King-Size Cable Spectacular

Issue Date: 
November 2008
Story Title: 
The Wolf-Pit

Duane Swierczynski (writer), Ken Lashley (penciler), Paul Neary (inker), Frank D’Armata (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Will Panzo (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

After nearly being killed by one of Cable’s traps, Bishop decides on a new method of tracking Cable and the baby through time. He travels to the year 2592 to and meets with Irene Merryweather’s great-great-grandson René, who tells Bishop of a documented Cable sighting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the year 2151. There, Bishop discovers a town that not only idolizes Cable, but practically worships him as a savior. As soon as Bishop begins asking questions, the townspeople recognize him from their prophecies and try to kill him. He barely escapes. Bishop returns to Merryweather’s cabin in 2592, kills him, and begins scouring the records himself. However, he slowly discovers all the new reports of Cable sightings are fakes created by the long-deceased reporter Irene Merryweather, and from these stories emerged a fervent, worldwide Cable-worshipping cult. Bishop eventually discovers an encrypted journal that contains a record of Cable’s final resting place in the Rocky Mountains in 2276. Bishop travels there next, and while hunting for Cable in the woods, understands the nonsensical pattern behind Cable’s travels must mean he can no longer travel backward in time. Meanwhile, Cable saves the messiah child from a pack of ravenous beasts but then steps into a bear trap. To make matters worse, a monstrous bear appears in the woods and chases after the child while Cable watches helplessly. At this moment, Bishop appears and inadvertently draws the bear’s attention. He manages to kill the beast after a struggle, and then prepares to execute his defenseless targets. As he fires, however, the child leaps into Cable’s arms and the two jump into the timestream. After failing once again, Bishop has an epiphany: the encrypted journal he found was actually a factual historical account, and both Cable and the child would have been killed by the bear…had he not arrived. He just saved the child he swore to kill.

Full Summary: 

Chicago, Illinois. 2118…

While traveling through the remains of Chicago, Bishop meets some scavengers who may have encountered Cable. Apparently, one of the vagrants insinuated something sexual was occurring between Cable and the under-aged girl in his protection; Cable made sure the joker learned his lesson. Bishop gives this battered man a few more drinks, and after loosening up a bit, he boasts that he intends to teach Cable a lesson…as soon as his body heals up, that is. He even know where he lives, the vagrant brags.

After getting the information he needs, Bishop travels to Cable’s reputed residence. Upon seeing the building firsthand, he understands why Cable chooses to live there; the abandoned, crumbling building is so dark on the inside that none of its potential traps or alarms would be visible. As Cable only needs a moment’s notice to escape from Bishop into the timestream, Bishop has to catch him by surprise. As he walks down the remnants of a hallway, something about one of the nearby doors draws his attention.

Meanwhile, on the other side of a door, Cable and the mutant messiah child, now around two years old, sleep peacefully. The toddler hears a noise in the hall and excitedly runs toward the door. Cable wakes just in time to see her enthusiastically shouting “nay-nay” as she nears the only wall between them and the dangers of the outside world.

Bishop bursts through the door in the hallway…but sees only an empty room. A familiar noise draws his attention, however, and he turns around. He sees an electronic baby doll resting on the floor, repeating the words “ma-ma, ma-ma” over and over again. He picks it up. The doll’s eyes turn bright red and its “ma-ma” changes to a rapid beeping. Bishop realizes he has stumbled into a trap. He runs to the edge of the floor and dives off the tower, mere moments before the doll explodes behind him. As he plummets toward the fractured concrete below, Bishop reaches upward with his robotic arm and extends its tentacles, which manage to snag one of the building’s few remaining pillars of support. The wire tentacles slice through the concrete like warm butter. Bishop continues to fall, and resorts to channeling the remnants of his charged energy toward the ground to buffer the impact. This maneuver slows his descent enough to save his life, but the building still crumbles down on top of him. He blasts his way out, screaming in both pain and anger as the concrete clears. Yeah. Cable was here, he says.

Somewhere in the future…

Cable gets up and washes his face at the sink, one of the few amenities provided by the bombed-out apartment they currently call home. The moon shining through what used to be a roof provides his only light. After finishing with himself, he cleans the dirt off the little girl’s face too. “Go nay-nay?” she asks. Yes, Cable agrees; it is time to go. “Oh kay nay-nay,” the child says.

Later, the two walk through a sunny forest. The child runs ahead, chasing a purple butterfly. “Wait!” Cable shouts. In her excitement, she runs right by a ferocious mammal hiding in the bushes.

Chicago, 2118…

Bishop travels back one day earlier in time in an attempt to catch Cable planting the explosive doll. After learning Cable paid someone else to plant it, Bishop realizes that tracking Cable through time is a billion times more difficult than tracking him on land; the possibilities are infinite. So, he focuses on narrowing things down. He knows Cable can no longer bodyslide, having lost that ability when Providence Island sank beneath the ocean. He also knows Cable won’t travel by boat or airplane, as both are too traceable. This leaves one option: Cable must be traveling on foot. But where, and when, would he go?

Bishop assumes Cable would stick to future timelines, as he knows them best. In this sense, Cable has an extraordinary advantage; while Bishop’s knowledge of history extends eighty years into the future, Cable’s extends twenty centuries. Though I don’t think we’re in the same future anymore. I seem to have chased Cable into Hell on Earth, Bishop says as he examines the ravaged landscape . A world gone wrong. A world that could have been saved, if there were any mutants around to save it. Suddenly, Bishop has an idea.

New Siberia, 2592…

Bishop journeys to an isolated shack in the middle of a savage desert. The sign on the door reads Professeur René Merryweather, Les Sciences Biophysiques de Mutation. Bishop knocks. A long-haired Caucasian man answers the door. Bishop struggles to understand the man’s language, which combines elements of French, Arabic, and English. René, however, is pleased to meet someone else who actually remembers mutants ever existed. He comments that Bishop must be a huge fan; one rarely sees someone with an “M” tattooed over their eye anymore.

Continuing, Merryweather confirms that the history books do tell stories of a man known as the “Last Mutant” who traveled with a child. This man was reportedly sighted in Chicago in the early 21st century, a fact which Bishop can easily attest to. Merryweather drops another cryptic clue, adding that some people believe this “Last Mutant” is also the “Mysterious Savior of Cedar Rapids.”

Cable’s present, somewhere in the future…

The two haggard, spiky bear cubs encircle the defenseless little girl. Cable approaches from behind and lifts his gun. “Little girl,” he says, “…run.” The first beast lunges at the toddler, but Cable manages to blast it out of the air with his pistol. The child runs. The other beast leaps over its fallen comrade and chases after her. Cable follows, slaying another of the animals as he runs, before finding himself surrounded by an entire pack! One of the animals leaps at him from behind and sinks its fangs into his shoulder. He grabs it by the head and throws it off before continuing on his way. Once more, however, he finds himself surrounded. While he picks them off with his pistol one shot at a time, the mutant child cowers behind a tree.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 2151…

After learning all he can from Merryweather, Bishop travels to the frozen wasteland that used to be Cedar Rapids. While René reiterated that all information he has is merely legend, Bishop refuses to leave any clue uninvestigated. He travels through the ruined city, largely ignored by its bundled residents, searching for signs of Cable’s trail. Upon seeing a statue of Cable in the town plaza, however, Bishop realizes he has come to the right place. At the statue’s fit rests a sculpture of several dead beasts, an element that verifies something else Merryweather told Bishop: in the mid-22nd century, animals who mutated to survive the harsh environmental conditions acquired a taste for humans. According to the legend, a mutant with a glowing eye who carried with him a child arrived and eliminated the scourge of the feral creatures. It seems Cable single-handedly saved the town of Cedar Rapids.

Without any concrete dates, Bishop begins to ask passersby about the statue. The first man he asks freezes in place and stares at Bishop in shock. “It is as he foretold,” he announces before speaking of a prophecy. The other villagers, their attention focused on this interaction, soon join him in reciting the prophecy, which tells of a man who would one day come in search of Cable and his child.

Cable’s present…

The little girl crouches next to a tree and cries. Suddenly, a grizzled, scale-covered paw reaches around the trunk, and a beast lurches forward and snarls at the terrified child. It opens its mouth to bite her, but Cable stabs it through the throat. He grabs the wounded beast from behind and smashes it against a nearby tree, then kneels down and scoops up the little girl whose life he has sworn to protect. “It’s okay, now. It’s okay,” he tells her. She looks up into his eyes and smiles. Her tears finally cease. As they walk away, however, Cable hears a sudden, metallic CA-CHUNK! coming from the ground. Pain begins shooting up his leg. Maintaining his composure, he looks down, and sees he has just stepped into a large bear-trap. Nearby, another pack of monsters growls from the dark shadows of the woods.

Cedar Rapids, 2151…

“KILL THE BABYKILLER!” the villagers shout.

Oh yeah. Cable was here, Bishop thinks as he draws his gun. The rabid villagers, bearing weaponry of their own, encircle Bishop. Another trap. And this time, it’s Cable’s own damn cult, he thinks as he accumulates charged energy in his hands. Cable did always have that messianic quality about him, but Bishop feels like screaming at these people; Cable is not Jesus! Before he can finish that thought, one of the villagers stabs him in the back of his right shoulder. Bishop falls to the ground and realizes it is time to leave. He triggers his time-travel device and jumps forward nine days. Much to his surprise, he pukes on the ground upon arriving; by now, he figured he would no longer feel the stress of time-travel. Feel like I’ve had the damn flu for 100 years, he thinks. After pulling the dirty knife out of his shoulder, Bishop decides to confront the old man who sent him to this deathtrap.

Cable’s present…

Cable grunts in pain as he tries to free himself from the bear-trap and control his bleeding. The little girl grows frightened of the noises she hears from the woods. Cable senses she might run again. He tries to compel her to stay with him, but the eyes glowing in the forest convince her otherwise.

New Siberia, 2592…

Bishop wastes no time in neutralizing Merryweather. Immediately after entering, he knocks him down with a charged kinetic blast. René looks up and tells Bishop he refuses to help a monster like Bishop. “My great-great-grandmother’s journals chronicle the history of mutantkind in great detail,” he says. “Specifically how you tried to destroy them all.” Bishop cracks a joke about Merryweather’s jumbled speech patterns. You’ll never find her, Merryweather says. He tells Bishop it’s pointless to torture him for information, as he has a painkilling circuit hardwired into his spinal column. He will laugh all the way into the next world.

That, Bishop understands. He approaches, puts his face right in Merryweather’s, and states he has no intention of torturing him.

Cable’s present…

As the helpless Cable watches in horror, a gargantuan, scale-covered bear crashes through the line of trees. It turns its glowing red eyes toward the baby girl and stalks after her. Cable pulls out his pistol and fires a high-powered shot right at its torso. The shot sears its flesh, but bear does not even flinch. This might be the end for both of them.

New Siberia, 2592…

I took no joy in killing Merryweather, Bishop says. But, the man had caused him enough trouble already. Although it was hard for Bishop to understand the old man, his repeated use of the word “journal” stood out. After burying the old man’s body, Bishop spends weeks digging through the old files and scrapbooks, reading Merryweather’s ancestors’ historical records chronicling Nathan Christopher Summers. After a while, however, something becomes very clear: all the records are false.

Bishop realizes that at some point in her career as a journalist, Irene Merryweather began inventing news stories about fake Cable sightings all over the world, with the sole intention of confusing Bishop. From these fake stories, a worldwide cult developed, and each new generation created its own myth about Cable. Each cult looked up to him with fervent admiration, and cult would die to defend him. Essentially, Cable created 500 years of death traps, while managing to keep the true record of his travels with the baby out of documented history, and out of Bishop’s reach.

After five more weeks of searching Merryweather’s cabin, however, Bishop stumbles across hidden vault containing a notebook. He reads it, and believes it might actually be Cable’s actual history. Much of it is written in code, some of it undecipherable. Bishop does manage to interpret the journal’s final entry, though, which simply reads “Rocky Mtns, 2276 NDS R.I.P.” Rest in peace, Nathan Dayspring Summers, Bishop says to himself. It may be another trap, but he needs to check anyway. His quest, after all, doesn’t end until he sees the bodies.

Rocky Mountains. 2276. Cable’s present…

Finally free of the bear-trap, the hobbled Cable crawls toward the child. Bishop, meanwhile, puts his back to the wall of an abandoned, concrete cabin in the woods. Cable’s a soldier, he thinks. He knows the art of the trou de loup – the wolf pit. The series of traps you leave an enemy while you retreat to safety. While fully aware of the lessons he learned from the wired building, and the town full of crazed villagers, Bishop kicks the door in and levels his gun. The room is empty. Did Cable leave a trap there too? He cannot say for sure, but it is evident someone was in this room very recently.

Bishop sees a strange-looking cockroach walking along a stick. He picks up one of the many jars that litter the floor and catches the bug. As he holds it in his hand, he thinks about the nonsensical pattern behind Cable’s journey. Why does he always jump forward in time? If Bishop were trying to avoid mention in the historical record, he would jump all over the timestream. Cable’s pattern makes no sense…unless, he has no choice. Then, it hits him: Cable doesn’t have a choice at all. His time-travel machinery must have been damaged when Bishop shot him at the diner.

Nearby, the monstrous bear stalks the helpless little girl in the woods. She cradles herself beneath a large tree, repeating her comforting mantra of “nay, nay, nay, nay…” The bear overhears.

Bishop comes across fresh drops of blood on the forest floor. While it could be animal blood, he decides to follow it anyway. He fails to realize when his path brings him within ten meters of the bear. Only a few meters from the bear sits the mutant child, and only a few more meters from her, Cable drags himself across the ground. The bear hears Bishop’s approach, growls, and turns to him instead. It lunges. And I thought that cockroach was ugly, he says when faced with the mutated monster. He manages to blast it in the chest with a stream of charged energy, stopping it in the air. The bear, however, refuses to die. It lunges once more, and Bishop dives out of its way. He draws his gun and fires several rounds in its chest, but the bullets do nothing to abate it. It knocks him to the ground and tries to bite his head off. Bishop just barely manages to hold its massive jaws at an arms length. He reaches up, places his hands around the bear’s temples, and fries its brain. The 800-pound bear collapses on top of him.

With his head pinned to the side, Bishop spots his target crawling helplessly across the ground: Cable. Summoning the last of his strength, he raises the bear carcass and lifts his gun. “Rest in peace, Nathan Dayspring Summers,” he says as he fires. Cable dives out of the way. After throwing off the bear, Bishop stands up and shouts into the woods. “I know your secret, Cable,” he announces. Unless Cable can find a time-machine repair-shop in the Rocky Mountains, he can only jump forward in time. Cable ducks out from behind his cover and fires back at Bishop. He misses. Bishop just stares back at him cruelly, fully understanding the situation at hand. If Cable has not jumped away yet, it means either his time machine is broken, or he does not have the little girl with him. Either way, it ends right here, Bishop thinks. “You’ve just run out of road, Cable,” Bishop says. “You had to know it’d happen someday. Nobody runs forever.”

Cable frantically scours the area for signs of the child. However, he finally sees her in an unusual place, sitting high up in a tree. He reaches up and orders her to jump down into his arms. “No nay-nay! No jump!” she says. Cable begs. She refuses again, this time saying she’s scared.

“I’ll never, ever let anything happen to you, little girl. You know that,” Cable pleads.

Bishop lifts his rifle and locks the child in his sights. Just as she jumps down to Cable, he fires. The tree explodes. Satisfied, Bishop walks over to the site of the kill to confirm it, but he grumbles upon realizing Cable’s time device must still work. Both he and the child are gone.

At sunset, as he sits by himself in a canyon, Bishop has a startling epiphany. Had he not shown up when he did and killed that bear, it would have eaten the baby. Cable was incapable of protecting her; it would have eaten her, then killed Cable. Irene Merryweather’s journal was not a trap this time around. It was history. And Bishop just rewrote history. I saved the baby, he says. I just $%&ing saved her. It won’t matter in the long run, he tells himself. With the information he has now, tracking Cable will be much simpler. Bishop boots up the chronal components of his robotic arm and jumps back to North America in the year 2008. Sooner or later, Cable will run out of road, and Bishop will be there to smash his foot down on the accelerator.

Characters Involved: 


The mutant messiah child


René Merryweather

Various villagers and vagrants

Story Notes: 

Although published after Cable (2nd series) #6, this storyline is a direct continuation of the one in Cable (2nd series) #5.

Providence Island was destroyed in Cable & Deadpool #42.

Cable learned boats are too easily traceable after Bishop tracked him in Cable (2nd series) #2.

Bishops comment that René Merryweather pushed him into two death traps is likely a mistake, as Merryweather was only responsible for sending him to the Cedar Rapids trap. Although Merryweather had information that might have led Bishop to the baby-doll trap, it was that trap that inspired Bishop to seek out Merryweather in the first place.

Bishop’s flashback of shooting Cable at the diner occurred in Cable (2nd series) #1.

This is the first appearance of René Merryweather, Irene Merryweather’s great-great-grandson. Irene, an ally of Cable’s, first appeared in Cable (1st series) #48.

This story continues in Cable (2nd series) #7.

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