Apart from various special projects like X-Men Legends, or the Giant-Size X-Men Artist Special, the five issue Juggernaut miniseries by Fabian Nicieza and Ron Garney is the lone X-Office comic series that doesn’t *totally* fit into the Hickman era of X-Men, in the Dawn of X and now the Reign of X. It’s a series outside the core Krakoan X-Men era. Nonetheless, the focus on the non-mutant Cain Marko, Juggernaut does address the longtime X-Men antagonist, and sometime member’s status in the Krakoa era, including some interesting observations about the mutant nation.
Today I’ll Answer:
+ How Does Krakoa Stop the Juggernaut?
+ The complications of Krakoan Amnesty
+ What Comes Next For Juggernaut?
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Ron Garney
Colors: Matt Milla
Letters: Joe Sabino
Juggernaut’s first Krakoa era story spotlight – and indeed, the character’s first *ever* solo miniseries – follows up directly on the last time we saw the character in the pre-Hickman era Uncanny X-Men written by Matthew Rosenberg. In the build to the X-Men’s final confrontation in that run, Juggernaut attempts to take down a Darkchylde possessed Illyana Rasputin, only to have Magik remove Jugs’ gem of cyttorak, and as we learn in the mini, send him powerless to an empty. desolate pocket of limbo.
The Juggernaut mini spends its five issues alternating between explaining how Juggernaut went from powerless in limbo back to his new and improve armored look, and his attempt to find a new role for himself working for Damage Control in demolition, and ultimately taking on the case of protecting a young teenager who may just be a mutant. It’s far from essential, but Nicieza, Garney and the team do a solid job tying the character to various corners of the Marvel Universe, including Krakoa, the Immortal Hulk, Hydra, and more.
Historically, the role of Juggernaut has progressed from that of a classic Silver Age supervillain – truly, my favorite Stan Lee and Jack Kirby issues of X-Men are the debut of Juggernaut, a beautiful blend of impending horror and Charles Xavier’s secret evil stepbrother – to work-for-hire henchmen to on and off again reformed hero, joining up with the X-Men at various times throughout the 2000’s including the aforementioned most recent run on Uncanny X-Men.
As a result, Nicieza and team are dealing with a somewhat complicated question, namely “what do you *do* with Cain Marko during the Krakoan era of X-Men?” He’s been the villain, he’s been the antihero, he’s been the hero, now what? It’s a substantially less complicated and nuanced version of Magneto’s oscillating allegiances throughout X-history. And ultimately what Nicieza and team attempt to do is carve out space that is uniquely Juggernaut’s to own.
The first major question with Juggernaut is of course how will he reintegrate into mutant society, given recent allegiances, and of course, his relationship with Professor X. During one of the flashbacks sprinkled throughout the mini, we see that Cain connects telepathically with Charles, and the Prof tells him in no uncertain terms that Jugs is not welcome on Krakoa, and that it is for mutants only. It’s not said with malice persay, but it’s also not unbelievable that Professor X, as evolved and on a new wavelength as he is, wouldn’t *really* want to spend more time with his childhood tormentor than necessary. It’s kind of the Peter Parker befriending Flash Thompson of the X-Men universe, and you know what, I’m fine with Charlie holding that grudge a little tighter than the altruistic “turn the other cheek” heads would advocate.
There is a question here, though, if Professor X is really telling the full truth. Because as we know, non-mutant characters can absolutely visit Krakoa with a mutant chaperone, ala Brian Braddock, maybe Broo, Shogo, and a smattering of others. Plus, as the Patron Saint of Krakoa, clearly if Professor X wanted Cain Marko to spend some time on Krakoa, he could make it happen. Indeed, in talking with Fabian Nicieza during my interview here on the channel, he confirmed that this particular scene was written very early in the House and Powers formative stages, and that he’s well aware Krakoan leniency towards non-mutant visitors has changed since this sequence was written. The scene reminds me a bit of Professor X’s telepathic communication with Franklin Richards in Fantastic Four, telling Franklin that he’s not a mutant and he’s no longer welcome on Krakoa, with the primary difference that in Fantastic Four, I’m not convinced that was really Charles Xavier (what’s up Doom manipulation), and in Juggernaut, yeah that absolutely works as Chuck, as this stepbrother who has perfectly valid reasons to hold fast on that only mutants idea.
Big picture, I have no problem with writers generally trying to maintain the “only mutants” ethos of Krakoa. Like, yes, you could make a (very easy) case that Cain’s desire to be a part of quote-on-quote X-Men missions wouldn’t even require Krakoa residence (he could join Kate at sea on the Marauders for example), but you know, it’s not the worst thing for these corners of comics to maintain the illusion that mutants have finally carved out a nation that is truly theirs. So in the case of Juggernaut, ultimately it’s borders and international treaties that stop the Juggernaut, true for X-adjacent characters like Jugs and Deadpool right now.
Otherwise, the most interesting aspect of Juggernaut is the introduction of D-Cel, a maybe-mutant Roxxtuber with the ability to decelerate kinetic motion. Not only does D-Cel slow the Juggernaut (and nearly get herself killed in the process), but she helps Jugs beat on Immortal Hulk to temporarily capture the Green Giant. In addition to providing an energetic and contrary personality to bounce off Juggernaut (think Wolverine & Jubilee, or Hunt for the Wilderpeople), D-Cel denies that her powers come from a mutant ability, and for most of the story wants very little to do with mutantkind or Krakoa.
Ultimately, we learn D-Cel’s mutant powers manifested and more or less led ot the car accident that killed her parents – a tragic mutant origin as old as time – and accepting her mutant abilities means accepting her culpability in her trauma. She does come to this acceptance, though, when she finds herself and Juggernaut cornered, with only a request for Krakoan Amnesty as a way out. It’s an interesting sequence honestly, as the most prominent use of Krakoan Amnesty to date came back in House and Powers with Cyclops and later Emma Frost establishing Krakoan Amnesty for Sabretooth (only to then turn around have the Council exile him to a pit of endless despair, and one of my top hopes for the as yet unannounced Victor LaValle written X-Men series coming soon!).