Cable (1st series) #96

Issue Date: 
October 2001
Story Title: 
I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago

Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Terry Pertzborn & Harry Candelario (inkers), Avalon Studios (colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letterers), Pete Franco (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Bill Jemas

Brief Description: 

Cable takes some time out, going for a journey on his motorcycle. He arrives in a small town, and takes a break at Old Man Cole’s diner, where he befriends a waitress called Veronica. The owner, Cole, wants to meet Cable. Cole is a bulky, strange looking man, who challenges Cable to a bout of arm-wrestling. Cable telepathically scans Cole, and learns that he isn’t human, but accepts the offer. Both men are strong, but Cable wins. Cole then reveals that he was last beaten in an arm-wrestle some three thousand years ago. When the rest of the customers leave, Veronica tells Cable he can come visit her at her house, while Cole reveals his story to Cable, after Cole mentions he has heard Cable is a terrorist. Cole was born some thirty-thousand years ago, and reveals his interesting story to Cable - how he is a Neanderthal man, who lived with his wife and daughter and their tribe, and he was abducted by aliens along with two others, their aging process was slowed down as part of an experiment, and after escaping, he spent his life wandering the world, participating in monumental events, but that recently, the other two who he was captured with recently visited him, and stole something from him. He asks Cable to help him get it back. Cable agrees, and they travel to the mine where the other two Neanderthals have set up home. There is a brief battle, before the Neanderthals are taken down and Cole recovers the treasure stolen from him - a figurine he made for his daughter all those years ago. Cable then departs, unsure of what the future holds for him now.

Full Summary: 

The sky is cloudy, the hills cold and enclosing, as the sun rises. A large billboard has been erected, over the barren highway, with the sign “The best sandwich in the world: 20 miles”. A hare looks up as it hears a loud roaring noise - which is identified as the powerful motorcycle driven by Cable a.k.a. Nathan Dayspring Summers. The handsome hero is older than he looks. He is a mutant soldier fighting for a better tomorrow. In his life, he has met other heroes, and villains. But tonight, he is going to encounter someone unlike anyone he’s ever met before.

Cable pulls up outside a diner / gas station called Old Man Cole’s. He enters and sits at the bar, where the waitress leans over the counter and asks ‘What’s your pleasure, stranger?’ ‘The name’s Nate. That’s a great line, young lady, but I’m old enough to be your father’ Cable tells her. ‘Glad to meet you, Nate. I’m Veronica, but everyone calls me V’ Veronica replies, before telling Nate that he looks thirsty, and asking him if he wants a beverage. ‘Nice and cold’ Cable replies, before asking about the sandwich that they advertise. “The Old Cole Special” Veronica calls it, telling Nate that it is better than he can imagine. ‘I have a pretty vivid imagination’ Cable replies as Veronica pours him a drink. ‘That’s even a better line’ Veronica remarks, before pointing out that he isn’t that old.

Veronica shortly brings Nate the sandwich, although it looks more like a burger and he tells her that is the biggest sandwich he has ever seen. ‘Wait till you taste it. Then tell me about your imagination’ Veronica replies. Cable stands up after the finishing the sandwich, ‘Did I lie? Veronica asks him. Cable smiles and tells her that she didn’t, adding that it is the best sandwich in the world, he then asks her how much she owes him. ‘Not a penny. Boss said it’s on the house’ Veronica reveals. Cable is confused, and asks why, as he doesn’t know her boss. ‘I know. But he wants to meet you’ Veronica announces. A short, stocky man with very wide shoulders enters the diner from the kitchen and calls out: V says you’re a tough hombre, Nate. She right?’

Cable replies that he doesn’t go looking for fights, but that he never steps away from one. ‘Fight? I’m talking about arm-wrestling. Haven’t met a man strong enough to beat me in arm-wrestling in a long, long time. You willing to try?’ the boss asks. Cable realizes that there is more to this challenge than an arm-wrestling challenge, but wonders what. He does a quick telepathic probe, which tells him that Cole’s thoughts aren’t human - they are different, jumbled. Mostly, there are memories - lots of memories. ‘Sure’ Cable replies. They sit opposite each other at one of the tables, while Veronica stands over them. Some of the diner patrons gather around, and Cable and Cole grab each other’s right hand. ‘When I say go, start. First man’s hand to touch the table loses’ Veronica calls out, before shouting ‘GO!’

Both men try to force the other’s hand downwards. Cole is stronger than he looks, he possesses incredible power. Cable could win the fight in an instant if he used telekinesis, but this is strength against strength. If he wins, it has got to be square. ‘Finnnn -’ Cable calls out as he forces Cole’s hand downwards, ‘-inished!’ Cable concludes as he slams Cole’s hand so hard that it breaks the table. Cole frowns, and Veronica and all the patrons look shocked, they fall silent and stare at Cable. Calmly, Cole announces that drinks are on the house, and tells V to set them up. He adds that it is the first time he has lost an arm-wrestling contest in a long time. ‘Shows anything’s possible’ he points out, before asking Nate to stick around after closing, as he has a business proposition for him. ‘Sure. If you answer me one question’ Cable replies. ‘A question? What question?’ Cole asks. ‘When exactly was the last time you were beaten in an arm-wrestling?’ Cable enquires. Cole quietly replies that he lost to an obnoxious loudmouthed brute named Goliath - sometime around three thousand years ago.

Later, darkness has fallen, and Cable and Cole sit opposite each other in a booth, while Veronica announces that the place is locked up and money is in the safe. ‘I’m heading home’ she tells Cole. Cole thanks V and tells her that he will see her tomorrow. Veronica asks Nate if he wants to spend some quality time with a free-spirited young woman, to which Nate tells her that he appreciates the invitation, but that he and Cole have some business to discuss. Veronica tells Cable that if they finish early, she only lives a block away. ‘Old man can give you the number. I’ll leave the light on’ she adds, before leaving.

Cole smiles and tells Cable that Veronica is a wild one, and that she reminds him of the Amazons at the siege of Troy. ‘They were tougher than most of the Greek army and a hell of a lot prettier’ he adds. Cable smiles and asks Old Man Cole just how old he is, an, more importantly, what he is. ‘You’re not human. You’re something different’ Cable points out. Cole announces that, according to newspapers, there is a mutant terrorist called Cable who reads men’s minds. ‘Looks a lot like you. You that gent?’ Cole asks. Nate replies that newspapers have a way of twisting the faces to suit their purpose, before confirming that he is Cable. Cole explains that he isn’t a mutant, but that after all these centuries, he can sense if a man is good or evil. ‘I got no doubts that you’re on the right side, Cable. No doubts at all’ he tells Cable, before asking if he can keep a secret. ‘Better than most’ Nate replies, so Cole tells him to listen, and begins to story: ‘I was born some thirty-thousand years ago…’.

Flashback, thirty-thousand years ago, narrated present time by Cole:

Cole reveals that he is a Neanderthal man, and once, a hunter for the Oogla tribe. He tells Cable that life was rough, but they survived. A small tribe, they lived in a cave, and kept warm at night sitting around a fire. Monsters like the saber-tooth tiger and mammoths still roamed the Earth. He was happy, and loved his mate, Jana, and they had a girl called Tres. She was Cole’s pride and joy, and he cared for her more than anyone in the world, and told her stories, etching figures onto the cave wall.

Then, one day his life changed forever. He was out hunting when a silver object from the sky - a space ship - swooped down and froze him in a beam of light. He then blacked out. When Cole woke, he found himself strapped to a table, unable to move, as were several other cavemen. He stopped struggling, as all sorts of scientific alien technology filled the room. Alien men lined the room, observing, while two examined their subjects. Neanderthals weren’t stupid - they were ignorant, but not dumb. He could hear a voice talking in his head - these days it is called telepathy - and the speaker, Taras Vol was telling the audience that he had developed a technique to slow the aging process.

Since it was still an experimental process, the aliens were going to first try it on three subhuman specimens - meaning Cole and the other two. Taras planned to study them for five years to determine if the process was a success. If it was, then he would use it on all the inhabitants of Lemuria. Taras treated them well, still, Cole was miserable being separated from his family. He missed Jana and his little Tres. But he did not cry like his cellmates. One-Eye was a mean one. He only had one eye and hated everybody and everything. He claimed that he lost his eye strangling a sabre-tooth tiger to death. The other, Gort, was dumb. Stupid as a rock. Thinking made his heart hurt, so he did whatever One-Eye told him to.

Taras never learned if his treatment worked, as one night, a gigantic earthquake hit Lemuria, The entire island sank beneath the ocean in minutes, and all the inhabitants died. The quake ripped apart the cage that Cole, One-Eye and Gort were being held in. Stronger than their captors, they managed to escape, and survived. Cole knew how to swim, but One-Eyed didn’t, so Cole decided to part company with him before they reached the shore.

It took him fifteen years to get back to the tribe’s hunting ground. They were long gone, and he never found them. He never took another mate, and never had another child. Around that time, he noticed that he wasn’t growing any older, so it seemed like Taras knew what he was doing. In three hundred centuries, Cole aged around twenty years, and figures he will live another fifty thousand or so. He learned how to blend in, and never make a fuss. He was in Egypt when the pharaohs enslaved an entire race just to build monuments to their egos. As a Roman guard he saw Julius Caesar betrayed by Brutus at the senate in Rome. Cole sailed with Cortez across the Frightful Sea, and witnessed him destroy the Mayan civilization.

Cole fought in the mighty battle - the Civil War - to set some of this country free. Out West, he worked as a sheriff, bringing peace to a troubled land. He then fought in the war to end all wars, and then fought in the one that followed - because by then he knew man would never stop fighting. Cole later moved out this way for more privacy and to escape the killing - and for the sky and stars.

Then, one night, One-Eye showed up. Cole hadn’t seen him and Gort since Lemuria sank. He hoped they were dead - but no such luck. One-Eye was still mean. Gort was still stupid, and loyal to One-Eye. They attacked him. Over the centuries, Cole had gathered together some rare items - Guttenberg Bibles, Leonardo’s notes for a steam engine and lots more. He figured he would sell the stuff if he was ever down on his luck. One-Eye went through the collection and stole Cole’s most valuable treasure, then dared him to come and take it back.


‘That happened a year ago. One-Eye and Gort have a hideaway just outside of town. Two against one I could never win. I’ve been waiting for a man as strong as you to come along. I’ll pay you whatever you ask if you help me get my treasure back’ Cole tells Cable. Cable replies that he is a man who pays his debts, and tells Cole that he owes him for a sandwich. ‘Human or not, you’re a better man than most. I’ll be glad to help you do what’s right’ he tells Cole.

Soon, Cable and Cole stand outside an entrance to an old mine. Cable has his psimitar, while Cole calls out to them: ‘Come on out, One-Eye! It’s Old Man Cole. You dared me to come and get my treasure. Well, here I am’. One-Eye and Gort lumber out of the mine, with One-Eye carrying a pick-axe. ‘Got a friend, Cole? That’s good. I’d rather break two heads than one’ he declares. ‘We gonna have some us some fun. Smash you like we did before’ Gort remarks. One-Eye tells Cole that last time he got off easy, and warns him that this fight, they are not going to be so nice. ‘You talk too much, One-Eye. Shut up and fight’ Cole replies, frowning.

Cable’s psimitar clangs against the pick-axe as One-Eye attacks him. Cable forces his foe back, while Cole dodges Gort’s attack as Gort tries to bring a club down on him. Cable’s metal fist strikes One-Eye, while Cole slams a hand down on Gort’s face. Cable knocks One-Eye back using his pismitar, as Cole punches Gort hard in the face. Cable uses his psimitar against One-Eye again, while Cole slams both fists against Gort’s head, causing him to become dazed, and fall to the ground. Cable’s psimitar flips One-Eye backwards, and falls to the ground, too. All it takes is a for him to telepathically scramble One-Eye’s thoughts, and he and Gort won’t bother Old Man Cole anymore.

Cable follows Cole into the cave, and in one of the makeshift rooms, Cole shouts ‘My treasure!’ when he discovers what he was looking for - a small figurine. He picks it up and explains to Cable that he made it for his little girl. Looking at Old Man Cole, Cable smiles. The world is filled with little things. Like gold and silver, jewels and gems. But over the centuries, the only treasures that matter are the thoughts of those we hold dear. Cole’s mind flashes with an image of happier times with his wife and daughter.

Cole waves goodbye to Cable, who gets on his motorcycle and speeds away. Cole thinks to himself, that he was born some thirty thousand years ago. There is nothing in this world that he doesn’t know. He saw Peter, Paul and Moses playing Ring Around the Roses, and will whip the guy who says it isn’t so. He taught Solomon his little ABCs. He was the first one who ate Limburger cheese, and for the Pharaoh’s little kiddies built all the pyramids, and to the Sahara carried all the sand. He saw Eve and Adam driven from the door after listening to the snake beneath the floor. From behind the bushes looking, he saw the apple they were cooking. ‘And I swear that I’m the one who ate the core!’ And, as Cable speeds away, images fill his mind, and he thinks ‘I was raised two thousand years from now. Askani brought me there I don’t know how. I came back to change all history now it’s all a mystery. And the future can’t be read anymore’.

Characters Involved: 


Old Man Cole




Patrons at diner

In Flashback story:





Members of the Oogla tribe

Taras Vol and other aliens

Story Notes: 

This is the final issue of Cable (1st series) for writer Robert Weinberg, who started his run on Cable with #79.

It’s also the final issue for penciler Michael Ryan, who penciled Cable (1st series) #78-85, 87-92, 94-96.

Issue Information: 
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