Enter: Ultimate Cable!

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Here comes Cable! The man of mystery from the dark future will be making his premiere in the Ultimate Universe in Ultimate X-Men #75. Marvel gathered the press around series writer Robert Kirkman, and we did our best at trying to get the meaty details.

The conference began with Robert Kirkman – current writer of Ultimate X-Men – talking about upcoming issue #75. “Well, we’re bringing the new Ultimate version of Cable, which I think is going to be pretty cool. It’s going to lead to a lot of big shake-ups in the line-up. Lead to at least one death, we have a lot of changes in store, and it should be pretty exciting.”

Kirkman then went on to add that this version of Cable would not be Scott Summers’ son. “No he is not. Completely different stuff. We are trying to go a different way with the Ultimate Universe and make sure things are vastly different, and at least as interesting if not more interesting. I’m hoping people are a bit shocked with it. It’s a bit crazy.”

Getting into the meat of the character, Kirkman hinted at a little of what to expect. “His powers are completely different, and saying anything more than that will give away the ending of the issue.”

And when Cable does show up, he will be sans X-Force. “He has some people he’s working with, but as far as having a whole other team that’s going to stay on the book: that’s not going to happen. But, in the sense that Cable was a very big catalyst that brought about a lot of change, we’re kind of doing the same thing here. He’s going to kind of wipe the slate clean. It’s going to be very exciting.”

Why did Kirkman want to bring Cable into the series? “I think the time is right. It works well with the story I have planned. You can’t bring back everybody; you have to hold them back for later issues. I know everyone wants to know where Ultimate Banshee is, and we definitely have plans for them, but right now is Cable’s time. We are bringing in Ultimate Bishop as part of the story as well.”

Kirkman then talked a little about his time on the book. “I think it’s a very different book now, as Mark Millar got to start with a clean slate. Now I came on with issue #66, and there’s a definite history involved. I think that I’m trying to reflect that history, and also get back to that spirit of changing things and shaking things up that Millar’s early issues had. It kind of went to the backburner as the series went on. Some of the characters that were brought in later were too close to the regular universe versions. And, I’m trying to bring in things that are different and change characters up to give them more original… whatever… I don’t know. I’m trying to shake things up. I like my issues.”

Turning his attention to how the people of his universe looked at the main characters, and the public hatred for mutants, Kirkman stated, “There’s ton of hatred for the mutants out there. It’s something that hasn’t been touched on my issues so much as of yet. I did have the Friends of Humanity appearance, and there was anti-mutant sentiment in those issues, but it’s something I want to get back to. I think it’s a very important part of the story.”

Jumping back onto the topic of Cable, how is the future timeline going to be handled? “We’re playing the future stuff close to the vest, I don’t want to have the X-Men running around, fighting robots, and doing all kinds of sci-fi stuff. I find the Ultimate line is a little bit more grounded in reality. Cable and Bishop both come from the future, both come from the same future, it’s a future that will be discussed. There’s a lot of story stuff that I’m trying not to give away. I’m really bad at knowing what I can and can’t talk about. I should just lie. That’s what I usually do. Bishop’s going to be a rabbit.” But he did add that we will not see the future.

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeAs for writing the characters, Kirkman’s having the most fun writing Charles Xavier. “I think he’s a great character, and I think lots of times he gets sidelined. I think a lot of people center on Wolverine, on the action of the book. I really like doing things with him. And I also like Jean Grey; she’s a great character. There’s a lot of twists and turns coming for her, and it will be exciting to watch. I like them all. But Xavier and Jean I like playing with the most.”

When bringing Cable back, he really liked the look of him. “I like that he looks like he can barely walk. I have all sorts of things hanging off him, and I made it a goal of mine to try to make him use everything he had. So there’s some pretty crazy fight stuff going on in issues #76 and 77, and he’s always reaching into his pocket and pulling out a piece of gum, and stuff like that. And, he was a big man of mystery when he first appeared, and I’m trying to bring back that air of mystery.”

Mystery is great, but a stick of gum? “I’m joking about the stick of gum, there’s a lot of bombs and knives and guns. A couple of pamphlets – stuff about scientology. He also brings out a bowl of cereal and a spoon that he eats at one point. There’s some kind of futuristic technology that keeps the milk inside the bowl inside the pocket, which I was kind of impressed with coming up with.”

When it comes to writing the X-Men, Kirkman gave us some insight into the job. “It’s pretty hard. I think it was Bendis that coined the phrase “X-Men’s the brass ring!” and I guess that’s true. It’s pretty intimidating to be one of the writers to be in charge of Wolverine for a month. Plus, it’s a team book, which is difficult. You have to juggle a lot of characters and have them do something interesting every few issues. It was really exciting, as I’ve been a fan of the Ultimate books since the beginning.”

Originally, Kirkman was brought on the book for nine issues only, but things changed. “There was lot of begging involved there as I recall. I was hired on for the initial nine issues, I kind of knew I was there for nine issues, so I sat down and came up with what I could do for those nine issues. Stuff that would be kind of self-contained and fun. Then, towards the end of my run, I was told I’d be on the book for a while, so I started to make long range plans. There wasn’t anything I couldn’t in those nine issues. But there are some things that I had been planning that I won’t get to. But I can’t talk about those.”

Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge

With Ultimate Spider-Man taking something like the clone saga and adapting it to the Ultimate Universe, was there anything of the same vein that Robert wanted to bring into the series? “I know Macchio and I have talked very briefly about the Age of Apocalypse kind of stuff, I think that would be cool, but we don’t have anything slated for right now. But as far as specific arcs, we’re doing a lot of talking about Apocalypse, but there’s nothing definite right now.”

Another upcoming book that was brought up was Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner’s Ultimate Wolverine. While the details were scarce, the Marvel gang did inform us that the series would show what the fundamental differences are between the regular universe Wolverine and the ultimate version.

Before the conference wrapped up, Kirkman did confirm that while there would be no Mutant Liberation Front, and no Stryfe, we would be seeing Ultimate Domino. Also mentioned was that the cover to issue #75, which will hit stands on October 11th, will be done by Michael Turner and be available in poster form on October 4th. Finally, it was announced that there would be a backup story written by Sean McKeever, with art by Mark Brooks, and it would deal with Emma Frost’s Academy of Tomorrow and Doug Ramsey.

Check out Cable’s appearance this October, as Robert Kirkman and Marvel promise to shake up the Ultimate Universe as we know it—well, at least the X-side of it all.

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