…Cable’s origin?

Figure 00_prophetcable1

Rob Liefeld had originally planned for Cable to be a traveller from thousands of years in the future who journeyed back to our time to combat specific menaces that threatened the future of the Marvel Universe, intending Kang the Conqueror as chief among these threats.  To support this Rob reveals, in Prophet/Cable #1, that Prophet was originally intended to be a police officer from the future sent by Kang, a warlord in his era, to bring back Cable.  While this never came to be, here’s my attempt to increase his importance in the wider Marvel Universe… but with a twist;)

In Chris Claremont’s End of Greys tale the Shi’ar, in an effort to prevent the manifestation of the Phoenix through her descendants, decide to end Rachel Grey’s line by having their Death Commandos slay the entire Grey family (cf. Uncanny X-Men #467-468).

Figure 01_Uncanny X-Men V1 468 - 11

In Uncanny X-Men #468, Rachel wonders why the Shi’ar missed Cable when he’s her carries the genes of her mother’s clone.

Figure 02_Uncanny X-Men V1 468 - 21

We know the Shi’ar have technology far exceeding anything even Mr. Sinister would possess in determining Cable’s lineage, and yet they choose not to involve him in their purge.

Figure 03_Cable V1 06

This would seem to put an end to the erroneous argument that Cable is the offspring of Jean Grey’s clone…

Figure 04_mother of Nathan Summers, Madelyne Pryor_Uncanny X-Men V1 241

…and goes along with his creator Rob Liefeld’s own hope “that one day, the Askani aspect will be revealed as a dream, a hoax or an imaginary story and that Cable’s true identity will be revealed” (Robservations XI: The Secret Origin of Cable)

Interestingly Chris Claremont also contended on Comixfan that it was never his intention for Rachel to evolve into “Mother Askani”!

Figure 05_Rachel as Mother Askani_Cable V1 23

So here I am again with a solution, this time for how the Askani aspect of Cable’s origin can be revealed as inaccurate.

Figure 06_Soldier X 08

I’d do this by firstly suggesting that young Nathan Christopher Summers and Cable are not the same being.

Figure 07_Nathan Summers of Earth-161

Okay then!

Endgame” did happen, and I felt I should make it work, so in line with Fabian et. al., I’d retain the account that young Nathan Christopher Summers was infected by Apocalypse because the Celestial caretaker had been advised that the infant would somehow prevent his ascension.

Figure 08_Nathan infected by Apocalypse

Hence Askani appears on the scene and offers to take him through time to cure him of the infection.

Figure 09_Askani takes Nathan to cure

However, in line with Claremont’s contention that Askani might not have been intended to be from 4000 AD, I’d instead reveal Cable was from the alternate world, Warlord’s Earth, where Nathaniel Richards dwelt.

Figure 10_What If v2 39 p10

I say alternate world because in X-Factor #67 on page 6, the world that Apocalypse rules (and Askani hails from) is referred to as “Sidereal scantime.” So it’s a SIDE REALITY, as Other Earth is.

Figure 11_X-Factor 67_Sidereal

I’d further reveal the Askani Sisterhood as a future version of the matriarchal society of the Eyrie on Warlord’s Earth, as shown by John Byrne in Fantastic Four #273.

Figure 12_Eyriennes from Fantastic Four 273

Upon being cured of his techno-organic infection, I’d propose the Askani placed him in the care of this timeline’s Richards clan who are descendants of this timeline’s Franklin Richards and Rachel Grey.

Nathan Christopher Summers is hence raised as a Richards to protect his identity from Clan Akkaba’s spies who will stop at nothing to kill him since he is destined to become Apocalypse’s greatest enemy.


Young Nathan is then secretly trained in the use of his powers, in much the same way 1A trained Magnus the Robot Fighter (but perhaps still ignorant of his true identity).

Figure 13_1A training Magnus the Robot Fighter

Upon discovering the truth, he embraces his destiny, and travels back in time to become Rama-Tut with the aim of preventing the High Lord from becoming “all-powerful”.

Figure 14_FF273_Kang

Unfortunately, in an ironic twist, the Fantastic Four return to the same period…

Figure 15_Fantastic Four's arrival in ancient Egypt_Fantastic Four V1 19

…and it is their interference…

Figure 16_Rama-Tut's defeat_Fantastic Four V1 19

…that prevents Rama-Tut from stopping Apocalypse before he begins his meteoric rise to power.

Figure 17_Apocalypse rise to power in Egypt

As for Cable’s true identity, around the same time as his introduction there was another character in the Marvel Universe having similar features.

That is, Nathaniel Richards Senior – Reed’s father.

Figure 18_Fantastic Four V1 375 - 45

In addition, Cable regularly used the Askani curse-phrase “stab his eyes”…

Figure 20_Cable Blood-Metal 02 - 28

…and when Nathaniel was reintroduced during Tom De Falco’s run on Fantastic Four he was teaching Franklin curses including “Stab my eyes”…

Figure 21_Fantastic Force 09 - 16

….which seemed to imply that the reality he raised his grandson in was one where the Askani held sway.

This could further resolve why Cable’s first name is Nathan.

But fret not!  I’m not suggesting this is because he is Nathan Richards Senior…

…rather that he is the unnamed son from Nathaniel Richards Senior’s marriage to Cassandra, Warlord of Otherworld.

Figure 22_Fantastic Four V1 272 - 21

Figure 22_Fantastic Four V1 272 - 22

While completely out there, look at the similarities in their armour; that worn by Cable during New Mutants #90…

Figure 23_New Mutants v1 90

…and moreso during the Sabotage X-Over in X-Force #3…

Figure 24_X-Force v1 03 - 09

…and Spider-Man #16…

Figure 25_Spider-Man V1 16 - 12Figure 26_Spider-Man V1 16 - 13

Figure 27_Spider-Man V1 16 - 16-17

…was almost identical to Nathaniel Richards Senior’s psi-armour worn during flashbacks in Fantastic Four #390 (p. 10)…

Figure 25_Fantastic Four V1 390 - 11

…and #393 (p. 4).

Figure 29_Fantastic Four V1 393 - 04

I would posit that Cable’s armour was meant to be psi-armour rather than generic (which could be used in concert with his telekinesis to absorb Juggernaut impacts), and this is the reason it looked so similar to that worn by Richards.

This would further explain why, as stated in Cable’s costume specifications in his Marvel Universe Master Edition #3 entry, the various suits of body armour he wore were of “unknown composition”.

Figure 25

Furthermore, the armour worn by Reed Richards during his “battle-in-time” with Dr. Doom during Fantastic Four #352 was extremely similar to that worn by Nathaniel and Cable.

Fantastic Four V1 352 - 12

So Cable wears this trademark armour due to his being the son and heir of Nathaniel Richards Senior and a time-traveller like his father, since that would appear to be the function of that worn by both Nathaniel and Reed; and claims affiliation with Cyclops and Nathan Summers as a cover story.


Maybe Nathaniel Senior discovers the destiny of young Nathan Christopher Summers, and raises his and Cassandra’s unnamed son to travel to Earth-616 and begin involving himself in missions that would eventually suggest to Apocalypse that he was in fact young Nate.

In this way they could prevent Apocalypse from realising what the Richards Clan were really up to.  That is, training Nathan Summers to go back in time and prevent his rise as Rama-Tut.

I feel the revelation of Cable being a Richards would also fulfil Rob Liefeld’s plan of his being a technologically advanced time-traveller with a strong science background (since science certainly runs in the Richards family).

This is why Reed’s father, at times, appears enigmatic and his occasional machinations seem opposed to the Fantastic Four.  Nathaniel Sr. can’t reveal the truth to them for fear that Apocalypse may discover the truth.  That and he is still miffed at their interference in preventing Rama-Tut from putting a stop to Apocalypse.

As mentioned above Claremont’s End of Greys storyline puts an end to the argument that Cable is the offspring of Jean Grey’s clone.

In addition, it is more likely, as I suggest, that Cable hails from an alternate earth, rather than the far flung future of 4000 AD. Cable can still be a time-traveller and travel from Earth-6311 to Earth-616, as time machines have previously been proven to be able to access both realities.

It is further doubtful that Cable travelled from this future to our present, since after Pryde’s Time-Switch, the Hierarchy set in motion appropriate counter-measures installing Ahab and his Sentinels and Hounds at the temporal Nexus to prevent any further time travel from the future back to the modern era…

Figure 29

…so Cable would have been prevented from travelling from the future to our era prior to 1990.

While one could argue that Bishop had done the same, this was only after Claremont had Ahab defeated and Cable had arrived in our era prior to this.

If we maintain Cable was a alternity traveller, this further supports my theory that he did not come from the 4000 AD, but rather the period of Warlord’s Earth that Nathaniel Richards Sr. had settled in (hence my positing above that he is Nathaniel’s other unnamed son, by way of Cassandra).

All that’s left to figure out now is how Cable knew the Master of the Hounds, Ahab in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 (and no I don’t believe the two were originally intended to be the same character and here is my reason why).

Postscript: What would make this whole scenario perfect for me is for the Shi’ar to eventually make an attempt on one of the incarnations of Nathaniel Richards Jr., whether that be Rama-Tut, Kang or Immortus.

7 Responses

  1. You know the sad thing about this is that there was ample opportunity to head in this direction once Cable’s mission to safeguard Hope came to an end during the Second Coming crossover.

    So once Cable was eventually brought back, what could have become his new mission?

    Well, it’s also worth noting that in Cable’s early appearances his weaponry also appeared quite similar to that wielded by Death’s Head during his involvement in the Time Bubble Saga written and illustrated by Walter Simonson.

    During this story Death’s Head was commissioned by the immense temporal bureaucracy called the Time Variance Authority (TVA).

    Surely all Cable’s time-hopping would have drawn the attention of the TVA by now!?

    What better driver for a new Cable series than Nate(Richard)’s being arrested by the TVA’s Minute Men for time violations. During his trial some chronal wave begins attacking their citadel, so he offers to serve his sentence by becoming their agent.

    He basically becomes a “paratime” police officer and is given a group of recruits to help him, which provides the family he previously sought through the Wild Pack and X-Force. Or could the recruits be drawn from different timelines to suit each mission, much like Dr. Strange’s approach in Secret Defenders?

    Just picture all those futuristic vistas. Think Starslammers!

  2. If Rama-Tut’s true mission in life was to prevent the rise of Apocalypse, and the Fantastic Four’s interference prevented him from doing so, then Doctor Strange must really be kicking himself, since he was also there and could have prevented the FF from messing up Rama-Tut’s plans. I’m curious how you factor in Doctor Strange’s actions in ‘Doctor Strange’ v.2 #53.

    Also, if Rama-Tut had remained in Ancient Egypt, then he would not have been able to rescue Doctor Doom from dying in orbit around Jupiter, and presumably would then not have been inspired to become Kang the Conqueror and try to take over the 20th century. So, leaving Rama-Tut alone would have meant no Doctor Doom, no Kang the Conqueror, and no Apocalypse. Thanks, Fantastic Four. Thanks a lot.

    Over on my Doctor Doom Chronology, I speculate that Doom himself built the armor that Nathaniel Richards was wearing during his time-travel experiment (as a way of ensuring that Richards was lost in a parallel world so Doom could be rid of him and have their time machine all to himself). So it makes perfect sense to me that Reed Richards would find similar armor in Doom’s castle during FF #352.

    • I never had a chance to read that issue before the sight migrated south.

      And yep, I’m suggesting Rama-Tut never got the opportunity to rescue Doom from Jupiter’s, but perhaps after eradicating Apocalypse he went on to become Kang.

      But yep, thanks Fantastic Four.

      You know the other possibility for who the son of Nathaniel Richards Sr and Cassandra might be Claremont’s Mr. Sinister/ Nathan/ Lefty if we ignore the later revelation of him as Essex!

      But you know my favourite idea for Rama-Tut’s origin is that he was actually a renegade chronomonitor for the Time Variance Authority, who, stripped of power for interfering with history for personal gain, escaped imprisonment and travelled back to ancient Egypt.

    • What If when Rama-Tut rescued Dr. Doom from dying in orbit around Jupiter, the pair swapped identities with Tut returning to Latveria where he could become history’s greatest supervillain (as he’d always dreamed) and Victor went on to become Kang the Conqueror complete with blue mask to hide the fact he’d taken Tut’s place?

  3. Just got done reading your latest. Damn! I loved it. I’ve always had issues with Cables convoluted origins so this is a really nice way to tie it up. Especially with him being son of Nathaniel Richards Snr. Genius!

  4. Do you realize what you did? You just broke Marvel in half. Some of the ideas are cool, but thank god that we have it the way it is, because I don’t think my brain could handle more convolutions to the already convoluted bio of Cable.

  5. Hmmm, interesting ideas and proposals. Don’t necessarily agree with everything, but some of what you suggest could lead to some interesting stories for Cable. But, as True Believer noted in his comment, Cable’s origin is already so ridiculously complicated that any attempts to fix it would probably just make it even more confusing.

    I did notice that you had a scan of a panel from X-Men Forever. That series was Chris Claremont’s idea of where the X-Men might possibly have gone back in the early 1990s if he hadn’t been so unceremoniously fired by Bob Harras, and of course freed to upend the status quo as much as he wanted (i.e. killing Wolverine). So it is interesting to note that in Claremont’s intended version of events, Nathan is still a kid, still living in the present day, and not infected with the techno-organic virus. So it seems reasonable to conclude that, yes, Claremont was never happy with Nathan becoming Cable. Which probably explains why he didn’t have Cable appear in Uncanny X-Men #467-468.

    By the way, I remember in the mid-1990s, when the X-Men animated series was really popular, and Cable started showing up, sometimes friends who knew I was a comic book reader would ask me who this guy was. And I would valiantly attempt to explain Cable’s convoluted backstory, with the result being that each & every time I did so I just ended up hopelessly confusing each of my friends.

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