Comic Book Review: Ultimate X-Men #76

The Revolution has been critical of Ultimate X-Men. I have found it to be a consistently average title. However, I think that this new Cable story arc has plenty of potential. I think we may just be in store for a pretty fun ride. Hopefully, Ultimate X-Men #76 can buck the trend and deliver a good read. Let’s hit the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ben Oliver

Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin where we left off last issue with Cable and Wolverine brawling with each other. Ultimate Cable says that he is an old Wolverine from the future who no longer has his healing factor. Cable mentions how Xavier is responsible for a lot of rotten, underhanded business and he has to pay for it. That for the sake of the future, Xavier has to die. Cable uses some of his hi-tech gadgets to take down Wolverine.

Suddenly, Cyclops and Iceman enter the room and start brawling with Cable. Cable uses more hi-tech gadgets to take down Iceman. Cyclops frees Colossus and the two of them attack Cable. Cable sets up a force shield between him and Cyclops and Colossus. Professor X then enters the room. Cable then grabs Jean Grey. Cable tells Professor X that he will contact him with details about how they can make an exchange: Professor X for Jean. Until then, Cable promises not to harm Jean. Cable then teleports back to the future and takes Jean with him. Colossus then rushes Kitty down to the Infirmary.

We cut to later that day. Storm is visiting Kitty in the Infirmary. Kitty says that she came to this school to learn how to better control her powers, not to fight crazy people every week. Kitty says that once they get Jean back then she is going to leave Xavier’s school.

We shift to Professor X using Cerebra to search for Jean. Unfortunately, he cannot sense Jean at all. Professor X tells Cyclops that it is obvious that Cable wants to trade Xavier’s life for Jean’s.

We cut back to Wolverine visiting Kitty in the Infirmary. Suddenly, Bishop teleports into the room and demands to know if he has gotten here before Cable.

We then shift to Professor X talking with Cyclops and Storm about how they should prepare for their next meeting with Cable. Wolverine then enters the room with an unconscious Bishops slung over his shoulder. Bishop wakes up and tells them that he followed Cable from the future. That Cable wants to kill Xavier and Bishop wants to save Xavier.

We then cut to the future where Jean is being held captive. Jean tells Cable that the X-Men are going to be prepared for him the next time they face each other. Cable says that he isn’t worried since he won’t be facing the X-Men alone the next time they square off. Into the room walks Domino and I’m not too sure about the other three. Maybe Garrison Kane, G.W. Bridge and Warpath?

The Good: Ok, what did I enjoy about this issue? Good question. Let’s see if I can follow the Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. Well, we got some good action in this issue. This issue was dominated by the fight scene between Cable and the X-Men.

I like that Kirkman has made the Ultimate Universe Cable an older Wolverine from the future. I think that is an unexpected and rather interesting twist on Cable’s character. To me, Ultimate X-Men is the only Ultimate Universe title that has really struggled to differentiate the Ultimate Universe characters from their 616 counter parts.

Having said that, I think that we are beginning to see that happen over in Ultimate X-Men. At first, the only difference between Ultimate X-Men and Uncanny X-Men was that Colossus was gay. Kirkman helped differentiate between the two a bit more by making Ultimate Nightcrawler radically different from the 616 version of Nightcrawler. Kirkman continues this trend by delivering an Ultimate Cable very different from the 616 version. This is a positive trend and I hope that Kirkman continues to make the Ultimate X-Men different from their 616 counter parts.

The Bad: Ultimate X-Men #76 was average at best. It is amazing how much Kirkman impressed me over on Ant-Man, but has continued to be very unimpressive here on Ultimate X-Men. This title continues to be the weakest of all the Ultimate Universe titles.

My biggest problem with Ultimate X-Men #76 is that absolutely nothing happened. This issue was a wasted issue. It read like pure filler. This issue spent the first 14 pages continuing the fight from last issue between Cable and the X-Men. We then get six pages of boring repetitious dialogue about what just happened with Cable. We then get two pages at the very end to introduce the new Ultimate version of X-Force. That is inexcusable.

I thought that Kirkman failed to really develop and progress his story on this title over the past couple of story arcs, however, this Cable story arc is hitting a new low. Ultimate X-Men #75 and #76 could have been easily told over the course of a single issue. I hate it when a title feels directionless and that the author has totally stalled the flow of the story arc. That is what Kirkman achieved with Ultimate X-Men #77.

Kirkman also continues to fail to create any type of well developed or interesting personalities for the carious X-Men. Kirkman has also continued to fail to create any type of chemistry between the characters. The dialogue is very standard and dull. Kirkman continues to turn in very ordinary “paint by numbers” stories on this title. At first, I just thought either Kirkman wasn’t that talented or I simply don’t enjoy his writing style. However, after seeing what a great job he did over on Ant-Man, I am more inclined to say that Kirkman is just mailing it in on Ultimate X-Men and is giving almost no effort to deliver a quality story. I guess Kirkman feels that anything with “X-Men” on the cover will sell no matter how good the writing is or not.

The only thing that generated any mild interest on my part was the final two pages. And even that wasn’t very interesting. Other than Domino, I wasn’t too sure who the other characters were. The impact of this ending is greatly diminished when the reader struggles to figure out who the characters are. Basically, it is Domino, who is a C-list character at best and several D-list characters. Yeah, I have a hard time categorizing that as anything particularly appealing.

Ben Oliver’s art is just terrible. I simply don’t like his style at all. I find Oliver’s art to be as visually dull as humanly possible. Oliver’s art is sloppy and muddy. And the X-Force costume designs couldn’t be any more uninteresting and generic.

Overall: Ultimate X-Men #76 is another unimpressive read. This title appears to be headed nowhere. It lacks focus and is becoming one of the most boring reads that Marvel has on the market. Combine average at best writing with terribly weak art and you have a title that I cannot recommend to anyone other than a die-hard X-Men fan.