Monday, July 9, 2012

Juggernaut 2: Electric Juggaloo (Issue #33)

Here's a weird thing to notice, being that I'm a 35 year old (young!) man ... and certainly not some pimply adolescent with ridiculously raging hormones that would cause me to notice such a thing in a COMIC BOOK .... And it's probably making it even weirder for you all, now that I've pointed that out, too, but I think it bears mentioning:
This issue is, as far as I can tell, the first time that we've seen Jean Grey's cleavage. 

Either this man is dead, or my boobs have stopped.
(Classic gag)

Look, the uncomfortable perviness of making you, good reader, stare at drawn woman cleavage aside, I think it bears pointing out (pointing out like her BOOBS, up there! Yowza! She could put someone's eye out!), though, because it reflects not only the social attitudes of the time, but also showing a possible shift in who the audience is for these stories. For the first time in history, kids are expecting to see cleavage. (Well, either that or a more adult audience is reading the comics, at this point. Either way works for me!) [Weird that one thin, straight line can spark so much prurient interest!]

Though, I could be assigning too much cultural meaning to this, and the real answer is that the artists are just getting more randy. Well, I've spent way too much of this post's word-budget (I pay for everything over 1,000 words) on talking about this subject, so let's get on with the story:

So, while the X-Men flaunt their chests while running tests on Xavier ("Weird, his heart-rate goes up the farther I lean over" - Jean) to make sure he is still alive, Juggernaut is off looking for a plane to hijack. Remember: He has been mentally contacted by the evil organization "Factor Three" and asked to join them in their diabolical mission. What is it? I doubt the writers even know, at this point. But alls Juggsy knows it that there is a Factor Three meet-up in Europe, and he has to get there. As he would have to pay for a second seat (Follow @ThatJuggernaut for updates on his "too Jugger to fly" saga), stealing a plane is the only way he can get there.

Back at the X-Mansion, Jean puts away her breasts and takes out a silly headband. A gloriously silly headband that will a) make Pat Benatar jealous and b) help her mind receive images from the unconscious Prof. 

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What Jean learns is that someone named "The Ancient One" once defeated the guy who was guarding the gem that turned Cain Marko into the Juggernaut. So the X-Sleuths fire up the ole Cerebro to try and mentally find this "The Ancient One" to enlist his help. 

Since Cerebro is a rotary model (kids, ask your parents) it's easy to miss-dial, so they accidentally reach the ghostly-form answering service of Dr. Strange. ("If this is a strange emergency, please go to the emergency room.") But IS it a miss-dial, after all? 

"Despite what arriving, in ghost form, through a wall might suggest,
they call me "Strange" because I like putting potato chips on my sandwiches."

Turns out, The Strange One says that he's absorbed the essence of The Ancient One. Ew! But anyway, super-absorbent Strange teaches Cyke and Jean some type of chant (Here We Go MU-TANTS, Here We Go! *clapclap*), then uses his magic powers of vanishing (vanishing and absorbency? "Dr. Strange Brand Paper Towels: They clean up the terrible messes .... from BEYOND!!!"TM) to send Cyclops and Miss Grey off to where the Cyttorak ruby lives. It's amazingly easy to find, so they start their chant right away ... but something must be wrong (oh dear, don't things ALWAYS go wrong when you chant an incantation around a mystical ruby! Honestly, if I had a dime for every time I accidentally called up the wrong demon with my chanting....) because instead of whatever was supposed to happen (which we are left unsure of what that was supposed to be) this crazy pair of will they / won't they love birds are pulled into the gem where they must face ... The Outcast! [Some people thank that their sh@t don't stank...]

Attack, my Delfa Roll minions!

Meanwhile, in the Real World (Where Puck just stuck his finger into a jar of peanut butter - truuuUUUuue stoh-hor-rays!) the other Men of X are doing the best they can at delaying the Juggernaut from reaching an airplane. And by "best they can" I mean "making a farce of it and demeaning themselves as well as everyone else who calls themselves a super hero". 

Oh, that Bobby! Always so polite when declining
an invitation to his own murder!

Now back to the inside of the Ruby of Cyttorak (where, presumably, the Crimson Cosmos is stored?) Jean and Cyclops defeat The Outcast with a ticking watch. For reals! The ticking, like, reminds him of his own mortality and what-not... Which it SHOULD because hearing a ticking watch makes him age, rapidly, before our very eyes. It's especially cruel because Cyclops is like, "That's enough" and Jean is all, "I'm trying to stop it, but the watch has a mind of its own!" (she then followed it up by taunting, "Stop aging yourself! Stop aging yourself". Cruel.) Once The Outcast implodes, the kids are free to grab the prototype Ruby of Cyttorak, which is stored here, inside the Crimson Cosmos, which is stored inside the Ruby of Cyttorak v2.0. For clarification: It's like storing your cuff links inside a cuff link-shaped box - which also happens to contain ANOTHER UNIVERSE.

Once the gem is obtained, Jean and Scott (Marvel Girl and Cyclops) are returned to the real world [where people stop being polite]. Specifically, at the Mansion. I point this out for no specific reason, other than that the writers pointed it out, too. I suppose they did it because then, right after the kids scamper away to help defeat Juggernaut, we see a pair of shadowy figures break into the mansion to do ... SOMETHING! Really driving it home how unlucky / bad at being superheroes these kids are.

What do the break-in-ers do? We don't know! But we do know that the Professor is in there and still unconscious! Are the invaders stealing him? killing him? Drawing phalluses on his forehead and posting the pictures to Facebook? How will he ever get a good job with those floating around out there?! 

You know the expression, "Never bring a ruby to a Juggernaut fight?" Me neither. And there isn't such an expression, because it turns out to be an exceedingly GREAT thing to do! It has the effect of weakening Sir Juggs A Lot. But, though big, Juggyboy isn't stoopid, he realizes what's going on and he grabs the ruby away  from Cyclops. (Presumably to see if there an "off" button?) The final laugh is on Irresistible Force Man because once he touches it, the gem engulfs him and pulls him into the Crimson Cosmos ... FOREVERuntilsweepsweek! 

Is he vanishing, or is this a meat chart of the
"Common Cuts of the North American Juggernaut"?

Upon their return to the mansion Xavier is gone! But we already knew he would be, right, so no surprises here. Wait. I mean: Dunn Dunn dunnnnnnn!! SHOCKING!

So, here we are, exactly half way through the original run of the X-Men. Half way through the "Silver Age" stuff. I'll admit, faithful readers, some of it has been really tough already. Some of it had been slow going. But most of it has been fun. It really might be like watching your kid grow up [I dunno, I don't have kids ... and now that I have the X-Men, I don't wanna em! [Marvel should use that as a pull-quote: "Jeff Somogyi raves: A comic so good, it males people stop having kids!"]] But, I'm assuming, like having a child, no matter how messed up it becomes, I'll still love it. And, like a child, I can't wait until it grows up so I can have an intelligent conversation with it. And, like a child, I'm sick of changing its diapers. And, like a child, I can't wait until it grows to resent me.

Wanna read it in its entirety? Hey, that's your prerogative! This story is covered in:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4