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Who's who of Six Pack

One of the more pleasant surprises of my foray into Cable's early appearances in the old 90's X-Force comics was finding myself developing an odd fondness for Cable's old mercenary team, Six Pack. It helped that although the narrative surrounding them variously weaves through the pages of X-Force, Blood and Metal (Cable's first limited solo series), early Cable issues (Cable's first unlimited solo series) and The Circle Chase (Deadpool's first limited solo), Fabian Nicieza remains the writer at the helm through all ofit, and the whole arc comes to a surprisingly satisfying resolution. Other than Cable, three of them survive to appear in Cable & Deadpool, though we never do hear their full backstory. I've been meaning for ages to write up some bios for them for the benefit of everyone who doesn't want to track through all those old X-Force comics, so here we go.

Note on images: Photobucket is insisting on directing people to a gallery page instead of loading the image full-size for some images right now. Until I figure out a better fix, clicking the image link a second time after the photobucket page has loaded will usually load that image full size.

Six Pack

Formerly Wild Pack until forced to change their name for legal reasons (ie, another Marvel team was using it first, leading to an unusually meta-ish moment when they 'found out' on page), Six Pack are the mercenary team Cable worked with when he first arrived back in the present. Why he did this is a little less clear, since few if any of the jobs they took seem to have had much to do with Cable's mission – at a best guess it was just a way of getting his foot in the door in the 20th Century. The rest of the team knew Cable had access to some pretty rare and amazing tech, particularly
his Bodysliding tech and 'the Professor' (Greymalkin's main AI), though don't seem to have pressed him on the details.

The team disbanded on bad terms after a mission that brought them face to face with Stryfe, ending with Hammer left a quadriplegic and Kane a quadruple amputee, which we see in flashback in the pages of Blood and Metal. Cable refused to explain his history with Stryfe and chose to shoot Hammer in the spine rather than let him give Stryfe the information disk he wanted in exchange for Kane's life. The rest of the team were understandably reluctant to forgive Cable afterwards. Estimates of when they were active usually run at around 7-10 years before the present, though given Marvel's usual sliding timeline and continuity problems, take this with a grain of salt.

Ultimately, after much back and forth, Cable makes amends for the worst of his mistakes and the whole team (plus Vanessa acting as a guide) reunites in one place for the first time in years at the conclusion of Cable #4. Though they briefly discuss becoming a team again, Cable admits he's come to far for that and is editorially obligated to share page time with more marketable characters, and can't promise there won't be more secrets. The rest of Six Pack appears only sporadically through his series thereafter.

Neena/Beatrice Thurman

As most Cable & Deadpool fans would know, Domino is a competent professional mercenary with mutant luck powers. How those powers work varies by writer – Wikipedia has what looks like a detailed summary, but if it actually comes from a canonical comic source, neither I nor the article could tell you where. 'Unnaturally good luck (within the reasonable boundaries of physics)' is probably as good a rough summary as anything.

Domino is probably Cable's single most important and longest running supporting cast member. She's had two solo mini-series, neither of which are particularly essential reading (IMO it's a little too obvious no-one involved in creating her was writing them, and the attempts to flesh out her backstory come across as ham-handed at best), as well as years of appearances in other titles. She met Cable during his Six Pack days, and appears to be the only member to remain on speaking terms with him after the team broke up, though the fact that Vanessa was able to make Cable believe that the real Domino had betrayed him to Tolliver – all in the name of getting the money for Hammer's medical bills – does suggest things were at least strained between them afterwards. She's been Cable's on-again, off-again lover through most of their association, and while there've been occasional hints that they both might have wanted something more serious, it never really gets there. Most of the time she acts more as his partner than romantic interest, serving as a semi-regular supporting cast member through much of X-Force and Cable. She formally breaks up with him in X-Force #70 after an attack by anti-mutant activists leaves her temporarily without her powers, and appears in his series only sporadically thereafter. Domino's also notable for being for a very long time the only character who knew the truth about where Cable was from and what he was trying to achieve.

George Washington Bridge

Although GW wasn't crippled in the confrontation with Stryfe like Kane and Hammer, he resents Cable for it just as much as they do – if not more so. While it's never dealt with explicitly, we know from Kane that these three have known each other much longer than the rest of the team, which might well explain why GW took their injuries so personally. GW joined SHIELD after Six Pack broke up, where he seemed to spend most of his time hunting down Cable, soon recruiting Kane away from his Weapon X job to help, and later acts as a new leader to what's left of the group in Cable's absence. Like the others he more or less manages to reconcile with Cable after he returns from the future with Kane, though the truce has clearly broken down by the time of C&DP. After Kane and Domino he'd be the Six Pack member we've seen the most of over the years, and although he's never developed a lot of personality beyond 'reasonably competent mercenary/SHIELD officer' and 'man with a massive grudge', like much of the team, he seems like a far more pleasant guy the moment he's not dealing with Cable. Though he does appreciate a good cup of coffee, has definite thoughts on the travesty that is non-dairy creamer, and really was the team member most likely to ironically parrot certain cliched action movie lines.

GW is still working for SHIELD at the time of Cable & Deadpool, and becomes one of the three surviving members to form the new incarnation of Six Pack in attempt to bring Cable in.

Weapon X
Garrison Kane

Originally the kid of the group, Kane started working with GW and Hammer at the tender age of thirteen, shortly after his parents' deaths. After Six Pack broke up and he was left a quadruple amputee, he wound up in the Weapon X program at the same time as Deadpool. The program gave him four new mechanical limbs and a bionic eye for his trouble, as well as the moniker 'Weapon X' – which presumably should be taken as a sign they were pretty proud of their work on that one. Understandably, he long held one of the strongest grudges against Cable of anyone in Six Pack, and joined GW in SHIELD for a while, working to bring Cable in as a terrorist.

Kane was the very first person to discover Stryfe and Cable were identical, back in the days when Stryfe wore a full-covering face mask, and well before even Cable had any idea. When Kane revealed this to him in Blood and Metal the two put aside their differences long enough to team up to get to the bottom of the matter, and given a second chance to choose whether to sacrifice Kane for information, Cable finally made the right decision. Kane was once again badly injured in the conflict however, and woke up to find Cable has brought him to the future and given him even more advanced new limbs which could camouflage as ordinary skin (a fact often forgotten by later artists). There, he spent a year living with Cable's old clan before returning home to the present. Sometime between settling up with Cable and getting home he calmed down a lot (Liefeld being long gone from the title by this stage), and was starting to become a very likeable guy. Or at least, the kind of deals with two former team members laying into one another in the lounge room by making them coffee.

Kane meets and becomes romantically involved with Vanessa after the events of Cable #4, and also plays an important role in The Circle Chase, where he and Wade settle their remaining issues and part on friendly terms. Characterisation of Kane and Vanessa since then, however, has been sadly rather inconsistent. He and Vanessa show up again in Cable #37-#9 as sympathetic characters, now under Loeb's pen, wanting to get out of the mercenary business and settle down. However, when next they turn up Deadpool's title, they’re around just long enough for the writer at the time to end their relationship and portray them both as psychotic nutjobs, both still harbouring massive unresolved issues revolving around Deadpool. Kane – or more accurately, some babykilling nutjob with his face – was later returned to the Weapon X program, and ultimately killed off.

Oh yeah, I’m still bitter.

Eisenhower Canty

After Six Pack splits up, Hammer takes on something of an Oracle-like role, specialising in information and sometimes using a mechanical suit to allow him to take part in combat. Since Hammer's quadriplegia is not so easily fixed with technology as Kane's injuries, his paralysis become the main ongoing point of contention between Cable and the rest of Six Pack. However, when Cable and Kane return from the future with technology that will allow them to fix his spine he turns them down, stating that he'd rather remain paralysed than become a 'walking machine' like Cable. When not in the field, he lives with his mother, who has been seen on page once or twice, albeit rarely.

Theodore Winchester

By far the least developed of the team, Grizzly is an Australian mutant with more or less exactly the powers his name suggests. He briefly joins the short-lived Weapon Prime team alongside Kane in attempt to take down Cable and X-Force (epic failure), then later teams up with Domino and the others to find X-Force after Cable's disappearance, though plays little role in the conclusion. His final appearance in the pages of Cable had him unceremoniously fridged as part of one of Tyler's more incomprehensible plots, dying at the hands of a distraught Domino while he was under mind control. Despite being obviously the muscle of the group, what little we do see of Grizzly suggests he's at least of average intelligence and a pretty level-headed sort of guy.

We never do see a lot of them in action together, though X-Force #8 does devote much of its page time to an extended flashback which (mercy of mercies) was drawn by an artist other than Liefeld. I liked these two pages particularly.

Of course Cable has his one, special gun that he obviously brought back from the future with him and can't ever bear to part with. Of course he does.

Links to the rest of the pages are below. The rest of the flashback goes on to deal with Cable's time traveling habits (something which I don't think had ever been revealed to readers before when the issue first came out), and the revelation that Samuel Guthrie (Cannonball) is a rare, nearly immortal kind of mutant called an 'external'. Back in the day, it was heavily implied that Cable's whole purpose in returning to the past was to set Sam up to stand against Apocalypse when the time came, though the whole idea was largely dropped by later writers after Cable went on to headline his own series and X-Force was sent off in another direction.

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More on the early Cable & Deadpool comics:
Vanessa and Domino's pages from X-Force #19-24
Who's who of the 90's X-Force


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