Marvel Comics, one of the true comic franchises of all time, is still going strong and proves that you shouldn’t count a good comic out. Through its golden age, its modern age, its…wait…how many ages can a comic book franchise have for goodness sakes? Sheesh! Well, through all the ages, and all the changes, one thing stands true…. nothing really ever changes, they’re just reinvented.
There are always those characters who are dangled in front of us, the readers, like the proverbial worm on a hook (okay, that fishing reference is a stretch, but stay with me here), only to have them yanked away. And Jubilee is just one of those worms…er…characters. She is presented as going to be a major player, having the reader vested in her back story, with the anticipation that she will be a mover and a shaker. But, along the way, there were a few facts that were there, but you probably never caught or realized. Let’s take a look at those very tidbits of information now, shall we?
15. Her Powers Are More Than Just Fireworks
Although Jubilee’s powers are more times than not referred to as “fireworks,” let me tell you right here and now, they are far from that. Well, let me correct myself…if you call multi-colored globs of plasma fireworks, then what the crap are they setting off each fourth of July in my home town? ‘Cause believe you me, they are not plasma globs. I mean, really, who would even think for one moment that her powers are merely “fireworks.” Oh, it must be that whole “oh sparkly” type of effect. That’s all it could be, honestly. Well, that is unless you are the bad guys – that’s for sure. I really pity the fool who thinks they can go up against Jubilee, and come out on the other side the winner. One blast of those puppies and if they were able to see again they would more than testify to their potency. And, Lord help those who she chose to dial up the intensity all the way up.
14. She Eventually Loses Her Powers
After the terrible events of M-day, Jubilee was relieved of her powers by Scarlet Witch. Which, in retrospect, makes this writer not quite a fan of the Witch after all. As if being stripped of her powers were not enough, then she goes and gets a job at a half-way house for other powerless mutants? What is this? A feel good, touchy feely, ask Dr. Phil type deal now? These are the X-Men we are talking about here. The X-MEN!!! They do not go to, nor do they offer counselling, they crack heads and take names. I mean seriously folks – is this supposed to have been a believable story line? After a virtual life time sporting her butt kicking powers, and making the world safe for democracy, she is simply gonna go all social worker on us? She is the poster girl of anti-social, so how can she help others come to terms with the loss of what she herself has not even dealt with yet? Kind of seems that the creators were just reaching here, but then again it could just be me.
13. Her Real Name
Jubilation Lee, kind of a mouthful, and really a lot to live up to as well, is quite the name to put on such a small frame. I guess when you have a name like that it makes sense why people would refer to your powers as “fireworks.” Then again, you know how I stand on that issue. But, as already mentioned, that is quite the name right there. I wonder when the creators were sitting around brainstorming on this character, which in their right mind had the thought “let’s call her Jubilation Lee, because that is such an awesome name.” Yeah, right! At least give her a name that can be shortened and be cute, yet powerful. Although, Jubilee is a shorter version, that name sounds like a type of alcoholic beverage one would sipping on the beach in Boca, rather than the name of a powerful member of the X-Men. Being the tough kid she was, Jubilee embraced the name, but I still think the creators could have given it a little more thought. Just saying.
12. Underrated In The TV Show
The transition from comic book character to a character on a television show was not an easy or favorable one for our Jubilee. While in the comics she was a tough bad ass, when she was crossed over to television she, well, lets just say she was almost like the creator’s private joke. Gone was the girl who could more than hold her own. What she became on the television show… well, I honestly don’t know what they were thinking she would become. She was totally underrated, and disrespected. I mean this is a character that could blow holes through walls and bad guys with the flick her wrist. On the show… meh, not so much. When she was added to Generation X she didn’t just become the resident joke. No, that would not do, it had to be taken a step further. They had to introduce a whole mess of new mutants into the mix, and although she was featured prominently in the show, she still got lost in the shuffle. I just don’t know why they even included her. And, as if that wasn’t all, they changed her costume and her entire look. Well, other than her totally rad yellow raincoat. If they ever got rid of that…well I would have to hurt someone for sure.
11. She Adopts A Baby
This little tidbit will boggle the mind, well at least as a seasoned comic fan. Why, oh why, would a mutant who is already ostracized by the world around them, being seen as more of a villain than a hero, would then want to go and adopt a baby? I mean, what good could even come of this? And since when can you just “find” a baby, in a foreign country at that, and claim it as your own? Adding insult to injury, she proceeded to take the child, which she named Shogo, to the X-Men academy. Was this child a mutant? What are the odds that she, a mutant herself, would find an abandoned, orphaned infant that was also a mutant, I ask you? And what misfired in her brain to expose an infant to the disruptive nature of the mutants at the academy? Call me stupid, but that would not in any way shape or form make her a candidate for parent of the year.
10. First Comic Appearance
Jubilee’s first appearance was in the 1989 Uncanny X-men #244 in a mall of all places. In typical teenage fashion of the time, the Marvel powers-that-be decided to have their newest addition found in a mall. And not just in a mall, but living and working in said mall. She is her own one-man circus act, every teenager’s dream of the time. Using her mutant powers, her “fireworks,” she performed for the masses. Talk about how NOT to keep a low key. After outwitting the dimwits that posed as security, the mall managers call in the “M-Squad.” Hey, look, “M-Squad” to take out the problem in the “M-all” (see how I made that work there?) Anyhoo, the X-Men come to her rescue and when they returned through a portal, they unknowingly had a little tag along.
9. She Turns Into A Vampire
O—M—G!!!! Now this one just totally toasts my pop-tarts. She had already been a mutant, she is already meaner than a striped snake, and she can most definitely kick ass with the best of them. So, what executive at Marvel had a brain-fart and decided to make her, of all things, a vampire? I mean, good grief. That has got to be one of the most harebrained maneuvers I have seen in…well… I can’t recall. Why not just find a way to get her mutant powers back up to snuff instead of totally taking it out in left field? And, like all respectable vampires (phish *rolls eyes*) it would appear that she can be eliminated in the same ways any vampire can be killed. All it takes is a wooden stake to the heart, or a decapitation and POOF!! Jubilee goes bye-bye, and not the kind of bye-bye anyone can come back from. Now, with all that said, it is pretty cool that she can turn into a mist. But, otherwise, I just do not see a good outcome to this whole vampire situation…sigh.
8. Wolverine Was Her Mentor
This one makes me laugh so hard, I have been known to spit my Mountain Dew out. Wolverine as a mentor? Are we talking about the SAME Wolverine? Big, hairy walking tower of muscles with a completely awful haircut and an even worse disposition? We are? Well then I am laughing again. What is it about Wolverine that makes all these young, female mind you, mutants are drawn to him? Is it his daddy-figure vibe? My guess is a resounding NO. Or maybe his over abundance of testosterone? This one might be a maybe. To be honest, I cannot figure this one out. But, they are drawn to him, and look up to him. In all honesty, there are other mutants in the world that are better role models and examples. Unless, you are looking to become a growling, hateful, my way or I hit the highway type of individual, then all I can say is… spot on, you have found a mentor, and the heavens help you both.
7. She’s Chinese-American
This one is just typical of the comics of that time. Making the mutant character of dual lineage was the thing of the day and with Jubilee it was not different. And, in true form, Marvel had her being very adept at gymnastics. Really? Gymnastics? Can we say stereotyping? Why do the creators of any character with any hint of an Asian background, have to think that character has to excel at gymnastics (or math)? That would not have floated if this character had been created in this day and age. I can see it now, the PC crowd, with their banners, camped out in front of the local comic shop, chanting and throwing things, all in protest of typecasting a comic character.
6. She Made Herself An Orphan
Now, this part of her backstory is a little confusing. Not sure how someone can “make” themselves an orphan, unless it is by their hands that their parents are killed. Which in this particular case is a definite NOT. Her parents were killed by hitmen, as a result of a mix up, so how someone would say that she MADE herself an orphan, well that perplexes me. But then again, that is not a hard task these days. Anyways, I digress—lets get back on point. She is an orphan, who is living in a mall. Well, that has got to be every teenager’s dream; no parents to rag on you, come and go as you please, and…it’s the mall for Pete’s sake. But, the problem is this little chicky can’t seem to stay out of trouble, and drawing attention to herself. And, that is where it all heads south. The M-Squad is called in, she is “taken care of”, and all is thought to be handled. They needed to keep in mind they were dealing with a teenager, a teenage mutant at that. But then again, that is where it really starts to get interesting for Jubilee.
5. She Was A Gymnast
Again, enough with the typecasting for goodness sake. Yes, she is a young teenage girl. Yes, she is of Asian mixed decent. Yes, she can perform gymnastics like an Olympic medal recipient. But, do we really need to keep reminding the comic readers of that fact? Why can’t she just kick ass, and take down the bad guys and be done with it all? Why? Because then the comic issue would only be four, five pages tops. Nope, gotta keep sticking in that pesky dialogue, and bringing up all that back story, that honestly after having been told the first three to four times, we started having nightmares about. The writers at Marvel, as with the other not to be mentioned franchise (shhhh, we do not speak those initials around these parts), seem to think that rehashing the back story over and over again is necessary. They do not realize that either a comic book reader is a fan of the series, or they are not. Here’s a secret for ya Marvel, your character’s fans probably know more about the character than you do, plain and simple.
4. She Has A Pseudonym
Now, I knew eventually Jubilee would want to maybe change that name. Maybe pep it up a bit, make it really stand out there. The kind of name that makes the bad guys stand up and take notice, makes them quiver in their undies when they hear it, if not fill those same undies as well. But, honestly, she chose the name Wondra? What the heck kinda name is that? I mean, the bad guys are most probably spending more time trying to figure out what the name actually means or stands for, rather than shaking in fear from it. True, she was uber strong, and could bench-press, well, pretty near anything. And, the true depth of her strength was unknown, and that alone was a fear factor for the baddies but, come on, couldn’t she have pondered on it a little longer, and come up with a more apropos choice of superhero name? I know I would have…but that is just me, I guess.
3. There Are Alternate Reality Versions Of Her
Ah yes, and here we are, the good all alternate realities portion of this rant. Having read comic books since, well since I was able to read, there has always at one time or another been an alternate reality version of any given character out there, running around somewhere. And, from the looks of it, even an underrated, underappreciated character such as Jubilee (…er…Wondra…er…or whatever name she is using) has one as well. Oh, but it gets better, she doesn’t have just one, but multiple versions. Yep, sure enough. And to the tune of ten, count them… TEN! I mean, I love comics as much as the next geek…I mean person, but even I think that is a bit much. Instead of using her to her full potential as Jubilee or heck, even Wondra, they have to go and have ten more versions of her? What the? It is enough to make one think that to cover up their total disrespect for the character, Marvel thought “Hey, let’s make so many of her that the readers will not realize that she isn’t really factoring in at all.” Yeah, that move is brilliant, poindexters…really freakin brilliant.
2. She Was A Member Of Generation-X
Okay, I have lost count of all of the “groups” that Jubilee/Wondra/whatever her name is has been a member of. So much so that the fact she has belonged to Generation-X has totally been lost on me, and by me. It seems with each new group, and each new identity, that the creators are offering an olive branch. As if to say don’t be mad and don’t give up, we will give her the just rewards that she, as well as you, the viewers, deserve. Only in the end to have the character to be so minor they are not even on the radar, and yet again the rug is pulled out from underneath us. When will the writers come clean, and when will we learn? We need to accept that Jubilee is just one of those characters that the reader places such high hopes on, that she will get her day in the sun (well, unless it is when she was a vampire, then…not so much), to have them all come crashing down. I, for one, am tired of the dance and want off this roller coaster ride. My heart can’t handle it anymore.
1. Her Parents Were Murdered
Yep, you heard me right, I said the awful “M” word. Not only murdered, but having been killed and not be the targets. They were murdered by accident. Now, I don’t know about you, but my thoughts are that would totally shred any “normal” teenagers psyche. The pain, the loss and the guilt at having not been able to do anything to stop it from happening. Now, factor in the psyche of an unrealized mutant and, well, you get the point. Yep, fireworks. Imagine the extra dose of guilt when her powers were activated after her parents were murdered. I am sure there was more than one thought of guilt for not being able to save them floating around in that little head. Such a sad story when you think of it. (*sniff*.)