Cable & Deadpool
was a hit for Marvel thanks to Deadpool’s humor and Cable’s serious character playing off one another perfectly, delivering standout stories throughout the series run.
- The influential series ran for fifty issues, cementing both characters as central figures in the Marvel Universe, paving the way for Deadpool’s cinematic success.
The eight collected volumes of
Cable & Deadpool
all offer great moments, action, and comedy for the reader, with the series rarely operating at anything but the highest level.
Cable and Deadpool are fondly remembered by fans as one of Marvel Comics’ greatest, if most off-beat heroic duos. Their co-headlining series Cable & Deadpool carved out its influential legacy over the course of fifty issues, running from May 2004 to April 2008 – eventually concluding to make way for fresh solo titles for both characters, cementing their positions as two of the greatest Marvel characters of the decade.
Cable & Deadpool – written almost entirely by Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza – was responsible, in large part, for making both characters even more indispensable to Marvel Comics than they already were, paving the way for the on-screen success of Ryan Reynolds’ 2016 Deadpool movie, the 2018 sequel to which would in turn take a great deal of influence from Cable & Deadpool. The comic’s fifty issues are collected in eight volumes – below, each is ranked according to its strength as a collection, on the merits of how its included arcs fit together. It should go without saying that there are no bad issues of Cable & Deadpool, only some that are stronger than others.
8 Volume 5: Living Legends
(Collects Cable & Deadpool #25-29)
Cable & Deadpool Volume 5: Living Legends’ placement on this list should not be taken as an indication of quality – the five issues collected are all indicative of the series’ consistent strength, in some ways representing writer Fabian Nicieza’s peak performance. As far as Cable & Deadpool‘s narrative arc, it is perhaps just past its peak; as a collection, it leaves readers less-than-entirely satisfied, though all the more eager to start Vol. 6. The volume contains the “Sticky Situations” and “Living Legends,” and the two-issue arcs “Born Again” – notable for its contributions to Cable’s larger mythology – and “The Domino Principle,” which helped set the stage for much of what came next.
Cable & Deadpool Volume 5: Living Legends features appearances by Marvel heroes Spider-Man, Nick Fury, and Captain America, as well as Cable’s love interest Domino, and villain Flag-Smasher.
7 Volume 2: The Burnt Offering
(Collects Cable & Deadpool #7-12)
Cable & Deadpool Volume 2 collects two short arcs, “The Burnt Offering,” and “Thirty Pieces.” With the series’ central concept, its stylistic idiosyncrasies, and its core character dynamic firmly – and delightfully – established by the book’s first arc, Vol. 2 delivers more solid laughs, and some fun action, while developing author Fabian Nicieza’s version of Cable. That said, this collection appears early on this list because it feels as though the creative team were unsure of what direction to take the characters, and the title, in just yet. Vol. 2 has the feeling of being in a holding pattern overall, though the formula of these two arcs would be used more successfully in future volumes.
Cable & Deadpool Volume 2: The Burnt Offering features appearances by the X-Men, including Cable’s father, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Storm, as well as the Silver Surfer, MODOK, and Agent X.
6 Volume 1: If Looks Could Kill
(Collects Cable & Deadpool #1-6)
Collecting the first six-issue arc of Cable & Deadpool, “If Looks Could Kill,” Volume 1 is a fast-paced, engaging book, one that effortlessly, and immediately, acclimates the reader to the style, tone, and pace the series is going to excel at delivering. The story is a more lighthearted primer for the overall trajectory of the series; much of these early issues are devoted to bringing the characters together – in this case, full-on mixing their DNA thanks to some hjinx with a bioengineered virus – and letting them play off one another. While Deadpool naturally drives the comedic element, Cable’s self-serious messianic nature is also played for some good laughs.
5 Volume 4: Bosom Buddies
(Collects Cable & Deadpool #19-24)
Volume 4: Bosom Buddies starts with the “Why, When I Was Your Age…” one-shot, which serves as an epilogue to the previous arc, “Enema of the State.” While the one-shot is great, providing a breather between two action-packed arcs, and providing a deeper insight into both characters, it would be a better fit at the end of the previous volume. The four-issue “Bosom Buddies” arc is one of the series’ most self-contained adventures – though it fits into the overall mythology, and serves the larger arc, it makes for a quick reader, unencumbered by lore or connections to other books, in a way most other collected Cable & Deadpool volumes can’t claim.
Cable & Deadpool Volume 4: Bosom Buddies features appearances by heroes Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
4 Volume 6: Paved With Good Intentions
(Collects Cable & Deadpool #30-35)
The first two issues of Volume 6: Paved With Good Intentions comprise something of a detour from the series’ main plot. Issues #30-31 are Cable & Deadpool’s “Civil War” tie-in story. It is one of the highlights of the Marvel crossover event, perfectly elucidating the conflict by putting its protagonists on either side of the conflict, with Cable harboring fugitive superheroes, and Deadpool hunting them for the government. The arc ends with one of the series’ truly all-time-great swerves. Paved With Good Intentions‘ also collects the “Six Packs and Powder Kegs” arc, which in some ways the pinnacle of Cable’s storyline, as depicted in Cable & Deadpool.
As part of the “Civil War” storyline, Cable & Deadpool Volume 6: Paved With Good Intentions includes appearances by many Marvel heroes, including Daredevil and the Young Avengers.
3 Volume 8: Deadpool vs. The Marvel Universe
(Collects Cable & Deadpool #43-50)
The final volume of Cable & Deadpool collects the “Alone Again, Naturally” story arc, in which – as the title suggests –Deadpool goes on one final whirlwind tour, fighting and annoying his way through the Marvel Universe, is a bittersweet final stretch for the series. With Cable dead in the present-day Marvel Universe, the series is effectively a prelude to the relaunched Deadpool solo title that would follow Cable & Deadpool. It ranks highly on this list because, while he’s not physically present, Cable’s memory saturates the series’ final story; that, and writer Fabian Nicieza goes out on a high note – he finished writing the series with Issue #48, providing the story to writer Reilly Brown for the concluding two issues.
Cable & Deadpool Volume 8: Deadpool vs. The Marvel Universe features a plethora of cameo appearances, including but not limited to Captain America, the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man.
2 Volume 7: Separation Anxiety
(Collects Cable & Deadpool #36-42)
Volume 7: Separation Anxiety is Cable & Deadpool pushed to its limits, in the best possible way; the “Unfinished Business” arc finds its main characters in conflict once more, resulting in the Merc With a Mouth pairing with another iconic Marvel mercenary: Taskmaster. The story is jammed with action, and humor, eventually reaching the height of zaniness as Deadpool shrinks uding Henry Pym’s technology, before concluding with a pivotal confrontation between Deadpool and his greatest antagonists, T-Ray. The “Fractured” arc is essentially the series’ climax; with Cable’s role in the book having been subsumed by other X-title appearances, Fabian Niciezia gets to kill him off – at least for the remainder of Cable & Deadpool.
Aside from Taskmaster, Cable & Deadpool Volume 7: Separation Anxiety also features villain Rhino, and minor recurring character Bob, Agent og Hydra.
1 Volume 3: The Human Race
(Collects Cable & Deadpool #13-18)
From “A Murder in Paradise,” to the conclusion of “Enema of the State,” Cable & Deadpool Volume 3: The Human Race
offers the most perfectly balanced execution of the series’ stand-out elements. As is the case when the series is at its best, Deadpool and his irreverent, fourth-wall breaking comedy are the focus, but Cable is at the heart of the story. Following a falling out between the two, after Deadpool kills a terrorist being harbored by Cable in his “Providence” safe zone, Cable goes on a mission with X-Force, during which he disappears; soon enough, Wade Wilson finds himself traveling across the multiverse – accompanied by X-Men Cannonball and Siryn – searching for his friend.
The “Enema of the State”arc – issues #15-18 – brings Wade into contact with several alternate versions of Cable; one who has succumbed and become a Horseman of Apocalypse; one who has become “Brother Nathan,” benevolent ruler of a utopian Earth; and one who has become the heart of a Phalanx-dominated Earth. Finally, Deadpool, Siryn, and Cannonball visit the “House of M” continuity, where they find a baby version of Cable, once more genetically developed by Mr. Sinister. The arc closes with Wade & Co. escaping with this baby Cable — setting a precedent for Cable’s later storyline with Hope Summers.
Featuring the perfect blend of the series’ low-concept humor and high-concept ideas, Cable & Deadpool Volume 3: The Human Race proves to be the most dialed-in depiction of both characters. The arc gives Deadpool his most concrete purpose in the course of the entire book, while at the same time stripping away the artifice of Cable’s character and showing his true potential in a variety of different ways. With The Human Race, Cable and Deadpool both fully actualize the potential of their characters promised by their co-headlining title, giving readers an all-time great Marvel Comics story in the process.
Cable & Deadpool Volume 3: The Human Race features notable appearances by mutant inventor Forge, the “House of M” version of Mister Sinister, and versions of Archangel, Blob, and Spider-Man as Horsemen of Apocalypse alongside Cable.