Cable (1st series) #53

Issue Date: 
April 1998
Story Title: 
The Hellfire Hunt part 6 - Beautiful Friend

Joe Casey (story), Ladronn (penciler), Juan Vlasco (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letters), Gloria Vasquez (colors), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

As Irene Merryweather remains at Wilhelm Lohmer’s home, Cable is about to enter into yet another major conflict. Hellfire Club soldiers battle the automated defenses that Apocalypse has surrounding his lair. Cable manages to get through them and into the lair through a long tunnel. Inside, Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce and Ch’vayre manage to breach the interior, and Shaw is amazed at what he finds. Apocalypse isn’t present, and the technology within is theirs for the taking. Cable soon joins them, and Pierce immediately attacks, though he comes off worse during the confrontation. As they fight, Shaw places Ch’vayre inside one of Apocalypse’s hibernation cocoons, trapping him. Cable manages to put Pierce down, destroying his hand once again. With the cyborg out for the count, Cable then goads Shaw, but as they trade threats the lair begins to crumble. Masonry crashes to the ground as the whole place shakes. Shaw makes a run for the exit, followed by Cable and then Pierce. Outside in the snow, Pierce is easily stopped once more by Cable, but before he can get his hands on Sebastian Shaw, the Black King reminds him that he has left someone inside. Cable dashes back inside as Shaw makes his escape, dropping Pierce from his chopper as he does. Inside the lair, Cable finds Ch’vayre trapped inside the cocoon. He contacts the stranger telepathically, but doesn’t receive any answers to the many questions he has before the lair becomes too unsafe to remain. Cable finds an exit and leaves, as the whole complex explodes. Cable falls to Earth, protected by his telekinesis, whilst in Egypt, Apocalypse senses his actions. The time is right for him to begin his latest machinations. He frees Ozymandias from his servitude, but tells Caliban he will be needed when the time comes. The world is changed forever from this day forth.

Full Summary: 

(The Swiss Alps)

At Wilhelm Lohmer’s palatial retreat, Irene Merryweather decides to distract herself from worrying about Cable by getting down to some writing. Seated at her laptop computer, she has no idea why she’s doing this. Despite Cable’s broken promise about taking her with him, she is still doing exactly what he asked her to do. She’s documenting as much about his life as she knows, which she admits isn’t very much.

He claims to be from the future… a dark, terrible future that he’s traveled back in time to prevent. He’s also a mutant who can read minds, and who does it without compunction. But, she knows enough about him to write something, so that’s what she’s doing. She’s no longer Irene Merryweather - two-bit tabloid journalist. She’s a chronicler, telling the specific story of a man called Cable.

In the Alps, Cable has come across Apocalypse’s lair, having read the mind of a soldier in order to obtain the exact coordinates. He approaches on the soldier’s flying craft, which is about the size of a very small jet ski. There is a major battle going on between the Hellfire Club’s soldiers and the automated defenses mounted on the side of Apocalypse’s lair. There are many casualties, but they are expendable in the eyes of Sebastian Shaw, the club’s Black King. They serve a greater purpose.

Irene can only imagine the scene. Cable is alone, outgunned and has the odds stacked impossibly against him. Yet, these undeniable truths don’t even factor into his thinking. No matter how desperate the situation, she can picture him diving headfirst into danger... without hesitation and without fear. He never really told her what he expected to find when he reached the lair of Apocalypse; a supposedly immortal being and his greatest enemy. However, every time he mentioned it, she could see that his muscles would tense and his eyes would narrow.

She knew he expected combat. It’s an interesting dichotomy about the man, she thinks. It’s been said that every soldier needs a war to define who he is. Cable is no different. With or without her to report it, this war was the one he was determined to see through to its inevitable conclusion. He could stop his hellish future from occurring… or be the spark that ignites it. As Cable battles soldiers riding similar crafts to his own, he eventually makes his way past them and into a long cavernous tunnel that leads inside the mountain.


Irene continues to write, and recalls how it all began. She had a job at the Inquiring Eye, investigating gossip on industrialist Sebastian Shaw. She stumbled upon his involvement with a cabal known as the Inner Circle, which turned out not to take too kindly to being investigated. Thanks to Cable she survived their initial attack, but her colleagues weren’t so fortunate.

Cable told her about the Tomorrow Agenda; a scheme masterminded by Shaw and a man named Donald Pierce. They wanted to exploit Apocalypse’s power, and it was up to Cable to stop them. They traveled to Switzerland where they were saved from an ambush by Wilhelm Lohmer who turned out to be a reformed, so he claimed, war criminal. She’s sure there is more, but that’s as far as she’s being allowed to go. Cable put her to sleep to ensure she wouldn’t follow them into the hills.


As the soldiers outside continue their skirmishes, Sebastian Shaw and Donald Pierce make their way inside. They come across a door, and Pierce kicks it in using his cyber-enhanced strength. They clamber through the hole and into a large room filled to the brim with amazing technology, the likes of which Shaw hasn’t seen before. It’s like it wasn’t even conceived by a human mind. Perhaps there is something they can use there, he remarks. However, there is no Apocalypse, so it is theirs for the taking. Ch’vayre’s worst fear has become a reality. The high lord is gone and Cable is nowhere to be found. Now, he’s left alone with two madmen.

Shaw wishes to activate the machinery, but Ch’vayre warns him that it may not be wise. Pierce confronts him, and reminds him that the stranger has been harboring his own reasons for being there. More secrets he’s been keeping from them. Ch’vayre replies that they will remain secret. Pierce is intent on ridding himself of Ch’vayre’s presence permanently, but he is stopped from doing so as Cable appears through the hole they came in through.

Cable tells them that once again they have underestimated their opponent. Apocalypse is long gone, and he’s pretty sure his failsafe devices will activate any minute to bring the place down around their heads. He adds that Apocalypse is quite adept at covering his tracks. He’s been doing it for thousands of years. He knows better than to leave any evidence of his presence behind, and they’re about to find out the hard way.

Pierce relishes the moment. All that separates them is fifteen feet of empty floor. He has an opportunity to extract a pound of Cable’s flesh in retaliation for what Cable once did to him. Ch’vayre is pleased to see Cable, but the scenario is quite different from how he originally envisioned it. Cable’s conflict is with Apocalypse, not these miscreants. Shaw realizes that Cable is baiting Pierce and tries to tell him so, but Pierce’s rage clouds his thinking and he charges at Cable. His attack is ferocious, and Cable realizes he’s gone completely over the edge. He gets his bearings and tries to get some distance between them, hitting him with a TK blast to the torso.

As they fight it out, Sebastian Shaw notices that one of the large cocoons has been activated. It’s very much like the one they opened in England. Ch’vayre calls him a fool. They’re empty. They are Apocalypse’s hibernation chambers; technology far beyond Shaw’s pathetic scope of knowledge. Shaw grimaces and says that, once again, Ch’vayre forces him to agree with Pierce. He has most definitely outlived his usefulness. All this time Ch’vayre has claimed that he is beholden to a higher reason than their petty greed. It’s time he learned once and for all that it is he who controls Ch’vayre’s destiny. He lunges for the man, grabbing him by the back of his long coat. “Accursed priest, your life is mine!” he exclaims.

He carries Ch’vayre easily in one hand and walks towards the cocoon. He tells Ch’vayre that he should have done his homework. He had hoped to manipulate Shaw to serve his ends. Shaw finds that extremely laughable, and now his arrogance will cost him dearly. Ch’vayre orders Shaw to release him, but Shaw tells him to keep struggling. The kinetic energy only further empowers him. He spots one of the cocoons fully open and decides this will be a fitting, final resting place for his foe. He shoves Ch’vayre into the cocoon, as the time-traveled man begs for his release. “No! I’ll be trapped forever!” he cries. As the machine takes a hold of him, he screams and the door closes itself, leaving Ch’vayre trapped helplessly inside.

Cable continues his tussle with Donald Pierce. He hears Ch’vayre’s scream, but it doesn’t register as being that important when he has a cyborg fist swinging at his face. He decides he’s wasted enough time with Pierce, and he uses another TK blast to smash his cyborg hand into pieces. Pierce screams, “Not again!” as his hand splatters across the floor. He and Pierce are lifelong enemies, and this ensures they will remain so.

Cable lands another clubbing fist on Pierce’s back and he collapses to the ground. He faces Sebastian Shaw and tells him he’s bitten off more than he can chew once again. Shaw replies that for every setback suffered, a hundred other plans he has set in motion come to pass. He has lost nothing. Cable informs him that he’s probably made an enemy of the most dangerous being this world has ever seen. He’s unwittingly freed his Harbinger of chaos who could be the end of them all. He should have burned Shaw’s house of evil down a long time ago. Shaw warns him that he is a much more formidable opponent than his impetuous cybernetic colleague. His mutant ability allows him to absorb any physical attack to make himself more powerful.

Cable goads him on, hoping Shaw takes the fight to him, but Shaw isn’t taking the bait. He tells Cable that he can keep Pierce. He’s useless to him now. Suddenly, the whole place begins to shake, and Cable realizes that it won’t be long before the entire lair collapses in on itself. He has already prepared for the worst and is prepared to die, but he’ll go down fighting. Shaw makes a run for the entrance, and Cable follows. Pierce also manages to get up and he follows them both to the outside.

Shaw leaps into the snow, but Cable lands right next to him and tells him they’re not finished yet. Pierce then drops in, and immediately grabs Cable around the neck with his good arm. Cable throws him over his head and smashes him into the snow, leaving himself facing Shaw once again. Before Cable can attempt anything, Shaw reminds him that he seems to have forgotten something whilst playing hero. There’s still someone left inside.

Cable realizes that Shaw is correct. He can’t waste time with him when someone remains inside the lair. He remembers the priest who seemed to know him in England. He could be the key to all this. Unfortunately, he also knows that the mountain is probably going to self destruct. He promises Shaw that this isn’t over. They will meet again!

As he runs back inside the crumbling lair, Shaw reckons he can guarantee they’ll meet again. But, for now, his time is done. A chopper descends into the valley and extends a rope ladder towards him. He grabs hold and is lifted from the ground, but at that moment, Donald Pierce leaps for the rope and grabs the bottom. Shaw shouts down at him over the noise of the chopper. He reminds Pierce that he knew the deal. His reinstatement into the Inner Circle was contingent upon his success. Since his failure is obvious, he should consider this the official termination of their agreement. He unhooks the ladder from the chopper, and Pierce falls to earth with a scream.

Meanwhile, Cable dashes back inside the lair and is hoping for some answers. Could this stranger be from the future? Does he know something he doesn’t? What could he possibly hope to accomplish by involving himself with Shaw? He picks up Ch’vayre’s thoughts and finds the cocoon he is trapped inside. He deduces that the cocoon is permanently sealed, and tries telepathy to communicate with Ch’vayre.

He asks the stranger if he’s alive and whether he can free himself. Ch’vayre replies that he lives, but the mechanism’s hibernation programming is taking effect. He is trapped and will soon sleep the longest sleep. He has failed in his mission, but adds that Cable is the Askani’son… his mission still awaits him. Cable asks what he knows of his mission, but Ch’vayre replies that there is no time. There is so much he has neglected to tell him. Perhaps, if he is destined to awaken from this prison and walk among men once again, it shall be in a better future. He thanks Cable, and wishes him a good journey.

Before Cable can continue their telepathic conversation, he is thrown to the floor as the whole place begins to move. The mountain they are in begins to cave in, and gaseous clouds are forced through holes in the rock as flames light up the Alps. Within moments, the whole lair becomes airborne as it tears through the surface rock. It’s one of Apocalypse’s spacecrafts, and it rockets away from Earth at speed.


As this is happening, Irene is continuing to write her story. She can feel that there’s something much more to all this; something much bigger than the possibility of Cable’s death. She can feel it. It’s something he taught her, something about the future. It’s not about being prepared for the worst and never believing we can change things. When it comes down to it, it’s what Cable’s here for… what he represents. It’s about faith.

She finds herself having that faith, the kind of faith that makes you believe that, no matter how the world may be crashing down upon us, we’ll have the means to overcome. No matter how dark and complicated life may seem, he’ll find a light at the end of the tunnel. And if death awaits him in the depths of his greatest enemy’s lair, he’ll find a way out.

Back above the Alps, Cable realizes that the computers have frozen up. He realizes that the liar is now airborne and, if he knows Apocalypse, he doesn’t have to guess what’s next. He has no choice. He must get out of there immediately. He runs through the complex as sections explode around him. He finds a hole in the wall, which is sucking air out at a vast rate. It’s his only hope, and he steps inside, not knowing what will happen to him. The lair then explodes, creating a huge cloud of flame and smoke high in the atmosphere. Debris from the lair falls to earth in flames, and in the midst of all this rubble, a human body can be seen falling with it. It’s Cable, and his telekinesis protects him from both the heat and cold as he plummets towards the ground.

“And so it begins.” Dwarfed by the giant pyramids, Apocalypse stands proud, holding Ozymandias by the shoulders as he crouches down next to his master. Behind him stands Caliban, head bowed. Apocalypse informs them that his mortal nemesis, the so-called Chosen One, brings about the very event which signals the beginning of the next stage of his existence, and his ultimate destiny. He finds it ironic.


Characters Involved: 


Irene Merryweather

Sebastian Shaw

Donald Pierce


Hellfire Club soldiers






The Harbinger

Hellfire Club soldier

Wilhelm Lohmer

Irene Merryweather

Donald Pierce

Sebastian Shaw

Story Notes: 

The cocoon that Shaw had opened in England held Apocalypse’s Harbinger who vanished shortly afterwards. [Cable (1st series) #50]

Being placed in a cocoon possibly explains why Ch’vayre is seen in the Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix limited series as one of Apocalypse’s aides.

Issue Information: 
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