The X-Men are going to be watching the Military channel because next week in "Ultimate X-Men" #75, the Ultimate Marvel Universe finally gets Cable. CBR news spoke with "Ultimate X-Men" writer Robert Kirkman about what the arrival of the time traveling soldier from the future means for the book.
Kirkman said issue #75 is a good jumping on point for new readers or anyone curious about the Ultimate Universe incarnation of Cable. "As long as you have a general knowledge of The X-Men and who Professor X is, you should be able to follow it," Kirkman told CBR News. "There are a few references to Nightcrawler's episode from the annual and a few points brought up from my last nine issues, but for the most part it should be easy to follow along. It's kinda like a new beginning in a lot of ways and it sets the stage for some big changes ahead."
The beginning of the "Cable" arc finds the X-Men, who have weathered a lot of big changes recently, emotionally bruised and battered. "Jean has just had another Phoenix episode, which they now know a little more about, but just barely, so there are a lot of unknowns there," Kirkman said. "Nightcrawler has lost it a little and is being kept in a trance by Xavier. Dazzler just woke up from her coma and quit the team (although I would like to point out she's not out of the book just because she's not on the team. I have big plans for her). Rogue just got her normal powers back - which is an enormous burden on her. And this Magician fellow just weaseled his way onto the team and ran amok. They've been through a lot recently. Their spirits are a bit broken."
When Cable arrives, the emotionally fractured X-men will have to pull together because they'll be standing in a dangerous location; in between Cable and his objective. "Ultimate Cable, much like 616 Cable, is a man with a mission," Kirkman explained. "Although the mission is very different. He's determined to succeed and will not let anything get in his way - including The X-Men. He's come back in time from a less than perfect future - a future he blames on one man, Charles Xavier. As you can imagine, he's going to be very much at odds with the X-Men.
"Cable is an unstoppable soldier, at odds with the X-Men," Kirkman continued. "It's going to be a high-action thrill ride with drastic consequences. This will be a very different book when this story is over and done."
In addition to the regular X-Men and Cable, a number of supporting characters play roles in the story. "Bishop will also make an appearance, though I'll keep his allegiance and motives secret for now," Kirkman stated. "We'll see Syndicate again, I dig that character - and I'll also say Cable didn't come back in time alone."
The X-Men will be facing the dangers of the "Cable" story arc alone. Readers shouldn't expect appearances by characters from other Ultimate books. "This is going to be all X-Men this time around," Kirkman said. "Although Fury and Quicksilver make a brief appearance in issue # 75."
In the recent issues of "Ultimate X-Men," a number of the romantic and personal relationship sub-plots started to heat up. Readers can expect a little of these elements in the "Cable" story arc, but the primary focus of the story will be action. "There will be a little bit of Rogue and Iceman dealing with her powers returning, but the focus of this arc shifts away from the romance and toward the action and fighting." Kirkman explained. "I like to shake things up a bit. A little romance here, some action there, quiet stories, loud stories, I don't want to do the same things over and over. The 'Cable' arc will be a departure from the other things I've done with this book so far."
One of the ways the "Cable" arc will differ from Kirkman's other stories is that it's a very dark toned, almost realistic tale of dramatic superhero action. "The science fiction elements are downplayed somewhat," Kirkman stated. "Once you get past the fact that Cable is from the future it's a somewhat grounded story - as far as superhero comics go. It's a very dark and violent story, though - much more so than anything else I've done at Marvel - yes, even 'Marvel Zombies.'"
Sinister has already made an appearance in "Ultimate X-Men" and with Cable now making his Ultimate Universe debut, some readers are wondering if Apocalypse can be far behind. The major X-Men baddie and arch-enemy of the 616 Cable won't be making his Ultimate debut in the "Cable" arc. "Apocalypse is a big deal," Kirkman said. "In my opinion, he's the X-Men's number two villain. So I think Ultimate Apocalypse needs to be done right. We're taking our time with it. When he shows up it's going to be a big deal. I like that the Ultimate books haven't really rushed things as far as introducing the big name villains. When Apocalypse finally shows up (and you know he will) it's going to be worth the wait."
The "Cable" arc of "Ultimate X-Men" looks to be a huge story and both Kirkman and artist Ben Oliver want to make sure fans get their money's worth. "I'm really giving this arc my all - throwing in everything I've got," Kirkman stated. "I'm proud of the work Ben Oliver and I have done on it and I think everyone involved is thrilled to see it in print. I don't think fans quite know what they're in for. So if you're on the fence about picking this up, starting this book or staying with it - give it a shot. You won't be disappointed."