Cable (1st series) #54

Issue Date: 
May 1998
Story Title: 
Jungle Action

Joe Casey (story), Ladronn (pencils), Juan Vlasco (inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s ST (letters), Gloria Vasquez (colors), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

Cable crash-lands in the African nation of Wakanda and is taken away to receive medical attention. He meets T’Challa, who knows he is no threat to his kingdom. Treating him is Dr. Joshua Itobu, T’Challa’s cousin, who normally lives and works in America. Joshua feels Wakanda needs to utilize its vibranium assets and become a major player in the world. T’Challa is content to maintain his country’s traditions and open their country up gradually. T’Challa shows Nathan around, and explains how his scientists are carrying out research on vibranium to benefit all of mankind. Elsewhere, Joshua speaks with Ulysses Klaw, whom he has smuggled into the country. Joshua wants Klaw to help him carry out a coup d'état, but Klaw’s purpose for being there is much more selfish. He is dying, and requires some vibranium to fix his broken sonic blaster. Because Joshua takes too long in getting Klaw access to the precious metal, Klaw almost kills him and heads inside T’Challa’s techno jungle to retrieve some vibranium. There, he is tackled by Cable and the two men fight. Meanwhile, T’Challa discovers Joshua’s ruined hut and finds his cousin apologizing for his misdeeds. T’Challa then helps Cable defeat Klaw, and they throw him into a vacuum chamber, where his body is torn apart.

Full Summary: 


Cable lies in a crater after falling to Earth. He is injured and has flashbacks to some of his enemies, loved ones and allies. A group of Wakandans had seen him crash in the jungle, believing him to be a meteor. They are astonished to find him alive in a crater.

They carry him back to their village, where he is placed under the care of doctors, including the Black Panther’s cousin, Dr. Joshua Itobu. Another doctor calls for his king, informing him that the stranger is awake. T’Challa replies that he isn’t a stranger to him. He has seen him once before, a long time ago, though somehow the memory always seems to evaporate before he can place it.

Cable introduces himself, and says he believes T’Challa must have him confused with someone else. He is introduced to Dr. Itobu who is visiting Wakanda from America. T’Challa removes his mask and tells Cable that he recently returned home after lending his assistance to the Avengers. Cable says he knows of them, and figures he’s also aware of his present location. T’Challa tells him few outsiders have ever seen this place, and he officially welcomes Cable to his country.

He pulls back a curtain, which reveals a verdant kingdom in the distance with a large mound of vibranium at the edge of town. It is surrounded by hi-tech equipment. T’Challa tells him that Wakanda is a land of serenity, caught within a world that asks so much of her, but gives so little in return. However, their traditions are kept alive in a world that has forsaken most of its own. He looks over his kingdom, and remarks that his people look to him for answers. Sometimes he has them, sometimes not. Joshua feels there are many answers that only need to be considered, but T’Challa wishes this discussion for another time. His guest seems to have more pressing concerns.

He asks Cable how he arrived in Wakanda. He replies that it’s a long story. He guesses he got lucky. T’Challa understands that Cable is no threat, and tells him he is welcome in his home. He hopes his stay will be free of incident.

(New York City)

Irene has returned to New York after spending time in Zurich. She heads to Cable’s safehouse in a seemingly abandoned industrial warehouse in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. Sensors pre-programmed to her specific signature allow her access, but she soon finds that she is not alone. As she wanders through the dimly-lit warehouse, she comes across Blaquesmith. She quickly makes her exit, as she is not yet familiar enough with him to spend time in his presence without Nathan at hand.


A feast is laid on for T’Challa, and Cable joins him for a sumptuous feast. He is in discussion with Joshua about how Wakanda has a classless political system. Joshua asks how that can be when he is a king with loyal subjects. T’Challa replies that their loyalty is not to him, but to the traditions of Wakanda; ideals that must be maintained. Joshua doesn’t wish to be rude, but he tells his cousin not to hide behind his crown. He is a king who rules in absentia, parading throughout the world in the ceremonial panther garb - a self-styled super hero. An American concept, no less.

Nathan steps in to the discussion, and tells Joshua that, with all due respect, political divisions and national boundaries tend to crumble with the passage of time. A community and its sacred traditions are sometimes the only things that survive. T’Challa agrees with him, and adds that if he has instituted a new convention, then it is the very gradual opening of their borders and resources to the outside world. He tells Joshua that he may live and work in America, but this is Joshua’s home. He was born in Wakanda, just as he was. He should always remember that. Joshua offers no response.


Joshua is seemingly talking to himself in his accommodation, about how it is his goal to bring Wakanda into the twenty-first century as a more active participant on the world stage. They are a true super-power. They have the means, but not the leadership. T’Challa is king, but he himself will always remain an outsider here. He wants things changed.

There is a man listening to him, and he tells Joshua that his is a speech he has heard a thousand times, and he grows tired of it. Joshua informs him that his motivations are based on a higher purpose than pure selfishness. He will achieve his dreams by any means necessary, which is why he smuggled Ulysses Klaw into the country. Klaw tells him the time has come for action. He has no other choice but to risk everything if he is to survive. He warns Joshua that he will help him, or die.

(The Woods of Solitude)

Cable wanders through the woods, contemplating his recent opportunity to get close to Apocalypse, and whether he would have been able to kill him given the chance. He wonders how everything became so complicated. Above him, squatting on a tree branch, is the Black Panther. Nathan suddenly stops walking and says his name. T’Challa drops to the ground and says he’s impressed. Nathan replies that so is he. He masks his thoughts like a trained telepath. He didn’t know he possessed such abilities. T’Challa replies that he’s all about stealth. His jungle training allows him to conceal himself even from one such as Cable.

He wants to show Nathan something. He clicks a button on a small remote control in his hand, and from the ground, a hidden entrance appears. There are several such entrances at carious points in the capital village, explains T’Challa. They step inside, and it opens up an underground world of hi-tech equipment. They board a small shuttle and speed along the tracks through man-made tunnels before coming to a larger cavern where vibranium is being tested.

T’Challa wishes to show Nathan the source of friction between himself and his cousin, Joshua. He explains that Joshua wishes to use their most valuable resource, the basis of their prosperity, to strengthen Wakanda’s military might; to secure their place in the world. He, on the other hand, feels Wakanda has more to offer than mere weaponry and commerce. Here in the so-called ‘techno jungle,’ research is geared towards the betterment of all mankind, but under their watchful eyes.

They meet one of T’Challa’s most trusted scientists, M’Kambi, and he is asked to offer Cable every courtesy. They walk through the complex with M’Kambi offering a tour guide’s knowledge of the place. He explains that as chief physicist, he is charged with researching new and practical applications for vibranium. It is a metal with singular properties found almost exclusively in Wakanda. Nate recalls that vibranium has remarkable energy absorption properties. M’Kambi says that it does indeed. It absorbs any vibratory energy in its vicinity such as sound. However, there is a limit to the amount of vibratory energy is can absorb, though those limits are as yet unknown. It is one of their tasks to define those parameters.

T’Challa takes over the commentary, and leads Nathan to a special vacuum chamber they have created. Inside the chamber, more delicate experiments can be performed. The careful control of sonic immersion allows for easier study. Even after all these years, they are only beginning to uncover the many functions of this rare metal; uses that can only benefit the world they share.


Dr. Itobu and T’Challa are discussing matters once again. T’Challa cannot see why his cousin is so eager to exploit their greatest asset for militaristic goals. Joshua feels their country is being left behind whilst others rush to meet the future head on. T’Challa asks him to look how so many others around the world have suffered by wasting their resources on transient wealth. He takes his leave, and so Joshua returns to his accommodation.

There, Klaw is furious that this is taking so long. He is beyond patience, and must have access to the vibranium laboratories immediately. Joshua tells him that his cousin is preoccupied and there is a stranger amongst them. Klaw doesn’t feel Joshua can understand his urgency. His time is running out. Joshua guesses correctly that it’s his sonic blaster that is killing him. He thinks it’s ironic that the metal that fuels his weapon is also his Achilles heel. It appears to him that Klaw is in no condition to be giving out orders.

Klaw is angry, and he attacks the doctor with the blaster. Joshua’s eardrums explode and he falls to the floor in agony. Klaw says he is a weakling and, now he is within Wakanda’s borders, he no longer needs him. He shall take what he requires from this accursed nation, even if he has to destroy everything and everyone in his path to do it.

(later that night)

There is a full moon lighting up the village, as Nathan walks through it. He thinks he’ll be sorry to leave tomorrow. If only the future could be the utopia Wakanda appears to be. He then wonders what he is returning to. Apocalypse has apparently disappeared and gone into hiding. Part of him is relieved, but he can’t avoid him forever. He thinks about all the connections he’s made since arriving in this time such as the Six-Pack, X-Force and even Irene Merryweather. Why does he feel like whatever he faces next, he’ll be facing it alone? Then again, maybe that’s how it was meant to be.

He notices a light emanating from the darkness of the jungle and investigates. It’s one of T’Challa’s secret entrances to the techno jungle, but he has a feeling he doesn’t just leave these things open. He makes his way inside and discovers several guards with perforated eardrums lining his path. Meanwhile, T’Challa visits his cousin and finds his hut in ruins. He discovers Joshua lying on the ground and in a bad way. He looks at T’Challa and weakly informs him that he was only trying to do what he thought best for their country. T’Challa tells him he knows… he knows.

(the techno jungle)

Nathan picks up one of the guards’ energy weapons, even though they appear to have been of little use against their assailant. He hears a sudden loud noise down the corridor and covers his ears. He figures if he’d been any closer then he would have had his own eardrums blown out. He continues further inside the complex and soon comes face to face with Ulysses Klaw.

Klaw attacks him instantly, but his initial blast misses Cable. Nathan notes that his power is sound-based, and his prosthetic obviously manipulates sound waves in any number of ways, like concussive blasts for instance. He tries to get physical instead, pushing Klaw back with the energy weapon he collected. He then tries to access Klaw’s mind to shut him down, but determines that he is composed of pure sound, and therefore has no actual mind to connect with. A more direct approach is needed.

Nathan slams his weapon into Klaw, but the villain takes the punishment just fine. Nathan then decides to use the weapon properly, and he blasts Klaw through a wall. Emerging on the other side, Nathan tries to follow up his attack, but Klaw manages to ready himself for an attack and he blasts Cable. He grabs his ears to protect himself, but falls into a fetal position. Klaw is astonished that the blast didn’t kill him, as it would have done a normal human. No matter, he feels, as he closes in to finish the job.

Suddenly, the Black Panther appears and slams into his old enemy. He asks Klaw to explain himself. He knows Klaw is vulnerable when this close to such large amounts of vibranium. Why is he willing to take this risk? Klaw explains that he has need of the vibranium to repair the damaged carousel module in his hand-blaster. For every minute wasted, he is poisoned further. He fires at T’Challa, but his agility gets him away from danger and he smashes Klaw in the face with a vibranium knuckle-guards with which Reed Richards once bested him.

As Klaw sprawls on the ground, the Black Panther opens the vacuum chamber. Klaw jumps him, and calls him a fool. Opening the chamber will only make it easier to take what he wants. Now he shall destroy him as he did his father all those years ago. He aims his blaster at the Black Panther’s face, but Cable grabs him and pulls him off. T’Challa motions to the vacuum chamber, and Cable obliges by throwing Klaw inside it. T’Challa quickly seals the chamber and switches it on. Helpless inside the chamber, Klaw’s sound-composed body is quickly torn apart in the vacuum; his molecules dispersed until all that remains is his sonic blaster.

(the next morning)

As Cable prepares to depart Wakanda in one of the king’s flying craft, he enquires as to Joshua’s condition. T’Challa informs him that he is still under medical care. He has lost his hearing, but perhaps he’s gained wisdom. Nathan feels that’s a high price to pay. T’Challa informs him that the craft is fuelled and ready to go. He will call ahead and ensure the necessary landing clearance. Nathan doesn’t feel he’ll be welcomed anywhere with open arms. How about he just lets T’Challa know where he stashed it? That’s good enough for T’Challa and he shakes Nathan’s hand.

Nathan will remember his hospitality and his friendship. It’s good to see that hope and a commitment to the ideals of tradition can still be found in the world. He hopes to visit again some day. He adds that if T’Challa’s ever in New York… T’Challa says he knows better than to go looking for him and wishes him safe passage. As the craft flies away, T’Challa tells his friend, N’Gassi, that Nathan is a man wrestling with too many demons. He carries a heavy burden, and feels that all Nathan desires is peace, although he fears he may never find it.

Characters Involved: 


Black Panther/T’Challa

Wakandans including Dr. Joshua Itobu, M’Kambi and N’Gassi

Irene Merryweather


Ulysses Klaw

(Cable’s memories)


Cyclops and Jean Grey (as Slym and Redd)


Irene Merryweather

Donald Pierce

Story Notes: 

Cable fell to Earth after an encounter with Sebastian Shaw and Donald Pierce in the previous issue.

The Black Panther had been helping his fellow Avengers out in a confrontation with Morgan Le Fay in Avengers (3rd series) 1 - 3 and the Whirlwind in Avengers (3rd series) #4.

In the House of M crossover, Wakanda is indeed a more powerful country than portrayed here, more in keeping with Joshua’s vision.

Issue Information: 
Written By: