Or – “What’s With All Of Wolverine’s Nubile Girl Sidekicks, Anyway?”
So, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I’ve never liked Jubilee. (Some accuse me of hating Wolverine, but much like Batman, I don’t dislike the character, I just get tired of him when used as an all-purpose plot device.) Jubilee, on the other hand, is basically Kitty Pryde with a different powerset, Daisy Dukes, and some (admittedly much needed) X-diversity. That her debut came right at one of the points where I stopped reading X-Men didn’t help, but overall, she never struck me as much more than a suspiciously similar substitute for Ariel/Sprite/Shadowcat. Oddly enough, she’s been much more interesting in her recent incarnation as a grizzled veteran who tells people about her days running with the Wolverine. Coming out of major changes for the X-Men, it looks like Logan and Jubilation may have some things to catch up on…
Previously, on Wolverine & Jubilee: During a recent X-Men crossover, Jubilee was the victim of a biological weapon that turned her, strangely enough, into a vampire. It should be noted that the only reason this is cool is that somebody decided a few years ago to depower a bunch of mutants, including Jubilee, and now she gets the full gamut of vampiric powers and such, and thanks to drawing blood from Wolverine, she can keep from going into a blood frenzy. (This, of course, is due to tiny plot devices in his bloodstream.) Unfortunately for her, though, her new powers don’t make her kidnap proof, allowing a mysterious woman to manipulate Wolverine through her. Rockslide is also involved, for some reason, making me wonder why it’s not called Wolverine/Rockslide/Jubilee. Bygones…
Teenage Vampire Mutant Mall-Chicks!
We start this issue with a pretty entertaining sequence, as Wolverine (stuck in a warehouse) and Jubilee (in some weird pocket netherworld) snipe at each other in pretty adorable fashion, thanks to a magic necklace that she got from some evil vampire who owns a pawn shop. It’s a clever conceit that almost, but not quite borders on stupid, as we find out that the woman they’ve been vexed by literally takes people’s valuables and sticks them in an alternate dimension, in return for some unspoken boon. Wolverine realizes that the villain stole Jubes to get to him, but she snots back, “Anybody ever tell you you’re incredible self-centered?” Heh. I have to say, I like the way they interact here, good job on dialogue by Kathryn Immonen (is she related to Stuart?) Wolverine and Rockslide both, through different means, manage to transport themselves into the pocket dimension just in time to find Jubilee…
And Then This Dragon… Wait, Whut?
…getting chased down by a giant gray dragon. Still, what could have destroyed all the momentum is played for fun, as all three heroes engage the dragon in combat as it shrieks all manner of Dungeons & Dragons big bad villain dialogue at them. Jubilee is nearly killed, but instinctively shifts into mist-form (something all Marvel Universe vampires used to be able to do as a matter of course, if I recall) and then kills the dragon with her bare hands, putting a huge steel girder through its head. The sight of super-Jubilee doesn’t really do anything for me, but in context, her new vampiric powers make her one of the most, if not THE most powerful X-Man. Strong as Colossus, agile as Nightcrawler, immune to damage, aging and disease? She’s like a sexy girl Wolverine, which raises its own set of problems. We close with The White Queen berating Wolverine about Jubilee’s whereabouts (she apparently fled Utopia after turning Wolverine into a vampire by accident) while he smirks and refuses to tell her anything. There’s a cute sorta-romantic moment at the end with Rockslide and Jubilee, but then he ruins it by bringing up Wolverine.
The Verdict: Might Change Your Mind, If Not The Game
As someone with no real investment in the main characters, this issue still comes on strong, with Phil Noto’s art telling a strong story, and Immonen making their banter worth reading. The issue raises the question of whether Jubilee, now immortal, might be able to act on the vague sexual tension between herself and the effectively immortal Wolverine, which is a question that I find a little disturbing. I guess it’s just the fact that I’ve always read them as a big brother/fatherly mentor-type thing, not a romantic pairing, but I suppose that a May/December romance between two effective immortals is pretty compelling as a plot hook. (Is she 21 yet?) It doesn’t make me want to go out and buy up all the Jim Lee-era X-books and devour their previous adventures, but the story manages to stay pretty self-contained, and at $2.99 is priced about right for the amount of story within. I think that 90’s fans of the teaming will be well-served, and I have to say it’s not a bad issue overall. Wolverine & Jubilee #4 earns a somewhat surprised 3.5 out of 5 stars overall, and deepening Jubilee’s story in interesting ways.
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Was their relationship frought with this kind of subsumed sexual tension before?