We all know Marvel's merry mutants are "sworn to protect a world that fears and hates them." But has anybody ever asked if maybe that fear and hate is at all justified? I'm not talking about evil mutants like Magneto or Apocalypse, and I'm not talking about when mutants use their powers and accidentally hurt people; I'm talking about the important stuff — specifically, the episode of the '90s X-Men cartoon titled "Jubilee's Fairy Tale Theatre," where the spunky young X-Man essentially makes fantasy fan fic of her fellow mutants. Because after I watched it, I might not have feared Jubilee, but I definitely hated her.
The story begins with Jubilee leading a group of kids around the caves underneath Professor X's school, which means things are completely insane from the very first animation cel. Here's why:
• These kids aren't mutants, they're just regular kids.
• As the episode eventually reveals, they are apparently there on a field trip.
• Which means somewhere in Westchester county, New York, there is a school that thinks it's a good idea to send its kids to visit the most supervillain-attacked school in the world.
• Aren't mutants supposed to be hated and persecuted? Either there's a school principal who really, really believes in the X-Men, or else he really, really hates his students.
• And what does Professor X do with this amazing opportunity to foster friendship between mutants and non-mutants? He sends them to the caves under the X-mansion.
• With Jubilee.
• Either human-mutant relations have improved to the point where Professor X doesn't give a shit, or he also hates these kids.
• Last but not least, the reason Jubilee is leading the field trip is because as soon as the kids arrived, Professor X, Wolverine and Gambit said the President wanted to meet them right away.
• Unless you think there's a compelling reason why the President of the United States needed to talk to Gambit, they totally bailed on Jubilee, and that's hilarious.
Anyways, Jubilee is leading the kids around when an earthquake hits and caves in the tunnel, trapping them (also the tunnels start flooding for some reason). To keep the kids from panicking, Jubilee tells the kids what is easily the lamest fairy tale of all time.
In a "happy kingdom" ruled by Prince Scott and Princess Jean (GET IT?!), the evil wizard Magnus the Malevolent is hell-bent on trying to get both halves of the MacTaggart crystal and its unspecified powers. The story begins with Magnus' admittedly awesome-looking ghost-armor-knights chasing Gambit the Thief; Gambit tries to hide in a peasant couple's wagon full of hay (the wagon's horses are being lead by the mutant Longshot, by the way, who has no lines and is acknowledged by no one), getting them in trouble, too. Oh, I should mention that Gambit tells the couple he's part of "the rebellion," which is not only never mentioned again, but calls into question exactly how "happy" the kingdom is if Magnus rules part of it in a brutal wizard dictatorship.
Luckily, the Jubilee the Elf and Logan the Troll arrives to save the day! Yes, Jubilee — without shame — has made herself the Mary Sue of her terrible little story (the kids immediately call her out on this bullshit, but Jubilee tells them to make up their own stories). Jubilee hands all of Magnus Soldiers their armored ghost asses, blasting them to bits with her fireworks powers, flipping all over the place, and even dispatching one with a single kick. Gambit and the couple fall all over themselves at getting saved by the "legendary" Jubilee.
Gambit tells Jubilee that Magnus hired him to steal the half of the MacTaggart question Magnus doesn't have; after getting it, he realized that perhaps giving an evil wizard unspeakable power might not be the wisest move, and hid it in the strangely abandoned Thieves' Guild. It turns out to be a spectacularly shitty hiding place, because after Jubilee, Gambit and Logan the Troll retrieve the gem, they discover Magnus' minion Sabretooth has wandered in after them with a few Magnus Soldiers.
They fight, Jubilee again almost singlehandedly wins the battle, and they leave Sabretooth tied up in the Guild (Jubilee promises they'll release him "some day"). Outside, the giant, floating, turbaned head of Xavier the All-Knowing Wizard appears to tell Jubilee she's a special snowflake whose "Light of Goodness" is the key to activating the gem. This means, as per the standard fantasy hero rulebook, Jubilee has to combine the crystals — whose sole purpose seems to be destroying Magnus, begging the question of what the hell Magnus wants it for — which means she has to bring her half straight to Magnus' castle.
Conveniently, Magnus has built a set of stairs that leads from outside his castle directly to the chamber in which he keeps his half of the gem; oh, and Gambit even has a key to the vault. How convenient! The trio pop on down, but in a scenario no one could have predicted, Magnus is waiting for them.
Since Jubilee is also somehow the only person who can combine the crystals, Magnus conjures a water-tentacle-beast-thing to kill Logan the Troll unless she does Magnus' bidding (this leads to Wolverine — in troll-form, but still, Wolverine — saying "Your light brightens my world, mistress. Please don't use it to make an evil darkness!" Blech.) Jubilee the Elf-girl is forced to combine the crystal.
Magnus' first act with his newfound power is — and here's where I suspect that Jubilee's storytelling abilities are even lamer than her mutant power — to destroy all his own soldiers. This, shockingly, proves a lucky turn for the heroes, especially when Jubilee starts shooting her aforementioned fireworks into Magnus, increases his power, causing him to become magnetic, and attracting all the robot-armor pieces and the several thousand screws that were apparently lying around his dungeon. Luckily, Jubilee is spared from having to explain how this actually destroys Magnus, as Wolverine, Gambit and Cyclops choose that moment to burst into the cave and rescue everybody (Professor X clearly cannot be bothered).
Back the X-mansion, Jubilee serves the kids hot cocoa – exactly what a kid wants after nearly being entombed – and the children demand the end of the story. Jubilee explains that with Magnus destroyed, "the kingdom was restored and everybody was pretty happy." Pretty happy? The hell? It was a happy kingdom at the beginning — did Jubilee make people slightly less happy by defeating Magnus?
Anyways, it turns out Jubilee the elf is also a princess for no goddamned reason, which raises some severe questions about the royal lineage since neither Princess Jean nor Prince Scott are elves (somebody's daddy had a little elf on the side, apparently). Of course, Princess Jean talks about all the princess stuff she'll need to learn, and Jubilee is unenthused. She walks out as the peasants continue to cheer the spot where she was standing to go have more horrible adventures where she's the most powerful important coolest person ever. Blech.
So What Did We Learn?
• Jubilee sucks worse than we realized.
• Jubilee thinks the President might actually want to have a conversation with Gambit.
• Either the characters in Jubilee's self-insert X-Men fan fic fantasy world don't need to eat, or she left Sabretooth down in the Thieves' Guild to die.
• There is a point when secret passages stop being an asset and start being a liability.
• If you're an evil wizard who gains unlimited power, why not keep your evil minions around? At least for a while? Just in case?
• If you're a parent who signed a permission slip so your non-mutant kid could take a field trip to Professor X's School for Gifted Children, you are a terrible parent.