I have two rules to Cable. One, his gun has to be bigger than the smallest person in any room he’s in (at a minimum). Two, his stories need to involve enough confusing time travel that at least one reader goes cross-eyed.
That recipe for Marvel’s favorite son, Nathan Grey Summers, has proven successful since his late 80’s creation. For most readers, Cable marks the X-Men’s jump from the Chris Claremont driven years of the 80’s to the Image Comics crew (Rob Liefield, Jim Lee, etc) of the 1990s. More recently, Cable’s found new life as the straight man to Deadpool’s chaotic comedy, and as a father figure to the salvation of mutantkind.
No matter your preferred story type, below you’ll find a complete timeline and chronology for Cable comics. As always, let me know what you think in the comments, and enjoy the comics!
Enter Cable and X-Force
Collects: The New Mutants Issues #86-94
Cable’s official Marvel debut takes place with Louise Simonson writing New Mutants in the late 1980’s, and a young upstart named Rob Liefield on art.
Cable quickly becomes a fixture at the X-mansion, instructing the New Mutants and preparing them for the battles to come.
Collects (in order): Uncanny X-Men #270, X-Factor #60, New Mutants #95, Uncanny X-Men #271, X-Factor #61, New Mutants #96, Uncanny X-Men #272, X-Factor #62, New Mutants #97
In a lot of ways, X-tinction Agenda is the final X-event before Cable really becomes 90’s CABLE! complete with giant guns and rough and tumble X-Force crew at his command.
Collects: New Mutants (1983) 98-100, Annual 7; X-Men Annual (1970) 15; X-Factor Annual 6; X-Force (1991) 1-15; Spider -Man (1990) 16; Cable: Blood & Metal 1-2; Material From New War – Riors Annual 1, X-Force Annual (1992) 1
Spiraling out of X-Tinction Agenda, Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza grow Cable in to the action packed military strategist we’ve come to know today.
Collects: New Mutants #87, Cable #1-4, Cable: Blood & Metal #1-2
Cable gets his first solo ongoing series, as we learn more about the time-traveling mutant, and his family tree. I’d recommend Cable: Blood & Metal as prelude issues to X-Cutioner’s Song.
Collects: Uncanny X-Men #294-297, X-Factor (1986) #84-86, X-Men (1991) #14-16, X-Force (1991) #16-18 And Stryfe’s Strike File
X-Cutioner’s Song is the definitive 90’s Cable event, diving deep into his connections to Cyclops, Jean Grey, Stryfe, and good old Apocalypse.
Collects: Cable #5-14
Collects: New Warriors (1990) #31 And X-Force (1991) #19-25
Collects: X-Force (1991) 26-31, Annual 2; Nomad (1992) 20
Collects: X-Force (1991) 32-37, Annual 3; New Warriors (1990) 45-46
Collects: X-Factor (1986) 106, X-Force (1991) 38-43, Excalibur (1988) 82
Collects: Cable (1993) #15-20 And Wolverine (1988) #85
These runs of X-Force and Cable will take you right up to the cusp of Legion Quest, and the X-Men’s alternate reality spectacular, Age of Apocalypse.
Age of Apocalypse, Onslaught, and X-Man
Collects: Age of Apocalypse event reading order.
In the Marvel Universe altering Age of Apocalypse, Cable is reimagined without the technovirus infestation, and allowed to fulfill his full potential as X-Man.
Collects: Cable (1993) 21-28, X-Force (1991) 44-48
Collects: X-Man 5-14, Excalibur (1988) 95, Cable (1993) 29-31
Following the conclusion of the Age of Apocalypse, X-Man transitions to Earth-616, resulting in dueling Cable personas in the Marvel Universe.
Collects: X-Force (1991) 49-56, Cable (1993) 29-31, X-Man 14, X-Force/Cable Annual ’95
Collects: Onslaught event reading order.
Collects: X-Man 20-29, Annual ’96; Amazing Spider -Man (1963) 420
Collects: Cable (1993) -1, 48-58; Cable & Machine Man Annual 1998; Machine Man & Bastion Annual 1998; Wolverine/Cable 1
Collects: Adventures Of Cyclops & Phoenix 1-4, Askani’Son 1-4, X-Men: Phoenix 1-3, X-Men: Books Of Askani
Extremely relevant series of comics for Cable, with his lineage and backstory fleshed out in greater detail.
Collects: Cable (1993) 59-70, Annual ’99; X-Man 45-47
Collects: Uncanny X-Men #376-377, Cable #75-76, X-Men #96-97 & Wolverine #146-147
Another showdown between Cable, the X-Men and Apocalypse, as Marvel of the 90’s turns to a new millennium of comics.
Collects: X-51 #8, Uncanny X-Men #378 And Annual 1999, Cable #77, Wolverine #148, X-Men Unlimited #26, X-Men #98, And X-Men: The Search Of Cyclops #1-4
Collects: Cable (1993) 79-96
Collects: Cable (1993) #97 to #107, Soldier X #1 to #12
Cable and Deadpool
Collects: Cable & Deadpool #1-18
My personal favorite Cable series (and one of my favorite 100 Marvel stories), with Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher perfectly solidifying the surprising comedy and buddy dynamics of Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth and Nathan Grey Summers.
This series is also particularly interesting for Cable, as his power set has never been so tremendous.
Collects: Cable & Deadpool #19 to #35
Collects: Cable & Deadpool #36-50, Deadpool/Gli: Summer Fun Spectacular
Cable and The Mutant Messiah
Collects: Messiah Complex event reading order.
2007’s Messiah CompleX crossover had major ramifications across the Marvel Universe, with Cable in particular adopting an entirely new direction in life.
Collects: Cable #1-5
Following Messiah CompleX, Cable’s new ongoing series details his attempts to keep Hope safe, and prepare her for her role restoring mutantkind.
It’s an excellent an often underrated Marvel series from the late 2000’s by Duane Swierzycnski and Ariel Olivetti.
Collects: Cable #6 to #10
Collects: X-Men: The Times And Life Of Lucas Bishop #1-3, Cable #11-15, X-Force #14-16, X-Force/Cable: Messiah War One-Shot
Reading Order: X-Men: The Times and Life of Lucas Bishop #1-3, X-Men Messiah War One-Shot, Cable #13, X-Force #14, Cable #14, X-Force #15, Cable #15, X-Force #16
The events of Messiah CompleX reach another boiling point with the Messiah War crossover event.
Collects: Cable #16-21
Collects: Cable #21-25, X-Men Hope
Collects: X-Men: Second Coming (2010) #1-2, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #523-525, New Mutants (2009) #12-14, X-Men: Legacy (2008) #235-237, X-Force (2008) #26-28
Everything Cable and Hope have done to date comes to a head in Second Coming, the end to Cable’s solo ongoing before the launch of Marvel NOW.
Marvel Now Cable and X-Force
Collects: Avengers: X-Sanction 1-4
Leading into the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, Cable attempts to prevent the cataclysmic showdown from coming to pass.
Collects: Cable And X-Force 1-5, Marvel Now! Point One (X-Force Story)
Cable forms a new X-Force in Marvel NOW, with old favorites like Domino and new X-Men associates like Hope and Dr. Nemesis.
Collects: Cable And X-Force 6-9
Collects: Cable And X-Force 10-14
Collects: Cable And X-Force 15-19, Uncanny X-Force 16-17
Collects: X-Force 1-6
Collects: X-Force 7-10, X-Men Legacy 300
Collects: X-Force 11-15
Cable Joins The Uncanny Avengers
Collects: Deadpool & Cable: Split Second 1-3
Originally released as a digital Marvel infinite comic, Cable and Deadpool ride again!
Collects: Uncanny Avengers (2015) #1-6
Speaking of Cable and Deadpool together again, Cable transports to present day to save the Uncanny Avengers during All-New All-Different Marvel!
Collects: Uncanny Avengers 7-12
Collects: Uncanny Avengers 13-18
Part of the Civil War 2 reading order.
Collects: Uncanny Avengers 18-22
Collects: Cable #1 to #6
Collects: Cable #150 to #154
Collects: Cable #155 to #159