Ultimate X-Men continues to be one average read after another. Kirkman just hasn’t been able to get anything of real interest going on this title. The past story arc with the Magician was just a muddled mess that really didn’t seem to have much purpose or direction. Now, Kirkman is going to tackle Cable in this new story arc. Since I have never thought Cable was terribly interesting, I can’t say I’m particularly thrilled with this new story arc. Let’s see if Ultimate X-Men #75 can get me to change my mind. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ben Oliver
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: This issue begins with Cyclops giving Jean a birthday gift for her 20th birthday. We then cut to Professor X returning home from his date with Lilandra. Quicksilver suddenly appears and hands Professor X a box from Nick Fury and then suddenly races off.
We cut to Professor X having a video conference with Nick Fury. Inside the box is a bracelet. Nick says that the bracelet is for Jean Grey. The bracelet was originally developed for the Hulk. Nick had a psychic trigger installed in the bracelet. Professor X says he won’t force Jean to wear it, however, he will ask her to do so.
We shift to Bobby and Rogue playing videogames while Kitty reads a book. Rogue’s powers have returned and she is less than pleased about it. Bobby reaches for Rogue’s game controlled and touches her glove. Rogue totally freaks on Bobby that her powers are back and that he can’t touch her anymore. Rogue then runs out of the room.
We cut to Professor X meeting with Jean Grey. Professor X mentions to Jean about her wearing the bracelet.
We then shift to Wolverine and Storm working out some aggression in the danger room. At one point Storm lands on top of Wolverine and they stare at each other like they are about to kiss. Storm then tells Wolverine that they should finish their training.
We cut to Kitty being all mopey and looking for Professor X so she can talk to him. Jean tells Kitty that Professor X is currently with Nightcrawler. And with that we zip over to Nightcrawler’s cell where Professor X is probing Nightcrawler’s mind. Professor X promises to fix Nightcrawler. That he knows that Nightcrawler isn’t a bad man.
Suddenly, there is a strange energy portal opening in the room and out steps Cable. Cable tells Professor X that he is here to kill him. Cable places a power inhibitor on Professor X that neutralizes his mutant abilities. Before Cable can kill Professor X, Kitty arrives on the scene. Cable then stabs Kitty with a power-dampener and takes her out.
Cable then neutralizes Jean Grey with the same device that took down Professor X. Cable then takes out Colossus. Cyclops then blasts Cable. (Damn that Scott Summers. I always knew he was a child abuser.) Cable recovers and takes out Storm. Cable and Wolverine then lock horns. Cable stuns Wolverine by “popping” out his own claws and stabbing Wolverine with them. End of issue.
We are “treated” to a lame back up story concerning the students at Emma Frost’s school. Havok, Cannonball and Sunspot start secretly meeting with each other. Doug Ramsey feels left out and isolated. Doug thinks it is because he is not a mutant. Doug goes to Emma for some guidance. Emma tells Doug that he is special and to not let his friends slip away.
We cut to Havok, Cannonball and Sunspot breaking into a warehouse. Doug secretly follows them. Inside the warehouse, the young mutants start brawling with drug dealers who are using the place as a facility to make drugs. Doug then gets captured by one of the drug dealers who instructs the mutants to surrender or he kills their friend. Havok, Cannonball and Sunspot are mad that Doug followed them. Doug said that they are his friends and he wanted to help. The mutants retort that Doug has no powers and is of no use.
Suddenly, Emma and Polaris appear on the scene. Polaris controls all of the thugs’ guns and points them at the thugs. Emma tells the criminals to surrender and they do. Emma then asks Havok, Cannonball and Sunspot what they are doing. They respond that since she won’t let them use their powers to assist in local emergencies that every time their school is attacked they get their butts kicked. That they need to train on how to fight and use their powers. Emma responds that maybe they would like to transfer to a different school. Havok, Cannonball and Sunspot are angry at Doug because they think that he narked on them. End of story.
The Good: Ultimate X-Men #75 is yet another pedestrian read. Following the Revolution’s Rule of Positivity is not going to be easy. It isn’t that this issue was terrible, it just wasn’t anything great. It was very average.
I did enjoy the action in the fight between Cable and the X-Men. It was well paced and definitely established Cable as a worthy adversary. I also wasn’t expecting that Cable’s mission would be to kill Professor X. However, the best part about Ultimate X-Men #75 was the ending. Kirkman dropped a huge bomb on the reader with Cable revealing his claws and mentioning that he has gone thirty years without his healing factor in order to make him better than Wolverine could ever hope to be. That was a fantastic ending! It definitely got my attention and hooked me into wanting to read the next issue immediately.
I have never liked Cable. I have always thought he was nothing more than a lame Rob Liefeld character. My opinion hasn’t change to this day. However, Kirkman’s Ultimate Cable just may get me to like this character. I hope that Ultimate Cable has absolutely nothing to do with Scott Summers, Jean Grey or any clone of Jean Grey. Kirkman has definitely piqued my interest with the introduction of Ultimate Cable and I’m curious to see where he goes with this character.
I liked seeing references to the events over in the Ultimates in this issue. This helps to re-enforce the feeling that the Ultimate Universe is a fully developed and integrated universe. We got to see a danger room program that dealt with Loki as the enemy. We also got a cameo appearance of Quicksilver.
The Bad: Kirkman still has failed to create much chemistry between the various X-Men. Kirkman has also failed to develop and flesh out any of the personalities of the various X-Men. Other than Nightcrawler and Colossus being gay, the Ultimate X-Men act too much like their 616 counter-parts. Unlike what Millar was able to do with the Ultimates, Kirkman has failed to create any unique and original characters on the Ultimate X-Men. Reading Ultimate X-Men feels too similar to reading Uncanny X-Men or X-Men. That isn’t a good thing. Ultimate X-Men needs to find its own personality totally independent from the 616 X-Men.
Colossus has as much personality as a white wall. Colossus is an instant scene killer. The minute he enters a scene and starts to talk I begin to yawn and fall asleep. Cyclops is just as generic as his 616 counter-part. Jean Grey is pretty much the same as her 616 counter-part. I don’t really dig how Kirkman has handled Nightcrawler, but at least he is different from his 616 version.
Because Kirkman has not been able to properly flesh out and establish the individual characters of the various X-Men, the plotlines between the various characters have totally failed to captivate my interest. The plotline between Rogue and Bobby is so stale and unoriginal. How many times do we need to re-hash the “Rogue-is-upset-because-she-can’t-touch-her-boyfriend” plotline? I got enough of that over in the 616 universe with the Rogue/Gambit relationship. The Phoenix story needs to be officially tired. This is the most re-hashed plotline in the history of Marvel Comics. Cyclops and Jean Grey’s little love story is as boring as it was over in the 616 universe.
Kirkman’s dialogue is average. It just feels a bit too stiff and too standard. It makes the characters feel wooden. This is a real surprise given how nice Kirkman’s dialogue is over in The Irredeemable Ant-Man. Maybe Ultimate X-Men just isn’t a good fit for Kirkman’s style of writing.
I just don’t dig Oliver’s style of art. I find it to be sloppy and sketchy. His facial expressions are rather generic. Oliver’s art creates a rather boring looking comic. Oliver’s art isn’t very dynamic and has a rather dull look to it.
Overall: Ultimate X-Men continues to be the weakest of all the Ultimate titles. However, I do see some hope of improvement for this title. I think that Kirkman’s Cable story arc has some real potential to be a very entertaining story. If you have been avoiding this title, then this might be a good time to hop on and give it a try.