Friday, December 11, 2015

Juggernaut vs. Thor--Round Two!

The first match-up between the mighty Thor and the unstoppable Juggernaut was a little indecisive, don't you think? Especially since Thor was afflicted by bouts of dizziness and weakness thanks to his evil step-brother, Loki. It took a little teamwork with the New Warriors to send Juggernaut packing--to an asteroid in outer space, that is, which ended his threat for the time being.

For any other villain this side of Dr. Doom, you'd think that finding yourself on an asteroid in the depths of space would end your threat forever; after all, what would any of us do if we found ourselves on an asteroid? Well, likely suffocate moments after our arrival, but you get my drift. But Juggernaut catches a break--and catches a ride with some aliens who transport him to their world, where he seizes power and enjoys a comfortable role as ruler. That is, until Thor shows up with Excalibur, the latter looking to account for Juggernaut after Loki freed him from his British prison. But while Excalibur deals with the forces of the former despicable ruler who's looking to regain his throne, Thor goes looking for Juggernaut in order to bring him to justice, by force if need be--while Juggernaut, as usual, isn't impressed!

Thor gets right to it, unleashing the full force of his hammer--which as a rule is enough to lay waste a few city blocks, and probably one or two armies for good measure. But Juggernaut has a force field that makes the one used by Sue Richards look sick by comparison, and it allowed him to handily fend off Thor's attacks in their first encounter. Will history repeat itself here?

Not if Thor has anything to say about it--and to put the two of them on more equal footing, he sees to it that Juggernaut's invulnerability is cancelled for the duration of the fight. Which won't be for long, since Thor must retrieve his hammer in a minute's time or revert to his mortal form. In that time, however, we get a battle that does both of these men proud.

(Whoa--it's Mr. Fantastic subbing for Thor in that last panel!)

With all due respect to Thor's power, it's difficult to say at this point whether or not he could have actually laid out Juggernaut with his last punch. With hammer in hand, he likely could have ended the battle in half the time; but hand-to-hand, Thor has a point when he says that you have to admire how Juggernaut stayed on his feet, however unsteadily in those closing seconds.

Regardless, Juggernaut is still on his feet, and he plans on regaining the momentum now that his field is in operation again. Unfortunately, he's going to discover he has a flight to catch, albeit an unscheduled one.

It's never good when a writer/artist team ends an anticipated rematch between two characters in virtually the same way as they did the first--particularly since writer Tom DeFalco began this story by having Thor feeling responsible for dumping the problem of Juggernaut on an unsuspecting race. Here, Thor doesn't appear to give any thought to the possibility of the same set of circumstances being repeated. Excalibur, for what it's worth, seems to have no problem with how Thor has settled the situation.

Thor and the Juggernaut would clash again in the future, though you've probably gotten a fair idea of how their battling plays out by these encounters that DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz have orchestrated. Keep that in mind the next time you look up in the sky at night--because chances are one of the specks of light you spot will be the Juggernaut hurtling by, yelling "I WAS ROBBBBBBEDDDDDD...."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And that cover looks like another homage to Thor vs. Hercules from Journey Into Mystery which I first read in the 1974 Thor Treasury Edition...but I didn't get my copy until August 1977.