Cable (2nd series) #4

Issue Date: 
August 2008
Story Title: 
War Baby: Chapter Four

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

Brief Description: 

After reuniting with his old mentor in the year 2043 A.D., the elderly Cannonball fills Cable in on some history. All the mutants, including the X-Men, are long dead. Cannonball hid for years in anticipation of Cable’s eventual return and, using a modified Cerebra, was able to find him. Meanwhile, Bishop escapes from captivity and heads toward Sophie’s apartment. When he arrives, Cable, Sophie and the baby flee out the back while Cannonball confronts Bishop in the streets. They fight, but Bishop succeeds in ripping Cannonball’s heart right out of his chest. On the way out of town, Cable stops the car and decides he no longer wants to run.

Full Summary: 

Sophie’s apartment, New Jersey, 2043 A.D…

Cable stares at his old protégé, Cannonball, who has just forced his way into the apartment. It’s like seeing a ghost, Cable thinks. More than thirty years have passed for Sam…and only a few months for us.

Sam takes a look at Sophie, and jumps to the conclusion that she is the mutant messiah, only grown-up. “That’s not her, is it?” he asks. Nathan corrects him, and presents the real mutant savior, a red-haired infant, to Sam. Stumbling over his words, Cannonball remarks that the baby is beautiful.

Meanwhile, on the New Jersey streets…

Bishop returns to the site of his battle with Cable in order to confirm his kill. After fruitlessly checking under the crashed semi-truck, he blows it to pieces. Frustrated, he kicks open the door of the nearby diner in search of witnesses. Bishop ignores both the waitresses and heads straight for the chef, gripping the old man’s neck with his massive, robotic arm.

Sophie’s apartment…

While Cable rests, Cannonball fills him in on the history of the X-Men since he left. Cannonball tells Cable that he is the last X-Man, apart from Cable and Bishop. Soon after Cable jumped into the timestream with the baby, Bishop stole some time-travel machinery from Forge and followed him. The rest of the X-Men were helpless to stop the traitor. “We all knew Bishop was coming after you, but we couldn’t warn you. Or even find you,” Cannonball says. “Looks like he did, though.”

The diner…

Bishop holds the cook by his legs and dangles him over the fryer. The hot grease crackles and pops. The cook tries to talk his way out of it by threatening Bishop with the wrath of the Turnpike Authority, but Bishop ignores him. He begins lowering the man toward the fryer. As he does, he asks the cook about the waitress who failed to show up to work that day. The cook eagerly gives up her name. “Sophie Pettit! Forty-nine Sylvan Street! I’ll draw you a #$%#$ map!” he screams.

Sophie’s apartment…

Sophie offers Sam a glass of water, and Nathan begins questioning him for useful information. He asks how Sam managed to track him down. Sam explains that he was able to use the remnants of Cerebra after the last telepath died. Using this crude set-up, Sam witnessed the deaths of all the remaining mutants on the planet. He felt helpless, but figured the best he could do was wait patiently until new mutant signatures popped up on the device. “Then it happened. Just fifteen minutes ago,” Cannonball says. “I was just back from a food run, and there they were: two spikes.” He adds that he followed the strongest signal to Sophie’s apartment, the entire time praying it was Nathan.

Sam pulls off his goggles, fully revealing his grizzled, aged features. Unable to hide his frustration, he asks Cable why he didn’t just timeslide once Bishop showed up. Cable explains that his time-travel machinery seems to be broken. Cannonball asks the next logical question: what happened to Bishop?

Sophie interjects that she saw the Turnpike Authority arresting Bishop, adding that they probably will not hear from him ever again. Cable contradicts her optimism. “You don’t know Bishop,” he says.

The streets of New Jersey…

The determined Bishop stomps his way through the city toward Sophie’s apartment. A group of Turnpike Authority patrol men attempt to ambush him, but Bishop angrily obliterates them with a single, powerful energy blast.

Sophie’s apartment…

Cable suddenly realizes that Bishop may arrive at any moment. He asks Cannonball for a hand getting off the couch. Sam makes a crack about Cable’s age, and then adds that they should head to the old X-Men headquarters for protection. Cable refuses. Bishop has already demonstrated an impressive tracking ability, and Cable does not want to keep running for the little girl’s entire life. He wants to take a stand.

Suddenly, they hear the sound of a jet landing overhead. Cable and Cannonball stare at each other in disbelief, their mouths agape. Sam urges Nathan to escape with the baby while he confronts Bishop. Initially, Nathan is resistant to leaving his friend behind to face Bishop, as Bishop has become a merciless killing machine. Cannonball reminds Cable that Bishop’s ruthlessness is even more reason to get the baby as far away as possible. “And in case you forgot, ah’m pretty much indestructible,” Sam adds. Sophie mentions that she knows where they can find a drivable car, and the two old friends say their goodbyes.

As they flee in Sophie’s vehicle, she asks Cable for their destination. Cable sits in the backseat, cradling the baby in his arms. He tells her to head toward New York, but she comments that the city is mostly gone. He does not care. Sophie then asks about Cannonball’s supposed indestructibility. “You are too, aren’t you? Like with that truck yesterday,” she asks.

“You pulled a bullet out of my chest, Sophie. You know I can be hurt,” Cable reminds her. “Watch the road.”

Outside Sophie’s apartment…

Bishop lurches out of the shadows, his eyes glowing red. Cannonball confronts him in the middle of the street. Bishop merely tells him to walk away. Sam ignores the man’s threats, and ignites his mutant propulsion power. He launches himself at Bishop and knocks him into the ground before Bishop can release his charged attack. Cannonball swoops up into the sky, swings back around, and begins his second approach toward his flattened adversary. Bishop tries to reason with Sam, once again insisting that the baby is the cause of countless horrors in her future. Cannonball ignores him and collides with him once again, knocking Bishop off his feet. “I don’t know what Cable’s told you, but he’s delusional. That baby,” Bishop says while drawing his gun, “…she’s the cause of all this. Not the cure.”

The bridge into New York City…

Nathan orders Sophie to stop the car. She pulls over between two gaping holes in the crumbling bridge. He can see his friend Cannonball soaring through the skies in the vehicle’s rearview mirror, and needs a moment to honor his friend’s sacrifice. Nathan steps out of the car and stares out across the murky water. Keep calm and you can focus. Maybe you can override the malfunction. Timeslide back. One day is all we’d need, little girl. One day would change everything, Nathan says to himself while holding the baby to his chest.

Meanwhile, Bishop and Cannonball continue their brutal confrontation. Bishop tries shooting at Cannonball, but none of his bullets manage to penetrate Sam’s indestructible blast field. He tries explaining that the baby will one day cause the deaths of a million people, but Sam does not listen. He begins another approach at Bishop, this time missing by mere centimeters as Bishop dives of the way. Bishop continues to plead with his former ally. “Listen to me, Sam. If you could save a million lives with a single bullet, wouldn’t you pull the trigger? Would you even hesitate?” he asks. Sam ignores him, and orients himself toward Bishop once again. He plummets toward his attacker at a crushing velocity and forces him directly into the ground.

As the dust settles, Sam stares down into a newly formed crater and stares at Bishop’s motionless body. It seems he has succeeded in defeating his enemy. Suddenly, he hears some unfamiliar, mechanical noises coming from Bishop’s robotic arm. Before Sam has time to react, a clawed tentacle springs forth and pierces him through the chest. The tentacle emerges out of his back, clutching in its claws Sam’s bloody heart. As he dies, Cannonball manages to eke out a few dying words. “Why…are…you…doing this?” he asks.

Bishop coldly stares at him. In his mind, he recalls an image of several miserable people standing around in a dark, desolate concentration camp. Their heads are shaven, they all wear drab prisoner uniforms, and each one bears an “M” brand over their right eye.

“To save you,” Bishop finally responds while looking down at the lifeless Sam Guthrie.

The bridge…

The sun begins to set over the city. Holding the baby in his gentle arms, Nathan Christopher Summers rests on one knee and meditates. Sophie emerges from the vehicle and asks what he is doing. She tells him he is a good man, and if he runs, it must be for a good reason. Cable lifts his head, and turns to her.

“No, Sophie,” he says, “…I’m not running anymore.”

Characters Involved: 



Sophie Pettit

Mutant baby


Diner cook

Various members of the Turnpike Authority

Story Notes: 

Strangely, Cannonball refers to Bishop as “Nathan” in the heat of their battle. This is most likely a lettering mistake.

Issue Information: 

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