Tuesday, May 20, 2014

That's Torn It!

Even though catching Ben Grimm in a bar fight--outnumbered but still cleaning house--is pretty much worth the price of an issue, we're still talking about Ben Grimm, not the Thing. And Ben, as good a fighter as you'd expect him to be, isn't likely to bring the entire bar down around him.

These two are.

This all-out brawl between Peter Rasputin and Cain Marko (Colossus and the Juggernaut, respectively) takes a little explaining--even for the X-Men, who usually need no excuse for trouble to find them. Things start proceeding in that direction after Peter breaks up with Kitty Pryde, following his affair with the woman Zsaji during his time off-world in the Secret Wars series (the less said about that, the better). Word of Peter's meeting with Kitty makes its way through Xavier's school, and reaches one person in particular, who decides to conduct his own brand of intervention:

Needless to say, Peter and Logan are headed out. But Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) has an idea of what Wolverine has planned, and invites himself along--though whether he'd be "wingman" to Peter or Logan remains to be seen:

While Peter is seeing to the first round, the tone of the evening is already falling into place, and it becomes clear to Kurt that Logan's will is going to prove no less formidable in his civilian identity than it is when he's in costume.

Whatever Wolverine's intentions, the story still makes clear that these three are friends, and this is Logan's way of having Peter face up to some harsh truths about his actions (though it may come to more than that).

And speaking of "harsh," Logan discovers a possible complication to the evening when his senses pinpoint another patron in this bar who happens to be one of the X-Men's most deadly enemies:

Wolverine's caution is warranted--but, you don't really expect the X-Men to avoid trouble with Juggernaut, do you?

Only Wolverine at this point knows who Peter is facing, so there's still a chance of Peter settling this amicably, which is indeed his first instinct. But Marko, as we know, isn't an amicable person, and he has his own way of balancing the scales:

And so Marko, at least, realizes who he's now up against. But Peter can't yet say the same--nor can Kurt, who, to both our amusement and Logan's, is worried about the wrong person's safety:

Despite the haphazard way that things have worked out (with a definite emphasis on "hazard" here), the all-out fight that's ensues falls in with Logan's plans for getting Peter to work all of this out of his system, now that Peter is already bitter about the subject. Too bad that Marko has his own plan for Colossus, with Monahan's Bar on its way to being collateral damage:

I've often wondered what it is about Juggernaut that makes him such a powerful threat when he's not in movement--almost invincible, really. Here, he wears no armor--he has no helmet, uses no force field, builds no momentum to be a "juggernaut"--yet Colossus (Colossus, mind you) seems to be fighting an uphill battle with him, just as he's always done with Juggernaut. Cytorrak's gem has effectively made Marko invulnerable, it seems (though the Hulk would differ)--enough to overwhelm a mutant who, while having a fighting heart, doesn't appear to be much of a colossus.

As the fight looks to become more serious and less a novelty to be wagered on, the bar's patrons finally exercise their common sense and vacate the premises--one of them being Marko's bar squeeze (who would turn out to be none other than the deadly Selene, so he unknowingly owes Peter his thanks for interrupting the danger he was in):

As a result, Marko's evening out is a bust, and he can think of none better to take his frustration out on than an X-Man:

You'd think the X-Men sitting this fight out would now intervene, given the level of damage and the fact that it's getting worse--an understatement, considering who's involved. What does the Juggernaut care about causing major damage to the area, if it should come to that? Hasn't Logan's point been made by now? Apparently not:

As if on cue, Juggernaut proceeds to end this fight with Colossus, as well as any thought that Monahan's Bar might be open for business again anytime soon:

Since Marko has no way of knowing that Monahan carries "super-hero insurance," that rolled wad of bills had better come to about $200K if he's really sincere about compensating the owner for damages. As for Colossus, he's feeling a little damaged himself, especially since his friends left him to fend for himself:

From our perspective, it's difficult to connect Wolverine's intent and methods with what we're really talking about here: Peter's severing his romantic ties with Kitty. Getting the stuffing knocked out of him by Juggernaut (or Wolverine, depending on who got to him first) wasn't likely to give Peter any insight to his actions toward Kitty--the two seem to be mutually exclusive. Nor is it even clear (as Logan seems to think it is) that Peter has acted impulsively or even irresponsibly, certainly not to the extent of receiving a brutal smackdown as either punishment or penance.

Hopefully the next Marvel bar fight we take a look at will make a little more sense. And when it involves Hercules, how could it not!?


Colin Jones said...

No Nightcrawler yet again in the latest X-Men film - it beats me why they'd leave out one of the X-men's most interesting and original characters. It just shows that the people who write and produce these things are no comics fans, whatever they claim in interviews - sigh :(

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this look back at this Uncanny issue of the X-Men. I know that Marvel's Secret Wars has taken many well deserved punches but it's nice to see how some writers were able to really use those issues to make their advantage.

Seeing the panels of Logan and Peter's first interactions made me immediately say "YES, that's how Logan should look. Not Hugh Jackman-like but short, gruff and flat out mean." I really had to think about how tied I am to that version of Logan. I have to steal from Colin: It just shows that the people who write and produce these things are no comics fans, whatever they claim in interviews!!! But then again, I loved this issue and there's not a single hint of the old creative team. I stayed with the book and still loved the book. Maybe I should take a deep breath and judge the movies on their own merit, not at how close to the comics they are.

And I just caught Juggernaut's use of the "potato head" line. Russian=vodka=potato.

The Prowler (could feel his heart grow three sizes today).

Comicsfan said...

Colin, the continued omission of Nightcrawler is indeed puzzling--the character and the actor playing him seemed to be a hit. Perhaps they just want to mix up the cast as much as possible between films, and there's only so much dialog and so many action shots in a two-hour film to go around.

Prowler, I see your point, though I happen to like Jackman in the role and can overlook him being a little taller. The essence of Wolverine at least comes through in the films--and not only Wolverine but all of the X-Men characters (Xavier included) seem to be adapted for film audiences, who really only get them for the duration of one film every two years rather than 12 issues per year that have the luxury of taking their time developing characters.

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