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Jeph Loeb (writer), Ed McGuiness (penciler), Dexter Vines (inker), Morry Hollowell (colorist), Comicraft’s A. Deschesne (letterer), McGuiness, Vines & Hollowell (cover), Steve Skroce & Richard Isanove, Leinil Yu, Gerry Alanguilan & Jason Keith (variant cover art), Irene Y. Lee (production), John Denning (assistant editor), Lauren Sankovitch (editor), Tom Breevort (executive editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)
After leaving the Lethal Legion in the hands of the New Avengers, Wolverine and Spider-Man attack Cable’s freighter. As Wolverine battles Cable, Cyclops throws Spidey out. Meanwhile, Blaquesmith urges Hope to free the prisoners. As she was raised by Cable, she is their best choice of getting around the bomb. Hope figures out correctly that there is no bomb and frees the prisoners while the Red Hulk burns out the TO virus with his gamma radiation. When the other Avengers attack him as well, Cable succumbs to his TO infection. Cyclops gets permission from the Avengers to take him home while they hang onto the technology. On Utopia, Hope inadvertently uses the Phoenix force to burn the TO virus out of Cable and bring him back. Cable has a telepathic conversation with Cyclops, again warning him of the future to come and the Avengers’ role in it and asking him to protect Hope. He promises he will join him one day.
New York City, the meatpacking district, late afternoon. One hour ago:Took them long enough, Wolverine scoffs at new arrivals, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the Thing. He points at the Lethal Legion members, all wrapped up with a bow. He’d appreciate it if the New Avengers could keep an eye on them until the Raft team can get them locked up.
Luke and Danny agree, but Ben Grimm points at him and tells him to wait a flim-flam minute. Since when do they look like Damage Control?
Wolverine orders him to get that ugly stub outta his face. The Thing continues, asking where Cap and Iron Man are. Where he comes from, you make a mess, you clean it up! Spider-Man interferes that they don’t know… Wolverine adds the prison transport jet didn’t crash on its own. It was shot down. By someone who knew exactly what they were doing.
And so, six blocks away and eleven minutes later, Wolverine, accompanied by Spider-Man, follows the Falcon’s scent. Wolverine summarizes that, while they were tangoing with the “Lethal Losers,” Cap, Iron Man and the Red Hulk went missing. And it weren’t for no potty breaks. They get potty breaks? Spidey inquires. Does his “I’m not very bright” act work on anybody? Logan shoots back. It makes him feel better, Spider-Man suggests.
Wolverine enters the sewers. He warns him this is going to get messy. There isn’t gonna be time to be cracking wise. He might wanna sit that out. Spider-Man insists he actually takes his responsibilities as an Avenger seriously. It’s his funeral, Wolverine retorts. He might want to work on the pep talks, Spidey suggests.
Blaquesmith’s freighter – now.While Spider-Man is still surprised that Cable is their villain, Wolverine already attacks. Cable warns him he is on the wrong side of this. Wolverine stabs his arm, warning him that first he will take his weapon, then his life!
For Cable, his mission has been compromised. He planned to save his daughter Hope by killing the Avengers. But now Hope is here along with Cyclops, which was never part of the plan.
Hope asks him to stop all this while she fires warning shots at Spider-Man.
Cable is troubled. Wolverine and he have a long history, longer even than Wolverine knows. He is the X-Man that won’t hesitate to kill. In that, he is like Cable. Spider-Man is more of an anomaly. Acting like this is all a big joke. It’s hard to believe his legacy will someday be that he was the greatest hero of all. But not today.
While Wolverine tackles him, Cable telepathically contacts Hope, ordering her to take Cyclops and get off the ship – now!
One of Spidey’s blows backfires, hitting Cyclops. who orders and fires Spider-Man out of the hole in the ship’s hull.
Cable feels the TO virus already in his legs. He has no more time, so he goes for Wolverine’s throat.
Hope worries that Cyclops needs medical help but he orders her to free the Avengers instead. Cable has to be stopped! Hope reminds him he got them wired to explosives.
Hitting Wolverine, Cable shouts this is for mutants everywhere, him included!
Hope fears, Cable doesn’t expect to come out of this alive. Blaquesmith telepathically tells her that’s why he brought her. Once the Askanison sets his mind, there is no force that will change it, but they can counter him. Cable trained Hope since she was a child. Any device he’s put together, she’ll know how to defuse. She knows how he thinks.
Hope gets to work, finding Cable’s already set the timer. Blaquesmith agrees that Cable knew he had a limited time span. The Techno Virus is killing him. Hope is shocked but Blaquesmith tells her to concentrate on the problem. Hope tries to figure out how Cable did it. When she touches the red wire, the countdown accelerates. Think like him! Blaquesmith orders her. She tears off the device and there is no explosion.
Falcon gets out of the stasis tube and tackles Cable, whose sight begins to blur. Nearby, Cyclops frees Captain America and Iron Man from the inhibitor chairs.
Hope turns to the Red Hulk who is being ravaged by the T-O virus. She offers to get him help. He tells her he just needs to get angry enough too nuke it out of him, and he does, the fever fighting off the virus. Helps when you can burn at the level of a gamma bomb.
Captain America orders Cable to stand down. Cable retorts he isn’t the villain here. Wolverine is intent on ending this. Falcon tries to hold him back.
The Avengers hit him as Cable tries to keep standing, thinking only about Hope. Enough! Hope finally shouts and cradles the fallen Cable. Cyclops addresses Cap, imploring him that his son is no longer a threat to anyone. He’d like to take him home.
Wolverine points out that he is a time traveler. What’s to stop him from doing it again? Cap stresses that the Avengers have no issue with Hope or the X-Men. Cyclops can take him on one condition. The Avengers hold onto all the weapons and the ship. Cyclops hesitates but agrees. Spider-Man finally rejoins them, asking what he missed.
Later on Utopia, Cable is lying in the medlab. Hope asks Scott if she can be alone with Cable for a moment. Looking at Cable’s dead body, she asks Blaquesmith why he betrayed him. Blaquesmith tells her only a few love and admire the Askanison as they do. The actions he took were not only to protect Hope, but to protect him. But he’s gone, Hope points out. Is he? Blaquesmith asks. They both know what she is capable of, his father and he.
Hope touches Cable and the techno-organic virus moves to her. The Phoenix raptor manifests as she burns it out, a scene witnessed by Cyclops. Then it’s over. The virus is burned out of her and Cable both.
Hope… Cable addresses her. She tells him to rest… to heal. The virus is out of his system. He promised her once that he would never leave her. Now it’s her turn to protect him.
The astral plane:A projection of the far future. Cable has taken Cyclops there to talk. Cable tells him he is still healing but they need to talk. Scott saw Hope. Then he knows. Hope is the Phoenix. Cyclops tells him he has always believed in him… even in Hope. That she was – or will be – the messiah for the mutant race. But there is so much about the Phoenix Force they don’t understand and so much he… they have lost because of it…
Cable shows him the wasteland surrounding them. This is the world if Hope doesn’t fulfill her destiny. This is why they protect her. When war comes with the Avenges, and it will, promise him to do what’s necessary! To make the right decision, no matter how hard it might be… It’s what parents do for their children.
Cyclops promises. Cable smiles and promises he will be there for Scott when he needs him. Sometime soon. In the future…
CableBlaquesmithCyclops, Hope (both X-Men)
Cage, Captain America, Iron Fist, Iron Man, Red Hulk, Spider-Man, Thing (all Avengers)Falcon (inactive Avenger)Wolverine (X-Man and Avenger)
The story of Hope and the Phoenix as well as the conflict between X-Men and the Avengers is continued in Avengers vs. X-Men.