Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

You know sometimes character development goes wrong.

Like…REALLY wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.

More often than not, character development seems to go terribly, terribly wrong with X-Men characters in particular.

I don’t know why this is! Granted, there’s a slew of new mutants (er, that is, new CHARACTERS, not ‘New Mutants’) filling up the pages of your X-Men books these days and a lot of them are really cool.

But let’s face it: a whole bunch of the characters that helped X-Men break out in a big way in the 90’s have just ended up in the dangedest places.

I mean, they finally, FINALLY brought Colossus back and I’m on board with that. The Juggernaut helmet is a little much, but better than having him turn evil and join Magneto. Still though, I’m sorry, even with Illyana’s death (also back from the dead, these days), Piotr joining Magneto just never felt right to me. I mean, really?

And Gambit? Okay, I can see the whole ex-Maurauder thing. We knew he had a shady past. But his very, VERY purposeful turning away from the X-Men when the whole thing came to light? I just don’t buy it.

It’s one thing ot be coerced by Sinister. It’s another to actively CHOOSE to turn his back on everyone. He was too in love with Rogue, had too much of a real family with the X-Men.

And Havok? WOW. See my previous column for my rants on Havok.

But of course, they’ve gotten around to hitting me where I live on another character.

This time it’s Jubilee.

What the HELL happened here, I wonder? How could such a heartfelt, moving character get so mangled?

I loved Jubilee’s introduction to X-Men. I mean, the attitude, the sunglasses and the street-kid mentality all screamed 90’s. But you always felt, from the beginning, that this runaway kid could turn into something really great. That she was going to see and understand something about the X-Men that the rest of the world just didn’t get yet.

With a seemingly innocuous mutant power and no real family life to speak of, the X-Men literally took Jubilee in after they found her hiding out and snacking on their food in their headquarters of choice. Jubilee’s hard-luck story was what the X-Men were all about. Making the most out of unfortunate circumstances. Learning to accept yourself. Growing up. All that stuff. It felt like it fit.

And let’s face it-she was kind of Wolverine’s unofficial sidekick. And it was funny. It kind of brought out the old-man aspect of Wolvie. But I dug it.

Jubilee was definitely the readers’ link to Generation X too--a comic which has strangely appeared to fade into obscurity as quickly as it rose to popularity. This has always surprised me and I don’t know what went wrong here. For ten minutes, that was the latest, hottest comic everyone wanted to get their hands on. Emma Frost made her first appearance as an ally and I always thought Banshee was going to get together with her. Not Cyclops.

But fast forward a few years later and it’s gone. Just gone. So what’s happened to Jubilee lately?

Well, imagine my surprise as the writers hit us with the THESE three truly dubious bombshells that I’m still reeling from.

1. She’s got no powers
I’m afraid Jubilee was part of that host of mutants who the Scarlet Witch depowered following ‘M Day’. I understand why this big dramatic change in the X-universe was necessary, but why her, I wonder? Had she really become that ‘secondary’ a character to the X-franchise that they decided to marginalize her this way? I wasn’t a fan of this.

2. She’s a New Warrior
Bearing almost no resemblance to the character I grew up with Jubilee appeared to put on a bunch of high-tech hardware and join the latest incarnation of the New Warriors. I think her name was ‘Wondra’ or something. This just doesn’t feel like her to me.

3. Wait, just kidding, she’s a frickin’ VAMPIRE. In a storyline I dug that harkens back to some old-school X-Men stories where the mutants we know and love actually went up against DRACULA of all people, Jubilee had the horrible misfortune of being turned in a vampire.

I mean…wow. Just where do they go from here? I admit I like the dramatic tension of having Blade sort of threatening to show up on the X-Men’s doorstep and put Jubilee down, but this is a little over the top don’t you think?

I mean, there’s writing a character off and then there’s THIS. I hope against hope that this is all just part of some sneaky, convoluted way to return her to normal and have her get her mutant powers back. But I’m really scared it was just that someone couldn’t figure out what to do with her and just decided ‘eh, what the hell…’.

I don’t think characters should be thrown away for this kind of reason. I know clean up is an inevitable outcome of any comic book line of continuity. Sooner or later there’s some storyline like Crisis on Infinite Earths where a billion characters you’ve never heard of (mostly with good reason) get wiped out to prove just what a BIG DEAL this comic book crossover is.

I think even these kinds of undertakings should be done lightly. I mean at one point in time, Jubilee was SYNONYMOUS with X-Men. THAT’S my point. This character may have lost some popularity but was never obscure to begin with. If they’re gearing up for her ‘end’ story let’s give her a better sendoff than this, right?

All I’m saying is let’s be careful with what we write, okay?