Warning! This article contains spoilers for Cable: Reloaded #1
The X-Men have finally put an end to ‘90s costumes by taking away the mystery behind their most infamous accessories. While especially prevalent in characters helmed by Rob Liefeld including Deadpool and Cable, many Marvel characters found themselves wearing an excessive amount of pouches on their costumes. Even Spider-Man fell prey to this trend through his clone Ben Reilly aka Scarlet Spider, who was equipped with a utility belt and ankle pouches. The comics pouch craze of the ‘90s fell off once the new millennium hit, though certain characters never strayed from their original look. Now, the mystery has been revealed, thus ending the costume-pouch reign for good.
In Cable: Reloaded #1 by Al Ewing with art by Bob Quinn and Java Tartaglia, original old man Cable is back in action in the Last Annihilation storyline, fighting against the Dread Dormammu and his otherworldly forces. In this one-shot, Cable puts together a team similar to his X-Force but with an all new name safe from copyright infringement. The X-Terminators are called upon from Krakoa to help end Dormammu’s attack on the universe. Before the X-Men’s battle can rage on, however, a hero has to be adequately prepared, and while Cable is making his preparations, he reveals the true purpose of the many pouches he helped make famous more than twenty years earlier.
Bullets. Cable admits that the sole purpose for the over-the-top pouch display is to store all of his bullets. In retrospect it makes sense that the pouches are used for such a purpose, as seemingly everyone in the ‘90s was wielding an enormous weapon, even the Hulk of all characters, and especially those sporting all of those pouches. The gritty/macho heroes of the ‘90s never had to worry about their monstrous guns running out of ammo thanks to their trusty pouches full of bullets. The mystery behind the pouches on these ‘90s costumes has been one of the longest running jokes in comics. Throughout that time fans have been left wondering about the practicality of all those pouches, or if they existed purely for aesthetics. While it is somewhat refreshing to finally know the truth, this revelation also in a way closes the door on the joke and eliminates the last redeeming factor of the X-Men costumes that have clearly not withstood the test of time.
The only remnants of the pouch-filled suits in current comics can be found among the ranks of the X-Men, including in the form of a revamped hero. During the Dawn of X, fans were given a fresh new take on Cable after the younger version of the character killed his older self for failing the timeline. After that assassination, fans believed their time with original Cable was over and the reign of young Cable would last a lot longer than it did, now that his elder counterpart has returned.
While many consider the original ’90s Cable to be the one true version of the character, it was still exciting to see Marvel freshen him up by introducing his younger self as the new main version, though now Marvel has opted to return to the familiar as far as the mutant warrior of the future is concerned. Plus, upon old Cable’s return to the X-Men, he has answered an age-old question from his early days and uncovered the mystery of the contents of ‘90s costume pouches. The revelation that they have been filled with bullets all along wraps up the last fun aspect of these suits, thereby ending the ‘90s comic costume relevance once and for all.