Skip to content

Cable Reading Order

  • by

Few characters at Marvel have a backstory as complicated as Cable (with the exception of Psylocke). Born Nathan Christopher Charles Summers, Cable is the time-traveling son of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyn Pryor (Jean Grey’s clone). Behind his conception lurks the crazy geneticist Mr. Sinister who planned to use the child as a weapon to destroy his archenemy Apocalypse.

As an infant, Nathan was infected by a deadly techno-organic virus incurable in the present. To save him, Cyclops gave Nathan ups, sending him 2000 years into the future (Earth-493) where he could be treated and grow up. There was just no hope for Scott to ever see his son again, or so he thought.

In this future world, Nathan was raised by the Askani Clan to become the warrior Cable, an enemy of Apocalypse. The religious order was led by Mother Askani, who is a time-displaced version of Rachel Summers, Cable’s half-sister.

To defeat Apocalypse once and for all, Cable came back to the present day at least one decade before he was born. He became one of the founding members and leader of X-Force where he took young mutants under his wing and prepare them for future threats with a more aggressive approach compared to the X-Men.

Throughout the years, Cable formed the most improbable odd couple of Marvel with Deadpool, developed a complicated relationship with his alternate universe half-brother/counterpart Nate Grey, adopted and raised the first post-Decimation mutant named Hope, joined the Avengers Unity Division, and more, much more.

As if it wasn’t complicated enough, he was recently killed and replaced by a younger, time-displaced version of himself (often called Kid Cable) before being revived.

It’s no surprise then that when Cable popped up in Deadpool 2 (2008), where he was portrayed by Josh Brolin, his backstory was mostly ignored. It’s the kind of story you need a whole movie to do it justice or you know, a lot of comic books!

Cable Reading Order

More X-Men! Cable is a member of the X-Men family. To know more about X-Men’s history, go check out our massive X-Men reading order (in multiple parts)!

Before Cable: The Early Years

This part is optional if you want to concentrate on Cable as an adult. Created by writer Chris Claremont and penciler Rick Leonardi, baby Nathan made his first appearance in The Uncanny X-Men #201. His first years on Earth were tumultuous, as he was kidnapped more than once, his own mother tried to kill him, and he was infected by a techno-virus before being sent to the future!

  • The Uncanny X-Men #201
    Collected in X-Men Epic Collection: Ghosts
  • X-Factor (1986) #1
    Collected in X-Factor Epic Collection: Genesis & Apocalypse. The second appearance of baby Nathan
  • Uncanny X-Men #215-216
    Collected in X-Men: Mutant Massacre Omnibus. Baby Nathan is kidnapped by the Marauders to Sinister’s orphanage
  • X-Men: inferno Omnibus
    Collects X-Factor #33-40; X-Terminators #1-4; Uncanny X-Men #239-243; New Mutants #71-73; Power Pack #40, #42-44; Avengers #298-300; Fantastic Four #322-324; Amazing Spider-Man #311-313; Spectacular Spider-Man #146-148; Web of Spider-Man #47-48; Daredevil #262-263, 265; Excalibur #6-7; Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #4, material from X-Factor Annual #4. Baby Nathan is once again kidnapped, this time by Limbo demons as his own mother wants to sacrifice him.
  • X-Factor #42
    Collected in Essential X-Factor Vol. 3. First manifestation of his protective telekinetic force bubble.
  • X-Factor #65-68
    Collected in Essential X-Factor Vol. 5. Once again, Nathan is kidnapped and this time, Apocalypse infected him with the techno-organic virus before being sent into the Askani future.

Pre-adult Cable life is explored in two limited series. Published in 1994, this part can be read as a prelude to Cable as an adult, for those who prefer more chronological order. Those stories are also placed a little bit below (closer to the year of publication, to be appreciated differently).

Newly arrived in the present Cable crosses paths with Canadian secret Agent Logan in a one-shot published in 1999 that you can read here if you want:

X-Men Hickman

Adult Cable: New Mutants, X-Force, and Cable: Blood & Metal (1990-1993)

Created by Louise Simonson and Rob Liefeld, adult Cable made his debut in The New Mutants #87 (March 1990), where he became their mentor. The character was not intended to be the adult version of Nathan Summers. This was added later, by Editor Bob Harras and writer/artists Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio, in the X-Men spinoff X-Factor. See X-Factor #65-68 (listed above), published in 1991.

X-Men Reading Order X-Force logoX-Force! With issue #100, the first volume of The New Mutants concluded as the title was canceled in 1991. With the help of Domino, Cable reorganizes the New Mutants into X-Force to make them a strike force. During that time, Cable headlined his first miniseries, Blood & Metal.

X-Men HickmanCable: From X-Force to X-Men (1993-2002)

Not long after Blood & Metal, Cable stars in his own ongoing series in which it was confirmed that he was Nathan Summers. He also continues to lead the X-Force and participates in several crossovers/events.

x-men logoIt’s time for Onslaught. For more details, go read the dedicated X-Men: Onslaught Reading Order.

  • Cable & X-Force: Onslaught!
    Collects Collects Cable (1993) #32-39, X-Force (1991) #57-61, Incredible Hulk (1968) #444, X-Man #18-19 And X-Force/Cable Annual ’96.

At that point, there’s a hole in the collected editions. Cable #40-44, Cable/X-Force Annual 1997, X-Force #62-66 and Prophet and Cable #1-2 are not collected yet.

After all that, it was time for Marvel to try to revamp the X-Men with the Revolution which was launched with a 6-month time jump. It was short-lived as it was poorly received. Cable joined the main X-Men team for a time. His own title was canceled after 107 and relaunched as Soldier X, which lasted 12 issues. 

X-Men Hickman

The Odd Couple: Cable & Deadpool (2004-2008)

Opposite attracts. This idea is explored when straight man Cable is paired up with the Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool, in the now famous series Cable & Deadpool. Our straight man still try to change the world for the better and has to work and built a friendship with Deadpool (as Spidey can attest, not the easiest thing to do, but generally fun).

At this point, Cable mostly stopped to appear in his own title, making a short comeback for issues #40-42. During that interlude, he joins Rogue’s X-Men team in X-Men Vol. 2 (1991) #190.

Also collected in omnibus:

  • Deadpool & Cable Omnibus
    Collects Cable & Deadpool 1-50, Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular, material from Deadpool (2012) 27

X-Men Hickman

Cable: The Messiah trilogy (2008-2010)

With no more mutants being born, the future of Homo superior has never looked bleaker. At the seeming end of their evolutionary cycle, a miracle arrives – in the form of the first child born with the X-gene since the tragic events of M-Day! But this sudden source of hope spawns a bloody, violent—and tragic—conflict for control over the baby girl’s fate. It is a battle in which every mutant on the planet has a stake, and Cable is ready to do what it takes to protect this child.

  • X-Men Milestones: Messiah Complex
    Collects X-Men: Messiah Complex One-Shot (2007), Uncanny X-Men #492-494, X-Men (vol. 2) 205-207, New X-Men (2004) 44-46, X-Factor (2005) 25-27
  • Cable: The Last Hope Vol. 1
    Collects Cable (2008) #1-12, King-Size Cable #1, X-Men: The Times & Life of Lucas Bishop #1-3, X-Men: Future History – The Messiah War Sourcebook.
  • Cable: The Last Hope Vol. 2
    Collects X-Force/Cable: Messiah War #1, Cable (2008) #13-25, X-Force (2008) #14-16, and X-Men: Hope (2010) #1. Also collected in : X-Men Milestones: Messiah War
  • X-Men Milestones: Second Coming
    Collects Second Coming: Prepare (2009), Second Coming (2010) 1-2, Uncanny X-Men (1981) 523-525, New Mutants (2009) 12-14, X-Men Legacy (2008) 235-237, X-Force (2008) 26-28.

In the aftermath of Second Coming, Cable disappears only to make his return when the X-Men goes to war against the Avengers in Avengers Vs. X-Men. Nathan Summers is present in the four-issue prologue.

X-Men Hickman

Cable Marvel Now! (2012-2015)

The fate of the Marvel Universe rests in the hand of Cable! Nathan Summers is back with a new X-Force at his side. They must tackle the threats that nobody else can know about – even if it makes the team public enemy number one.

X-Men Hickman

All-New, All-Different Marvel: Cable in Uncanny Avengers (2015-2017)

Secret Wars happened and the Marvel Universe has been rebooted. Cable becomes a member of the Uncanny Avengers after learning the team’s true mission. Despite the fact that Captain America chose to disband the team in the aftermath of Civil War II, the group reassemble quickly under Rogue’s leadership to continue the fight.

X-Men Hickman

Marvel Legacy: Cable  (2017)

After the events in Inhumans vs X-Men, a new relaunch related to the Inhumans and the X-Men took place. Cable headlines his third ongoing series for the occasion. In the middle of it, Marvel returned to its original numbering.

X-Men Hickman

Kid Cable in Marvel Fresh Start (2018-2020)

Spinning out for Extermination #1, a young time-displaced version of Cable had arrived in the present. Dubbed Kid Cable, this version of Nathan Summers takes center stage as the Old Cable is not among us anymore.

X-Men Hickman

Kid Cable during Dawn of X/Reign of X (2020-2022)

The mutants entered a new era under the creative direction of writer Jonathan Hickman. Kid Cable joined the mutant nation of Krakoa and became a member of Psychole’s Fallen Angels before headlining his own title, becoming one of the Swordbearers of Krakoa, and finding love.

During that period, Rob Liefield came back to write the limited series Major X and the one-shot X-Force: Killshot Anniversary Special #1.

X-Men Hickman

Cable in Destiny of X (2022-)

As part of S.W.O.R.D, Old Cable stars right now in X-Men: Red, a title focusing on the mutants of Arakko who live on a terraformed Mars.

Last Updated on August 11, 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *