The Crimson Gem of Cyttorak transforms those who touch it into the Juggernaut, the armored and violent avatar of the mystical entity the ruby is named after and one of the most unstoppable forces in the Marvel Universe. Over the years, the power wielded by the Juggernaut has been unleashed upon and occasionally even aided the X-Men. Originally wielded by X-Men founder Charles Xavier's step brother Cain Marko, who served as both enemy and ally, and later by longtime member Colossus, who took up the mantle of the Juggernaut when Marko was corrupted by another mystical being during "Fear Itself."
At present, Marko, Colossus and the world are free of Cyttorak's curse, but that all may change in January's "Amazing X-Men" #15 by writer Chris Yost and a to be determined artist, which kicks off "The Once and Future Juggernaut" arc announced yesterday by Marvel at their "Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy" panel during New York Comic Con. CBR News spoke with Yost about the upcoming arc which spotlights Colossus, his love for the Juggernaut, and the X-Men that will battle to keep the resurfaced Ruby of Cyttorak from falling into the wrong hands.
CBR News: Chris, with "Amazing X-Men" #15 you kick off a story that reintroduces one of the X-Men's most dangerous foes, the Juggernaut. What made you want to bring the character back? What do you feel the character and concept of the Juggernaut adds to the X-Universe and the Marvel Universe as a whole?
Chris Yost: Juggernaut was always one of the classic X-Men villains. He was always great because he really was unstoppable. That was his whole deal. No matter what the X-Men did physically they could not stop him. The only thing they really could do was take his helmet off and have Professor X zap him.
He also had ties and history to the X-Men. He's the step brother of Charles Xavier and was created in the early Stan Lee days. It's always great to be able to play with those characters, but even more so he's been at a crossroads for a long time.
He's lost the power on a numerous occasions; after the whole "8th Day" thing and Colossus took it. So Cain Marko is still strong and big, but he's no longer the Juggernaut.
In this story we're really going to examine the idea of the Juggernaut in a bigger sense. It's a fun and exciting idea, and it lets us examine some emotional baggage left over from Colossus' return. That's kind of the big idea behind this arc.
As you mentioned, former Juggernauts Cain Marko and Colossus will both figure prominently in this arc and I wanted to talk about both of them starting with Cain. It's been awhile since we've seen Cain and since then one of his biggest motivations for attacking the X-Men, his step brother, has died. What can you tell us about Cain's physical and emotional states when we first see him in this arc?
When we find him he's almost at peace. He's leading his own life now and separated himself from all the super villain and super hero stuff. He's not in that world anymore. When he hears that call from Cyttorak I think his reaction is going to surprise a lot of people.
It sounds like that's a way to acknowledge Cain's previous and recent heroic events from books like "Thunderbolts" without burying people in continuity.
Yes, Cain has been through some stuff. We've seen him in the X-Men books as a member of the team. He saw the true evil of Black Tom as his partner. I think during that run Cain faced up to what he was and made a choice not to be that. In this arc he'll be confronted with another choice, and that's going to be part of the fun of it. Nobody knows what he's going to do especially after he first runs into the X-Men again and has an extreme reaction.
In a way it's like Cain's an addict who's been living clean and sober and the call of Cyttorak is his first major temptation?
Yeah. He's tasted that power. So it's going to be a hard thing to step away from. Obviously, it was taken away from him, but he's got the chance to get it back. He can become one of, if not the, most physically powerful people on the planet again. I don't know that most people could resist that in general, and Cain Marko is not necessarily a person with the strongest moral fiber.
Like Cain, Colossus also went through a tough time when he was the Juggernaut and things only got worse for him in "Avengers Vs. X-Men" and its immediate aftermath. Lately he seems to be doing better though. So what does the reemergence of the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak mean for him? How motivated is he in this story?
He's highly motivated. He's the one that brings the problem to the X-Men's attention. He wants to go after the Gem and Storm immediately puts the brakes on and says, "Whoa, whoa whoa!" A lot of Colossus' recent history has been about the trouble he's had handling a lot of power. So the concern is that if he gets near this thing the situation is going to go bad.â€¨When Colossus first came back in "World War Wendigo" [the current arc of "Amazing X-Men" written by Yost and Craig Kyle] they immediately had a crisis situation to deal with. So the X-Men didn't have a whole lot of time to deal with what he had been doing; the Phoenix Five and X-Force situations. Now though they have some time and when presented with the idea that Colossus could gain a whole bunch of power in this escapade every one kind of takes a step back and asks, "Can we trust Colossus?"
That's hard for Colossus to handle because every step of the way he's tried to do the best thing, but now he realizes that people just don't trust him.
Let's move to some of the other X-Men in this story. One of the fun things about "Amazing X-Men" is you can pick your team on a story-by-story basis from the characters at the Jean Grey School. You mentioned Storm, but what else can you tell us about the X-team that takes the field in "The Once and Future Juggernaut?"
The team that Jason Aaron set up is a ton of fun. You've got a lot of great visuals and great powers.â€¨Storm is absolutely going to be there. Rachel Gray is going to be there. Iceman and Firestar are going to be there. Colossus of course gets grounded, and is specifically forbidden from coming on this mission. So who's the next strongest guy that they've got? Storm picks the team very strategically, but there are a few members where she doesn't have any other choice. They need a strong person.
So we might see you once again writing a fan-favorite character from your "New X-Men" days, Rockslide?
You might. He's a fun character-- [Laughs] Rockslide will be in there. So you will see some New X-Men characters. It's not going to be a big change from the last arc, but we might pop in a few new faces.
Let's talk a little more about the complications the X-Men will face in this story. How does this arc get rolling? And will Cain and the X-Men be the only characters searching for Cyttorak's gem?
There will absolutely be other characters after it.
The story kicks off literally in the fields of Southeast Asia where the ground starts to rumble, light shoots out of the ground, and a temple rises. It's a major magical event that happens in a very secluded spot, but Cyttorak is very purposefully demanding an avatar on Earth. So the call goes out and it's going to be heard by lots of people, not just the ones who wielded it before. It's almost like a strongman competition.
So you're going to see some of the most powerful people in the Marvel Universe coming after this thing. They aren't necessarily heroes though. Cyttorak wants an avatar that he can manipulate. He doesn't want Captain America or Thor. Those guys would resist him.
Finally, "The Once and Future Juggernaut" kicks off a new year in "Amazing X-Men." What can you tell us about the stories you have planned after it?
The mission statement of "Amazing X-Men" is to tell big, fun adventure stories. I definitely have some characters and things in mind that I'd like to explore, but really with this book we're having fun in the moment. One character I have been thinking about quite a bit is Blink. So assuming I don't get kicked off the book you might see Blink down the road.
"World War Wendigo" was really a big action movie. With "The Once and Future Juggernaut" we'll have that epic scale action that you'd expect, but I'm also going to get a lot more into the character bits too. So you're going to see the relationships really come to the forefront with the massive action of the story being in the backdrop. Hopefully it's the best of both worlds.
"The Once and Future Juggernaut" kicks off in "Amazing X-Men" #15 this January.