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Welcome from the present to the future to the past to the… (Hang on, I need my notes). Anyways, this is the Cable comics reading guide!

The child of Madelyne Pryor and Scott Summers, Nathan Christopher Charles Summers was sent to the far-flung future as a toddler. Raised in a brutal apocalyptic world, he returned to the present a grown-up, hard-edged warrior. But his memory was spotty, and it took many years, and retcons, and cataclysmic events to answer the question: Who is Cable?

As a mysterious muscle man with big pouches and bigger guns, Cable is easy to mistake for a bland ’90s action hero. His history seems impenetrable, a dubious mix of cloning, time travel, reverse aging, and some of the most insane X-Men drama ever written. But Cable comics go so much deeper, and they are so worth it.

The stories below chronicle a grizzled war hero who faced the apocalypse, brought about the second coming, and became the protector of hope in the Marvel Universe. Beyond the over-the-top action, Cable comics center on family, heroism, tragedy, and sacrifice. His tale is the ultimate long form epic, a story that could only be told in the comics medium, developed over multiple years by multiple writers. The best Cable comics are awesome.

Cable Comics Recommendations:

  • Early Cable
    • New Mutants (1983) #87-100
    • Cable: Blood & Metal (1992) #1-2
    • X-Cutioner’s Song (1992)
    • Age of Apocalypse (1995)
  • Cable Origins
    • X-Factor (1986) #68
    • Cable (1993) #1-2, 6-8
    • Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix (1994) #1-4
    • Askani’son (1996) #1-4
  • Cable (1993) #44-70, 97-107, -1
  • Soldier X (2002) #1-12
  • Cable & Deadpool (2004) #1-44
  • Cable (2008), The Messiah Trilogy
  • Cable (2020) #1-12

So this is where our reading guide begins! Gathered here is the foundation of Cable comics lore and his greatest stories from Marvel’s history. With a chronology complicated enough to rival Kang (another time-traveling Nate!), the Cable comics below jump between the past to the future more times than we have time to count. But stick to this guide and we’ll sort everything out! From Age of Apocalypse to the Messiah Trilogy to modern Krakoa era, these the best and most important Cable comics recommendations. Enjoy reading!

For more related to Cable comics, check out our other reading guides, including Deadpool and X-Men the Animated Series!



Classic Cable Comics (1990s)

Much like Deadpool, Cable began as a stereotypical mercenary with no backstory. However, as you read through the comics in this era, you can see the various writers retcon Cable’s history into place, creating one of the most thrilling yet convoluted chronologies in all of comics’ history. We’re talking about a time-traveling toddler and an evil child cloned from the child of an evil clone.

In fact, things were messy even behind the scenes. The X-writers were famously divided on whether they should combine adult Cable and baby Nathan into the same character (Chris Claremont and Rob Liefeld both staunchly rejected the idea). But despite the chaos, there are still many great storylines in these comics that set the foundation for Cable. Main highlights include New Mutants, X-Cutioner’s Song, and the end of the Cable solo series, especially the runs by James Robinson, Joe Casey, and Igor Kordey.

This era is especially important right now because these comics seem to be directly inspiring the first season of X-Men ‘97! If you want to understand Cable’s origins immediately, you can start with the “Cable Origins” sequence below.

  • New Mutants (1983) #87-100 by Louise Simonson & Rob Liefeld
    • After #100: X-Force (1991) #1-18
  • Cable: Blood & Metal (1992) #1-2 by John Romita, Jr.
    • After #2: Cable (1993) #1-43
  • X-Cutioner’s Song (1992)
  • Age of Apocalypse (1995)
  • Cable Origins:
    • Uncanny X-Men #200-201; X-Factor (1986) #68
    • Cable (1993) #1-2, 6-8
    • Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix (1994) #1-4
    • Askani’son (1996) #1-4
    • Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix (1996) #1-4
  • Cable (1993) #44-107, -1
    • #44-48 by James Robinson
    • #48-70, -1 by Joe Casey & Jose Ladronn
    • #79-96 by Robert Weinberg
    • #97-107 by David Tischman & Igor Kordey
    • After #107: Soldier X (2002) #1-12 by Darko Macan & Igor Kordey


Extra reading:

  • Uncanny X-Men (1963) #201
  • X-Factor (1986) #1, 13, 35-56, 59-62, 66-68, Annual #5-6
  • X-Men: Inferno (1989)
  • X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda (1990)
  • What If…? (1989) #46-47 (“What If Cable Destroyed the X-Men?”)
  • X-Men Forever (2009) #10, 14, 18, Giant-Size #1; X-Men Forever 2 (2010) #3, 6-9, 16
    • alternate ending by Chris Claremont!



Cable & Deadpool (2004-2008)

Like pineapple on pizza, Cable & Deadpool brought together Nathan Summers and Wade Wilson for one of the strangest team-ups in Marvel history. Fabian Nicieza struck some kind of alchemic gold with this series that baffles even comic experts today.

Filled with heart, humor, and the power of unfriendship, Cable & Deadpool is a must-read for Deadpool fans and Cable fans alike. It’s also one of the best Cable comics to reveal the full might of his godlike abilities – which segues nicely into the Messiah Trilogy in the late 2000s.

Continue with the Deadpool reading guide!

  • Cable & Deadpool (2004) #1-44 by Fabian Nicieza, Patrick Zircher, & Reilly Brown
    • Continues in Cable and Deadpool: Split Second (2016) #1-3



Cable: The Messiah Trilogy (2007-2010)

This era is the pinnacle of Cable comics. This is the legendary epic Cable was designed for, even if no one in the 90s ever knew it at the time. Comprised of Messiah Complex, Messiah War, and Second Coming, the Messiah Trilogy bookends Duane Swierczynski’s 2008 Cable series, jumping between comics series to weave a complex emotional tapestry across time.

Without spoilers, the story follows Cable back to the future with a new time-traveling toddler, tying together the past, present, and future of the whole X-Men universe. Action-packed, emotional, and universe-shattering, this saga is one of the ages. Do not miss it!

  • X-Men: Messiah Complex (2007)
    • Optional prologue: House of M (2005); X-Men #188-204
    • X-Men: Messiah Complex #1
    • Uncanny X-Men #492-494
    • X-Men #205-207
    • New X-Men #44-46
    • X-Factor #25-27
    • X-Men: Messiah Complex – Mutant Files #1
  • Cable (2008) #1-26 by Duane Swierczynski
    • Prologue: X-Men: Divided We Stand #2 [D Story]
    • After #5: King-Size Cable Spectacular #1
    • After #12: Messiah War (2009)
    • After #24: X-Men: Hope #1
    • #26 also called “Deadpool & Cable #26”
  • X-Men: Messiah War (2009)
    • Prologue: The Times & Life of Lucas Bishop #1-3; X-Force/Cable: Messiah War #1
    • Cable (2008) #13-15
    • X-Force (2008) #14-16
  • X-Men: Second Coming (2010)
    • Prologue: Second Coming: Prepare #1
    • X-Men: Second Coming #1-2
    • Uncanny X-Men #523-525
    • New Mutants (2009) #12-14
    • X-Men: Legacy #235-237
    • X-Force (2008) #26-28
    • X-Factor #204-206
    • X-Men: Hellbound #1-3
    • X-Men: Blind Science #1
    • X-Men: Phoenix Force Handbook #1


Extra reading:

  • Avengers: X-Sanction (2011)



Cable & X-Force (2010s)

The 2010s faltered in the awesome aftermath of the Messiah Trilogy, but it’s still a decent era. Cable & X-Force and X-Force deal with Cable, Hope, and the repercussions of Second Coming. Cable (2017) is a fun time-travel story that leads into the Extermination miniseries. The chief highlight of the era might be Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers, but check them all out and see what you think!

If you skipped the ’90s era above, Cable (2017) #1 recaps his whole messy origin in just three pages. Handy!

  • Cable & X-Force (2012) #1-19 by Dennis Hopeless
  • X-Force (2014) #1-15 by Simon Spurrier
  • Uncanny Avengers (2015B) #1-23 by Rick Remender
  • Cable and Deadpool Split Second Infinite Comic (2016) #1-6
    • Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown return!
    • Also published as Cable and Deadpool Split Second (2016) #1-3
  • Cable (2017) #1-5, 150-159 by James Robinson, Ed Brisson, and Thompson/Nadler
    • James Robinson returns!
    • After #159: Extermination (2018) #1-5



Modern Cable Comics (2020s)

Following the events of Extermination (2018), Cable resurfaced as…. Kid Cable! The new young hero revitalized Cable’s comics, becoming one of the highlights of the X-Men’s new Krakoan age, thanks to fan-favorite creators Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto. After their 12-issue run, the series was relaunched in 2024, reuniting the classic Cable with old-school writer Fabian Nicieza.

With Cable featuring in a major storyline in X-Men ‘97, these two runs are the perfect way to jump into modern Cable comics!

  • Cable (2020) #1-12 by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto
    • Features Kid Cable!
    • After #4: X of Swords (2020)
  • Cable: Reloaded (2021) #1 by Al Ewing
    • Return of classic Cable!
    • Continues in S.W.O.R.D. (2020) #9-11; X-Men Red (2022) #1-10
  • Cable (2024) #1-(ongoing) by Fabian Nicieza
    • Features classic Cable, by Fabian Nicieza!



Cable in Multimedia

Cable might not be as popular as Deadpool, but he’s still had a number of notable appearances outside the comics! His most popular portrayals are surely Deadpool 2 (played by Josh Brolin) and X-Men: The Animated Series (voiced by Lawrence Bayne and Chris Potter), but Cable has also appeared in the hit satire What The–?! and various classic video games. Check them all out below!

Cable in Film and Animation

  • Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?! (2009) S1 E2; Specials S1 E8, E10, E12
  • X-Men: The Animated Series (1992) S1 E7, E9; S2 E7-8; S4 E18-21
  • X-Men ’97 (2024) S1 E1-10
  • Deadpool 2 (2018)
    • Prologue: Deadpool (2016)

Cable in Video Games

  • X-Men: Gamesmaster’s Legacy (1995)
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000)
    • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (2011)
  • X-Men: Reign of Apocalypse (2001)
  • X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (2005)
  • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009)
    • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (2019)
  • Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (2011)
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2012)
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest (2013)
  • Deadpool (2013)
  • Marvel Heroes (2013)
  • Marvel Contest of Champions (2014)
  • Marvel Future Fight (2015)
  • Marvel Strike Force (2018)


And that’s our guide to Cable comics! Are you enjoying X-Men ’97? Are you one of Cable’s biggest fans? Let me know on X/Twitter @vinwriteswords and remember to follow the site on social media @MyCosmicCircus for more time-traveling toddlers coming soon!

Also check out our full list of comics reading guides here, including Deadpool! To learn more about Cable in the comics, visit the Marvel official page.

Deadpool Reading Guidedeadpool-reading-guide-02.5

X-Men: The Animated Series Guidex-men-1992-guide X-Men the animated series

Are you new to comics? Try our “How to Get into Comics” guide, and find me on Twitter if you have any questions!

All comics images courtesy of Marvel Comics

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Reviews, reading guides, and crazy theories. Obsessed with the Midnight Sons. Find me on Twitter @vinwriteswords!

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