Wolverine and Jubilee
written by Kathryn Immonen
illustrated by Phil Noto
When Jubilee first joined the X-Men, she didn’t really join them. At the time, the team was living in an abandoned facility in the Australian outback. Looking to blow off some steam, the female members of the team teleported to a mall in California for a day of shopping and relaxation. What they found there was Jubilee, running from wannabe mutant hunters known as the M-Squad. The team was able to defeat the M-Squad in short order, but lost sight of the young girl they were after. Observing them close by, Jubilee hitches a ride in the portal the women used to get there.
She stays out of sight for months. Eventually she finds Wolverine, near death, long after the rest of the team had left Australia. She nurses him back to health and a lifelong friendship between them is born, one that is tested when Jubilee finally dies…and is reborn as a vampire. While she is feared by the rest of the X-Men, Wolverine becomes one of Jubilee’s only advocates. He believes she can control the monster that she has now become. As Cyclops and Wolverine continue to argue over her future, Jubilee flees the X-Men’s new home of Utopia. She eventually meets a mysterious woman in a bar. She wakes up hours or maybe even days later, surrounded by blood-stained bodies. Wolverine finds her. She collapses in his arms.
He takes her to a remote location in Siberia that has only five hours of sunlight. They train, and he teaches her how to control her new strength and speed. They are eventually tracked down by a mysterious woman, also a vampire, who makes the pair an offer they literally can’t refuse.
Although part of the Curse of the Mutants event, this trade paperback mostly stands alone from the ongoing saga of the X-Men. It ties in nicely at the beginning, but limits its supporting cast to only a few familiar faces, including Emma Frost, Armor, and Rockslide. By removing Wolverine and Jubilee from the X-Men’s San Francisco home, author Kathryn Immonen shows readers the dynamic that probably made Wolverine and Jubilee friends in the first place. They may not listen to one another very well, but they are fiercely loyal to each other and it’s clear that one would die for the other. Wolverine has to help Jubilee through her transformation because, for him, there is no other option. The story lags only slightly in the end, while Jubilee is trapped outside reality.
Phil Noto is on point with the art. When Jubilee gets angry, her fangs come out and her eyes get red. He captures her fierceness, but also the vulnerability and loneliness of her new situation. He really encapsulates the characters at ease, including especially memorable offhand panels after Wolverine and Jubilee finish one of the extended training sessions in Siberia. The trade also includes a back up story of Jubilee’s first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #244. There’s a clear difference between Noto’s polished artwork now and Marc Silvestri’s from over a decade earlier.
It’s a fun story. A great addition to any general collection for YA graphic novels.