One is a time traveling soldier from the future that uses his cunning tactical mind and heavy armaments to make the world a better place, whether the world wants to be or not. The other is hyperactive, trigger-happy mercenary with a broken inner monologue and a Bea Arthur fascination. They are Cable (AKA Nathan Summers) and Deadpool (AKA Wade Wilson) and they're stars of their own self-titled series from Marvel Comics. After a few years, the duo's reluctant partnership was starting to gel into a friendship, but now Marvel's heavily armed odd couple find themselves on opposite sides of the ideological schism tearing apart the Marvel Universe's community of costumed champions. CBR News spoke with "Cable & Deadpool" writer Fabian Nicieza about the book and some of the effects Marvel's mega-story "Civil War" will have on the series.
In the most recent issue of "Cable & Deadpool," issue #30, a storyline began that ties into the events of "Civil War." With the book's involvement in such a high profile storyline, CBR News asked Nicieza if he had any information for readers who might be picking up "Cable & Deadpool" for the first time because of "Civil War." "Why did you wait so long before picking up an issue of 'CDP'?" Nicieza asked. "Oooh, I know, you don't like Cable. He's a big guns '90s guy. Or you don't like Deadpool unless Joe Kelly is writing him. Well, you know what, screw you! That's right, I said it. Screw you, candy-assed decompressed '00s reader who refuses to recognize true greatness when it is published every month before your very eyes. You're probably the same guys that would walk past a totally naked Penthouse Pet at your comic book shop because the new Heroclix are on display right behind her. How about if we called it 'New Cable & Deadpool?' You'd probably buy it then because you'd figure how exciting it will be to get in on something totally cool, cause, you know, it has the word New in it.
"I'm sorry, what was the question? Oh, okay, first time readers. Cable is from the future and he wants to save the world today. He created an island haven that is very popular with smart people and granola eaters. He also just became real honest-to-gosh President of the central European country, Rumekistan. No, don't go looking on an atlas, it's a made-up place. Deadpool is a mercenary with a non-stop mouth. He was brain-damaged, but he was cured of that, not so you could really tell the difference or anything. They are begrudging friends and are trapped by an absurdly complicated teleporting MacGuffin that has linked their DNA when either one uses their 'bodysliding' technology. Aaah, bodysliding... so very '90s. I really am behind the times. This is the '00s. Heroes should probably just take grungy cabs or something. Anyway, Cable keeps hiring Deadpool for assignments because no one else will. That should pretty much cover it."
The assignments Cable usually sends Deadpool on have to do with helping him accomplish his goal of a better future for humanity. Having come from a dark, dystopian future world, Cable traveled back in time in hopes of creating a new timeline for humanity by altering the past. Now, the events of "Civil War" could spell disaster for Cable's long term plans. "He has seen about ten thousand potential timelines all of which have varying degrees of similarity and differences to them," Nicieza told CBR News. "He knows he is living in this timeline, meaning, nothing he's ever seen dictates what this life is; only his actions and those of others in the present day can affect this particular future. Generally, Cable tends to view everything going on with the same level of amusement people feel watching hamsters at play in their Habitrails. As for 'Civil War' in specific, Cable understands that registration is merely step one towards having superhuman police on every corner, which is step two towards a police state, which is step three towards a completely screwed up world."
Not only do the events of "Civil War" threaten Cable's plans for a better future, but they've also screwed up his plans for Deadpool, too. "Nate's plans for Deadpool -- which really amount to: 'keep him busy doing things for me so he doesn't screw-up and do something nasty,' have been totally derailed when Deadpool is hired to serve as a superhuman bounty hunter by the CSA [Commission on Superhuman Activities]," Nicieza explained. "They even gave him a badge. How can Cable compete with a badge? In working for the government, Deadpool sees himself attaining a legitimacy he never had before. That matters to him. Cable may not be able to talk Deadpool out of this."
Cable's inability to talk Deadpool out of his choice stems from the fact that each character's choice of side in "Civil War" is rooted in strong personal beliefs. "Cable is committed to anything that emboldens his long term plans to save the world by turning it into a Testosterone Utopia; granola-munchers who can also kick ass when necessary," Nicieza stated. "Wow, both the right wing and the left wing shudder at the thought of success by the middle! Deadpool is committed to any cause that pays him money, gets him chicks and doubles our sales."
Since Cable has chosen to assist Captain America's anti-registration resistance movement in "Civil War," has often enacted plans that threaten those in power, and is the head of not one but two foreign countries its easy to think that he's not a popular person with the U.S. government. "Well, if you read 'CDP' #31 and #32, you'll see Cable have a pretty fun throw down in the Oval Office with Forty-Three," Nicieza stated. "That'll give you a clue as to what the U.S. thinks of Cable. What that means long term, well, we'll see. We're not a title that has often had the luxury of being able to think long term. We take it six issues at a time.
"In my personal long term view, Cable succeeds in changing the entire course of human civilization," Nicieza continued. "But that wouldn't happen until around issue #2,500 (which would be a nifty marketing special triple-sized holographic live-action issue in which Howie Long and Dennis Leary have both been cloned to play Cable and Deadpool – and even with all of that, we probably still wouldn't merit a variant cover from Marvel!)."
The next two issues of "Cable & Deadpool" continue the "Civil War" tie-in story and promise to be a guest star-a-palooza of Marvel heroes. "We had to guest-star the Great Lakes Champions in #31 because after Marvel treated my beloved New Warriors like underwear stains, I needed to show them who the real true menace in the Marvel U really is: Squirrel Girl!" Nicieza said. "Anyway, the renegade super-secret, but everyone seems to know where they are, heroes appear in #31, but issue #32 brings the Civil War to a much more personal light between Cable and Deadpool."
After the "Civil War" storyline, the action in "Cable & Deadpool" shifts back to the country where Cable recently acquired the office of President Pro-Tem. "We still have some unfinished business in Rumekistan between Cable and Domino," Nicieza said. "The actions of Civil War have only served to heighten and complicate the tension there. After that, let's just say breaking up is never easy for any couple, so Nate and Wade have to deal with some very tender, very soul-baring emotional issues. The lawyers will probably have a field day haggling over who gets the Chiclet plasma gun and teleporting matrix technology..."
Cable was already the leader of Providence, a man made South Pacific island nation, when he became the head of state of Rumekistan. Some readers might be wondering why he has chosen to become the leader of two countries. "Providence isn't so much a country as a bit of a think-tank country club," Nicieza explained. "It lacks the muscle Cable likes to flex. Now controlling a country in the middle of Europe that has had decades of civil strife and an uneasy mix of Christians and Muslims and was just under the control of a border-hating terrorist – that's got some muscle to it!"
"His reasons for creating Providence were simply to offer the leading lights from different religions and cultures the chance to get to know each other and talk about the things they have in common," Nicieza continued. "Also to provide a haven of research for scientists and outside-the-box engineers, who have apparently become something evil in certain parts of the world who resist change because, well, that might get in the way of racking up billions in quarterly oil profits. Rumekistan is Cable's first real foray into international politics. A country that needs strong leadership and that, if he can turn it around, could lead many other countries in the region to subscribe to Cable's brand of tough-love guidance."
Nicieza wasn't able to reveal what adversaries Cable & Deadpool will face in the upcoming Rumekistan and subsequent storylines. "I'm not 100% sure yet. It's either going to be Galactus or Speedball," he said. "Both seem to be running neck and neck as far as major threats to the planet Earth in the Marvel U. I figure whoever wins that tussle is the one Deadpool would like to take on. I'm also trying to figure out how I can work out a fight between Cable and Exxon."
With Cable joining the "X-Men" and "Civil War" redefining relationships in the Marvel Universe, some fans of "Cable & Deadpool" are afraid that the next adversary that Marvel's odd couple will face will be an unbeatable one, the dreaded foe known as cancellation. "Before this book even came out, people were proclaiming it dead on arrival," Nicieza said "Here we are three years later (and how many books can say that?) and I'm sure if and when we ever stop publishing, those same people will say, 'I told you so!' Readers who love the book worry about its continued existence and that's understandable, but nothing has changed one iota from how we have lived day to day for three years now.
"We're a low-selling, but beloved and stable title," Nicieza continued. "We usually operate under six-issue renewal cycles. Our next renewal rollover comes up with #36, so it's just a hair too early to tell whether we'll survive or not. I always expect the worst and continue to be pleasantly surprised when Marvel comes through and keeps us going. I think the reasons for that are: we are cooler than anything else Marvel publishes and they pretty much know it. We often guest-star Anaconda and Quesada and Buckley both have a thing for large burly women with extendable arms (and yes, I have the old pictures to prove it). Our editor Nicole Boose is the nicest, bestest person on the planet Earth and no one at Marvel wants to see her out on the street jobless and homeless. And lastly, I am a lightning rod of pity at Marvel, a wreck of a has-been who barely ever was, and they need to throw some kind of token work my way just to keep up their corporate charitable tax-deductions going."
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