How many of you remember the girl who could shoot fireworks from her fingertips and had an awesome 1990’s attitude? I mean, I understand how you could miss her with Psylocke always nearby wearing what’s basically a bathing suit.
Jubilee was the creation of writer Chris Claremont and artist Marc Silvestri. She first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #244 in 1989. Her power to emit low level explosives from her hands wasn’t very strong but she compensated for it by being inventive. She was also a skilled gymnast. I’ve always enjoyed underpowered characters in media because the authors have to be creative in how the character deals with conflict. A character like Cyclops can just blast away most of his opponents with his optic beams. But Jubilee would often have to outsmart her adversaries to win and/or escape. It’s the same reason why we’re drawn to Batman more than Superman. There’s something exhilarating about seeing someone think their way out of a bind rather than just bulldozing through it.
Throughout the 1990’s wherever you found Wolverine, Jubilee was close by. You could call Jubilee Wolverine’s unofficial sidekick but I would say they had more of a father/daughter relationship. The relationship between Jubilee and Wolverine was a highlight of the 90s X-Men comics. Her feisty, hyper, and enthusiastic attitude was complimentary to Logan’s often dark disposition.
But Jubilee wasn’t just an extension of Wolverine. She held her own against the Hand. She fought the Mandarin. She saved Wolverine from the Reavers and nursed him back to health. She was a major player in the X-Men comics throughout the 90s and when the comic was made into a cartoon series, Jubilee was front and center. If you were an X-Men fan during the 90s, Jubilee was big deal.
I miss Jubilee. We had this character who was badass enough to keep up with Wolverine and stood out during the most popular period of the X-Men but future writers of the X-Men comics just tossed her aside. They didn’t know what to do with her so they buried her. By the late 2000’s Jubilee was all but gone from the pages of Marvel Comics. Years of neglect had practically erased her from the X-Men line of books and every attempt to include her in the Fox films always resulted in a girl in a yellow jacket slightly out of frame with no dialog.
But there is hope for Jubilation Lee. With Fox being sold to Disney and the X-Men movie rights being back in Marvel’s hands, I believe there’s a good chance we may see Jubilee make a comeback. The MCU has done a fantastic job of delivering the best the comics have to offer. I'm looking forward to seeing what the MCU is will do with the X-Men and I'm confident that Jubilee will somehow get some shine, finally.
If you missed out on some of the great X-Men stories from the 1990s, Uncanny X-Men #256 is a great place to start. With reader apps it's easy to jump in and get caught up without breaking the bank.
Thomas K Davis
Author of the Versatile Layer series of books