Frenemies: The Cable and Deadpool Series
The Year was 2004 and a poor time for The Mouthy Merc in Marvel. His original ongoing series had been cancelled in order to revamp the character within the confines of a new imprint: Agent X. Agent X, though written by the amazing Gail Simone, didn’t attract the sales that Marvel had hoped for. As a point of fact, Agent X was never actually Deadpool… go figure.
While all this was going on Cable was going through the exact same problem. Cable’s long running series was cancelled in order to rebrand him as Soldier X. After 12 issues, Marvel pulled the plug on his series as well.
Deadpool and Cable both had been suffering from waning sales for a while and after the rebranding failed to stir interest back in either character Marvel was unsure what to do. Marvel turned to Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza who decided to take both characters and team them up in a new series.
The result was true magic that changed the relationship and direction of both characters.
Cable and Deadpool had long been enemies. Deadpool’s first appearance had him trying to kill Cable; not the way to start a friendship. Throughout the Nineties Wade would show up in the pages of X-Force and Cable’s mini-series but mostly as an antagonist working for some villain looking to take out either the team or the son of Cyclops.
However, Cable and Deadpool found the two forced to work together to survive in the first storyarc accidentally winding up sharing DNA due to an accident, sharing DNA meant that Cable’s teleportation device now worked on both of them. This resulted in both of them ultimately being forced to spend time together because when one slid, they would arrive with the other one right beside him.
This series came at the time when Cable saw himself as a new messiah trying to unite the world in order to bring peace and Deadpool…was…well he’s always been Deadpool and never really changed.
This series brought a few things to Deadpool. One of those things was Bob: Agent for Hydra. I’ll be doing a character bio of Bob in the near future, but this was the series that introduced a character that became a sidekick to Deadpool. The Robin to Deadpool’s Batman.
The other thing that Fabian brought to the title was comedy. Agent X was a serious book for the most part and soldier was never about humor. When Deadpool and Cable came together they became the Martin and Lewis of the Marvel Universe. The humor was better because now he had a straight man that could handle him.
It’s the humor that made this cult hit; from Deadpool addressing the reader during the recap, explaining the fourth wall to other characters, and even carrying it over into the letters section Fabian took what Joe Kelly had done with Deadpool and ramped it up to eleven.
Deadpool and Cable didn’t always get along, in fact at times Deadpool outright opposed Askani’s son.
The interaction between these two was key to the success of the series. Fabian led Wade and Nate through many trials and tribulations, evolving their relationship from outright animosity to a grudging respect. It’s this evolution that allows for Deadpool, who was trying to eliminate Cable yet again at the beginning of the series, to end the series vowing to carry on Cables goals.
This series not only changed the relationship between these two, it began the transition of Deadpool himself from unwanted outsider a grudgingly accepted “hero”.
The jobs with SHIELD, an acceptance into X-Force and eventually Thunderbolts; all of these things would never have come around to accepting Deadpool in any fashion without Wade’s actions in this book; his siding with the US government during the Civil War, going through the multi-verse (twice!), learning that his skills mean nothing if he doesn’t become a little more professional, all of these things became a learning curve for Wade that paid off within the pages of the following and current ongoing series of Deadpool.
And all of those lessons came about thanks to Fabian Nicieza and the Cable and Deadpool series.