Cable (2nd series) #3

Issue Date: 
July 2008
Story Title: 
War Baby: Chapter Three

Duane Swierczynski (writer), Ariel Olivetti (artist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Will Panzo (assistant editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

After smashing Cable with a semi-truck, Bishop is knocked unconscious by the Turnpike Authority and taken captive for being a mutant. They try to get him to demonstrate his power, but he absorbs the energy from their beatings and uses it to break free. He kills his captors and sets out to confirm Cable’s death. Meanwhile, Cable survives being struck by the falling semi-truck. He emerges from the rubble, surrounded by a blue glow. The waitress from the diner takes him to her apartment to recover. She removes the bullets from his body and explains how New Jersey came to be in its current state. She asks Cable to help deal with the corrupt government, but he refuses, explaining that his only mission is to protect the baby. Their conversation is interrupted by the turbulent arrival of an old man who appears to be Cannonball.

Full Summary: 

The streets of New Jersey, 2043 A.D…:

A semi-truck soars through the air and plummets toward Cable. Having just realized that he can no longer jump through time, he puts his arm up in a feeble act of self-defense. The truck lands on him, nose-first, while he cradles the mutant baby near his chest.

Bullseye, Bishop comments to himself. It appears he has finally succeeded in assassinating the infant. He has little time to enjoy the moment, however, as all of his recent time-travelling finally catches up with him. He vomits on the pavement. He barely has time to wipe his mouth before one of the militia men clubs him over the back of the head with the butt of his machine gun.

The hooded members of the Turnpike Authority crowd around Bishop’s unconscious body. Judging by the feats he just performed, they realize that he must be a mutant. One of the men comments that he has not seen a mutant since his childhood. They decide that Bishop may be worth something, and drag him away to their headquarters.

Sophie, the diner’s waitress, comes outside as Bishop is dragged away. She runs over to the crashed truck to check on Cable and the baby. To her surprise, Cable emerges from underneath the crushed metal and fractured asphalt. A faint, blue aura surrounds his body and he appears unscathed. The collision apparently took its toll, though; Cable has trouble retaining his balance. The waitress runs over, supports his by the arm, and offers him a place to recover.

Sometime later, the unconscious Cable lies on the hardwood floor of a sparsely decorated room. Despite the fact that he is sleeping, he still gently cradles the baby on his chest. Somehow, he senses the approach of a stranger, and jerks awake. “No,” he commands through clenched teeth.

Sophie is taken aback. Struggling to find the words, she tries to explain that she just wanted to help. Cable tells her that no one holds the baby except for him. Sophie understands. Still trying to help, she tells Cable that he needs to see a doctor for his bullet wounds, but he comments that he has no time. She concedes, but asks if she at least clean his wounds before he departs. “That depends,” he replies. “You ever pull a bullet out of someone?”

“Um…I held a gun once,” she answers. Cable responds that this is close enough, and then reasserts that he will hold the baby during the procedure. “You’re going to stay awake for this?” she asks.

“No other way to talk you through it.”

The Turnpike Authority headquarters…

Bishop regains consciousness much later and assesses his current situation. He is a prisoner of the Turnpike Authority, all of whom stand guard while bearing machine guns. Bishop’s limbs are chained to the wall, he has a rope around his neck, and he is completely drained of energy. I’m weak as a baby, Bishop thinks to himself. I need to recharge. And there’s only one way to do that.

He begins taunting the guards, starting with their uniforms. He calls their drab ponchos “cute,” and asks if they come in pink. One of the guards tells him to shut up, and hits him with the butt of his rifle. Bishop, only encouraged by the physical beating, continues. “What about you, Burt Reynolds?” he asks one of the men, referring to his bushy mustache. “Your wife love a man in uniform? Ah, what am I saying? I’ll bet you love a man in uniform.” The guards take the bait and takes turns hitting Bishop with their rifles. However, they fail to notice the look of satisfaction on his face as he absorbs the kinetic energy from these blows.

The waitress’s apartment…

Sophie finishes pulling all of the bullets out of Cable’s body. With the operation complete, he gets up to leave. Sophie, however, insists he rest for a little while. With his time-travel device busted, possibly due to gunfire, he decides he may need some rest before he departs after all. To fill the time, he asks her about what happened to New Jersey that led to its current militia problem.

She explains that there was a big flood a long time ago. The wealthy elite of New Jersey had food, water, and weapons stockpiled, but found that they had to hire a private militia to protect these resources. The militia became known as the Turnpike Authority, and eventually the rich people formed their own government called the ‘New State Assembly’ that existed independently from the rest of the nation. “The rest of the country was happy to write us off,” she adds. The New State Assembly now supplies food, water, and electricity, and relies on its Turnpike Authority to maintain order. “See, the Assembly doesn’t care how their thugs keep order, as long as they do. And the few men who’ve had the guts or the stones to stand up to them, well…” she says. She hesitates for a moment while recalling a memory of a rebel getting executed by the militia. “Let’s just say there aren’t any good men left…”

I know what she’s going to say next, Cable thinks to himself.

“…except you.”

The Turnpike Authority headquarters…

A group of well-dressed men, possibly members of the New State Assembly, enter the room and ask about their prisoner. One of the men asks for a demonstration of his alleged mutant power. Bishop spits on his face. A guard cleans it off for him, and then punches Bishop across the jaw.

Another man, this one totally bald and dressed in a turtleneck and a suit jacket, tells Bishop that if he does not demonstrate his mutant power, he will be killed. Bishop tells him that bald men look phallic when they wear turtlenecks. Another round of beatings ensues. This time, Bishop asks them to stop, and finally agrees to demonstrate his power.

Sophie’s apartment…

Nathan tells Sophie that he would help her deal with the governmental corruption under ordinary circumstances, but right now, his only concern is the baby. She tells Nathan that judging by the way he treats the baby, he must be a good father, and therefore a good man. “Good men don’t run,” she adds.

Cable explains that sometimes running is the only option. This debate continues, their voice levels raise, and the baby begins to cry. Cable comments that the baby could use some milk. Sophie scoffs at the thought of giving cow’s milk to an infant, and adds that she has some vitamin-fortified water to feed her. Sophie grabs a bottle out of her refrigerator and gives it to the baby. She quits crying and begins feeding.

During this brief respite, Cable and Sophie finally introduce themselves. Cable then begins explaining to Sophie that he hopes to prevent this reality from ever occurring, but she does not quite understand what he means.

The Turnpike Authority’s hideout…

While emanating a faint, blue energy aura, Bishop breaks free of his chains. He snaps the neck of one of the guards with his robotic tentacles, and then snatches the man’s machine gun. He turns and faces another of the guards. Instead of fighting for his life, the guard asks Bishop not to kill him. “I’m not,” Bishop says while pulling the trigger. “You don’t exist.”

The third and final guard tries to sneak up on Bishop from behind, but Bishop smashes his face with his robotic arm. He believes that none of these men truly exist, as this timeline should supposedly vanish once he destroys the mutant baby. Ignoring his injuries, he sets out to confirm the deaths of Cable and the baby.

Sophie’s apartment…

Nathan and Sophie’s conversation is interrupted by the sound of an aircraft. Judging by the effect it has on the room, Cable deduces that it must be flying very closely overhead. He asks Sophie if the Turnpike Authority has access to airplanes, but she responds that they do not. Cable then prepares himself to battle Bishop once more. He sets the baby aside and pulls his gun out of its holster, while Sophie takes cover beneath a window.

Suddenly, a large explosion destroys the door to the apartment, and a large man enters. He carries a grenade launcher, sports a pair of red flight goggles, and wears a uniform that bears a large “C” on the chest. “Damn, Cable,” the old man says. “You look like $@%&.”

Characters Involved: 

Mutant baby



Various members of the Turnpike Authority

Various members of the New State Assembly


Story Notes: 

Although four bodies litter the ground surrounding Bishop after his escape, he is only shown killing three men on-panel.

The Turnpike Authority and Sophie are both finally identified by name in this issue.

While the man at the end of the issue is not explicitly identified as Cannonball, there is enough evidence to conclude that it is indeed him. For one, his uniform resembles Cannonballs current X-Men uniform, including the large letter “C” on his chest. He also speaks to Cable with familiarity, implying that the two already know each other. Additionally, the sound effects imply that this man flew over building before entering, a feat consistent with Cannonball’s power.

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