X-Man #14

Issue Date: 
April 1996
Story Title: 
Fallen from grace

John Ostrander (plot), Terry Kavanagh (script), Steve Skroce (pencils), Bud LaRosa (inks), Mike Thomas (colors), Graphic Color Works (separations), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Jaye Gardner (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

Exodus has destroyed Cable’s safehouse and finds himself in combat with Nate Grey. Cable defends himself from a localized avalanche created by the enormous psionic thunder emanating from the battle. Nate’s very power feeds Exodus, who confidently faces his younger foe. Nate opts for a more physical approach and sends Exodus reeling, with a huge uppercut. He and Threnody depart, and find Cable’s gun in the snow. Nate has no need for weapons, though, preferring to rely on his own power. Blaquesmith finds Cable again and wants him to deal with Nate. Cable ignores his request, wishing to communicate with Nate, instead of trying to destroy him. Exodus catches up with Nate and their battle continues, with more and more power being used. Cable tries shooting Exodus, but uses telekinesis to block the bullets. He finds the two men fascinating; the fact that they seem to be identical, yet specifically unique. Cable tries to talk with Nate, but Nate isn’t interested. He is more focused on defeating Exodus, a pawn of his hated foe, Apocalypse. Nate continues to pour on the power and, eventually, he finds Exodus’s absorption limit, overloading him. With Exodus defeated, Nate hurls him into a crevice, which he seals up behind him. His anger seeps from every pore in his body and he turns to Cable, Blaquesmith and Threnody, telling them that he has only just begun. Meanwhile, Madelyne Pryor cuts herself and only notices the pain when she sees the wound. Blood only appears when she thinks about it. Something strange is happening to her, but she doesn’t know what.

Full Summary: 


After his safe house exploded, moments ago, Cable has emerged intact. Looking at energy flares emanating from the other side of a small snowy ridge, he realizes that he isn’t the only survivor. He finally managed to track Nate Grey, halfway around the world, a man almost identical to himself. Now that he has found him, unless he is sorely mistaken, Nate is in real trouble.

On the other side of the ridge, Exodus and Nate are fighting. Exodus, once the right hand of Magneto, desires psionic energy and attacks Nate in order to get it. It’s exactly what Cable was afraid of. From what he’s seen already, Nate exhibits all his psionic and telekinetic potential, and then some, only unchecked by the techno-virus Cable himself carries. At full strength, Exodus once walked through X-Force without breaking a sweat. He also nearly obliterated the island of Genosha in one fell swoop, slaughtering humans and mutants indiscriminately. Now, Exodus is drained and desperate and Cable dreads to think what he could do with Nate’s power.

Cable’s main concern switches to a localized avalanche, brought about by the battle. He erects a psi-shield to protect him, whilst Exodus and Nate continue their battle unabated. Nate feels that Exodus is wasting his time, as he has the speed of thought on his side, but Exodus tells him he could hardly be more wrong. His every psychic effort expends precious forces that feed his ravenous appetite, and refuel his ravaged form. Nate takes stock of this and decides upon a more physical approach. He gives his opponent a powerful left uppercut that sends Exodus sprawling.

Threnody rushes over to Nate, who is in agony but not from any injuries inflicted by Exodus. Cable is close and this affects him, by causing a constant pounding in his head. He’s also bleeding again and Threnody knows he needs to get out of there. She doesn’t think Cable is their main concern. She knows of Exodus and that he feeds on life, just as she feeds on death. She won’t lose Nate to it.


Selene’s home is currently host to her new ally, Madelyne Pryor. She is in the kitchen with Selene’s maid, Ella, preparing some food. Madelyne enjoys cooking, which allows her to relax. Her mind wanders and Nate’s image soon comes to the fore. She can’t seem to think of anything, or anybody, since they met. Her distraction causes her to be careless with the kitchen knife and she slices the palm of her right hand. Blood oozes from it and Ella heads off to find some bandages. Madelyne looks at her hand and thinks it’s strange that, although her hand now hurts terribly, it didn’t until she noticed it. It didn’t even bleed to start with, almost as if…. Madelyne doesn’t understand, but something is very strange.


Cable emerges from under the minor avalanche covered in snow. Blaquesmith has arrived and he telepathically comments that time has been both friend and foe to Cable, and now he continues to waste it with such alarming abandon. Cable orders him out of his head. He is well aware what needs to be done. He brushes the snow from his body and prepares to deal with Exodus. Blaquesmith, however, has other plans. He wants Nathan to deal with the boy, not Exodus. He really doesn’t like the thought of Nate’s existence.

Nate and Threnody head away from the battleground, taking advantage of Exodus’ temporary incapacitation. Threnody tells Nate that they can’t allow either Cable or Exodus to ride up their heels, until they can come up with some kind of edge. As the sentence drips from her mouth, she notices something shining beside a tree, half covered in snow. She picks it up. It’s Cable’s really big gun, and it’s even heavier than it looks. Nate takes hold of it and reckons the size is right for him; fits like a glove, in fact, but it’s not his style. When it comes down to raw power and strength, he prefers to rely on himself.

A voice from above distracts Nate. “And I promise to relish each and every ounce, otherworlder.” Nate looks up to see the descending figure of Exodus right above him. He lands with both feet on Nate’s head, crunching him into the snow. Threnody grabs the gun back and shoots, the recoil throwing her backwards, but Exodus deflects her blast with a telekinetic wall. Immediately, he grabs her by the neck and tells her that the fire within her will fuel those within him. Before he can act, Nate recovers and uses his folded elbow to hammer Exodus’s face into a nearby tree. “In case you hadn’t noticed,” he tells the age-old villain, “the lady’s still using that life-essence.”

The pair of them go hard at it, hand to hand, but their psionic powers accompany their physical ones. Energy flares spark off in every direction, as they struggle with each other. Threnody looks on in horror. She knows that the battle itself sustains Exodus, and Nate’s barrelling right into a trap. She considers fleeing, but Cable appears behind her and demands his gun back. Threnody hasn’t the time to argue, before Cable removes it from her hands. Blaquesmith is with him and he telepathically calls for Cable to eliminate the boy first. Cable isn’t going to comply on his say-so and, instead, fires at Exodus. The bullets never meet their target, as they are deflected in the same way as Threnody’s attempt was earlier.

Exodus thinks the two of them are fascinating. Overlapping psi-patterns; analogous, yet singularly specific to each other, creating an interference wave of sorts. A mental echo, if you will. He assumes it must cause them both some discomfort and he is correct. Both Nate and Cable feel the pounding that their close proximity to each other brings on.

Blaquesmith uses his level-headedness to bring the battle to a temporary halt. He informs Cable that Exodus belongs to the living Apocalypse, and his dark night to come. He bears the marks on his brow. Nonetheless, he still wants Cable to prioritize Nate Grey. Cable has other ideas. He telepathically calls for Nate to let him in to his mind, for both their sakes. He insists they can do this together and push past the noise and confusion. Nate tells him to forget it. He fights the only way he knows how… alone. Cable replies that he doesn’t have to anymore. He shouldn’t. Cable learned that the hard way, and reminds Nate that they’re two sides of the same scarred coin.

Exodus is listening to their telepathic conversation, his power being the last legacy of Apocalypse. To Nate, his opponent’s connection to the hated Apocalypse condemns him, and he ups his attack. Cable sees that the situation is out of control. He barely had time to break contact with Nate before he went off the scale.

Hovering several meters in the air, Nate and Exodus fight furiously, and Exodus asks if it can be possible, that a being of so much power and potential can exist - yet hardly be tapped. Nate’s anger comes from the fact that his own world was bloodied and broken by the being Exodus represents. Cable and Threnody can only see the situation worsening. Nate’s going critical on them, shoving power down Exodus’s throat to see how much he can handle. Even Blaquesmith now sees that they are nowhere near prepared for Nate. It’s too soon for them.

Nate manages to push Exodus to his limits and he hovers, with Exodus’s battered body held aloft. “The innocent need never fear again, the demon lord,” he cries, as he throws Exodus into a deep crevice in the mountain. Exodus screams, as he plummets into the darkness. Nate extends an arm, and telekinetically drags the stone walls at either side of the crevice towards the other, closing the gap above Exodus. Threnody now sees Nate’s true power and wonders if she swapped Sinister, the devil she knew, for Nate, the devil she doesn’t.

Blaquesmith speaks telepathically to Nathan. It is worse than he feared; than he dare voice. The dark night descends, no dawn to follow if the atrocity arises. Nate turns, his face distorted with fury. “If! Psi-worm?!” he cries. “You distrust me, fear me - each one of you for reasons all your own, just like every spoiled man, woman and child I’ve run into on this unspoiled sphere. Every little mind I’ve touched. And I’ve only just begun…”

Characters Involved: 






Madelyne Pryor


Story Notes: 

Exodus defeated X-Force in X-Force (1st series) #25. He attacked Genosha during the Blood Ties crossover.

This issue features a bonus pinup of Cable and Nate Grey called ‘Identity Crisis,’ by Steve Skroce, Bud LaRosa and Mike Thomas.

This story follows on from Cable (2nd series) #30, and is concluded in Cable (2nd series) #31.

Issue Information: 
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