X-Men Black got off to an auspicious debut with Magneto. Since then there have been two strong releases with Mojo and Mystique, respectively. Can X-Men Black: Juggernaut carry the considerable weight of its Cyttorak-charged lead?
Juggernaut has been a long time enemy and sometimes friend of the X-Men. This past is played on throughout the issue. Throughout X-Men Black: Juggernaut, Cain Marko is tasked with finding a series of familiar foes. At first, the issue seems like it is not going to go anywhere. The behemoth is then forced to face his inner demons.
It is at this point that the issue picks up. From the opening page, Juggernaut is aware that something is wrong. Still, he pushes forward with his impossible fight. It quickly becomes clear this is a comic about the protagonist (antagonist?) trying to overcome an internal struggle. The story is one that is commonly told because it is one all readers can relate to. It is not very often that people think, “I know exactly what Juggernaut is going through,” yet Thompson does a great job of putting us in the villain’s giant shoes.
The finale to Juggernaut is a well done scene that sees the gargantuan character fight his weaknesses in a physical confrontation. The climactic battle is a powerful one and shows that Juggernaut may have found his inner strength but has not found inner peace.
Shawn Crystal’s art is a mixed bag, but this may be intentional due to the nature of the story. In many scenes the heroes take on a malformed Nick Toons look. The lines are very rigid giving the characters a stiff unnatural look. Cyclops in particular does not look very good.
That being said Juggernaut looks incredible. The monster lives up to his unstoppable billing and looks amazing while doing it. The many close ups of the man beast look incredible and the climactic battle which spans a few pages looks especially good.
The ‘Degeneration’ backstory starring Apocalypse continues in Juggernaut. The first part in the Magneto issue was very interesting. Though it was unknown what had happened, it was clear that Apocalypse was going to have to deal with something he had never faced before. It had a sense of dread and tension and had readers worried for the well being of Apocalypse.
The fourth part of ‘Degeneration’ will be another polarizing chapter.. We watch as a very weak version of Apocalypse thinks over his options. More accurately, he is trying to convince himself to stay alive. It is a well written and tension filled issue that culminates in an ending that will go one of two directions. There will be no middle ground and there is still the conclusion.
Geraldo Borges art looks very crisp and this may be the best looking part of the story. After not featuring any art in chapter two, three and four have shown the gravity of the situation. Part four showed a desperation and savvy that added to the character and each page has keeps the reader wonder what will happen next.
X-Men Black: Juggernaut is a mixed bag. Much like Mojo, it uses a traditional situation to tell a great story. The art is hit and miss with some strong scenes balanced by odd looking ones. The issue falls short of the heights of Mojo and Mystique but is still a great addition to any X-Fan’s collection.