Sunday, April 24, 2011
Wolverine and Jubilee #4 - Tying Awesome Together
Every so often, you find a diamond covered in shit. It stinks and it's dirty, but it's still a diamond and it's as valuable as any other if you can ignore the smell. That's how I would have described the Wolverine and Jubilee mini after the first issue. The whole mutants vs vampire story sputtered towards the end like the last season of Heroes. It ended on such a down note that you could have popped a few Tylenol PMs and fallen asleep before the damn thing was over. Wolverine and Jubilee is a story that spun out of that wad of shit and it started off pretty damn good. Then after a few issues, it sputtered a lot like Curse of the Mutants did. As much as I love Jubilee and as happy as I am to see her back in action, there's no getting around comics that are so disheveled they look like the women that come out of Bill Murray's house after a party.
But since this was a simple mini, I didn't feel inclined to completely drop the series. While issues #2 and #3 were sub-par and confusing at times, I had every intention of picking up #4. If by any chance you can skip the last two issues, that should help with this review. All you need to know is that in those issues Wolverine took Jubilee to the safety of Siberia (because a place cold enough to freeze the balls off a polar bear is SO safe) where he encountered the vampire that messed with Jubilee in #1. Somehow she used some mystical crap to trap Jubilee in some fucked up pocket dimension where the laws of physics were written by Homer Simpson. Wolverine set out to find her, only to get attacked by a irradiated zombie in a cave under Chernobyl. Somewhere along the line Rockslide is trying to help as well. If you're confused, you won't get much clarity by reading those issues. That's why I gave them sub-par scores. Wolverine and Jubilee #4 has the potential to redeem those last two issues. Does it measure up? Well I've got some time to kill and a fifth of tequila flowing through my veins, so I might as well offer my take.
The issue starts with Jubilee exploring this strange pocket universe that seemed to be spawned by a bad acid trip. She actually does a little narrating this time, helping to offer some insight into what goes through the head of a teenage vampire. It's the kind of insight the previous issues haven't really touched on and it's a nice touch. It sounds like Jubilee and not someone who got hocked up on Twilight fanfiction. Wolverine is still in the cave trying to figure out what all the floaty necklaces do. He's able to keep in touch with Jubilee, but they're more lost than Linsey Lohan when she blacks out.
While they're trying to figure this shit out, Rockslide is getting the shit kicked out of him by a dragon. That's what you get when you start getting the hots for a vampire chick. Anyone who watches True Blood knows this. In the first issue he clearly wanted Jubilee to jump his rocky bone. Now he's trying to help her, probably in hopes that she'll let him cop a feel. That or he's a closeted Twilight fan. He traced that crazy vampire chick that framed her to some strange dry cleaning place in Oakland. The old lady running it turned out to be a dragon, which is a lot like the cranky dry cleaners in my area. Except this one breathes less fire and doesn't call me a cheap asshole.
Rockslide takes the punishment until the dragon notices the symbols on his hand that got stuck there a few issues ago. Then the dragon turns from a fierce monster into one of those annoying bellhops at a hotel that pretends to be so nice to you in hopes that you'll give them a twenty-dollar tip without them having to blow you. It leads Rockslide back into the dry cleaner and like a disorganized clerk at 7-11, it retrieves a box with another flashy glowing thingy. That's the only way I can really describe it since that's basically what all the mystical objects in this mini have been. A little variety wouldn't hurt, but what are you gonna do?
Back inside the fantasy land that Walt Disney DIDN'T build, Jubilee finds what looks like a hotel that only hookers and guys too cheap to splurge on a Holiday Inn would consider staying in. She tries to bully her way against some creepy guy who looks like he spends way too much time cleaning the girls' locker room at an elementary school. So it really comes as no surprise when he turns into a giant killer dragon intent on using Jubilee to pick it's teeth.
So Jubilee starts running for her afterlife. Even a crazed teenage girl that was recently turned into a vampire only stands so much of a chance against a dragon, although you could argue it's a pretty fair fight. In the non-crazy world, Wolverine is trying to figure out how he can go in and help Jubilee. He finds out that crazy zombie guy he decapitated in the previous issue had the answer buried in his brain all along...literally. Somehow he had this glowing ring stuck in his head, like it was a facial piercing that went horribly wrong. Like the other glowy thingy that Rockslide encountered, this one transports Wolverine into fantasy land better than magic mushrooms and a shot of Jack Daniels.
In the world that only a retarded crack baby with poor hand-eye coordination could conceive, Jubilee is still running for her life. She ends up on top of a plane where the dragon continues to chase her. It's here where Rockslide finally joins in. Keep in mind he dropped hints that he wanted to bone Jubilee in the first issue. His way of worming herself into her panties involves punching out a dragon. Somehow that has to be a metaphor with how hard women are to satisfy these days. Take heed from Marvel, ladies! Quit making us punch out dragons to get win your approval!
While Rockslide is earning brownie points with Jubilee, Wolverine shows up. They have a nice reunion. This after things between them were so rocky in the past two issues. If you read this part you may forget that Wolverine was a massive dick cheese in the last two issues with her. He wouldn't trust her and kept belittling her in ways you just can't do to a teenage girl without her getting bitchy. Somehow after finding her in some twisted pocket dimension, all is forgiven. It's a little contrived, but again it may be a message towards the women of the world to mellow the fuck out. It's a message I fully support.
Jubilee is relieved and emboldened. Enough that she shows off her vampire strength by throwing a fucking train at the dragon. It's pretty bad ass for a girl who for most of her comic history was known more for her bubble-gum chewing than her strength.
The dragon doesn't take too kindly to being humiliated by a teenage girl, much like Billy Ray Cyrus. And much like Miley Cyrus, Jubilee gets a little full of herself. She taunts the creature into coming after her. Like a parent that still believes in corporeal punishment, the dragon strikes back. It chases after her and like any teenage girl who doesn't think her shit through, it goes horribly wrong. Jubilee trips over herself (really, that's what happened) and gets torched by dragon breath. You see all your hormonal bitches out there? This is why humility is so damn important!
As you could expect, Wolverine and Rockslide are pissed. They think the dragon just roasted Jubilee like a marshmallow and take their anger out on her. Well this being a comic book and all, they're wrong. It turns out Jubilee survived in a way that's totally believable in the Marvel universe. She just happens to manifest a new power. It may seem contrived, but it helps that it looks pretty damn awesome. It involves Jubilee becoming a ghost-like mist. So now she's part vampire, part ghost, and a former mutant. Put some bolts in her neck and she's a walking horror cliche!
Not content with just manifesting a new power, Jubilee has to show that she can do a lot more than make fireworks for stoners. Whereas Wolverine and Rockslide think they can beat a dragon by just punching it like a kid trying to get a free coke out a vending machine, Jubilee takes it a step further. She grabs a nearby pole that just happened to be next to her (I know, pretty damn convenient) and uses it to impale the dragon through the brain. It's probably the most badass thing Jubilee has ever done. Even for a teenage girl who is doomed to endless Twilight jokes, it's a very satisfying moment.
Defeating the dragon is basically all it takes to end this trip through Kieth Richards' drug-soaked brain. It makes for another abrupt transition, much like the last few issues have had. Somehow killing a dragon solves everyone's problems. Wolverine meets up with Emma Frost, who somehow got talked into flying out to Siberia. Emma is her usual bitchy self (which is actually saying something since she's been so watered down lately). She goes on about how they need to test Jubilee's new powers and how much bullshitting they'll have to do in order to explain that crate of dead bodies she was found in. Wolverine doesn't have it. He's good at seducing women and driving them crazy, which is pretty appropriate here. It means Emma Frost won't get her way for once and there's not enough dicks for her to suck in order to change it.
As for Jubilee herself, there's another abrupt transition that shows her back in San Francisco with Rockslide. The two share a nice moment together, watching the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge. Having come to her rescue, Rockslide has earned his place in Jubilee's heart and hopefully her panties. It's not clear how they got here or what this means for Jubilee. Wolverine says his healing factor has stabilized her vampire condition. She shouldn't be going on as many blood benders now, at least that's what they think. It's still not entirely clear, but it's still a satisfying ending that should leave Jubilee fans licking their chops for more stories with her.
So the Wolverine and Jubilee mini is over, which officially ends the last spin-off of the whole Curse of the Mutants arc. It doesn't make the first six issues of the new adjectiveless X-men suck any less, but it sure helps. Making Jubilee a vampire has been a boon for her character. She's been so marginalized and so underdeveloped for nearly a decade that even a less-than-stellar mini is enough to make her awesome again. This issue had far fewer flaws than the previous two issues. The first was still the best, but Wolverine and Jubilee #4 did a decent job tying everything together and setting the stage for Jubilee as a new contributor to the X-men.
The biggest problem remains pacing. This mini flowed about as well as a constipated bull. At times it was difficult to follow what was going on. This issue was a bit more coherent, at least until the end. It feels as though the issue was cut off at times, like there could have been more scenes to tie up the loose ends. However, what was printed still works. It doesn't end with an utterly unsatisfying feeling. It doesn't fill in the plot holes left in the previous issue either. There's also the issue of certain elements being contrived, like Jubilee manifesting a new power at just the right time and conveniently finding a sharp metal object to defeat the dragon. It seems like an overly simplistic way of ending the story. Even if it works, it leaves too much potential behind.
As a whole, the Wolverine and Jubilee mini is a decent series. It's not the best X-men mini that Marvel has come out with in recent times. It's not the worst either. It could have been much better, but it succeeds in it's original premise. It brings Jubilee back into the fold with the X-men and it helps make her awesome again. Now she's poised to be part of the team again. She's already shown up in solicitations for the X-23 series so that offers plenty of promise. This final issue helped set the stage and for that I deem it awesome. Wolverine and Jubilee #4 gets a 4 out of 5. Your prayers have been answered Jubilee fans! Jubilee is awesome again! Nuff said.