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Jan 8

Juggernaut #5 annotations

Posted on Friday, January 8, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

by Fabian Nicieza, Ron Garney & Matt Milla

COVER / PAGE 1: Juggernaut and D-Cel fight the Warden’s bees.

PAGE 2: In memoriam page.

PAGE 3: The recap page, ending the series with a white colour scheme.

PAGE 4. Flashback: Juggernaut discusses D-Cel with Professor X.

Throughout this series, D-Cel has insisted that she isn’t a mutant, despite other characters repeatedly claiming that she is. Juggernaut wants to get her to Krakoa, but everyone seems to agree that she has to make the decision to call on Krakoa first. This isn’t exactly the approach that we’ve seen the Krakoans take with more powerful mutants, but… well, it’s D-Cel. The Krakoans probably have better things to do than hunt down minor mutants who don’t want to come anyway.

Aside from Cain’s longtime partner Black Tom Cassidy, the mutants on these pages all seem to be randoms.

PAGES 5-7. Juggernaut and D-Cel break into the Dungeon Max Penitentiary.

D-Cel is still live-streaming, hence her running commentary.

Dungeon Max turns out to be a flying prison; this installation is merely aa teleport gate. The nearest town is identified as Tucumcari, New Mexico – a small town in terms of population, but still the largest stop on Route 66 between Albuquerque and Amarillo.

PAGES 8-12. Juggernaut and D-Cel confront the Warden and learn that the prison is flying; Juggernaut tries to get D-Cel to claim asylum.

The Warden seems to be new. The basic idea here is that the private supervillain prison is monetising the exercise further by experimenting on the prisoners, or at least taking useful samples from them. Not only does the warden seem familiar with the detail of Juggernaut’s armour, but he also recognises the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak – he’s evidently up to speed on this stuff.

They also seem to think outside the box in terms of what might be useful. Their guards apparently have powers copied from the Toad and Swarm, both characters traditionally treated as ludicrously unimpressive. The Toad is a X-books lackey dating back to the Silver Age. Swarm debuted in Champions #14, and is a Nazi made of radioactive bees, a premise that people have consistently found difficult to take seriously.

The combination of their powers here involves Swarm’s… well, Swarm’s bees with Toad’s paralysing saliva – which is indeed an established part of his power set, though an obscure one.

PAGES 13-14. Flashback: D-Cel admits that she’s a mutant.

D-Cel’s basic story is that when her powers emerged, it caused a car crash that wiped out her family; she wants her powers to have an external cause so that she can disavow her feelings of responsibility for that. It’s been obvious throughout this series that D-Cel was determined not to acknowledge being a mutant, though this feels a bit perfunctory as a reveal – why does she tell Cain now?

The Blue Swallow Motel is real (and the establishing shot is based on a photo on their website). It’s a restored 1950s motel on Route 66, and TripAdvisor rates it as the best hotel in town.

“Some oldies station”. “Hey Ya” by Outkast came out in 2003.

PAGES 14-15. D-Cel agrees to claim asylum on Krakoa.

She uses her real name for the first time.

Nicieza seems to be setting up Dungeon Max as recurring villains, though since this is a miniseries, it’s not clear where we might expect to see that.

PAGES 16-17. D-Cel is collected by the Krakoans.

The working of the gates is a little wonky here – the gates don’t just spontaneously appear, they have to be grown first. The third person with Charles and Black Tom isn’t identified and I don’t recognise the costume.

The lesson Cain seems to draw from all this is not to let his powers define the way he lives his life; he seems to be saying that devoting his time to D-Cel has at least given him a focus that kept him honest.

PAGES 18-20. Juggernaut sets up his new team.

Juggernaut is forcing Arnim Zola and Primus (seen in the previous issue) to help reconstitute Quicksand (seen in issue #3), apparently with a view to helping Primus and Quicksand reform. His idea seems to be that they need to find a similar cause to D-Cel in order to give them focus. It’s a bit random, honestly, and it’s hard to see where this is going to get followed up.

Bring on the comments

  1. CitizenBane says:

    If Brian Braddock and Shogo were allowed on Krakoa, why is Xavier so inflexible with the “mutants-only” rule when it comes to Cain? Just say “I don’t trust you”.

    As I recall, Cyclops unilaterally gave the Champions asylum on Krakoa, and none of them are mutants.

  2. Chris V says:

    My guess is that this is revenge on Cain for everything he did to Xavier.
    This is a bitter Xavier.

  3. Bryan F says:

    “Nicieza seems to be setting up Dungeon Max as recurring villains, though since this is a miniseries, it’s not clear where we might expect to see that.”

    This is Fabian Nicieza we’re talking about. He would set up loose ends and recurring villains on his deathbed.

  4. David Goldfarb says:

    And Northstar’s husband Kyle. Which, come to think of it, makes them shutting out Franklin Richards after he lost his powers decidedly odd as well.

  5. Joseph S. says:

    Is this the final issue? Feels like Nicieza is setting up a new Thunderbolts style book. Maybe he’s just putting it out there for whoever else to play with, maybe they have definitive plans, but seems a bit vague for an ending.

  6. Chris V says:

    Why would Franklin come to the island though?
    It caused problems with the Fantastic Four, whom didn’t want him on the island.
    He has no family/lovers on the island to give him reason to stay there.
    The only reason Krakoa wanted him was because they thought he was an Omega-level mutant and those are Krakoa’s “greatest natural resource”.

  7. NS says:

    Was it just me or did it sound like Cain was restarting the Thunderbolts, a team of villains trying to be heroes that he was apart of for a short time? I’d definitely pick it up if so.

  8. Luis Dantas says:

    If I had to guess, I would guess that Xavier and the other Quiet Council members have refused Cain permission to live in Krakoa because his helmet makes him impervious to mental powers.

    There are ways around that, of course, but Cain could very easily become a significant factor if some sort of disquiet arises in Krakoa.

    I have numerous times expressed my incredulity when faced with the volatility of Krakoa’s status quo, so I can see Xavier realizing at some level that he ought not to sponsor Cain’s citizenship if he could help it. He would eventually become a (powerful and troublesome) pawn of someone like Sebastian Shaw, Exodus, Mister Sinister… you name it.

    Of course, that may also be a hint that Krakoans are being widely mind-controlled, as has been hinted often enough before… and frankly, that has very nearly been proven by the very fact that it has lasted months in the form that it currently has.

  9. Chris V says:

    I don’t think they are being mind-controlled. They aren’t acting enough like a collective consciousness, like you’d expect.
    We’ve seen more and more characters pursuing their own agendas as the set-up has continued.

    Shaw killing Kate.
    Sinister doing whatever he wants.
    Apocalypse setting up the Arakko mission basically alone.
    Cyclops deciding to rebel, to an extent.
    Mystique refusing to finish the Nimrod mission.

  10. Rybread says:

    I thought the 3rd person at the end might be Manifold? And maybe he somehow used his teleportation powers to make the Krakoan gate appear? But I’m not really sure how that would work.

  11. The Other Michael says:

    I liked this story, but it felt either hasty or abruptly shortened. I wonder if the original plan was for something longer, but it was then changed to be a mini, and rather than come up with something else, Nicieza just sort of compressed his plans to fit the new length. Because I could easily see this concept being stretched out for a full year to build up the confrontation with the Warden and the formation of the new Juggerbolts or whatever.

  12. YLu says:

    “But my real tease is that it ends up being a wonderful thematic twist to the then-new status quo I tried to set up for Juggy the last time I wrote him!”

    Anyone know what Nicieza is referring to there?

  13. Allan M says:

    Best guess: Nicieza wrote X-Men Forever in 2001, which ends with Juggernaut being released from prison, working for the Commission of Superhero Activity as a superhuman bounty hunter. Didn’t really take, and I believe his next significant use was joining the X-Men under Austen. Not sure if Nicieza has written Juggernaut much since then.

    Given that the enemy of this new kinda-team is a sketchy prison warden, this seems like what he’s referring to. From working for the prison system to opposing it.

  14. Liam D says:

    I really like where this issue leaves Juggernaut. I think it’s a really clever way to square his character development with his role in the Marvel Universe.

    By this I mean: trying to Stop The Juggernaut is a rite of passage for new characters. Here’s the toughest bad guy around; he won’t deliberately try to kill you, but it’s nearly impossible to influence his actions. Other characters have sometimes taken on that role as well, but none so iconically as Cain.

    But over the past couple of decades, he’s grown as a character until he no longer had any reason to do the things that would cause Spider-Man to need to trap him in cement. This is especially the case now that Black Tom can no longer serve as a bad influence.

    Giving him Cracking Open Prisons as a main motivation allows Reptil or whoever to try to stop him from doing crimes, while still keeping him sympathetic (or even heroic, depending on a given comic’s view of the carceral state).

  15. QB says:

    I tend to view Xavier not sponsoring Juggernaut very simply — Xavier, despite his nobility, doesn’t have it in him to forgive Cain for the abuse he experienced at their childhood.

    We saw when Cain returned from the Ultraverse that the very first thing Xavier did was beat the shit out of him as Onslaught.

    He may know in his head that Cain has changed, but victims aren’t always inclined to forgive abusers. Nor should they be required to. However, Xavier may have a hard time admitting that to himself or anyone else because it’s contrary to his own personal philosophy.

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