Marvel published two X-Books last week: X of Swords: Creation #1 and Juggernaut #1. These books couldn't be more different. On the one hand, an overpriced one-shot kicking off a 22-part crossover event that will rock the X-Men universe to its foundations and make sure nothing is ever the same again, produced by the entire stable of superstar creators in the X-office. On the other, the start of a very down-to-Earth character-focused story with a sleeper hit creative team of industry veterans. Here in X-ual Healing, I recap 'em both. No favorites!
Last Week in Comics Drama
It was all about letterer Jim Campbell ripping into Tom King, DC Comics, and everyone involved in the Rorschach unauthorized sequel to Watchmen. Campbell ended up deleting all his tweets but then reposting the same message because someone tagged Jim Lee in them. He also complained about Bleeding Cool making a clickbait article out of them without asking him for additional comment, but really, what more was there to say? He pretty much nailed it, and I don't think he was out of line with anything he said, even if he rightfully trashed some of his fellow industry pros. Far more shocking is that most comic book creators lack the spines to speak up at all about the situation with Watchmen, despite claiming to revere Alan Moore and to stand for creator rights. Just goes to show you, it's considered more unacceptable to speak ill of your colleagues on Twitter. Even when you're right, it is to exploit the creativity of a beloved fellow creator against his wishes because saying anything about it upsets the delicate status economy of low-paying comics jobs everyone is desperately fighting for. Anyway, good for you, Jim Campbell, and sorry if our article brought you any grief.
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities. Still, thanks to a corporate merger, a line-wide relaunch, and Jonathan Hickman's giant ego, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics for lovers of soap opera drama.
JUGGERNAUT #1 (OF 5) DX
(W) Fabian Nicieza (A) Ron Garney (CA) Geoff Shaw
READY OR 'NAUT, HERE HE COMES!
A mystic gem. A force of overwhelming power. Nothing can stop the Juggernaut. Except himself. Another building falls. Cain Marko is done letting others pick up the pieces of the things he's destroyed. Renowned X-scribe Fabian Nicieza (X-FORCE, DEADPOOL) and celebrated artist Ron Garney (CAPTAIN AMERICA, DAREDEVIL) team up to take the unstoppable in a new bold new direction!
In Shops: Sep 23, 2020
Juggernaut #1 Recap
In Manhattan, Damage Control operatives Maria Menklin and ??? Prysad admire the aftermath of a demolition job on a building by the Juggernaut. Apparently, this is cheaper than using construction equipment to demolish buildings damaged by superhero battles. Juggie offers to take out the rest of the neighborhood too, but they need approval from the city and to clear out teenage squatters first. Speaking of which, some of those squatters are angry about their homes being demolished and fling garbage at Juggernaut. Juggernaut tries to approach them, but a superpowered barrier made of kinetic force put up by one of the kids stops him. Juggie thinks the kid will need help with those powers.
This triggers a flashback to "months ago," with Juggie in Limbo after Magik ripped out the gem of Cytorrak. He's too weak to even wear his armor, so he ties it together and drags it behind him as he walks… somewhere.
Back in the present in Manhattan, Juggernaut is looking for the kids from earlier. He runs into the kid, who stops him with her power, which is to slow down kinetic energy. She claims not to be a mutant. They strain against each other's powers until she passes out, and Juggernaut goes lying onto a wall, knocking a structure down on top of the kid, whose name we learn is D-Cel. Juggernaut and the other kids unbury her from the rubble.
Later at a hospital, Cain Marko speaks with doctors who violate all kinds of regulations by giving him updates on her condition even though he doesn't even know her real name. He hangs around in her room until she wakes up and offers to bring her to Krakoa, but she again insists she's not a mutant. He says he knows what it's like to be at a crossroads, which triggers another flashback.
After thirty days in Limbo, Juggie reaches the Crossroads. He has already ditched a lot of his armor because it was too heavy, but he still has his helmet, which he sacrifices to be shown the way out.
Back in the present, Juggie explains to D-Cel that he has new armor now. She tells him their fight last night got a million views on Roxtube and tries to convince him to do more stuff for her channel. He's not into it, but she shows him a post by one of her subscribers, begging somebody to stop the Hulk. Juggernaut will try the next issue, it seems.
Fabian Nicieza is one of the best X-writers not named Chris Claremont, but he doesn't seem to like me and gets really sensitive whenever I bring up that time Rob Liefeld said he could have created Deadpool with a janitor. I think that reflects poorly on Liefeld, not Nicieza, but he gets mad about it anyway–seems like transference to me. Regardless, I'm glad to see him back on a Marvel book, and I would love it if he got more X-Men-adjacent work in the future, so I hope you all are buying lots of copies of this. Pairing Nicieza with Ron Garney, an excellent artist who has a classic style that actually works with the modern coloring provided by Matt Milla, is a good choice. Likewise, pairing Juggernaut with a teen girl is a great way to give him some warmth and depth as a character. Is she really not a mutant, or is she lying? And how exactly did Juggernaut get his powers back?
I'm looking forward to finding out the answers to these questions in a book that seems more focused on telling a smaller story about these characters, possibly redemption-themed, from outside the burden of an epic super-mega-crossover event.
Read more X-ual Healing here:
This post is part of a multi-part series: X-ual Healing X-Men Recaps for the Week of September 2rd, 2020.