Talkin’ Bout My Generation
There is a “secret” episode of our podcast.
I don’t know what the endgame for it is. Perhaps we’ll release it as a special content someday. Maybe years from now when we are all rich and megafamous, we’ll make it a laugh track edition for an April Fool’s day. It was the first show we ever recorded after we decided to give this whole idea a spin. And boy, we did not know what we were doing (and I can say that because we still don’t know what we are doing!). It went forever, the sound quality wasn’t great, and we were really winging everything just to see how it sounded and if our dynamic was something for which folks would want to tune in. But we had a good time! And we thought there was enough promise and enough turd polish lying around that we could transform our later efforts into the moderately better (?) shows you hear today.
Part of that show was our very first Top Ten list, and at my behest, it was not the typical cumulatively agreed upon ten-pack, but rather our three individual top ten favorite characters. And as we counted down to our favorites, I stopped at number three briefly to defend a character to the death. You see, the regulation I set forth was “What characters do you enjoy so much that if that character has a book out, you are definitely buying it”, and my third favorite comic book character of all time embodies that standard.
I don’t… I don’t have to defend my love of Jubilation Lee to you! Well, I probably do, or what is your motivation to keep reading here? It’s not like some great story full of tragedy and triumph, though; she’s just a character who stuck with me from my childhood. As a kid, and I’ve noted this, Wolverine was my favorite character by far, and when I was biggest into Logan, Jubilee was omnipresent in his title as his sidekick. From the 40’s through the loss of his adamantium in issue #75, Jubes was tagging along. Maybe it’s the rose-colored glasses of youth, but I really adored that run, and an admiration for all things Jubilee sprung forth from that. Since then, I have been a fan of everything Marvel would put her in. The original Generation X run. Her occasional mini-series. The Curse of the Mutants arc that turned her into a vampire. The X-Men reboot with the all-female roster. And the Generation X reboot of 2017.
Well this week, I picked up issues #86 and #87 of Generation X, and those are the final two issues of said series, as the book has been canceled. I get it; it’s not the 1990’s anymore. Books can’t survive indefinitely just because they have an “X” plastered on them. But the title, written by Christina Strain with pencils by Amilcar Pinna (and cover art by the talented Terry Dodson) wasn’t at all bad. I’ll be honest, while it ended up growing on me, I was not a big fan of Pinna’s art to start. I almost did not start reading the book because I was turned off by it; especially after seeing the Dodson cover art, opening the book was an almost unpleasant shock. It’s hard to explain, and I feel inherently dirty for crapping on the work of someone who brought me a book with Jubilation in it, but the faces are a bit exaggerated and wild, for lack of a better term. The mouths are weird. It just isn’t extraordinarily polished is all.
Strain’s writing was solid, though, and the series is a fun little character-driven book. The title starts off with Jubilee being put in charge of what is essentially the jabroney class at the Xavier Institute (This is a concept that has been done well before—Spider-Man had a run in a similar role in a more purely humorous title, Spider-Man and the X-Men), and over the run, more of the original Generation X cast works their way in as regulars. Jonothon Starsmore comes in as a confidant for Jubilee, Husk is brought to counsel Roxy and her growing bad attitude and lack of respect for Jubilee’s teaching, and M and Emplate are merged and show up as the ultimate threat to the kids. It depends on what you are looking for in a comic, but if more low-level, interpersonal dynamics and humor are your thing over massive drama and end-of-the-world scenarios… uh… give this just-canceled book a shot?
The biggest take away from this too-shotly-lived series is that it concludes with Jubilee no longer being a member of the undead. Quentin Quire’s character arc resolves with his overcoming his own self-important and adversarial nature, and sacrificing his share of the Phoenix Force to restore Jubilee to life (fireworks powers also returned to her). I’m not sure how I feel about that. Whereas a return to a “classic” version of a character always scratches that nostalgia itch, it also feels like a disregard for the last several years of growth through which she has gone. I get that she is still an older and more mature character (and she remains a mother to Shogo despite the rest of her “soft reset”), but being a vampire was part of her learning curve. There is a character literally synonymous for cerebration and joy, and you juxtapose that with being forced into darkness. She took her vampiric nature and made it work for her as he found and raised Shogo, returned to the X-Men, and forged a friendship with X-23. Now a lot of that just feels unimportant—like it was just passing time until this moment. I mean, let’s see where Marvel takes her from here, but I’m wary of this change.
Regardless, I’m confident Jubilee will indeed pop back up somewhere. She’s a relevant X-character with a full history and the support of fans who grew up on the 90’s cartoon. So while she may or may not have been the most off-the-wall character to find her way onto one our ten favorites (Andy and Chad both had their own sideshow choices), she was the highest ranked of any of ours. And I don’t even feel bad about it. I’ll just keep my ear to the ground for where she’ll be showing up next, and I’ll get that book, too. Don’t worry… I will let you know.
Until next time… take care!