The action starts with a force from the Mutant Liberation Front storming a secret facility to bust out some captured young mutants. After the super powered strike force of Wildside, Forearm, Reaper, Strobe, Tempo and Thumbellina take out the facility guards, from nowhere a huge man decked out in giant shoulder pads, future guns, a metal arm, spiked bracelets and a big scar over his eye appears. This is Cable, time traveling soldier from the future. We don't get too much of his personality besides being a hardass tracking down the same mutants the MLF is after. We're introduced to the armored, masked and spike covered Stryfe, leader of the Liberation who is out to prove mutant superiority over humans by breaking into their facilities after his demands are not met. Cable nearly takes out Stryfe's group single handed but ends up losing his mechanical hand and the MLF breaks out the mutant captives.
The action was pretty interesting as you had guns and mutant powers, robot soldiers, mech suits, ninjas and the Silver Samurai! Cable is fleshed out here as being a tough leader who makes decisions for the best of the mission rather than his team leading to future conflict. Then throw in his turtleneck lounge attire when at his tech loaded safe house and you get more than just some brooding grunt. I'm still not exactly sure what Stryfe's endgame is but you see that he and Cable are spitting images of each other, clones, twins or something or other. All of this Six Pack stuff comes back to haunt Cable in his ongoing series as G.W. Bridge went on to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. and was sent to capture his former teammate, Hammer becomes a revenge seeking threat and Cable totally makes a chick cry after they got busy when he thought she was someone else...Key phrases like "stab his eyes" (son of a bitch?) and "body slide by" (call for teleport) are prevalent.
X-Force # 1 was packaged with a limited edition trading card and became the best selling comic book of all time with a staggering 5 million copies sold. Liefeld was featured in a Levi's 501 jeans commercial directed by Spike Lee where he talks about drawing comics since he was 7 years old and never receiving any formal art training. X-Force's record would soon be broken by Jim Lee and Chris Claremont's X-Men # 1 which sold over 8 million copies with it's gimmick of having 5 different covers. Liefeld, Lee and many of Marvel's other superstar artists would then disband from the mother company and form Image where they could have more creative freedom and own the rights to their characters and art. Liefeld's Extreme Comics would produce best seller Youngblood and land the young artist on Dennis Miller's late night chat show. Brigade was another super powered team oriented book with a Cable looking leader where several of the characters die in the first issues through getting their intestines punched out or fingers sliced off. Liefeld would be kicked out of Image/resign after consistently late shipping books and poaching talent from other in house banners. In 1996, Liefeld and Lee returned to Marvel to help launch Heroes Reborn where Captain America, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers all died in a universe shaking battle and be brought back in new, alternate reality universes. Cable would pop up there too.
In 2004, Liefied and Fabian Nicieza relaunched X-Force with Cable still hanging/training/banging with Domino but being haunted by Skornn, a long dead being that feeds off mutants like humans eat cows. Warrior from another planet/time/dimension Shatterstar is training with some monks but signs up for some mindless violence because that's what he does. You see, Cable was originally sent back to our time from a thousand years in the future to stop some kind of catastrophic mutant event. But even all those years ahead, mutants and mankind are still at odds. Some ninja looking baddies from the future aka Agents of Humanity show up looking for The Five Fingers of Annihilation sword, the only weapon that can defeat Skornn, it's up to the reunited Cable, Domino and Shatterstar to stop them. With jump kicks, double bladed swords and punches to the face. In subsequent issues we catch back up with Cannonball, now living a peaceful life on a farm in Kentucky while Tabitha Smith aka Meltdown and formerly known as Boom Boom along with Warpath rejoin the team. Liefeld's art is substantially more palatable years on with cleaner lines along with less ridiculous body shape and sizes. Backgrounds are a little plain or non-existent but pupils are more frequent and hair styles are much better. A scene from the future takes on an ethereal and shiny quality with coloring that looks more akin to paints than vibrant and smooth computer coloring. While the story jumps back and forth between eras, it never gets too confusing or clunky.