Sunday, March 13, 2011
Wolverine and Jubilee #2 - Slippery Slope of Awesome
I know what you're thinking and I don't need to use Cerebra on full power to figure it out. This review is late. I made such a big deal about Wolverine and Jubilee #1 that it seems like I completely forgot about it the same way airport security forgot to take a closer look at that shoe bomber guy who tried to blow up a plane. Well since it's a somewhat slow week, I might as well revisit it. This was one of the few good things to come out of Curse of the Mutants. I admit my enthusiasm for this line was really shot when X-men #8 sucked so badly that even Kid Rock wouldn't stick his dick in it. I also admit that I have a very cold cynicism for the X-men books now. My mood is akin to a 62-year-old woman going through menopause who just found out her fourth husband gave her herpes. I'm going to TRY to not take it out on this book, but like Larry King's pre-nup I can't make any promises.
Wolverine and Jubilee is one series that doesn't deserve my cynicism. It's been been the uncut diamond lodged between a piece of shit and a puddle of piss. It brings Jubilee back into the X-books in a big way. She didn't get her powers back, but she's not a normal teenage girl anymore. She's a vampire, the result of Xarus's plot from Curse of the Mutants. She's the one vampire that stuck around since Cyclops did so much to alienate Blade at the end of the story. Shooting a guy in the back will do that. The problem is that Jubilee, like many teenage girls, can't control her new urges. Since the end of Curse of the Mutants, she's been dining on Wolverine's donated blood. It's like having the same goop every day for a meal. After a while it gets old. It's keeping her from going Edward Cullen minus the sparkling. It hasn't been a smooth transition though.
In the first issue Wolverine finally convinced Cyclops and Emma Frost to let Jubilee out of the brig. This was a good idea for all but ten minutes. Jubilee ended up an outcast and crossed paths with a mysterious female vampire in a bar. She might as well have put on a school girls outfit and walked through a pedophile convention with her panties around her ankles. It ended with her waking up in a crate full of bodies. It puts Wolverine, who stuck his neck out for her, in a very bad position and leaves him understandably pissed.
Wolverine and Jubilee #2 start with Jubilee waking up from a nice dream about being able to see the sun again. It's a bleak awaking because she finds herself in a shitty hotel room on a cloudy day. It's fairly similar to the way Courtney Love wakes up every Monday morning. Now it's not really clear how she got here. It's not a smooth transition from the last issue, but something clearly happened and Jubilee looks like shit. She's not her bubbly self and that seems to be the point.
Jubilee is then greeted by Wolverine, who reveals they're in Siberia. It's a place with shitty weather and little sunlight. It's the Vampire equivalent of a trip to the Bahamas on a cruise ship full of topless supermodels where the drinking fountains serve only dry margaritas. It's not vacation though. Wolverine is pissed, explaining to Jubilee that the pile of bodies they found her in was a setup. Someone tried to frame her for going into a vampire/hulk rage and did a damn good job of it. The X-men have to clean it up while Wolverine is stuck babysitting her. It's about as appealing as it sounds. She tries to convince him that she didn't do it, but right now Wolverine trusts her as much as you would trust Robert Downy Jr. on a cocaine farm.
Wolverine's plan for this trip isn't clear yet, but at the moment he's coming off as a supreme douche-bag. Jubilee is the one who was turned into a vampire against her will. She's the one dealing with all the uncontrollable urges. I know Wolverine has those same urges and he's still not in control of all of them. He still drinks more than a Russian rock band and fucks anything that with a crease. Jubilee is a teenage girl who happens to be a vampire. It's ALMOST as bad as being a Twilight fan. She gets some shit from the hotel owner, who is holding a crucifix the same way a 13-year-old holds his dick when the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue comes out.
There's a nice inner narration about how she's nervous, but her heart isn't beating because she's a freakin' vampire. However, it's not really expanded upon. It would be nice to know Jubilee's inner thoughts here. You can't tell from the art what's going through her head. You just know she's messed up. But she's a teenage girl. That's a given. Some specifics would be nice, but like Tom Cruise's Oscar chances the end result is disappointing.
She goes on a ride with Wolverine, who in turn drives her out to the middle of nowhere in Siberia. It sounds like the teaser for an episode of CSI, but it turns out being an ad for the Shit My Dad Says show because it involves shitty parenting. Wolverine reminds her how pissed he is at her. Then he says he wants to see what she's capable of. So he starts fighting her. Now it goes without saying that Wolverine is a prick at times, but picking a fight with a girl who looks up to him as a father figure is a new low. Even if there's some underlying reason to it, he's still an asshole and his methods here make about as much sense as the last half of Inception.
Jubilee to her credit doesn't overreact as a teenage girl armed with vampire powers would. Any normal irrational girl in her position would have done to Wolverine what Brett Ratner did to the third X-men movie and fucked him up. Instead she picks herself up, avoids Wolverine's next attack, and then throws the motorcycle they rode in at him. Now Wolverine points out how stupid this is because that's their ride and walking back in Siberia sucks ass. Being a teenage vampire, she could give less than half a gram of shit. She throws it, but that's where it goes wrong again.
The impact isn't actually shown. It's basically implied. You don't see an explosion. You don't see Wolverine going into a rage. The scene just ends. That's it. If this is supposed to be one of those leave-it-to-the-reader's-imagination tactics, it's a lousy time to do it. This is a fucking comic book with Wolverine. Avoiding the explosions is like closing your eyes at a Nascar race when someone crashes. It defeats the purpose.
The next scene takes place hours later after they presumably walked back in the blistering Russian cold. Wolverine is pissed and for once it's justified. Jubilee may have gotten Wolverine back for less-than-successful effort at fighting her for no good reason, but she only made it worse by thinking with less than two brain cells. Being a vampire is only a good excuse for so long. They have a brief chat, but it's not related to anything meaningful. The dialog is conversational and all, but it seems completely unrelated to the plot. They might as well be talking about which American Idol contestant is gay this year. It seems part of this random array of events that seems to be doing nothing for this comic.
This boring conversation is eventually interrupted by the owners of the hotel (the ones clutching the crucifix earlier). They tell Wolverine and Jubilee that some vampires arrived recently and have been making a mess of things. It's the kind of mess that involves blood, death, and violence. It's basically what Wolverine does every Sunday in between beers. So needing to blow off steam, they investigate. It's just a drag it took this long in the comic for some relevant shit to happen.
They venture back out into the balmy Siberian weather. They enter an old building that looks like it was cut right from the first Resident Evil game. So it's not too surprising when Wolverine and Jubilee are confronted by an army of undead ghouls. It's generic, underdeveloped, and predictable. If you've seen any horror movie that was made before 1975 you won't be surprised.
Despite the predictability, it gives Jubilee a chance to kick more ass than she's ever kicked in the history of comics. Wolverine doesn't actually get much action here. It's all Jubilee. Every creature that attacks gets their shit fucked up by Jubilee, who goes from teenage vampire to the kind of girl Blade fantasizes over while jerking off in the shower. It only happens on one page. It's not drawn out. It's not given any detail. There isn't even any snappy dialog. It's just Jubilee kicking ass. This is all well and good, but it ends quickly and has next to no refinement. When it's all over, Jubilee looks as calm as someone who just finished taking a shit. For someone covered in blood, it's disturbing. However, it's still pretty disappointing in that it was over so quickly.
Once this shit is cleared up, they go back to the hotel (again). There isn't much transition either. It goes from a bloody slaughter to Wolverine sleeping in a bed and presumably snoring like a grizzly getting his balls shaved. There's no sense of where Jubilee went or what happened after she went on her little spree killing. All that happens is Wolverine is awakened and the first thing he sees besides a shitty Russian hotel room is a weakened Jubilee and a woman who has a very Lorena Bobbet look to her. She appears to be related to the woman that sent Jubilee on her first vampire killing spree. She doesn't say much. She just tells him to not get up. If this is supposed to be ominous it fails miserably. It's just a woman who seems to have domesticated Jubilee. That's it.
Now I'll try to be objective here despite my inherent grouchiness for being jaded on Marvel comics, but I really can't hide the facts here. This book was a serious downgrade compared to the first issue. It was like a shitty Poison cover band following up a full concert with AC/DC. It didn't just fail to measure up. It was a joke. The pacing was terrible. There was no sense of transition. The dialog was more directionless than the plot of second Matrix movie. There was only a few pages of action and the scenes were terribly underdeveloped. Some didn't even last a full fucking page. Nothing made sense and it didn't really move the story along. All it did was establish that Wolverine is pissed at Jubilee, someone is fucking with Jubilee, and Jubilee as a vampire is more screwed up than she was when she was just a confused mutant.
There were some good moments. Jubilee got to really shine for the first time in quite a while. There was also some nice insight into Jubilee's struggle. It's somewhat like the struggle that X-23 is going through in her series, trying to adapt to a new live that she doesn't fully understand. However, this book lacked the same heart and depth as X-23. If you're a Jubilee fan, this book and this series is a must have. However, it's no $1000 blow job from a Russian call girl. This is still only the second issue and there's plenty of room to improve for this mini. This issue just stumbled big time. It didn't stumble as much as Curse of the Mutants, but it's close.
I can't score this book very high. I can only give it a 2 out of 5 because it lacked so much refinement. It might as well have been built by brain dead day laborers imported from Eastern Europe. Please don't take this as more of my bitterness towards Marvel. This score would be low even if I wasn't pissed about the recent news from Nick Lowe and Kieron Gillen. I'm still going to follow this series. However, my excitement for it has officially been kicked in the balls. It's definitely capable of being awesome. At the moment it's flat on it's face and getting stepped on by out-of-work NFL players. Nuff said!