In a story written by Louise Simonson with artwork by Rob Liefeld, "A Show of Power!" begins with an attack on a military facility by a group of super-powered mutants called the Mutant Liberation Front. The mutant terrorists are successful in planting bombs in the facility, however, a tall white-haired, gun-toting man identifies himself as Cable and shows up to stop them, but arrives too late.
Meanwhile, most of the New Mutants team are winding down from an adventure in Asgard with Asgardian revels. Since the legendary Rainbow Bridge that connects Midgard with Asgard has been destroyed, Balder the Brave (who has been acting as ruler of Asgard) presents Cannonball, Wolfsbane, Rictor, Warlock and the rest of the New Mutants with a map on how to return to Earth. Dani Moonstar, now a Valkyrie, has decided to remain in Asgard for the time being while the rest of the New Mutants begin their long journey back home.
Back on Earth, two members of the New Mutants team, Rusty Collins and Boom-Boom, are prisoners and recovering after being injured in battle with Nitro and the Vulture. While Rusty rests, Boom-Boom becomes angry when the television news reports she watches are claiming the rogue government mutant team FREEDOM FORCE is taking their credit for the victory and blaming the two injured mutants for the damages. Hearing word of the Mutant Liberation Front's actions, she listens closely, unaware that the mysterious leader of the M.L.F known as Stryfe, is orchestrating a plan to break the two New Mutants free.
While the New Mutants continue their long interdimensional journey home, the Mutant Liberation Front shows up where Rusty and Boom-Boom are being held hostage, and so does the man known as Cable. A battle ensues, and Cable's metal hand is melted in the fight. Boom-Boom and Rusty are broken out by the M.L.F., but not before Rusty Collins is shot. All the mutants escape together, leaving behind a battle-weary Cable, whose plans for the New Mutants are just beginning and have already been written.
Though playing only a minor part in this issue, readers were anxious to see more of Cable and eventually Cable becomes the team leader and remains a lead character through the introduction of Deadpool in New Mutants #98 and until the series ends in New Mutants #100, where Cable and the New Mutants become X-Force. X-Force #1 will go to become one of Marvel's best selling comics of all time and Cable will become a fan-favorite Marvel mutant. Cable will star in his limited series and ongoing series, as well as CABLE & DEADPOOL, a team-up title starring both the time-travelling mutant and the Merc with a Mouth.
The cover of New Mutants #87 was drawn by Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane, two artists who eventually broke away from Marvel in the 1990's and formed the independent comic publisher, IMAGE COMICS.
Although Cable does make a small, one-panel appearance in New Mutants #86, many collectors consider New Mutants #87 to be Cable's first full appearance.
In a post-credits scene in the 2016 film DEADPOOL, Deadpool mentions that in the sequel to his movie, Cable will appear but he hasn't been cast yet.