Jubilation Lee, known as Jubilee to her teammates, is still fairly young, but she’s a survivor. In her early teens her world was shattered following the murder of her parents by hitmen. She was forced into an orphanage but ran away and hid inside a Los Angeles shopping mall. It was here she discovered her mutant ability to generate bursts of multi-colored energy plasmoids. It’s also where she ran across the Marvel Universe’s premier team of mutants, the X-Men. Jubilee eventually joined up with the team and served with distinction as a member of both the main X-Men team and Generation X, a training squad for young mutants.
While serving with the X-Men, Jubilee made deep and lasting friendships, especially with Wolverine whom she often found herself partnered with. She also experienced heartbreak via the loss of several friends in combat, but Jubilee’s toughest ordeal as a mutant came when she found she no longer was one. She was one of countless mutants that lost their abilities because the Scarlet Witch’s reality altering powers during House of M. Jubilee eventually recovered and made a new life for herself. First she tried being a technology-based hero in a short lived incarnation of the New Warriors. When that didn’t work out she moved to San Francisco and renewed her affiliation with the X-Men.
Tragedy again struck Jubilee when an army of Vampires recently invaded San Francisco. One of their attacks transformed her into a bloodthirsty member of the living dead. The story of Jubilee’s transformation into a vampire is being chronicled in the pages of “Curse of the Mutants,” the first story arc in the newly launched “X-Men” series by writer Victor Gischler and artist Paco Medina. Writer Kathryn Immonen and artist Phil Noto explore how Jubilee and her closest mutant friend Wolverine will cope with her new vampiric nature in the upcoming four issue miniseries, “Wolverine and Jubilee: Curse of the Mutants.” CBR News spoke with Immonen about the January-debuting project.
CBR News: Kathryn, with your recent “X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back” mini-series you tackled a youthful X-character who had lost part of her soul to supernatural evil. Now you’re tackling another young x-character who has been tainted by darkness in “Wolverine and Jubilee.” Is this coincidence? Or do you just find yourself drawn to these types of characters?
Kathryn Immonen: Didn’t you know? There are no coincidences in comics. I’d be lying if I said I spend my spare time thinking about my ultimate Jubilee story or how to make Valeria Richards’ back story even more complicated (if that’s possible) or how awesome it would be to have a 3 Sleepers toy that you could take apart and put back together again. (Actually, the last one is true. I think about that a fair bit.) Having said that, though, it’s totally fair to draw a straight line through all the projects I’ve been asked to do for Marvel. By now, I think I’ve been able to show where my affinities lie. I mean, you don’t get offers for projects based on work you haven’t done. If that makes any sense.
What do you find most interesting about Jubilee as a character? What aspects of her personality are you interested in exploring in this series?
I don’t think there’s ever been a trickier time to try and answer that question for a character. You turn somebody into a vampire and it’s kind of a game changer. Jubilee was one of those awesome characters that was able to monetize their mutation and she was always really kind of delightful and independent and resourceful. And even when she lost her mutant powers, she still identified strongly as mutant. Now, she couldn’t possibly be further away from that being a choice for her. So the real question is, what is she and where does she belong? Which are both fundamentally mutant questions.
The “Curse of the Mutants” storyline in “X-Men” is still ongoing, so I know you may have to be cryptic, but what can you tell us about Jubilee’s physical and mental states when your mini-series begins? Is she still wrestling with vampirism? And if so, how is that struggle affecting her personality?
At the beginning of the series, she’s a flipping disaster and yes, still a vampire, but also still Jubilee. These three things form the Jubilee Venn Diagram. As you might expect, things get a whole lot worse for her before they get – I won’t say “better,” let’s say different. Also, she’s not the only one wrestling with her current condition. It affects everyone around her deeply because no one wants to write her off and they certainly can’t just turn her loose.
Speaking of those around her, this series is also about the dynamic between Jubilee and her longtime friend, Wolverine. Jubilee recently attacked Wolverine in “Curse of the Mutants” and was apparently, at least as far as we’ve seen the story progress, at least partly successful in transforming him into a vampire. How have those events affected the relationship between the two characters?
Wolverine and Jubilee have had this relationship in the past where they’ve always turned up for each other and it’s not something that either wants to give up easily but now everything is tainted with mistrust and guilt. More than that, Wolverine is no longer the elder states-mutant in this relationship because, all things being equal, Jubilee will outlive him, which is something neither of them are ready for.
In terms of plot and theme, what is “Wolverine & Jubilee” about?
It’s fundamentally about Jubilee’s journey, after a life-altering experience, after having done things – terrible things that she can’t undo – toward whatever the future holds for her. It’s about the effort to find some kind of stability and normalcy when every fiber of her being is crying out for exactly the opposite. It’s about her inability to meet the old expectations that the X-Men may have for her and about whether or not there’s enough ‘Jubilee’ left in her to make that okay.
What can you tell us about the obstacles and adversaries that Wolverine and Jubilee must contend with in this series?
The real obstacle and adversary is, of course, Jubilee herself. But that’s like the story equivalent of watching someone having a migraine. The way it gets manifested is as a series of bad decisions based on limited experience. She is, after all, 17, and that’s been known to cloud a person’s judgment.
Who are some of the other important supporting cast members in this series?
Rockslide! Emma! A real live human girl that I haven’t found a name for yet, and a group of shadowy women that welcome Jubilee with open arms and lots and lots of money. It’s a seduction that can’t be resisted and one that disguises, as you might expect, an entirely different goal.
What do you feel Phil Noto brings to this book as an artist?
I am so excited to be working with an artist of his caliber. His women are amazing, the storytelling is exceptional. Phil’s work gets books to the cash register. I am incredibly, incredibly lucky.
How would you describe the tone of “Wolverine and Jubilee: Curse of the Mutants?” It sounds like it could be a dark tale of temptation and possible addiction. Is that correct?
That sounds about right. What’s happened to Jubilee is as serious as a heart attack, but I don’t want anyone to think it’s going to be an unrelenting grind either. It’s a book with a lot of glamour and high adventure. I think the pyramids make an appearance at some point.