Ahab was the “Master of the Hounds” from the Days of Future Past future – the one that Rachel Grey hailed from. Hounds were mutants with powers useful for tracking other mutants, who were controlled by Ahab in that timeline. Back when Cable still didn’t have a past, Ahab was introduced in the Days of Future Present crossover (Fantastic Four Annual #23, X-Factor Annual #5, New Mutants Annual #6, Uncanny X-Men Annual #14). During one fight scene during this crossover, Cable and Ahab get close to one another, and Cable is shocked to recognise something familiar in Ahab, reinforced to readers further when Ahab says: “What’s wrong Cable? See someone you know?” (cf. Uncanny X-Men Annual #14).
Now, although Rictor was the first to point out that Cable looked like Ahab
I believe his judgement was clouded by his guilt over killing the Hound
and his reluctance to trust Cable (cf. New Mutants #89, p.30)
due to his belief that Cable set his father up to get killed (cf. New Mutants #90, p. 14 & 18)
and his recollection that when he was a child – prior to manifesting his powers – Cable seemed like such a monster (cf. New Mutants #93, page 14).
This along with noticing superficial physical similarities – scar over right eye, and bionic left arm and shoulder (cf. X-Factor #61, p. 6 among others)
– while experiencing a heightened state of stress, provides a reasonable excuse for Rictor’s misplaced paranoia.
I do think Louise Simonson had somewhat of a plan for Cable negative relationship with Rictor – and no I don’t think it was the later revelation of Stryfe being his doppelganger – which I believe was somehow tied into his having previously worked as a government agent who went “rogue” (cf. New Mutants #88), his past with Moira MacTaggert (cf. New Mutants #89), his past connection with Sunfire and the Yashida Clan (cf. New Mutants #93) and the outstanding scores with Wolverine and his previous link to Madripoor.
However, I’m certain the intention was NOT to impose Ahab’s origin onto Cable to resolve the fact that they didn’t initially have a background for him, but that it was planted as a RED HERRING!
Fabian Nicieza claims the latter, suggesting Bob Harras pushed for the dialogue in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14; though I’m not entirely convinced it was him primarily since the dialogue at the time seemed indicative of Claremont’s well-known catch phrases – which I’ll expound below.
While Cable and Ahab did have some similar features, there are more distinct differences, than similarities, during Ahab’s introduction in the Days of Future Present Annuals.
While both characters had similar scars across their right eyes, Cable’s left eye was the bionic one.
Even though his Physical Description from the Marvel Universe Master Edition #3 at the time suggested otherwise,
New Mutants #89 (p. 26)
and Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 (p. 17) proved the original intention since Cable’s right eye was blue,
page 18 showing Ahab’s left eye as brown, his right eye being the bionic one.
While the rendering on their bionic left arms was awfully similar, the renderings appeared to suggest Forge’s design, since they were practically identical to how his prosthesis was depicted as in New Mutants #65 (p. 24, panel 4)
and on the cover of New Mutants #66
(given the similarity of Forge’s design it is most interesting that he claimed credit for Misty Knight’s cyborg arm in UXM #264).
In addition, on page 18 of X-Men Annual #14 (1990) Ahab calls Cyclops “laddie-buck”, definitely not indicative of Cable’s speech patterns.
This was a well-known Claremont idiom regularly used by his Welsh character Dai Thomas, who I might add he originally introduced as an anti-superhero police officer and friend/ member of Joseph MacTaggert’s infantry in the Royal Marine Commandos.
Also, according to Banshee in New Mutants Annual #6 (p. 18) Cable was in Madripoor at the time Ahab was rounding up fellow mutants with Rachel.
What this all suggests is that Cable obviously recognised Ahab in Annual #14, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that he was recognising himself. It could alternatively suggest that Cable may have encountered Ahab in his former identity, before he became “Master of the Hounds”.
What was that former identity, you ask?
The one thing that has been completely overlooked in the two decades since Ahab’s introduction is his going grey in a really unusual pattern.
I still can’t believe I am the only one who picked this up, but I’ve noted no one else make the same particular reference online over this whole time.
The only question remaining with regard to Ahab is whether he is Rogue’s father, brother or son.
Unlikely that he is her father or brother since Ahab is obviously Welsh or Scottish and Rogue was born in Mississippi.
However, could he be Rogue’s son?
During Uncanny X-Men #278 the Shadow King seduces Rogue.
What if Claremont intended her to become pregnant by him, with Ahab?
When she comes to realise what has occurred, perhaps Claremont didn’t originally intend her to return to the team right away, but rather have her remain on Muir Island to give birth.
She swears Moira to secrecy about the pregnancy (who likely empathises Moira, given the father of her own child was a monster), and after giving birth returns to the X-Men.
But not before leaving the child with Moira to rear (drawing a nice parallel to Mystique’s own giving up of Kurt).
Moira, not unfamiliar with raising other bairns (i.e. Rahne), raises the child, who upon reaching his teens, like Crystal’s child, Luna, goes on to develop no powers.
He develops a crush on Rachel, who rejects him for Franklin Richards!
He takes the rejection harshly, considering the reason being because he is not a mutant, and goes on to develop a burning prejudice against mutants (much like the latter-introduced Graydon Creed).
This anti-mutant prejudice brings him into some conflict, and he is left for dead (without arms, his right eye and left leg).
But like Cameron Hodge before him, he survives, and submits himself to a process developed by the Genoshans, becoming “Master of the Hounds”, going on to enslave and humiliate Rachel; developing the Hound process in tribute to his father the Shadow King.
Note: His being raised on Muir Island would perhaps explain the accent Claremont imbued him with in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14; his crazy hair perhaps be explained by having Legion be the biological father (who was possessed by the Shadow King at the time).
Filed under: Claremont's X-Men | Tagged: Ahab, Bob Harras, Cable, Chris Claremont, Days of Future Present Annuals, Fabian Nicieza, Genosha, Legion, Louise Simonson, Master of the Hounds, Moira MacTaggert, Muir Island, Rictor, Rogue, Sentinels, Shadow King |