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Friday, September 22, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #72

"Sleeping Giant"
August 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Jubilee encounter a revived Sentinel in the Outback.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Dwayne Turner
Inks: Joe Rubinstein
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Kevin Somers
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine & Jubilee explore the X-Men's old Outback base, discovering the remains of the Reavers and Fitzroy's Sentinels. As they expand their search outside, looking for Gateway, one of the Sentinels activates and uses Spiral's remaining equipment to repair itself. Outside, Wolverine & Jubilee discover Gateway missing, but a groove from his bullroarer remaining. When Jubilee touches it, she suddenly finds herself back in her parent's house, before they died, and realizes they were actually murdered by two hired goons sent to kill Jubilee's neighbors. As Wolverine pulls her back to the present, the activated Sentinel approaches them, declaring that it has overrode its prime directive to protect humans and intends to use the temporal vortex to make the world better for Sentinels by eradicating humanity. When Wolverine moves to stop him, the Sentinel grabs Jubilee, telling Wolverine that if he attacks, the Sentinel will snap her neck.

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue finds Wolverine & Jubilee back in the X-Men's old Australian base, following up on the death of the Reavers in Uncanny X-Men #281, the first time their deaths have really been acknowledged since it happened (it's unclear how the X-Men learned about it, though perhaps Fitzroy bragged about it at some point).


Along the way, Wolverine name drops the various characters who have come through the base, including Spiral, Albert & Elsie Dee and Lady Deathstrike, which serves to remind that she has yet to appear since Uncanny #281, when Cylla pushed her out of the way of a Sentinel blast (the MCP lists her as appearing in issue #55, but I have no recollection of that, and my review of the issue doesn't mention her). Of course, we know Cylla survived (she did appear in #55), so it stands to reason Deathstrike did as well (and she'll pop up in this series shortly), but Wolverine doesn't know that at this point.


They also look for Gateway, only to find him missing, but with a remnant of his bullroarer left in place. Gateway is another character who was fairly significant to the X-Men at one point time but who got left behind by the "Dissolution & Rebirth" storyline, the linewide relaunch, and Claremont's departure, but he won't appear again until early issues of Generation X.


Jubilee's parents, previously mentioned as being dead, appear for the first time in this issue, and it's revealed that they were murdered accidentally (staged to look like a car accident), because the hired killers mistook them for the Lees who lived next door.


The hired killers are Reno & Molokai, who first appeared in issue #38 working for the gangster whose casinos were being robbed by Albert.


One of Fitzroy's futuristic Sentienls gets revived and effectively mutated by the remnants of Pierce/Spiral's cyborg making material, becoming sentient and eschewing his Sentinel programming to kill all mutants. But killer robots gaining sentience always come with a twist, and here it's that while the Sentinel no longer wants to kill all mutants, he instead wants to kill all life on the planet to make the world a better place for Sentinels.

The Chronology Corner 
Wolverine appears in X-Men #23 and Marvel Comics Presents #132-136 between last issue and this one. Jubilee appears in X-Men #23 and Uncanny #302-303 between last issue and this.

A Work in Progress
When Jubilee travels back in time via Gateway's bullroarer residue, it's revealed that her past self disappeared from the car she was riding in at the moment her future self appeared in the past. The sentient Sentinel says this is because reality was correcting itself, since there were two Jubilees in the same temporal zone, but that isn't really consistent with how time travel has been shown to work previously (for example, logic like that would preclude Cable being Cyclop's son, because both co-existed in the same time before Nathan was sent to the future).


Pun with Peter Larry
There's a really bad joke in which Wolverine uses the word "loquacious" and Jubilee thinks he's referring to a kumquat-like fruit.


The Best There is at What He Does
Wolverine notes that his healing factor is capable of regenerating his insides (though the pain isn't always worth it).


Human/Mutant Relations
When young Jubilee disappears and reappears inside the car, the mother of her friend who is driving worries that Jubilee might be one of those dangerous mutants.


Austin's Analysis
As with the start to the previous story, Hama kicks off this one by following up on a plot thread cribbed from X-Men, bringing Wolverine & Jubilee back to the X-Men's old base to follow-up on the slaughter of the Reavers (sidenote: I really like the idea, here and in the previous story, of Wolverine as Xavier's on-the-DL investigator/tier-up-of-loose-ends operative, and using this series to showcase those kinds of adventures, but the idea will unfortunately get sidelined by significant upcoming events). It's really the first time any of the X-books have acknowledged the complete eradication of character who were the X-Men's chief antagonists for a good chunk of issues, and having Wolverine & Jubilee (whose relationship was formed in battle against the Reavers) be the ones to do it is smart.

Meanwhile, Hama also uses this issue to start exploring Jubilee's past. While Scott Lobdell has been doing some great work with the character over in Uncanny, no writer has yet to really dive into Jubilee's past, despite her relatively-open-ended but also drama-ready backstory. The end result is somewhat mixed (all the time travel stuff here kind of distracts from the raw emotion of what happened), but it serves as a much-appreciated showcase for Jubilee, who has been a fixture in this series for some time now, just as events are about to occur which will sideline her from the series more or less for good.

Next Issue:
Next week: X-Men #23, X-Force #25 and Excalibur #68.

7 comments:

  1. "it's unclear how the X-Men learned about it, though perhaps Fitzroy bragged about it at some point"

    Well, the Gold Team was at the Hellfire Club when Donald Pierce arrived via one of Gateway's teleportation circles...and was then torn apart by the Sentinels. Maybe they just assumed the rest of the Reavers were "killed" off as well...

    "I really like the idea, here and in the previous story, of Wolverine as Xavier's on-the-DL investigator/tier-up-of-loose-ends operative, and using this series to showcase those kinds of adventures, but the idea will unfortunately get sidelined by significant upcoming events"

    It was a nice way to tie the title to the larger X-universe as a whole, without it feeling so forced, as it will later on (especially in the era between AOA and Onslaught).

    "The end result is somewhat mixed (all the time travel stuff here kind of distracts from the raw emotion of what happened), but it serves as a much-appreciated showcase for Jubilee"

    Much as with Uncanny X-men #303, it would have aged better had the artwork been better, too. But, intentional or not, it's a nice final hurrah of sorts for Jubilee in this title, whose status as Wolverine's sidekick more or less ends with this story line.

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    1. Yeah, I wish this had better artwork too. Dwyane Turner is fine, I guess, but the Jim Fern stuff in #74 is just horrendous.

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  2. "Jubilee's parents, previously mentioned as being dead, appear for the first time in this issue, and it's revealed that they were murdered accidentally (staged to look like a car accident), because the hired killers mistook them for the Lees who lived next door."
    Unfortunately, Faerber forgot about this when he revisted the deaths of Jubilee's parents in Generation X and revealed that Jubilee's killers were hired by a man that was embezzling from them. Which is difficult to reconcile with this, unless the hired goons accidentally killed someone their boss was stealing with.
    " it would have aged better had the artwork been better"
    The artwork suffered from the fact that this issue was four weeks late.

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  3. // There's a really bad joke in which Wolverine uses the word "loquacious" and Jubilee thinks he's referring to a kumquat-like fruit. //

    A loquat, specifically. The main Chinese restaurant I went to growing up served kumquats, loquats, and lychee nuts along with fortune cookies when the check arrived; they were all equally horrible. Read all about it in my upcoming memoir based on those dinners, Loquat You Made Me Do, with a foreword by Taylor Swift.

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    1. Huh. I had no idea a loquat was an actual thing. I just thought Jubilee was muddling "kumquat" and "loquacious" to make up a fruit. Color me newly-educated!

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  4. "...but it serves as a much-appreciated showcase for Jubilee, who has been a fixture in this series for some time now, just as events are about to occur which will sideline her from the series more or less for good."

    Having grown up avidly watching the X-Men cartoon, in which Jubilee was heavily featured, I always assumed she had more of a presence in the comics. In these reviews I get the impression that she was really only just kind of there, and the stories could have more or less existed without her presence.

    I liked her a lot as a member of Generation X, but I don't think her true potential as a character was ever realized and she spent a lot of time dropped off the face of the Earth. The same could be said for Gambit, too, he was a big presence in his early years and then he fell into mediocrity.

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    1. Yeah, Jubilee is definitely more a fixture here than in UNCANNY or X-MEN, outside of the occasional spotlight issues like UXM #297, #303, and #318 (when she leaves for GEN X). But for much as she was a POV character for the animated series, she was never that big a deal in the books. And once GENERATION X ended, yeah...the character did not fare well (I still can't believe she's a vampire...).

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