The early ’90s were spoiled for choice when it came to comic book adaptations. Not only was Batman: The Animated Series on the air, but X-Men led Marvel’s push to get on the small screen, diving right into the often convoluted continuity of everyone’s favorite mutants, luring in a generation of fans, and paving the way for cartoons to follow. That’s why we’ve set out to review every single episode of the ’90s X-Men animated series.

This week, we dive into Jubilee's Erotic Friend Fiction, and everything is different and none of it makes sense.

Previously, on X-Men:

In our last episode, Storm almost got married to a genocidal space-slaver, which just about gets her onto the list of the five worst relationships in X-Men history. The slaver in question is Arkon of the planet Polemachus, and fortunately for Storm, the rest of the X-Men went out and started a rebellion while she was preparing for her wedding, eventually leaving the planet completely destabilized, with a group of unarmed and untrained former slaves facing off against a vengeful demigod with access to an entire fleet of spaceships in a fight for their freedom and lives. Our Heroes!

All that romance in the air led to a discussion of just which X-Man has the worst love interest, and the Commenteers offered up a few suggestions of love gone terribly, terribly wrong:

That time Angel sexed up Husk in front of her parents while doing lazy circles in the sky was pretty uncouth. -- Adam Bacon

Nightcrawler dating his sister will never not gross me out. -- Elizabeth Stege

Can I just say "all of them" and be done with it? Collectively, the X-Men have been with vampires, racists, terrorist leaders, clones of terrorist leaders, mass murderers, space dictators, extra evil space dictators, an avatar of death, secret sentinels, demon queens, furries, and Longshot. -- Brandon 'Zak' Zachary

Incidentally, anyone mentioning the events of NYX can see themselves out.

 

 

Oh brother, this is the one I've been warned about since we started. Our episode today is "Jubilee's Fairytale Theater" from writer Brooks Watchell and producers Frank Squillace and Tom McLaughlin, and cousin, this thing is off the rails before it even gets started. If you're a regular reader of the column, you may remember that a few weeks ago, there was an episode that inexplicably swapped out the title sequence that's been part of the show for five seasons and replaced it with one that added in clips from episodes and topped it off with a remixed theme song with more squealing guitars before going right back to the original. Well, it's back, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Everything is different in this episode. The character designs, the animation style, even some of the voices have been changed, and considering how this thing starts, there was a second there where I thought they may have gone ahead and changed the entire premise of the show. Why?

Because we open in the caverns beneath the X-Mansion, where Jubilee is leading a bunch of unnamed children on a field trip.

 

 

This raises a very important question, but as Jubilee explains in a flashback, she's chaperoning this tiny band of non-mutant youngsters because Professor X promised them they could go on a field trip, but on the day they arrive, he and the rest of the X-Men have been summoned to go talk to the president. Thus, he, Wolverine, and Gambit hop on the blackbird to Washington. Wait a second, that's not Gambit! THAT'S A FAKE GAMBIT!

 

 

Jubilee may have gotten a redesign that makes her look exactly like what would've happened if Bret "The Hitman" Hart had become one of the Planeteers, but Gambit is sporting a new design and a new voice, and you know what sounds even sketchier than Gambit? Someone doing a breathy impression of Gambit.

Point being, Jubilee has been stuck with the kids, and if you were hoping that this show would answer the question of just who the hell these children are, where they came from, why they are not accompanied by a teacher and why they have no idea what the Xavier School actually is, I'm afraid we're both out of luck. Incidentally, when they actually ask about the Xavier School, Jubilee tells them that it's "kind of experimental," which I guess is as accurate a description as you're likely to find of Professor X's paramilitary strike force training camp.

Needless to say, Jubilee and the kids get trapped in the caves when one of New York's many earthquakes starts up and collapses the tunnel, and since no one else was around when they sent a bunch of children into a long cave system, they end up trapped. Fortunately, Jubilee has her "satcom 3000 digital beeper" to call for help, but in the meantime, she needs to tell the kids a story to keep them from panicking.

And this is where things get BANANAS.

 

 

In true Tina Blecher fashion, Jubilee starts telling all the kids about a long-ago kingdom ruled over by "a handsome prince, and his true love, the princess Jean," (oh buhruther) who are unfortunately menaced by the evil sorceror Magnus, Master of Metal.

You can see where this is going.

Magnus and his men, who look suspiciously like Onslaught...

 

 

...are stalking through the forest looking for the MacTaggert Crystal, when they run across Gambit, whose Cajun accent has officially gone out of control. He's leading the "rebell-YON" against Magnus, claiming it will be a "night-MARE" if the peasantry doesn't aid him. Magnus's robot knights soundly thrash him, something I think we can all sympathize with, when he's suddenly rescued by a mysterious outlaw, someone who battles so fiercely against Magnus that he spreads rumors that she doesn't even exist, but is merely a legend told by the citizens to give each other hope.

No prizes for guessing who it is.

 

 

Because of course Jubilee stars in her own erotic friend-fiction. And of course she's an elf. All she needs is two scimitars to complete the look.

Jubilee battles Magnus's metal soldiers, who she refers to as "clankers" (racist), handily defeating them and rescuing Gambit. The lead soldier tries to get away, but he's stopped by Jubilee's "right-hand troll," Logan, whose nipples are way too prominent for this show to have gotten past BS&P intact:

 

 

Having successfully saved the day, Jubilee is immediately set upon by Gambit, who tells her "Ah, fair one, I could show you so MANY tings," before Logan interrupts him. Somehow, Gambit is even more of a creep in Jubilee's friendfic than he is in the regular show.

Gambit claims to know where the MacTaggert Crystal is, and leads Jubilee and Logan through the woods to find it. Along the way, he tells them how Magnus hired him to use his t'ievin' skills to find the Crystal, but he ended up giving him a fake and keeping the genuine article for himself, stashing it in The Cavern Of The Lost, a dungeon suitable for four 5th-level characters.

 

 

Once inside, they just walk to the crystal and retrieve it, only to be met by Sabretooth -- who, if you'll remember, was the source of the problems the last time they left Jubilee alone -- and a couple of the metal soldiers. A fight scene ensues, but naturally, Fantasy Roleplaying Jubilee beats the living mess out of Sabretooth, palm-striking his nose, dropkicking him, and then punching him out with her bare knuckles, shortly before elbowdropping Voldemort and making out with the two guys from Supernatural. Or at least, that's what I wish happened.

"Wish? Did somebody say... WISH?!"

 

 

It's Jambi the Genie from Pee-Wee's Playhouse!

Wait, no. Sorry, that's "Xavier the All-Knowing," a wizard who's even more powerful than Magnus. He appears in the form of a floating head and informs Jubilee that she has a Very Special Destiny and that her innate goodness is the key to unlocking the power of the crystal, and it's at this point that I have started actually critiquing a story written by a fictional teenager for being full of hack clichés. This is what my life has come to.

Gambit leads Jubilee and Logan to a secret passage to Magnus's dungeons, and sure enough, they're stopped by the metal soldiers, revealing that they've been led into Magnus's trap.

 

 

Not pictured: His hilarious pointy Iron Sheik boots.

Since he obviously can't break Jubilee's spirit -- since she's so great and cool and awesome -- Magnus threatens Logan, who informs Jubilee that "your light brightens my world, mistress," and begs her not to use it for dark purposes. Alas, Jubilee gives in to save her friends, zapping the crystal with her fireworks and transferring their power to Magnus. But what's this?! Jubilee continues pouring on the fireworks, which somehow overload Magnus's own magnetic powers, causing him to be swarmed by every metal object that's not bolted down:

 

 

There is no way the first draft of this strip didn't include the line "Now that's what I call getting screwed!" but, well, here we are.

Purely by coincidence, the climax of Jubilee's story happens just as the X-Men arrive, with Cyclops blasting down the wall to free the kids, who promptly call Wolverine a troll. Before they leave, Jubilee wraps up the end of her story by telling them, I kid you not, "everyone was pretty happy," and then the single best thing in the series happens when Fantasy Roleplaying Cyclops decides to reward Jubilee for her service to the kingdom by sending her to school where she can study very hard. Jubilee dips, the kids leave, The End.

Discussion Question: I'm not gonna lie, I hated this episode the first time I watched it, but going through it the second time, it really grew on me. Maybe it's just for how weird it is, maybe it's because "right-hand troll" is the best accidental burn that I'm going to add to my vocabulary, I don't know. But what other cartoon episodes did you hate when you saw them that later grew on you?