Cable (1st series) #17

Issue Date: 
November 1994
Story Title: 
The Dark Ride: part 1: The Calling

Jeph Loeb (writer), Steve Skroce (pencils), Mike Sellers & Ryan Dvorak (inks), Mike Thomas (colors), Starkings/Comicraft (letters), Lisa Patrick (editor), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

In Egypt, the Dark Rider known as Foxbat is running for his life. The other Riders are testing their own to see if they’re worthy to stay on the team or not and, unfortunately, that isn’t the case for Foxbat. He is defeated by Lifeforce, who literally uses her powers to suck the life out of him. Meanwhile at Xavier’s, Cable and Cyclops are training together in the Danger Room, but end up arguing. Scott suggests Cable spends some time with Jean to train his powers, instead of constantly relying on his big guns, but Cable declines. After they leave for breakfast, Jean has a brief talk with Domino about her feelings for Nathan. She quickly changes the subject, but Jean knows how Domino really feels about Cable, and she’s also aware of Nathan’s feelings for her. While Cable gets ready for breakfast, he walks through the halls of the mansion and finds some old pictures of the X-Men, including himself as a baby. His thoughts are interrupted by Beast, who jokes about the time they used to call Scott “Slim.” This causes Nathan to think about “Slym,” the man who raised him in the future together with his beloved Redd. While they finally eat, Cable informs Storm about the fact that the Morlocks are still alive, and she immediately wants to be brought to them. Cable takes her and Domino back into the underground tunnels where the Morlocks used to live. As Cable explains to Ororo what happened to the Morlocks, they are suddenly attacked by Caliban, though they quickly learn that, actually, Caliban was running for his life, as he is also being judged by the Dark Riders. Storm tends to Caliban’s wounds but, as the Riders arrive, they make battle against the Storm and her friends. An errant blast causes the ceiling to collapse, separating Cable and Domino from Storm and Caliban. They fight their own share of Dark Riders, but eventually the Riders’ teleporter, Hardrive, teleports his teammates away, as they have orders not to harm Cable. Cable wants to know who is leading the Dark Riders, since Apocalypse is dead, but, before he can get an answer, the Riders are already gone. Caliban thanks Cable for rescuing him, but Nathan warns Caliban not to thank him just yet. They’re going to patch him up fast, so they can use his mutant tracking ability to find the Riders again!

Full Summary: 

Alexandra, Egypt. Night…

He is called Foxbat, and he is running for his life – literally. For years, like much of the mutant population, Foxbat lived with the scorn and fear of being different. His strange appendages growing spear-like from his arms… his clawed hoofs and fingers… his yellow nocturnal eyeballs. All that was before Apocalypse found him and gave Foxbat a purpose: hunting down mutants in a deadly game of survival of the fittest! But now, the game has changed!

Foxbat reminds himself desperately to keep running so “they” can’t get a fix on him. He jumps off a roof and lands safely on the ground. He rolls to keep balance, and then immediately continues his run, which takes him into an alley, which has a dead end. Still, Foxbat thinks he has lost them. A moment later, the air is filled with a green energy blast, which hits Foxbat. The other Dark Riders have arrived, and they’re after him!

Spyne can’t believe Gauntlet actually worked with Foxbat before, as the guy looks more like lunch to him. Gauntlet, as he points his gun at Foxbat’s face, informs his former partner it’s judgment day for him. He explains they gain strength as their numbers grow. The question now, however, is if Foxbat has what it takes to be one of them. Talking with a soft voice, Lifeforce doesn’t think there’s any question: Foxbat is going down! Hurricane uses his wind powers to blow Foxbat against a wall and Deadbolt powers up to finish the job. He grabs Foxbat and points one of his powered-up claws through Foxbat’s neck, ready to kill him.

A frightened Foxbat tells Gauntlet this isn’t fair, defending he earned his place within the Riders. He was chosen by Apocalypse himself! Gauntlet shouts that Apocalypse is dead! And now they have found another who will lead them into the killing fields. Lifeforce wants to kill Foxbat and asks Gauntlet if she can. Foxbat states that he heard about it too, and says he knew coming to Egypt was… Not letting Foxbat ending his sentence, Gauntlet shouts that Foxbat knows nothing… except how to die! When Gauntlet tells Lifeforce to take the honors, she moves closer to Foxbat, and starts absorbing his life. She wants Foxbat to fight her, as she likes it when they do. Foxbat screams…

Xavier’s, on a Sunday morning…

When Scott Summers invited Nathan Dayspring over for breakfast, Scott thought they’d have a chance to talk. A nice, quiet, father and son chat. He should have known better. It is rarely nice and quiet when father and son are better known as Cyclops and Cable!

The two powerful mutants are practicing their powers in the danger room, with the room having a hologram of a yard outside. Cable fires his gun at some flying discs, and asks Scott what he just said. Scott wants to repeat himself, but Cable asks him to wait. He looks how his shot successfully destroys the discs. Scott mentions to Cable he might want to spend a little more time honing his own natural powers instead spending so much time depending on his big guns. Cable appreciates Scott’s opinion, but he has his own way of doing things.

Scott asks Nathan to believe him when he says nobody knows more about being your own man than he does. He likes to think Nathan inherited that trait from him. However, as Scott begins to speak to Nathan about being in the heat of battle, Cable angrily tells him not to, as he has seen much more heat than Scott has. He has seen more than anyone should have! Scott smiles he knows that, but he also knows that even the most seasoned warrior uses everything he has at his disposal. Scott gently places his hand on Nathan’s shoulder, admitting he has spoken with Jean. She’s willing to work with him. She wants to.

Nathan thinks it would be a waste of time, believing he’s just a low level telekinetic… and that battles are won by superior firepower. Scott becomes angry hearing that, and shoots more flying discs with a powerful optic blast! Cable jokes and calls Scott a show-off. Scott asks the computer to terminate the program, as he’s going to see about having some breakfast.

Scott telepathically contacts Jean. He apologizes for having done that, and says that if Cable would know if he tuned into their psi-link, he just wanted Nathan to agree to spend some time with her, and instead he let Nathan get to him. Jean, who is with Domino in the deck, telepathically tells Scott to give Nathan time, as they can’t expect him to embrace this right away. He doesn’t even know the Slym and Redd he grew up with in the future were actually the two of them!

Cable asks Domino if she wants to come down there with him and shoot down some more discs, but she thinks she’ll pass, as just watching Cable gives her the daily dose of machismo. Holding her coffee in her hands, Jean tells Domino she likes that she and Cable are… Domino cuts in, telling Jean that they’re just friends, and that they have been friends for a long time. Jean suggests that she and Domino could get to know each other. Domino remains quiet hearing that. She leaves, thinking somebody said something about breakfast. As Jean watches Domino go, she agrees to herself to let Domino play it cool, but she can see in Domino’s eyes how she really feels for Nathan. And she knows how Nathan feels about her.

Cable on the other hand, is walking through the halls of the mansion. He admits he shouldn’t have given Scott such a hard time but thinks, after all this time, to have someone in his life telling him what to do, makes Nathan feel so… He stops his thinking when he notices an old picture of the original X-Men hanging on the wall. Scott and Jean are on the picture as well, and Nathan notices how young they all look. Nathan also notices another picture… of himself… as a baby… before the virus. Beast interrupts Nathan’s pounding. He remembers the good old days, when Bobby was more the Snowman. Hank himself wasn’t blue yet, and they used to call Scott “Slim.” Nathan remembers that name… “Slym?” he wonders.

Jean warns the two telepathically that breakfast is ready, and they leave to the dinner room. Hank goes to sit on the table and takes a large stack of pancakes. Scott is surprised Hank is going to eat them all, while Hank wonders if he can get more. Domino is standing alone in a corner. She recalls how, first, Nathan takes her out on a date and, now, he’s having breakfast with her! She can’t help but wonder where this is going. Storm enters the room and jokes it’s so nice to see Nathan when it doesn’t involve ducking. Cable takes a drink from his coffee, and tells Storm it’s good to see her too. He admits that one of the reasons he brought Domino there is because he has some news: the Morlocks… they’re alive!

Storm is shocked to hear that and drops her coffee, which splatters as the cup in broken against the floor. She thinks it’s impossible the Morlocks are still alive, but wants Cable to bring her to them.

Within the hour, Cable, Domino and Storm are twenty stories below New York City… in the tunnel world once called home by a hideously deformed band known as the Morlocks. Domino doesn’t really being back in the sewers so soon. Storm recalls there was a time she led the Morlocks, and feels she still has a responsibility to them. If there’s even the slightest chance they’re still alive, she wants to be there for them. Cable reminds Ororo about what he said earlier, and not to get her hopes up. They made contact with one, but the Morlocks seem to be caught in some kind of dimensional rift. They land in the water and Cable asks them to wait, as he thinks something is wrong. Cable finds blood on a wall… and he smells its fresh.

On that moment, a loud howl is heard – and none other than Caliban smashes his way through a wall! Caliban jumps at the three mutants, but Cable grabs Caliban’s hand and throws him over his shoulder. After Caliban lands down violently, Cable points his gun at Caliban’s face, giving him three seconds to explain why he attacked them. Storm tends to Caliban, noticing that he’s hurt. Caliban recognizes Storm, and reveals he didn’t attack… but was running away.

Suddenly, the Dark Riders appear behind them and tell the X-Men to back off! They have judged Caliban, and deemed him unworthy! Gauntlet recognizes Cable and believes they may have found a real test now. Cable tells the Riders that, if they know who he is, they also have to know he’s not an X-Man. He opens fire, but so do the Riders. One of Cable’s blasts hit the ceiling, which collapses. Cable pushes him and Domino into safety, but that causes them to get separated from Storm and Caliban. Domino is okay, and Cable suggests they just find Storm and get out of there.

Behind the collapsed wall, Hurricane confronts Storm. He admits he hoped Storm would be judged one day, so he could find out himself how she earned then nickname “Wind Rider.” Hurricane’s powers surprise Storm and blow her against a wall. However, she still stands. With a stern voice, Ororo hopes that was Hurricane’s best shot, as he won’t get another.

Meanwhile, Domino is attacked by Lifeforce, who mocks Domino that she flatters herself for consorting with mutants while she has no powers of her own. Domino gets up and punches Lifeforce in the face. She quickly recovers and grabs Domino’s hand, and starts absorbing the life out of her!

Cable is fighting Spyne, who has read Nathan’s files. He mentions that Apocalypse believed Cable was cause for return and referred to him as “the Chosen One.” He grabs Cable by the throat and widely opens his mouth, revealing his big teeth, and Spyne hopes that means Cable will be extra tasty! Cable quietly recalls this isn’t the first time he heard himself referred to as “the Chosen One.” He wonders what Apocalypse was concerned about and what secrets died with him back on the moon. Cable kicks Spyne away from him. He dropped his weapon, which means he has to rely on something else, but more difficult. However, it’s as his dad would say, “You gotta make use of everything at your disposal!” Cable uses his telekinetic powers to blow Spyne out of his way.

Lifeforce continues to suck the life out of Domino. She doesn’t notice that, behind her, another wall is slowly collapsing, and bricks shower on her head. This startles her, and Domino takes advantage of the situation by head-butting Lifeforce’s, which knocks her out. Cable arrives and asks Domino if she needs any help. She mocks that Cable’s timing stinks as usual, and just wants to go. But, the remaining Dark Riders have other ideas about that: no one leaves here alive!

Suddenly, Storm uses her wind powers to blow Hurricane into the room, and smacks him hard against a wall, which knocks him out. She shouts that she wants this insanity to stop now and threatens the Riders to grant them safe passage, so they can give Caliban some medical attention. In an unexpected techno-flash, Hardrive, the Dark Rider’s teleporter, appears. His purpose is singular, and the battle is ended. Hardrive tells Storm there is no need for empty threats. He explains that Gauntlet overstepped his authority by engaging her and will be punished for it. He informs her that the Dark Riders have standing orders not to interfere with the one called Nathan Dayspring.

Cable is shocked to hear that. He wonders that, if Apocalypse is dead, who is giving orders. He thinks it’s maybe Sinister. When Nathan demands to know who is running the Dark Riders, Hardrive just says this is over for today, and for him to enjoy this minor victory. He teleports the other Riders away by sinking them into the waters of the sewer.

Before Cable can do anything about it, the Dark Riders are gone. Caliban thanks Cable for rescuing him, but Cable warns Caliban not to thank him just yet. They’re going to patch him up quick. Then, with the aid of Caliban’s mutant tracking ability, they’re going to hunt for some Dark Riders! “Taxi…!” Domino jokingly calls out.

Characters Involved: 



Beast, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm (all X-Men)

Deadbolt, Foxbat, Gauntlet, Hardrive, Hurricane IV, Lifeforce, Spyne (all Dark Riders)


On picture:

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Professor X (all original X-Men)

Story Notes: 

First appearances of the Dark Riders Deadbolt, Hurricane, Lifeforce and Spyne.

Apocalypse “died” at the end of the X-Cutioner’s Song.

Scott and Jean spend time as “Slym” and “Redd” raising a young Cable in The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1-4.

“Slim” was indeed a nickname the original X-Men gave Scott in their early days, and how Scott came up with the name he used in the future raising Nathan.

Cable first heard about the “Chosen” in Cable (1st series) #6. Nathan took Domino out on a date in Cable (1st series) #15.

Storm became leader of the Morlocks in Uncanny X-Men #170-171. More about the Morlocks’ “deaths” can be found in Uncanny X-Men #293.

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