Cable (2nd series) #5

Issue Date: 
September 2008
Story Title: 
War Baby: Chapter Five

Duane Swierczynski (writer), Ariel Olivetti (artist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Will Panzo (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Marc Silvestri and Frank D’Armata (variant cover)

Brief Description: 

After arriving at the old X-Mansion in Westchester, Cable and Sophie destroy Cerebra, equip themselves with new weapons and armor, and board the Blackbird. Bishop, meanwhile, takes control of the Turnpike Authority after a brief altercation and searches for Cable. Cable finds him first. Together, Cable and Sophie kill every member of Bishop’s army, except for Bishop, he sneaks away. He returns and slams into Cable and the baby with a van, sending them into a building and down an elevator shaft. They survive, but Bishop quickly descends the shaft, restrains Cable with his machinery, and fires at the baby. At that same moment, Cable realizes his time-travel machinery may not be broken after all, and jumps into the future moments before the bullets hit their target. Three days later, Sophie executes the oppressive New Jersey State Assembly and places the state under martial law. Elsewhere, 85 years in the future, Cable and the baby continue their journey.

Full Summary: 

Westchester, NY, 2043 A.D…

In the vast underground of what used to be the Xavier Institute, Cable examines the mutant-tracking device Cerebra. While this machine represents the life work of Charles Xavier, it also happens to represent the only way anyone can track Cable and the mutant baby. He whips out his machine gun and fires a few rounds at it. he machine explodes, its fiery demise reflected in the eyes of Cable, Sophie Pettit, and the mutant messiah baby. “Umm…that wasn’t anything important, right?” Sophie asks.

Not far from there, Bishop drives a semi-truck from New Jersey headlong into New York. Westchester is the only place he imagines Cable would have gone. A few miles out, Bishop glances into his rearview mirror and spots a trio of vehicles on his tail, no doubt driven by the Turnpike Authority. Damn. Those idiots just don’t give up, he says to himself. So maybe I should. He pulls his truck over, steps outside, and raises his hands in a gesture of surrender.


Cable digs through a pile of old machinery in search of a chronal slippage regulator. Realizing this is where their time together ends, Sophie begins to say her goodbyes. “I feel bad for you, Nathan. This is some world you’ll be raising her in. A world where a few sons of bitches take whatever they want, and kill whoever gets in their way,” she says. Cable gives her a knowing look; she immediately understands what he means. “Okay, then. See ya, soldier,” she says as she walks out the door.

The road…

The cloaked soldiers from the Turnpike Authority, leveling their shotguns at Bishop’s torso, enclose him in a tight circle. Bishop, with his arms raised above his head, betrays no signs of fear. He asks who is first in command. “I am,” one of the soldiers responds. Bishop flicks his fingers in the man’s direction, snapping a crucial artery in his neck. He falls to the ground, dead.

“Who’s next?” Bishop asks. Several of the Turnpike Authoritarians stare in shock. One, however, begins to speak up. Bishop makes a gripping gesture with his hand, snapping the guy’s leg in two. “Third?”

One of the soldiers finally happens upon the desired answer. “Y-y-you are, sir.” Now in command of his own private army, Bishop leads the men into battle against Cable.


Having destroyed Cerebra and in search of more weapons, Cable stumbles upon the X-Men’s old armory. “Good job, Sam,” he says upon sighting the fully-stocked weapons cache. Sophie, however, beat him to it; she stands before him, outfitted in a suit of body armor similar to Cable’s. She apologizes for borrowing the weapons without permission, but considers it payment for her hospitality and medical assistance. Cable minds not; he only asks Sophie if she can hold the baby for a moment.

Sophie sets her gun down and takes the baby in her arms. She was expecting Cable to try to talk her out of going after the Turnpike Authority, and is surprised to hear his encouragement. She begins to apologize for implying him a coward earlier, but Cable cuts her off mid-sentence. He has a plan, and has no time to waste with unnecessary apologies. He leads Sophie to the Institute’s hangar, along the way asking if her father taught her how to handle a gun. “Yeah. He did,” she replies.

“Good man.” They arrive at the hangar and Cable opens the doors. “Very good job, Sam,” he says upon witnessing the prize inside.

New York City…

Nature has reclaimed the once-bustling streets of New York. As Bishop drives through in his semi-truck, he sees building after building overgrown with plants and vines. Something else captures his attention, however: the familiar figure of the Blackbird flying overhead. No. Can’t be, he thinks. The Blackbird? Here?

He exits the cab to get a better look, and as soon as he confirms the sighting, he shouts for his troops to take cover. The payload unleashed by the jet hits the ground and explodes just as the men turn to flee. By the time Bishop recovers from the blast, Cable and Sophie have already landed and exited the Blackbird.

Bishop gets a good look at them as the smoke clears. Cable, now sporting a heavy-duty carrying case for the baby on his chest, lifts his rifle into the air. Behind him stands Sophie with a threatening look on her face. “You shouldn’t have followed me, Lucas,” Cable says. Bishop tells him to save it; he springs to his feet and fires multiple rounds at Cable. The bullets merely bounce off of Cable’s armored torso. So intent is he on hitting his target, Bishop fails to notice the explosive mines sprinkled on the ground. His foot comes down on one of many. The ensuing detonation propels him through the air.

Sophie, meanwhile, fires her rifle at the soldiers from the Turnpike Authority. In her fury, she fails to recognize her victim’s faces, several of whom are customers at her diner. One man finally speaks up. “Little Sophie Pettit? Is that you?” he asks. “You’d better put down that gun, little girl, and get’cher ass back to the diner before you hurt yourself.” Sophie blows him away without hesitation.

Cable approaches the crater left by the cataclysmic explosion. Bishop, however, is nowhere to be seen. Another soldier springs out of the crater and shouts “Die mutant!” at Cable. Barely flinching, Cable shoots the man in the kneecap. The soldier falls on his own gun and accidentally fires a round into his own head. Bishop chose some interesting allies, Cable thinks as he walks away from the headless corpse.

Suddenly, a van barrels out of nowhere and collides headfirst into Cable. It pins him to the hood and smashes him into a concrete wall. This time, it is Cable who emerges from the rubble to the sight of his worst enemy. Cable stands; Bishop flattens him with a telekinetic burst of energy and sends him through an elevator door and down the shaft. The baby, still strapped to Cable’s chest, screams a cry of sheer terror. She is saved only Cable’s maneuvered landing.

Bishop approaches the open elevator shaft to confirm the kill, but four bullets bury themselves in his back. Sophie, the bearer of the gun, screams at Bishop for trying to murder an innocent baby. Somehow, Bishop survives this damage to his body. He turns, acknowledges Sophie’s bravery, but then sweeps her aside with a blast from his hand.

At the bottom of the shaft, Cable recovers from his rough landing. He tries to console the crying baby, whose protective shell has been completely destroyed. Bishop gives him no chance to recover. He jumps down the shaft and lands directly above Cable. Cable pleads with the crazed killer one final time. “This child is our future!” he says.

Bishop rejects his pleas for mercy one final time as well. “No, Nathan. You don’t get it,” he says while the tentacles emerge from his robotic arm. “With her alive, there is no future.” With his tentacles restraining each of Cable’s limbs, Bishop raises his machine gun and lines up his shot. He aims it right at the crying baby. She raises her arms in a feeble gesture of self-defense.

However, something Bishop said triggers a thought in Cable. Future, he thinks. Of course.

Bishop fires. His targets, however, vanish right before his eyes. He stares down at the empty space and realizes Cable has eluded him once again.

Offices of the New Jersey Assembly. Three days later…

Sophie Pettit, no longer willing to submit to oppression, walks into a conference with a rifle in each hand. She says good morning before informing the corrupt politicians she is instituting martial law. One board member slams his fists on the table and begins to call her an insolent bitch; Sophie shuts him up. After reminding the men of what they did to her father, she opens fire and executes every person in the room.

Somewhere in America, 85 years in the future…

Cable, wandering down a desolate country road with the baby resting on his shoulder, realizes his time machine was never truly broken; it was merely incapable of sending him to the past. This development will make returning the child to Cyclops quite difficult, as well as adding another handicap to his evasion of Bishop. I don’t know this future, he says to himself. I don’t know how far the road extends.

He sits down on a rock to rest. The baby crawls up to his leg, seeking attention. “Don’t worry, little girl,” he tells her. “I’m a soldier. I’m trained for everything.” Cable hands her a makeshift doll, fashioned out of a tin can, some silverware, some bolts, and a piece of cloth. She reaches for it with all the unrestrained enthusiasm of a delighted child.

Maybe even this.

Characters Involved: 

Sophie Pettit
Mutant baby


Various members of the Turnpike Authority
Various members of the New Jersey State Assembly

Story Notes: 

On page two, the explosion’s reflection in the baby’s eyes takes the unmistakable form of the Phoenix, furthering fan speculation that this baby may be the reincarnation of Jean Grey.

There is a minor lettering error on page 18. Cable says to Bishop “This is child is our future.” The correct line should be, of course, “This child is our future.”

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