Banner Art by Rob Liefeld
A lot of comic book characters are relics of the time in which they were conceived. A character like Captain America or Superman would never be created in the present. Even if they had been, they would not have the lasting power that Steve Rogers and Clark Kent will always have. Other characters, like Ghost Rider and the Punisher, which are as 1980’s as 1980’s gets (yes, both first appeared in the 1970’s, but they hit their stride in the 1980’s). However, they have been adapted into the modern era with depth and (in the case of Johnny Blaze) having to kind of come to grips with the fact that they are a cultural relic.
For Cable aka Nathaniel Summers aka no I’m not listing all of his frigging aliases, the 1990’s are still alive and well. As we’ve discussed before, the 1990’s were not a great time for comic books outside of the creation of the Thunderbolts and a pretty kick-ass Luke Cage comic book series. How has he been adapted to modern times? A slightly different costume, frequent team-ups with freaking Deadpool, and an Avengers membership.
My point is, Cable is Rob Liefeld still alive and well in modern mainstream comics (though he is far from the only remnant of Liefeld, speaking of Deadpool). He is an EXTREME 1990’s character with all of the bulging muscles and oversized guns to accompany.
He also functions to represent the worst parts of comic books. He is ridiculously hypermasculine, with said bulging muscles, phallic gun, and stoic “personality.” He also has a ridiculously convoluted backstory, with all the time-travelling, clone involvement, and dystopian futures one would expect from such a character. He also, as I’ve already hinted at, really doesn’t have much of a personality. He’s determined and no-nonsense. Alright, those are qualities of a personality, but that is not in itself a personality. Frankly, Bishop is a better version of this type of character, and he was created after Cable. Also, apparently they hate each other for some reason. I didn’t know that until I started researching this entry.
Cable would be higher on this list, but, frankly, he’s just a really weakly-constructed character. He didn’t influence modern comics to a dramatic degree. There aren’t a bunch of Cable-like characters running around. You can avoid him pretty easily if you don’t want to read about him, though it is a shame that he is on the Uncanny Avengers, because I would like to try that book out.
Also, I think Kiera Knightley would be a fantastic choice to play Cable. This is not a slight towards Kiera Knightley. I just think getting a woman to play such a traditionally and ridiculously masculine character would be a fantastic twist. Also, the amount of rage that would result from some fans would probably add 10 years to my life.
So, there’s the first entry into the Worst Marvel and DC Characters list. If it pissed you off, I’m sorry I guess. However, this is my honest opinion, and I’m not going to apologize for it even though I technically just did shut up. Again, these are just my opinions. If you like Cable or any of the other entries on this list, that is completely fine. Good for you. You like what you like. However, I hope this list lets you know why some of the critics of these characters exist and gives you another perspective on comic books and comic book storytelling.