On the eve of Wolverine’s death, this annual gives a small respite to the events that are careening out of control in the final issues of WOLVERINE, leading up to the DEATH OF WOLVERINE mini series. Still tagged with the ‘1 Month To Die” at the top of the cover, the impending doom for the title character is not lost, but rather heightened and accented in a beautiful way with this stand alone story.
With his death so near, I have been thinking a lot of how it will affect those closest to him. Obviously, his teammates in the X-Men and the five hundred Avengers teams Wolverine is a member of will miss him and mourn his passing, but there are a few characters that have gained special access into his mysterious life. Some of them are dead, like Jean Grey and Mariko, but some are still very near and dear to Logan. At the top of that list, always, resides Jubilee.
Jubilee and Logan started their relationship in peril, with Jubilee saving Wolverine from a sticky situation way back in X-Men 249-251. in fact, the iconic cover image from 251 is synonymous with not only the character of Wolverine, but the introduction of Jubilee into the comics, and eventually the X-Men team. She was just a kid of sixteen when she found the Xavier School for Gifted Mutants, and joined the team when all the rest of the members had grown past their teens into their twenties. Wolverine, the brash, feral mutant that he was, seemed like the unlikeliest person to connect with a young girl, but Jubilee and Logan hit it off, and he almost flat out adopted her as a surrogate daughter.
So when this issue hit the shelves, and the pages within revealed a story of the two of them , and Jubilee’s new adopted son, it made me very happy. Knowing full well Wolverine is about to die, I was looking forward to the last interaction he would have with Jubilee, because they are so close, and there is so much history there. This is the story of Logan wanting to impart some last bits of survival knowledge on Jubilee, and he takes her to the place he is most comfortable, the woods. They meet up with the pack of wolves that he used to run with, now the grand-pups and great grand pups of the original pack, but they accept him just the same. He chastises Jubilee for bringing her infant along, but is proud of how she deals with the situation, knowing full well she isn’t the little kid, the freshman mutant she once was. She is a woman now, with a responsibility of raising a child. Also, she is a vampire, because comic books.
Elliot Kalan does a great job writing this story, especially for someone who hasn’t put the years behind writing a character like Wolverine. It feels very much familiar and fits right into the dynamic of these two characters. Jonathan Marks, along with the colors of Jose Villarrubia, create an interesting watercolor effect throughout, the art deftly accenting the story, the setting and the eventual action.
The “Best There Is”:
I was so happy to read a story between Logan and Jubilee, and it wasn’t half-assed. Kalan really did bring both characters to life, and brought their relationship to the forefront. It felt right at home with all the other stories I know of them. One of my favorite moments is when Jubilee says that losing Wolverine would suck, but it wouldn’t surprise her. It really speaks to how her character has grown. One of my favorite moments from Wolverine’s past is after he had his adamantium ripped out by Magneto, he learns he has bone claws, and he ends up leaving the X-Men. He has a heart to heart with Jubilee beforehand, and it is a touching moment that is echoed throughout this book.
The “Isn’t Very Nice”:
Two things: first, I still hate how Jubilee is a vampire. I never liked that story, when the X-Men had to go up against Dracula, and I still don’t like it. Maybe someday Jubilee will return to her old powers of explosive energy, but we will see. Second, the couple that turn out to be antagonists in this story, I wasn’t too fond of. They really kinda halted the storytelling at points, and the message at the end that we are all ‘cubs’ to the women being ‘wolves’ was a little too heavy handed, and a little out of character for Wolverine.
CBH Score: 4 out of 5. Except for the weird revelation at the end about the importance of mothers and women, it was a solid book. It was really nice to see this final interaction between these two, and hopefully not the last ever.