Wolverine and Jubilee
Katherine Immonen and Phil Noto
I’m not usually a fan of side stories, but if the idea or the creators are right I’ll pick up the first issue and even try the full miniseries.
Wolverine and Jubilee was released in the aftermath of the X-men facing vampires and just after Schism. At the time I didn’t try the series as it came out but recently I was looking for something fun and saw it in my local Forbidden Planet so thought I would give it a try.
It’s clear from the outset that Immonen wanted to tell a fun story about Jubilee and her dealing with (mild spoiler alert) the fallout of her becoming a vampire. Needing to take daily doses of Wolverine’s blood (to suppress the Vampyric urges) it’s an emotional look at how Jubilee feels in a world where she doesn’t belong as a mutant (after Bendis’ House of M) but isn’t accepted as a vampire either.
… but this is the X-Men so that wasn’t going to be the whole story.
Immonen then raises the stakes by introducing an element of magic and reality warping ancient powers (I’m leaving it vague here as I don’t want to spoil the subtle nuances in the story for you) and the story turns into a beautiful dichotomy as the emotionally unstable Jubilee deals with this high tension whilst emotionally falling apart under the caring watch (in his own unique way, of course) of Wolverine, who is trying to save her.
Immonen writes this story tightly; knowing that as this is a side story she has room to tell a story set in a slightly off universe away from the main action. She weaves a high stake adventure around the relationship and history of Wolverine and Jubilee and allows the huge full blown arguments to narrate the action and, as it escalates the danger level and threat to our two protagonists escalate.
To successfully illustrate and emphasise what Immonen is trying to achieve, you need an artist who can draw huge chaos and destruction but also get characters to express and emote properly. This task falls to Phil Noto!
Noto excels at facial expressions and body language in this story as he illustrates the never ending arguments between the two characters. His panelling is crisp, clean and shows exactly what’s going on, even at times where things shouldn’t make any sense (such as alternate dimension where a giant pyramid and robot are floating side by side). He has a very clear idea of what Immonen is telling him to convey and draws it beautifully.
Overall, this is a fun little mini, that takes a breather from the high stakes mainstream action with a huge cast that the X-world is so fond of in exchange for a character study of a character that has often seemed out of place there. Immonen draws the reader in by making the character seem so relatable, but then takes her through an arc to ready her for the new direction that her story would take in the main books (mainly Gischler’s X-Men series). I’d recommend it as some light reading on a quiet relaxing afternoon and a good sidebar to the main X-Men series.