series) #52-54, by Selene, save for Nicodemus and Burke who died of the Legacy Virus.

Candra was also killed in X-Men (2nd series) #61, and returned in Scarlet Spider (2nd series) #17-19.

Burke was reported to have died of the Legacy Virus in X-Force (1st series) #37, although this wasn't shown on panel, only mentioned.

Blink was believed to have been killed in X-Men (2nd series) #37, but returned in X-Force (3rd series) #11. 

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