Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What's Behind Door #1?! (Spoilers: It's Juggernaut) (Issue #32)

The scene opens on a normal, American pass time: Eating and self-celebration! USA!USA!USA!

Look in the back, there. Feel the disdain in the eyes of those looking on.
"Typical American excess! I wouldn't eat a piece of that
cake even if they offered one ... not that they offered one."

Look at the shadow, there. Feel the disdain in its eyes!
"Typical American excess! I wouldn't eat a piece of that
cake even if they offered one ... not that they offered one." 
How normal IS a shadow with white eyes?! Is Juggernaut wearing those glasses with lights on the sides that you see spelunkers, tinkers, and the insane wear? Otherwise, how are we seeing a shadow with eyes? Maybe since last we met him, he's drilled diabolical-eye holes through his head, and he is standing in front of a spotlight? Maybe! Also: How normal is this scene when five sixths of the table are mutants ... mutants who both sass the "normie" at the table ("Wait until you taste it!"? Bitch) and who don't mind doing the clean-up afterwards. That's the freakiest thing about them, ever. Though, that is coming from Scott, and we all have our suspicions that he has some form of neatness OCD, right? "I used my force beam to fold my clothes!" Freak.

So, this is Bobby's 18th birthday, is it? Either he started out at age 14 in issue #1 ... or there is such a thing as "Marvel Time". The hateful, brain-hurtful answer is that Marvel Time is a real thing and that people discuss it here. You can read about it, but it'll give you a headache (or, like me, you'll simply toss it aside with a dismissive "that's some nerd shit, right there" before you get even a couple paragraphs into the explanation). For the easiest way to continue to read these comics without worry about why Bobby Drake never gets much older than he is right now, just try and not be so worried about such things. These are, after all, COMIC BOOKS. Ok? Just hang loose, man. [HangLoose Man will make a brief appearance in the 80's when the X-Men visit Hawaii. His powers: Like, whatever, man? But he'll defeat the evil tiki and the Bradys'll be safe once more.]

One more thing about this first panel of the comic book, before I move on: Though I cut it off in the screen grab up there, there is an apology from the editors for this story being a two-parter! You don't see THAT these days! "Oh, sorry we bilked you out of twice as much cash to line out pockets and buy gold-plated 12-sided dice with!" Where was this apologistic outpouring in the mid-90s, when I was spending more than I earned in allowance money to buy the six or seven X-Men titles that I'd need to keep up with the story?! Weren't so concerned THEN, were you Marvel?! [Patience. Patience, Jeff. Save this anger for when we start recapping those issues. Don't waste all your righteous indignation now!] [ Good idea, Jeff.I'll calm down.] [Good. Now stop talking to yourself, the readers will think you've gone mad.] [Moreso than they already do, considering I'm a 30-something blogging all 50 years of the X-Men?] [Point taken.]

AND, I'm back!

ANYHOO! [Like "anyhow", but said by your dad] While bobby and the gang celebrate with their beatnik friends at the Coffee A Go-Go [which is what I shall be calling Starbucks, from now on, thank you], Professor Xavier is back at the mansion finishing work on ... something! This Something will finally allow him to confront another SOMETHING that is hidden behind that secret door in the basement. [Remember when Cyclops had to run down there to get another O2 tank, because they needed to capture Banshee and he was all, "Hey, there's a mysterious door down here?!" Yeah. That door. [Also: God help you if you remember that. I HAVE to, because of my weird X-Men obsession. Why do you?!]] 

That must be some key, to open a door with no keyhole.

I'll choose to see what's behind Door Number Mysterious, Wink! OOOH! It's a brand new ... 

Chained man in your basement? Nothing weird about that!

OK, so NOT brand new ... more like bruised, battered, and comatose Cain Marco! (Prof X's half brother and the dude known as the Juggernaut.) Sure. I guess the last time the X-Dudes put him down, they never did say what they did with the remains. Turns out, Prof X is a BIT of a hoarder, and stuffed him down in the basement next to boxes upon boxes of Ziggy comic strips, cigar boxes, old clothes ... and a few mummified cats. (Don't throw them out, they have MEMORIES! [Shout-out to JG for that joke!])

Now back to the party which is rudely interrupted by a biker gang called Satan's Saints and their leader, Rocky Rhodes. Things ALMOST get tense, until we remember the party attendees are all EFFING MUTANTS WITH SUPER POWERS! But, wait! Hark! Alas! They can't USE them, lest they blow their mild-mannered squares-ville alter-egos!

What are they rebelling against? WHAT'VE YOU GOT ... in your pocketses?!
(Scene from "Gollum Without a Cause")

Despite remaining incognito, they STILL easily handle these two-wheeled terrors by doing their mutant-ing on the sly. All is well, and the coffee house crew doesn't dig their scene, nor is hip to their jive, or something.


It was an awkward moment when they both realized they'd show up to
the party dressed as Sputnik.

Meanwhile, Prof EX [FORESHADOWINGnoSPOILERS!] thinks it's a good idea to hook his brain up to Juggernaut's using an elaborate system of vintage hair-driers. [I know it's silly to call them vintage hair driers, because back then they were state-of-the-art.] The hope, here, is that Xavier can use his superior brain-age to drive the demon Cyttorak from his half brother's brain, freeing him from being Juggernaut. Instead, something else fights back and the machine explodes. The result is 3-part: 1) it frees the Juggernaut and 2) knocks out Xavier AND 3) gives Juggernaut mental powers of telepathy. Great. If there was a "worst case scenario" here, this is it. (Unless it also spontaneously generated a storm of sharks. Smart sharks. Ones that knew math and when to stop wearing white slacks. Chilling scenario.

Returning home from the party, the X-Men sense something is amiss, even before Cerebro starts shrieking. Which it does (shriek) because it's doing a Bjork impression! ZING, non-relevant singer! But, seriously folks, it's shrieking because Juggernaut has re-wired to detect not evil mutants, but the X-Mans themselves! Social commentary: Who are the REAL monsters?! Juggernaut. Juggernaut is the real monster, especially because he then attacks them, in just bit.

But before that happens, Cerebro falls over and breaks. Seriously. Like, the X-Men get to the Cerebro room (which unlike the movies is not a super-cool holo-room, but just a well-appointed study) and it just explodes. It's like Juggernaut rigged that to happen - and you KNOW he'll say he did - but it was clearly totally an accident. Hey, sometimes Evil-doing is all about taking credit where none is due. Though how Juggs claiming he can make heavy furniture fall over, from afar, will strike fear into someone's heart is hard to say. (Maybe if he wants to terrify a Chippendale collector?)

True to the pattern of these books, beats the crap out of the x-men.  Though,before he can bring the whole mansion down on them all, killing them, he is stopped by a mental contract from "Factor Three"

Juggernaut's motto: Why kill today what you can kill off tomorrow?
It was Factor Three who caused the explosion of the hair-dryer mind-machine and they who want to ally with Juggernaut. The Jugs-man checks his Google calendar and is all, "Sure, why not? I don't have nothing scheduled until Thursday." Then he leaves without killing any of the X-Men, even though it would have been no thang at all. (AND, c'mon! Killing the exes is probably what Factor Three's end-game is, anyway. Dunno why Juggerman didn't just finish them off now and save us all a couple future conflicts. Honestly, Juggernaut. Your biggest enemy is your inability to complete the projects set to you by your own brain. Also: you don't work well with others. I'm sorry, but we're going to have to let you go. Please turn in your key.)

[Are you wondering what Juggernaut has on his Google calendar on Thursday? Then you have a fine attention to detail and an inquiring mind. You're hired. Please accept this slightly used key that used to be Juggernauts.] [Also: It was Must-See TV. He loves Ross and Rachael's will they / won't they.]

So, this is a two-parter that I am also splitting up into a 2-part blog post. Partly because this was already getting too long and partially because I just want to post something, lest I put myself at risk of going another month without an update to the site. I WILL disappoint you again, some day ... but NOT TODAY!

Wanna read it all for yourself? This story is covered in:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4