Cable (1st series) #90

Issue Date: 
April 2001
Story Title: 
Hearts of Darkness

Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Terry Pertzborn (inker), Hi Fi Design (colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Saida! (letterers), Pete Franco (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

New York City, where Cable’s safe house is under surveillance by the mysterious Sisterhood. Inside, Irene Merryweather and Blaquesmith are packing up their things ready to leave. Blaquesmith gives Irene a psi-shield to wear so that her thoughts are not open to the Sisterhood. Cable finds his two friends and opens a hatch in the safe house which leads to tunnels beneath the city. He gives them instructions on how to get to a car which will take them to the new safe house. He gives Irene a weapon and tells Blaquesmith that he is not sure he can trust him anymore. Making their way through the tunnels, Irene and Blaquesmith hear commotion above and suppose that the Sisterhood have made it into the safe house, unaware that they are being followed by one of the Sisterhood, who confronts them and claims that she wants sanctuary. Indeed, a team of the Sisterhood has invaded the safe house, while Cable is still setting some explosives. They attack him, but are no match for his skills. Irene and Blaquesmith learn that Sister Bonita wants sanctuary because she failed in her mission earlier when confronting Cable, and punishment is death. Sister Bonita then reveals the sordid history of the Sisterhood, and explains that the Dark Mother fears Cable, but that they were never told why. As Cable continues to set the explosives in his safe house, he sees visions of his dead wife, and more of the Sisterhood attack him. He continues to fight them relentlessly, while the Dark Mother appears in the tunnel, and slays Sister Bonita. Irene and Blaquesmith make it to their getaway car, still unaware why the Dark Mother wants Cable, who manages to leave his safe house, which explodes behind him.

Full Summary: 

New York City. There are some five billion people living on this planet. Only one of them has even an inkling that each of those lives is affected on a daily basis by the actions of a relative few - a shadow organization that calls itself the Dark Sisterhood. Using their psychic abilities, they manipulate crucial figures in every level of society - lawmakers, police, corporate CEOs, even heads of state. At the moment, they are hunting the one man who suspects their existence - Nathan Summers, also known as Cable. Several of the Sisterhood, wearing their red cloaks and blue costumes, have spread themselves out around the neighborhood that Cable resides in, keeping watch. He group’s leader is a powerful mutant known as the Dark Mother. She rules the Sisterhood with an iron hand. She will do anything, no matter how depraved, to further her aims. A few hours earlier, Cable discovered that his every movement was being monitored by the Sisterhood. A novice, Sister Bonita, reacted when she should have remained calm. Consequently, an attack planned for next week takes place tonight, no longer a surprise.

Inside the safe house, Irene Merryweather, once an investigative reporter, now chronicles Cable’s adventures. Most of the time, Irene merely records Cable’s exploits. On rare occasions, she lives them - like tonight. It will make an exciting story - assuming she survives. She packs her things into a duffel bag, and walks past Cable’s room, seeing it has been emptied of is few personal belongings. He never said anything this morning about leaving, yet he obviously was prepared. As always, Irene can’t help but wonder how many other secrets Cable keeps to himself. Irene enters another part of the safe house, where the being called Blaquesmith is busy working on some equipment. He is a strange being from the future, and served as Cable’s mentor for many years. However, recent events have caused Nathan to question his loyalty, and Irene has doubts of her own.

Once Cable’s most trusted ally, Blaquesmith now labors under a cloud of suspicion. According to Blaquesmith, years ago he constructed powerful weapons for the Dark Mother, not realizing her true intentions. It is a mistake that could prove fatal. ‘What’s wrong? What are you doing?’ Irene asks Blaquesmith, who replies that someone has cracked their failsafe system, and that it is too complex to be repaired in such a short time. ‘The only way to activate the various nodes will be by hand’ Blaquesmith tells Irene. ‘What?’ Irene asks. Blaquesmith explains that whenever Cable abandons a safe house, everything left behind is destroyed, but this system has been sabotaged - and there isn’t enough time to jury-rig another circuit.

Outside, one of the Sisterhood holds her psimitar ready and announces that she senses all three within the building. ‘You have your orders. The freak and the woman die. Take Cable alive, if possible’ she tells her sisters.

At the Sisterhood’s base, the Dark Mother sits on her throne, her face covered by her cowl, she states that the attack is about to begin - twenty of the best, led by one of the seven, against Cable. She adds that Bonita lost them the advantage of surprise, and wonders whether she should have doubled the number of attackers. ‘If he survives tonight, I will mobilize the entire might of the Sisterhood against him. He cannot be allowed to live!’ the Dark Mother declares.

In the safe house, Blaquesmith tells Irene to take one of the psi-shields and put in on her forehead, as it will muffle her thoughts, enabling them to evade any telepathic pursuers. ‘Pursuers? What are you talking about?’ Irene enquires. Blaquesmith tells her that if they remain here, they will die, so it is time to depart. ‘If the Sisterhood finds out emergency exit, they will follow’ he adds. Suddenly, ‘You two ready?’ Cable asks as he appears. He is wearing a black leather costume, with numerous metallic pouches and accessories. He informs his friends that the Sisterhood is outside, and although their thoughts are shielded, he can sense their emotions - they are ready to attack. ‘It’s time for you to depart’ Cable announces. ‘Us? What about you?’ Irene replies.

Cable tells Irene that he still has a few matters to handle here, and that he will be along later. He assures her that he knows what he is doing and asks her not to worry ‘You can’t take on the whole Sisterhood alone!’ Irene declares, but Cable informs her that it isn’t the entire organization, just twenty of them. ‘Twenty to one? No one can defeat odds like that -’ Irene begins, but Cable declares that he can. A large X symbol on the floor suddenly moves to one side, and Irene asks ‘What’s this? Since when was there a hole under the floor?’, to which Cable explains that it is an escape route, actually, and that it is an old ventilation shaft, which is one of the reasons why he chose this building. He just made a few modifications, like putting in the ladder and lights. ‘Thought it might prove useful someday’ he explains.

Surprised, Irene asks Cable where it goes, and the mutant hero explains that it leads to an abandoned subway tunnel. He tells Irene to follow it for about a quarter of a mile and then she will come to a narrow hallway, which leads to an engine repair center. He adds that this time of night, the place should be fairly quiet, and Blaquesmith will make sure no one notices either of them. Cable continues with the instructions, telling Irene that there will be a stairway leading to the surface, and across from the exit, is an old brick warehouse, and parked in the loading dock will be a car. ‘Start the motor and the onboard computer will do the rest. It’ll take you to a new safe house. Should be a snap. I’ll meet you there in a few hours’ Cable concludes.

Cable hands Irene a weapon and she asks what it is for. Cable tells Irene that he suspects the Sisterhood doesn’t take prisoners, so if by some quirk of fate she runs into one of them in the tunnels, she should use it. ‘I’m a reporter. Not a soldier!’ Cable tells Irene to just point and pull the trigger, as the gun does the rest. Blaquesmith holds his own spear towards Cable’s head and tells him to be extremely careful using his telekinesis. ‘No matter how much you may want to ignore it, the Techno-Organic Virus will always be in your system’ Blaquesmith points out. He adds that only Cable’s mental power holds it at bay, and if he diverts too much of that power… ‘I’m not sure I believe you really care, Blaquesmith. Not anymore’ Cable replies, before bidding Irene a safe journey as she climbs into the escape tunnel after Blaquesmith. The floor closes above them, and Irene looks down the ladder to Blaquesmith, asking him why Cable gave her the gun. ‘I’m no fighter’ she points out.

‘Perhaps he gave the weapon to the one he trusts the most’ Blaquesmith suggests. They reach the tunnel below, and Blaquesmith holds his staff out in front of them, a light forms on the tip, illuminating the dim tunnel. They hear a loud DUUM DUUM noise, and Irene asks what it is. Blaqusmith tells her that the Sisterhood must be inside the house, ‘We need to start moving, woman. The longer we remain here, the greater the chances for discovery’ Blaquesmith declares. ‘Discovery? Who’s going to find us in an abandoned subway tunnel?’ Irene asks. Blaquesmith informs Irene that an extremely powerful telepath could locate them, despite their shields. He adds that they don’t know the extent or nature of the Dark Mother’s power - nor do they wish to learn by their mistakes. ‘I’m all for ignorance. Lead on, little man, lead on’ Irene tells Blaquesmith. They set off into the darkness, believing they are alone - but they are not, as one of the Sisterhood stands in the shadows and watches them.

Back in the safe house, the Sisterhood have entered. ‘Where are they?’ one of them calls out as she holds her psimitar ready. Another, carrying a large weapon announces that there are no traces of mental activity anywhere in the building. ‘Maybe they’re gone’ she suggests. ‘Impossible. The entire structure is surrounded by motion sensors. They couldn’t have escaped’ the first replies. ‘Thought shields then’ the second suggests, adding that she will switch to biotech scan. The first asks about the computer files, so another of the sisters announces that everything is encrypted, and that it is unlike any code she has ever seen. ‘It’s going to take some time downloading, especially avoiding the booby-traps built into the system’ she explains. ‘No excuses. I expect results’ the first sister snaps. ‘You’ll have them’ the second assures her. The first sister orders the other to scatter, to search this place until they find Cable. ‘Work together, as you’ve been trained’ she adds, pointing out that Cable can’t stand against all of them. ‘Capture him if possible. Kill his friends. Now, GO!’ she orders.

In the safe house, Cable is squatting on a catwalk above the warehouse floor, tinkering with a control box. He has been a fighter all his life. He knows the rules of war. No retreat, no surrender and no mercy. One of the Sisterhood drops down nearby, but before she can act, he knocks her aside with a small surge of telekinesis. He turns his attention back to the box, trying to trigger the self destruct mechanism. Come into my parlor…said the spider to the fly. More of the Sisterhood appear. Cable drops down from the catwalk, landing one the two of them, he takes out their weapons and renders them unconscious.

Back in the tunnel, Irene is climbing over some wooden panels and asks Blaquesmith if he hears something. ‘nothing. We are completely alone, child’ Blaquesmith replies. Irene swears that she heard something moving behind them. ‘Rats’ Blaquesmith suggests, before pressing a finger to his lips, shushing Irene, he quietly tells her to be silent. ‘I thought you said…’ Irene replies, but Blaquesmith explains that he spoke for other ears, and suggests Irene be prepared. Suddenly, he shouts ‘NOW!’, and they both spin around, with Blaquesmith using his psimitar to illuminate the area behind them, a voice cries ‘Don’t shoo! I’m not an enemy! Don’t shoot!’ Irene aims her gun, while Blaquesmith asks ‘Who are you?’ Irene realizes that it is the member of the Sisterhood who was watching the safe house - as she recognizes her from Cable’s description. Holding her arms up defensively, the woman introduces herself as Sister Bonita, and assures them that she means no harm, and that she is alone and unarmed. ‘If I wanted to betray you, there would be dozens with me’ she adds. Still holding his psimitar towards her, Blaquesmith asks her what she wants. ‘Sanctuary’ Bonita replies.

Back above, battle noises rage throughout the warehouse, as more of the Sisterhood have appeared. Cable is ready for them and stands his ground. Whenever he uses his telekinetic powers, the Techno-Organic Virus gains in strength. There is not enough time for stealth. Tonight he is taking the direct approach. Anyone standing in his way goes down. Hard. For an instant, the sisters have a chance to escape - but they don’t take it. The moment passes unrealized, and Cable lunges forward, ripping apart their weapons with his hands. He attacks another of them mentally, and she recoils in agony. Telekinetic pressure to the eardrums causes incredibly intense pain. A cruel method of fighting, it is a trick Cable rarely uses. But it is no worse than what the sisters had planned for he and his friends. The sisters continue to fall, but, as he stares at his shivering flesh, Cable realizes that if he continues using his telekinetic power, the TO Virus will overwhelm his mental defenses. He has one more detonator to install and starts working on in. The countdown time is now three minutes and twelve seconds. He plans to finish the detonations - whatever the cost.

In the tunnel, Blaquesmith holds his psimitar to Sister Bonita’s face and asks her to explains herself, and what she means by sanctuary. Bonita reveals that she needs protection, as there is no forgiveness in the Sisterhood, and as she botched her mission, her punishment is death. She reasoned that joining Cable gave her the greatest chance at survival. ‘Intelligent thinking. But why should we protect you?’ Blaquesmith replies. Sister Bonita points out that she knows the innermost secrets of the Dark Sisterhood, so if they keep her alive, she will tell them everything. ‘How do we know you’re not lying?’ Blaquesmith asks. Bonita reminds him that he possesses some sort of telepathic power, so he will sense if he is lying. ‘She seems to know a lot about you. I wonder how?’ Irene asks. ‘Who knows?’ Blaquesmith replies, brushing her off, he tells her not to be concerned with trifles. Blaquesmith then orders Bonita to speak and tell them the origin of this Dark Sisterhood.

Sister Bonita reveals that the organization began long ago. That women born with unusual powers banded together for protection. They were called witches, and they adopted the name the Dark Sisterhood, originally in defiance of their persecutors, who would burn them at the stake. The Dar Sisterhood sought power to save themselves from death and torture. But, over time, their goals became twisted. They sought not just to be equal, but to rule - to replace a corrupt system with their own. Sister Bonita explains that today, the Sisterhood controls huge crime cartels, that it commands politicians, ambitious generals and renegade police officers. But, it has one goal - global domination.

Bonita recalls that she as a teenage runaway, that her mutant powers made her an outcast, and the Sisterhood found her, as they were always on the lookout for children to recruit to their cause. They took her in and trained her, showed her how to use her abilities for the order. ‘Monsters! They twist the innocent to their way!’ Blaquesmith declares. Bonita adds that the Sisterhood believe only in themselves, and that good and evil mean nothing to the Dark Mother. She asks them to come, adding that now is not the time for questions. ‘You turned on your friends quick enough’ Irene points out. Wide-eyed, Bonita replies that she learned her lessons well, and claims that there are no friendships in the Sisterhood. She adds that she prefers being a live traitor than a dead sister. Irene announces that what she doesn’t understand is why the Dark Mother has been spying on Cable. As they continue on down the tunnel, Bonita reveals that the Dark Mother fears Cable, but none of the Sisterhood were told why.

In the safe house, one of the Sisterhood holds her psimitar up. It charges with energy and she declares that she senses Cable, that he approaches. ‘In ten seconds, but the lights and stay out of my way!’ she orders. Rounding a corner, Cable hears a voice. It is familiar and so well remembered. The voice calls out to him, and he spins around, where he sees a woman in purple. ‘The Fifth Force, Nathan…’ she utters. ‘Aliya!’ Cable gasps. Suddenly, there is an explosion, and Cable is knocked over. The Sisterhood move towards a large gaping hole in a wall, ‘Perhaps you were lucky and caught him by surprise’ one of them points out. ‘I don’t believe in luck’ the lead sister replies. Just then, there is a loud CRASH as Cable bursts through hole and lunges at the sister. ‘Sisters, to the computer console room, immediately!’ another of the sisters calls out. ‘Help, help! The Seventh fights for her life!’ she adds. Cable tosses a grenade towards them, and it explodes.

But, the Seventh gathers herself and lunges at Cable with her psimitar. Cable blocks her attack. The sister uses typical martial arts stick-fighting techniques. Normally a fight like this could last for ten or twenty minutes. But Cable has been training. He blocks her every move. They continue to fight. Depending on weapons alone leaves a fighter vulnerable to a purely physical attack. The last thing the Dark Sister expected was for Cable to use his feet in their battle - which is exactly what he does as he kicks up and slams his foot into the back of her head. Her surprise gives Cable an instant to telepathically rip secrets out of her mind - shocking secrets.

‘What’s that sound?’ Sister Bonita enquires as the trio march through the tunnel. ‘What the…?’ Irene gasps as she sees some glowing circles ahead of them. ‘Impossible. Impossible! Who has such power?’ Blaquesmith asks. The Dark Mother materializes through the energy and declares ‘Sister Bonita, you failed in your mission. Now, you compound your sins by consorting with our enemies. The punishment for such actions is death’. Blaquesmith sees the Dark Mother and shouts ‘Witch! Monster!’, while Sister Bonita utters ‘No! No!’ The Dark Mother raises a hand and exclaims ‘Your heart belongs to the Sisterhood, Bonita. It belongs to me. One squeeze and the debt is paid!’. Bonita then screams, and keels over. ‘She’s dead!’ Irene calls out as she checks the fallen sister. ‘Abomination! You will pay!’ Blaquesmith warns. The Dark Mother just tells him to curse her all he likes, as she thrives on his hate.

Back in the safe house, Cable now understands the vision he has been having. He no understands the meaning of Aliya’s words. It is him against the Dark Sisterhood. It is a war he dare not lose. He looks down at the motionless body of the Seventh.

In the tunnel, ‘How - how did she do that? It was terrible!’ Irene gasps. Blaquesmith supposes that the Dark Mother must have telekinetic power, and have used it to constrict Bonita’s heart.

Soon, Blaquesmith, disguised by a wide-brimmed hat, and Irene are in the getaway car. ‘But why is she after Cable?’ Irene asks as she drives the car. Blaquesmith replies that he doesn’t know, and that he has no answers - only fears.

At the safe house, Cable activates the final detonator, and leaves the building, just as it explodes in spectacular display behind him. Carrying a bag in one hand, he frowns and looks less than impressed. His muscular form strides down the street. The Dark Sisterhood may be the personification of evil…but Cable is the personification of war….

Characters Involved: 



Irene Merryweather

Dark Mother

Sister Bonita

Members of the Sisterhood

In Illustrative Flashback Image



In Illustrative Flahsback Image

Sister Bonita

In Hallucination


Story Notes: 

The Dark Sisterhood’s involvement with mobs, politicians and other organizations has been briefly detailed in the last two issues.

Issue Information: 
Written By: