Issue Date: January 1999
Story Title: Blood Brothers Part 2: Illusions of Doom
Staff: Joey Casey (story), Stephen Platt with Andy Smith (pencils), Matt Banning with Rodney Ramos (inks), Gloria Vasquez (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)
J. Jonah Jameson offers Irene Merryweather a job in The Daily Bugle but she’s unsure whether to accept it. Meanwhile, Cable startles Stacey Kramer by walking into the diner she works, after having gone missing for some time. Cable confesses to Stacey he’s a mutant and promises to reveal more about himself later, but he has to go for now. As he exits the diner, he has a vision involving Stryfe. Back at the safe house, he meets Blaquesmith who confirms Stryfe is back and they must both travel to Latveria immediately. After leaving Cable in Latveria, Blaquesmith returns to his island, where he is confronted by Ness. In Latveria, Cable meets Madelyne Pryor and together they face some Doombots while advancing inside the pyramid, where Stryfe keeps Nate Grey captured. Ultimately, though, Stryfe easily defeats both Cable and Nate in battle.
Hell’s Kitchen, on Manhattan’s west side
It’s very early in the morning. It’s raining. Babel’s waitress Stacey Kramer welcomes Emma, an elderly lady who always has her breakfast at the diner. Emma asks Stacey how her brother is doing. Stacey replies Kenny is fine. She adds the weather can’t be good for Emma, but the elderly lady explains she can’t skip breakfast, most important meal of the day. After Emma orders her usual, Stacey tells the chef, Mel, to prepare a Babel-burger but put in on her tab.
Stacey tells Emma she is lucky she gets at Babel’s before Tony Babel does. She asks her whether she is still living in that basement on Fifty-Seventh, to which Emma replies it’s dry and she doesn’t get in anyone’s way there. Stacey believes she should check into a shelter but Emma disagrees; it’s not for her. Stacey says she’s sorry to bring it up but reminds her neighborhood can be tough if she’s not careful.
As she opens the door of the stockroom, Stacey gasps as she sees Cable walk in, barefoot and with few clothes on, his metallic arm exposed. Cable asks her to forgive him for dropping in like this. Stacey asks him where the hell he’s been for the past few weeks. Nathan explains it’s a long story and sits down on a chair.
Stacey pleads him not to play games with her. He saw a fire on TV, then rushed out and she never heard from him again. As Nathan is locked in his own thoughts, Stacey urges him to listen to her. Cable assures her he is listening. Stacey asks him where he has been, whether he’s hurt and, also, what’s up with his arm.
Cable confesses there are some things he is keeping from her. He’s been through a fairly intense experience and while he doesn’t want to scare her, he needs to be honest. Stacey tells him to go ahead, as she can’t handle secrets. Cable tells her he’s counting on the fact she’s been living in the city all her life. He draws parallels with Kenny’s Down syndrome and the lack of understanding some people seem to have. Finally, he blurts it away: he’s a mutant.
Meanwhile, in the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson reads the newspaper and tells Irene Merryweather if the word “Pulitzer” means anything to her. He boasts that the Bugle’s lawyers are going head-to-head with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s finest legal eagles. He confirms her source will remain confidential. They’ll keep her out of jail. Irene admits it’s good to know that. Jameson insists he always takes care of his reporters.
Jameson is impressed by Irene: she managed to get a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. official to rat out his own co-workers, even turning over proof of their wrongdoings on the record. Jameson is willing to offer her a job in the Daily Bugle, if she still wants it. Irene wonders: she has the job she always wanted handed to her on a silver platter but, after all she’s been through with Cable, does she still want it?
In Babel’s, Stacey is chatting with Cable, who’s sipping some coffee. She realizes his being a mutant explains a lot of things, including his arm and glowing eye. She assures him not everyone associates the term “mutant” with outlaw. Cable tells her she’s in the minority. Stacey explains that he is springing this all on her a bit suddenly. He asks her if the fact he’s a mutant changes anything. She can’t answer that right now.
Cable explains he’s been through some unique predicaments recently. He’s not the same man he was the last time she saw him. He’s still unsure what to make of all the changes he’s gone through but he does know life is too short to keep so many secrets from those you trust. He trusts Stacey. As she holds his hand, she asks him to have faith on her, because she can also trust him. Cable assures her she’ll know everything about him on time.
Cable thanks her for the coffee and prepares to depart, assuring her he’ll be back. The two part rather awkwardly. As Nathan moves to the exit, he accidentally falls on a man in a coat sitting at the bar. Cable tells him he’s sorry when he suddenly sees the face of the man: it’s Cable’s face… or rather Stryfe’s! As he looks again, the face is completely different. It belongs to an average man Cable does not know. The man asks him what he is looking at.
As the man exits in the rain, a confused Cable also walks out of Babel’s. He could have sworn that man bore Stryfe’s face. But Stryfe is dead; Cable was right there on the moon when Stryfe was killed. However, that illusion in the diner was so real it even felt like Stryfe. Cable wonders whether his mind is playing tricks on him. After all, his telekinesis may be restored but he no longer has his telepathy. Maybe he can’t trust his own mind anymore. Cable decides to get back to the safe house: if Stryfe is somehow alive, Cable swears he won’t be for long.
As he enters the safe house, he is glad to see the sensors still recognize him; otherwise the security systems would have already cut him into pieces. However, he can no longer perform a psi-scan for anyone’s thoughts; he will have to trust his instincts. As he walks in, Nathan can feel something behind him. He instantly turns around and catches his Psimitar, being hurled at him by none other than Blaquesmith. Blaquesmith tells him that he did that so as to test Cable’s condition and now he believes Cable can use the Psimitar in the way it is supposed to be used. Cable replies it’s good to see him but he’s in no mood to spar with him, he just saw…
Blaquesmith fiercely interrupts him: there is no time; they must travel to Latveria immediately! He grimly informs him the Chaos-bringer has returned. Upon hearing these words, Cable realizes the illusion in the diner was no coincidence: it’s true, Stryfe is back.
Blaquesmith informs him Nate Grey is already there. When Cable states he doesn’t worry about him, Blaquesmith tells him he knows what he’s feeling but he must rise above it for the sake of humanity. Cable cuts him short; they have to depart immediately. Blaquesmith has his transport hidden in the river Hudson. The twosome soon leaves with Blaquesmith’s airship: Blaquesmith warns Cable it’s not just Nate there trying to tackle the situation.
Doomstadt, capital city of Latveria
This idyllic European monarchy has been horribly transformed at the mysterious absence of its monarch, Doom, from a once peaceful landscape into a scarred portrait of war. At the moment, the capital is in flames, illuminating the night.
Cable has just beaten up some locals who intended to assassinate Madelyne Pryor, out of their hatred for anyone foreign. Nathan and Madelyne, son and birthmother respectively, reunite after a while; Nathan sarcastically asks her “What’s up with the rest of the family?” implying Nate.
Casting their “touching” reunion aside, Cable clarifies to her he knows the threat they’re up against so she is the least of his worries right now. The pair progresses into the partly destroyed Castle Doom, upon which the giant pyramid from the moon crashed down. Cable notices Stryfe has had his way with Doom’s castle, however, these sub-chambers he and Madelyne are moving in right now seem so far unaffected. Nathan tells her to hurry; he doesn’t like the idea of a kid like Nate going up against that maniac alone.
Madelyne tells him to wait a bit; she really wants to know how he is doing. Cable explains there’s no time for this, but Madelyne insists to know. She hasn’t seen him since before he went to London. Cable states that they should get this over with. “I know we’ve got this… weird thing between us that’s obviously making you feel uncomfortable,” he tells her. He explains she shouldn’t. They’re fine with each other and Cable is not in the mood of feeling any other way for it. Madelyne asks what brought on this change on him, to which Cable replies, “A near-death experience, maybe?” He reminds her they should keep their minds on the task at hand. He doesn’t think she realizes the evil they’re walking into here.
Suddenly, the pair is surrounded by Doombots and Servo-Guardians, robots that were designed by Doom to police Latveria. With his full telekinesis back, Cable can now use the Psimitar the way he used to, channeling and focusing his mental energy into something much more lethal. As he fights the Doombots and Servo-Guardians, he realizes they’re robots. Without holding back now, Cable and Madelyne use their powers at the fullest to destroy the robotic creatures. Cable adds they should hurry; the true target has yet to be confronted. Madelyne can’t help but sense he’s different somehow: she can sense a deeper peace within him, no matter how he may be denying it, despite the hate for Stryfe she can see in his eyes. Suddenly, she warns him “Nathan, behind you!” They are again attacked by several robots.
The Philippine island of Tramahoi
Inside his airship, Blaquesmith tells Ness that he has been expecting him. Ness wants no double-talk, just the facts and his question is: where is Nate Grey? Blaquesmith advises him to mind his tone with him if he seeks his help. He also asks him his name to which the mysterious man replies: “Ness.” He also warns him that if he’s hiding the boy from him… Blaquesmith assures him there is nothing to hide. He also suggests that Ness accompanies him in evacuating this vessel.
As Blaquesmith and Ness exit the airship, the former explains to the latter that this ship has become a hindrance to the Askani’Son’s mission so he has set it to self-destruct. Ness can’t understand a word of what he means, so he menacingly grabs Blaquesmith who orders him to release him.
At that moment, the ship explodes. Blaquesmith asks Ness whether he wants to be a mentor to Nate Grey. If that’s the case, then he has truly chosen a baptism a fire, since Nate’s survival is more precarious than ever. He promises Ness to tell him of an evil unlike any he’s ever encountered. Ness insists to know the answer to his own question: where is Nate Grey? “Latveria, of course,” Blaquesmith replies.
Back in Latveria, Cable has finished destroying all the Doombots and Servo-Guardians. He has had enough of this diversion; Stryfe is the true enemy and he’s close.
Nearby, Styfe is using a device to siphon Nate’s immense psi-energies from him and channeled into Stryfe himself. As the process continues, Stryfe remarks how some people would say he is a clone; he believes they would be mistaken. He was twisted and sculpted from birth to let loose his hatred and wreak havoc to this pathetic world. It’s a purpose Stryfe relishes. Stryfe remarks on how he and Nate spring from the same genetic fountain but both seem divergent from the source material: Cable. Stryfe will be delighted to slay both Nate and Cable.
All of a sudden, Cable appears. “Predictable as ever, Dayspring,” Stryfe says. He sees Cable carrying the Psimitar of the Askani and asks him how it would be if he stabbed Cable through the heart with it. As Stryfe unleashes some telekinetic blasts against Cable, Nathan tells him that a lot has changed since Stryfe last defiled humanity with his presence. Cable goes to Nate’s aid, freeing the boy and telling Stryfe this is between the two of them, not Nate.
“How noble. But you obviously fail to see the trinity is now complete!” says Stryfe. As Cable holds the weak Nate, he turns his psimitar upwards and shouts “Stryfe… you always were a blowhard!” The beam released from the psimitar destroys the glass window on top and countless shards of glass fall on a screaming Stryfe.
Cable thinks he should grasp the opportunity and kill him now. As he turns to Nate, he tells him he has no business there and he’s no condition to continue: he should take Madelyne and get away from there. Still dazed, Nate tells him he shouldn’t do him any favors. Cable urges him to “park” his ego, adding that he has no idea what Stryfe’s capable of.
Stryfe himself agrees on that: neither of them knows! Stryfe ferociously unleashes all the shards of glass with his telekinesis against Cable and Nate. Cable quickly generates a telekinetic bubble to protect them but still urges Nate to go. However, Nate refuses, insisting this is also his fight.
Stryfe taunts them by telling them they cower like little children; like Cable’s wife, Aliya, cowered on the night Stryfe took her. Aliya struggled hard but courage and nobility mean nothing when faced with Stryfe. Cable swears he will make him pay for every atrocity he has committed.
Cable pushes Nate away from him, ordering him again to leave. He uses his Psimitar to attack Stryfe. Stryfe tells Nathan he is not fit; he knew what he said about his family would raise Cable’s ire, causing him to act rashly. Cable swears Stryfe will pay for what he did to his family. Stryfe accuses Cable of failing to protect them and keep them safe. “You’re an obscenity,” Cable screams. “Absolutely… and I will not be stopped!” Stryfe says and uses his telekinesis to keep Cable on the air.
As Nate demands Stryfe to put Cable down, the Chaos-bringer makes short work of Nate with a telekinetic blast and then throws Cable away like an insect. As Madelyne appears, Stryfe encourages her to come near him. After all, to hide is pointless; his ascension to power is near-absolute!
J. Jonah Jameson (Daily Bugle publisher)
Stacey Kramer (waitress at Babel’s)
Mel (chef at Babel’s)
Emma (customer at Babel’s)
Unnamed customer at Babel’s
Doombots, Servo-Guardians (Doom’s robots)
This is the second part of “Blood Brothers.” It is continued from X-Man #46 and is continued in X-Man #47.
Cable lost his telepathy because of the so-called “Psi-War,” a battle between Shadow King and Psylocke in the astral plane, through which the former caused a negation of all telepathic/psi powers worldwide. [Cable (1st series) #57, X-Men (2nd series) #77] Cable’s telekinesis was also barely active, thus Blaquesmith pointed him at the location of the Psimitar, a weapon able to harness the remains of his telekinetic powers in battle. [Cable (1st series) #58]
Cable saw on TV the being known as Zzzax (actually awakened by Agent 18 of S.H.I.E.L.D.) attacking people in the neighborhood and rushed out of the Babel’s, telling Stacey that he had to back to the office to see if everything’s okay in Cable (1st series) #59.
S.H.I.E.L.D. attacked Cable, sending in their top manhunter, Agent 18, as well as the Air Cavalry in order to sample Cable’s T-O virus and create better Life Model Decoys. Cable survived their experiments but as a side effect regained full access to his telekinesis. [Cable (1st series) #59-62]
Stryfe was seemingly killed fighting Cable on the moon. [X-Force (1st series) #18] His consciousness survived in Cable’s mind but was finally expunged. [Cable (1st series # 6-8] How he reappeared alive in X-Man #46 is inexplicable.
The pyramid, driven by Stryfe, crashed down on Doom’s castle in X-Man #45. Stryfe captured Nate and started draining his psi-energies in X-Man #46.
Madelyne confronted Cable in the astral plane quite fiercely but they reconciled. [Cable (1st series) #34] Madelyne later informed him of Sebastian Shaw’s plans, urging him to go to London.[Cable (1st series) #50]
Cable’s wife, Aliya was killed (also possibly raped) by Stryfe, as shown in Cable (1st series) #1.
The first half of this issue takes place concurrently with X-Man #46.
Issue Summary written by: Mesmerizer