Monday, April 23, 2012

Waiting For Juggot and STILL Waiting For Juggot (#12 and #13)

For those just joining us: I'm reading all of the X-Men comics from 1963 to present. This blog is an ongoing series of recaps (with commentary). I try to make it easy for comic fans and non-fans to enjoy. -Ed.

ISSUE #12

So the BOEM is disbanded and/or neutralized. Magneto and Toad have been taken into space to be studied by freaky aliens. Scarlet Witch and her lover brother Quicksilver have returned to their "central European" home. Mastermind has been turned to stone. This is great for the X-Men, because they can lay down their burdens and get some well-deserved rNOPE! JUGGERNAUT!

SUMMARY!
A mysterious screeching brings all the X-Men to Professor X's study, just as, at one time, a milkshake could bring, to the yard, all the boys. Of course it's Cerebro warning them of a new mutant presence in the most ear-earsplittingly way possible.

"Whoops! I shouldn't have said THAT!"

Guess what?! The machine is detecting a SUPER POWERFUL mutant! So powerful, the professor says, that they have not faced anything like it! It might be their ultimate test! At this point, 12 issues in, I'm a little sick of each month having the "most dangerous mutant they've ever faced" turn up. After a while, if I were the X-Men, I'd be like, "But that's what you said about Namor, and he wasn't so bad!"
"Yes, but THIS GUY is..."
"Save it, Prof. Just tell us what to do."

And so the Professor does tell them what to do: Build an elaborate series of fences and traps around the perimeter of the mansion. And it's about damn time! Fences make good neighbors, but they also keep people out of your house, too, which some would say is slightly more important. Of course, it's taken something as huge as the coming of a Juggernaut (spoilers!) to light this fire under their x-asses, but at least it's happening.

The defenses are finished lickety-split, so the gang snuggles in for Professor X story time, in which Xavier tells the origin stories of BOTH The Juggernaut AND himself! Though, in what is possibly the WORST origin story of all time, Professor X's can be summed up as: "Then one day I had powers." Yep.

But Juggernaut's is a bit more interesting: Not only is he Xavier's 1/2-brother, but to get his powers, all he had to do was pick up a stone in Korea (where he and Xavier were because of that war that was going on there [see M*A*S*H* -Ed.])

"Mom! Dad! Don't touch it! It's EEEEVIL!"

Now, far be it for me to nitpick (even though it's what this blog's humor is based on), but I'm not sure this is how mutation works. Did the giraffe have to touch a glowing stone to be able to eat the top-most, sweetest leaves on the tree? No they did it the natural way: Over time. There are no shortcuts, Juggo! So I'm just sayin': Calling The Juggernaut "the worst mutant menace we've faced" is just technically incorrect. And now that I have pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose and taken a hit from my inhaler, I will let this issue drop.

After giving Professor X just the right amount of time to finish the story, in bursts The Juggernaut, having broken through all of the X-Men's new defenses. With a sweep of his Jugger-arm, he knocks aside all the X-Men as if they were items on a table on which he wanted to have immediate and passionate sex. Then he stands there, menacing The Professor. Then he TO BE CONTINUED!

Excitement! We have gotten our first, true two-part episode! Do you feel like your cliff had been hanged? Cuz it has been. Hanged, that is. Your cliff. [My condolences if you know someone named Cliff and they were hanged. Being insensitive to that situation was a risk I was willing to take for this cliffhanger riff.]

But ... what if I can't wait a whole month for the conclusion?! Well, good thing these issues came out 47 years ago and I don't have to wait! Take THAT, kids in 1967. To you, I am unto a time traveling god!


ISSUE #13

Last issue, it took The Juggernaut the entire book to reach the mansion. THIS time, it's gonna take him the entire book to get ... UPSTAIRS! And it is NOT because of his fear of stairs (Bathmophobia. It's a REAL THING, people, don't judge) but because the X-Mens have revived and are throwing themselves at him with more fervor than tweens at a poster of Justin Bieber. [Oh, if this blog survives into the future, that joke is going to seem SO dated ... heck, I'm a 30-something with no kids, it could be dated NOW. Stay with me, True Bieblievers!]

SUMMARY!
Even though the X-Mangs know that they cannot defeat him, they've been told by Professor X (who scarpered up the stairs in record time once stuff got real) that it's super-important for the team to slow him down for as long as they can while Prof X mucks around with some headpiece that is either sending his thoughts out to the world OR saving them up like a psychic battery to unleash later. Or both! It is unclear.

beats by Dre

Though, knowing what we know of Xavier, he would find a uni-tasking helmet/device disdainful and possibly an abomination of nature which must be destroyed. (So, like Alton Brown but with psychic powers) [Take a moment, right now, to envision that scenario. Did your vision include state-mandated grape juice drinking? Mine did.]

While using his super-hat, one of the Prof's stray brain waves hits Johnny Storm - yes, THE Human Torch of Fantastic Four fame. Squee! (A little something for the LADIES to ogle, this issue, eh, Stan Lee?)

Meanwhile, the Men of X continue to fight the Juggernaut ... and they're not doing so well, 'natch, until, out of nowhere - and seemingly based on pure speculation - The Professor pings Beast's brain with the message, "Go for the helmet!"

Perhaps this was just the Professor's way of giving the X-Men hope, seeing as how it looked pretty bleak? Maybe he didn't know it'd work and it was just a really good guess? Or X has been holding back information from the X-Men. Either way, it's a crummy thing to do to these kids who worship you like a be-wheel-chaired god.

His other weakness? Chocolate.

Of course the Beast muffs it, being pushed aside before he can remove ole Jug-o's dome. But ... what's this?! Why it's Johnny Storm, come through the window to distract Juggernaut long enough for Angel to swoop in and pluck the helmet from the villain.

More like Johnny Flashbulb, right?!

Meanwhile, Beast is over in the corner grumbling, "Well, I LOOSENED it for you..." like it was some pickle jar his wife succeeded in opening after he'd just spent an emasculating 10 minutes fighting to open. Juggernaut Pickles: "They lose their powers once the lid is off!"(TM)

Had it not been for the Fantastic 1/4, the day would never have been won and to thank him, the Professor wipes Johnny's memory and sends him on his way. Well that's a fine how-do-you-do! Though, I understand that it was probably for the sake of the Fantastic Four's continuity, but still! Stop playing with people's memories, Xavier! It's like he gets a sick kick out of it.

With so many people going under his memory-wipe, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I've met Professor X and just don't remember!
"Thank you, son, for delivering this most delicious pizza I've ever encountered here to my normal-seeming mansion! Now ... forget me and all you've seen! Especially forget my order of pineapple and pepperoni deep dish!"

With all the X-Men injured - except for Jean Grey - we get to be treated to this cringe-worthy moment:

Xavier's School For Exceptionally Cliche Male Fantasies

Despite that - and the fact that Professor X continues to be a mind-wiping jerk - this two-parter was a cracking great story. Well told, well paced, well ... Juggernauted?



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Want to read along? This story are covered in X-Men Volume 2 (Marvel Masterworks)