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Wednesday, June 03, 2015 

A writer who thinks Jubilee's not fit for X-Men movies

A writer for the Cheat Sheet website gives a pretty weak argument why Jubilee, introduced to the X-Men at the end of the 1980s, isn't fit to be added to the X-Men movies:
The X-Men universe is one of the most expansive ones Marvel has to offer. It features a wide range of characters with a whole mess of different and interesting abilities. We have the more well-known ones like Wolverine’s healing/claws combo, Professor X’s psychic powers, and Magneto’s control over all metal. Behind them sit lesser characters with a smattering of powers that range from running through walls to super-strength. But there’s one hero in the X-Men world that, despite her terrible combination of powers, seems to make her way into all too many main stories: Jubilee.

Simply put, Jubilee is the worst. It’s an unfortunate reality, but she was placed in a poor position from her very inception. Her origin story sounds like something out of a Boxcar Children novel, her powers are laughably ineffectual, and the comics insist on putting her at the forefront of major conflicts in spite of all this. And now she’s been cast to appear in X-Men: Apocalypse. We can’t really fathom the “why” of it all, but you can bet we take issue with that decision, and for good reason.
Arguing that Jubilation Lee's powers are ineffective is only another way of saying the columnist doesn't want any improvements made. I don't think she was even a major player in any of the flagship books, and 4 years after her debut, Generation X came along and she was mainly a cast member there. I can't help but notice the columnist used pictures from the 1992-98 cartoon series to make his points, and no panels from any X-Men comics, not even the early stories where she followed the X-Men to Australia. They even began to change what I thought was a stupid outfit with the overcoat and gave her longer hair later on. Why no mention of that?
1. No really, she has the worst powers

We should qualify, Jubilee has the worst powers of any primary character. There are tons of lame X-Men who exist on the periphery, but this particular one happens to live at the center of some major stories. What are her powers you ask? In a word, fireworks. Jubilee possesses the ability to produce small bursts of light akin to a series of really bright camera flashes, disorienting and temporarily annoying her enemies. She can also control these bursts to take the shape of streamers, spheres, and a variety of other shapes, making her better suited for a 6-year-old’s birthday party than fighting evil.
And he can't say he wishes she'd get an upgrade by scriptwriters that would result in more formidable powers? What a waste of megabytes. This does nothing to suggest her assigned powers need a tune-up.
2. Her powers were so useless that they written out of the comics and replaced with better ones. Twice.

In the “M-Day” storyline, Jubilee lost her ability to be a slight nuisance to any enemy combatant. She later acquired technology that gifted her with more useful powers, including super-strength, invulnerability, and flight. This later went by the wayside when (and we kid you not), she was bitten by Dracula’s son and turned into a vampire. Currently in the comics, she possesses all the classic strengths and weaknesses of a creature of the night, completing her transformation from circus performer to shameless pop culture icon.
Does he really mean House of M? And what's this, when she does gain what he thinks are more effective powers, it's technology rather than internalized physical stuff? I don't see what his logic is here. Sue Storm got invisible force field powers at least 2 years after her debut that made her more effective, so why couldn't Jubilee get something similar? As for becoming a vampire, that's ludicrous.
3. Her “other talents” include in-line skating and gymnastics

Heroes in the Marvel universe usually have a whole bunch of interesting other talents independent of their superpowers. Jubilee’s though sit decidedly in the “this lacks practical application” territory. Imagine if Wolverine’s “thing” outside of being an immortal healing warrior was to train and take care of sea monkeys. That’s essentially what Jubilee’s ability to in-line skate and be a low-level gymnast is. Sure, gymnastics can come in handy from time to time, but when they’re paired with the ability make really bright lights, it almost seems like staying up on a pommel horse is the superior skill.
Oh, that too is a lame argument. It's about as convincing as saying Daredevil's other talents are acrobatics and that it doesn't go in great with his martial arts and other skills. Gymnastics can be useful anytime in battle with the bad guys and you need to dodge their firepower.
4. The discovery of her powers led to the glamorous life of…mall performing?

When Peter Parker acquired his powers, he immediately signed up for an underground cage match to win a whole pile of money. Wolverine went on a mission of vengeance and murder after his bones were coated in adamantium by the U.S. Military. Tony Stark made a point of privatizing world peace. Jubilee? She got super into mall performing after disorienting some security guards with her fireworks. In a Tom and Jerry-esque turn of events, mall security spent a large portion of their time and energy trying to shut down her unauthorized performances. Really compelling stuff.
Umm, didn't she follow the X-Men through a teleportal to Australia soon after? So her unapproved mall theatrics would've been rendered moot. She was also apparently a homeless runaway, and was trying to survive. I still don't see why the artists had to draw her that coat combined with shorts though.
5. There’s a reason we’ve gone seven X-Men movies so far without a Jubilee storyline

We’ve gotten so very far without Jubilee these last 15 years in the X-Men movie universe. In the comics, she acts as Wolverine’s de facto sidekick of sorts, essentially the same role that Rogue played in the first movie of the series. Clearly the studio made a decision that a mutant with something that resembles a real set of interesting powers should make the cut, and so Jubilee was replaced. Now she’ll be making her big debut in X-Men: Apocalypse, and our morbid curiosity is getting the better of us. Will we be getting vampire-Jubilee? Is there any possible way to dress up her powers on-screen as anything but terribly ineffectual? These are the questions that deserve answering. We just wish the answers weren’t so imminent.
We may not get a vampire, but the storyline they're alluding to did nothing to improve upon the pointless erasure of mutant powers in 2005 by Brian Bendis in House of M. They gave 5 reasons, and none of them seemed to based on characterization by any of the writers. They had a big chance to say they wished her superpower was given a turbo boost, and they missed it by miles. The given reasons aren't why Jubilee shouldn't be added to an X-Men film. It's whether screenwriters can work out an effective character portrayal that matters, first and foremost. And the writer for Cheat Sheet doesn't seem to care.

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I for one don't think Jubilee's powers need an upgrade, especially since she could up the intensity of her powers from blinding sparkles to making huge explosions, if she wanted to. Not to mention she was fine until House of M/Avengers Disassembled screwed everything up and left us these pale imitations of so-called heroes instead of true characterization.

What Drag said. Lord knows X-Men needs more kid appeal characters in their media, and she can do that just fine. Her powers are useful, especially if the writers do it right. And as someone who liked the '92 series, can't say she bothered me, then or now.

Plus, her crush on Tim in Marvel vs. DC was so adorable. As for the vampire nonsense, that's Marvel's fault, not hers.

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