Why Cable Didn't Die in 1990

It's pretty easy to see that Cable's character wasn't totally understood at his inception. Upon introductions, Cable was a man with mechanical parts that he supposedly constructed. When Strobe touched the metal of Cable's arm it warped. He was able to fix the arm while in his Freedom Force cell. Nothing spoke of his futuristic need to reconstruct the techno-organic matter that made up half his body.

Presently, we know better. Knowing better doesn't help when we look back. With all the information we've received about Cable, the earlier appearances just don't add up. There is, however, an early anomaly that can be answered. When I first read the X-Tinction Agenda, I had the knowledge of Cable's history already in my mind. When Wipeout negated everyone's powers Cable should have theoretically died. In the context of the story he's just a man with a machine arm. We know better. We know that Cable has to strive to use his TK abilities to keep his T-O virus in check. Without this ability, he does what he did in the last incarnation of X-Force: dies. However, Wipeout doesn't completely take away mutant powers, he simply blocks them. So Cable still has his TK abilities, they are just made latent. It's reasonable to assume that since his body had been accustomed to fighting the T-O virus his whole life that it would still be able to fight just out of habit with his powers blocked. Like instinctual survival. Now, this shouldn't be a claim that the writers knew this was the case during this arc, but at least those of us in the know can look back and not be totally disgusted at supposed problems with continuity.

As a side note: There are a few more cool things that this arc brought about with Cable. Oddly enough, none of these little pieces of trivia come from his own book, the New Mutants, but from the X-Men books from the arc. This issue has Cable's eye glow, as well as Cable calling Jean Grey "Red." This obviously goes to him having called Jean "Redd" in his past. Lastly, Cable straight up says he's the savior of the mutant race right after the arc in Uncanny X-Men #273. We all know he tries to step into this role much later. A lot of Cable's continuity is iffy, but at least these things have pretty deep roots.

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