Everyone’s favorite firework-powered mutant shines in this one.
Your favorite X-Man from the animated series is now a teacher at the Xavier School which is also dropped into New York’s Central Park. No, not Wolverine — it’s Jubilee! In this second volume, (read our review of volume 1) Jubilee must not only be a good role model to the students, but endure her vampirism, be a good mother, and save the day. Easy, right?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
With a mutant-killing monster loose beneath New York City, the X-Men impose a curfew for the students of the Xavier Institute. But Quentin Quire’s never much been one to follow rules… When Quentin convinces his classmates to join him for a night out, they’re in for something a LOT more fearsome than a mutant-killing monster… They might just find themselves at an auction populated by some of the Marvel Universe’s deadliest villains!
Can I jump in easily?
This is a tricky beast to jump into. I’ve read a few of the prior issues, but not all of them, so I had an idea of the cast of characters and the general premise. That said, the collection doesn’t give readers too much backstory on the villain, making her mostly an unknown. Other characters and their powers aren’t reintroduced either, so you’ll be playing catch up most of the way through.
Reason 1: Jubilee goes through a major transformation.
Jubilee’s fireworks powers are possibly the silliest and most mocked powers in all of comics this side of Dazzler. That’s probably why years ago Jubilee lost those powers and became a vampire. She’s still a vampire in this collection–hell she has to drink Chamber’s blood so as to not pass out–but things are changing on that front! I won’t spoil it, but if you adored Jubilee’s cute, but also endearing powers you’ll love how this story wraps up.
It’s not easy being a mom and a hero.
Reason 2: Her baby is always a factor.
It’s tricky being a teacher and X-Man while being a mom. Jubilee’s child is still in his toddler phase which means she’s sticking him with other characters so she can do her hero work. This adds a unique element to the story since most comics don’t have babies in them. The child is also bringing Chamber closer to Jubilee as he’s been taking up the brunt of babysitting. His kind soul suits the child and in this volume Strain’s used it to bring their relationship to another level. The development of their relationship is genuine and builds in a realistic way. Anyone who has dated someone with a kid can probably attest it’s difficult, but then at the end of the day it’s a good way to prove Chamber likes (if not loves) Jubilee.
Reason 3: Quentin Quire actually listens to her.
Quentin has been a good guy and a bad guy, but above all else he’s a total asshole. From the start of this series he’s made it clear he’s got some serious attitude problems. Over the years writers have tried different things with him (heck, in the middle of this volume he goes off and has a Thor adventure) and in this volume Strain does a good job establishing his attitude problem is a defense mechanism. Who gets through his defenses in this volume? Why, Jubilee, of course. Strain uses their dynamic to shine a light on Jubilee’s good-hearted nature and how her character is able to reach students better than most.
Why does Krakoa get a pass?
Reasons to be wary?
Much of this work is relationship drama either between classmates or between Jubilee and Chamber. The melodrama can get a bit annoying at times as the arguments are circular; Benjamin and Nathaniel, for instance, are in a nearly constant will-they-or-won’t-they relationship that grows tiresome midway through. Strain writes plenty of solid dialogue, but there were times I flipped back and realized most of the dialogue could be skipped and you wouldn’t miss a thing.
The ending is a bit sudden and unearned. Quentin acquired a shard of the Phoenix Force over in Thor and while it’s referenced you don’t see how he gets it. The fact that this shard plays a part in much of the resolution cheapens the effect. Once it’s used the villain is depowered and there’s no rhyme or reason to how Jubilee finishes her off. I gather her powers come into play, but then again it looks like she’s just standing there. I was left more confused than anything else.
Krakoa makes a return in a fashion that makes one question the morals of the team as a whole. The mutant should know better, but ends up nearly killing thousands of people in NYC. Are there any repercussions for the mistake? Nope, and the mutants simply attempt to save some folks and nobody is any the wiser, I guess. Not much is made of their cleanup either, so you’d have to assume nobody noticed. You’d think a major earthquake across NYC would draw the attention of other heroes, but that’s never touched upon.
Is there a rationale to the reasons?
I was never a fan of turning Jubilee into a vampire even after I gave it a chance. Jubilee is a character I think Marvel has seriously mucked up over the years. This collection takes big strides in fixing the character and making her more interesting for future stories.