WARNING: This article contains spoilers for X-Men Black: Juggernaut #1 by Robbie Thompson, Shawn Crystal, Rico Renzi and VC’s Joe Caramagna, out now.
X-Men Black has been highlighting prominent mutant villains as they undergo pivotal changes that will see their status quo shift in the upcoming Uncanny X-Men relaunch this November. We’ve already seen Magneto, Mojo and Mystique in previous issues, and this week it’s Cain Marko's turn. The Juggernaut has always been unstoppable, but, now that he’s had a power upgrade from the demon Cyttorak, Juggernaut is also potentially unbeatable.
We last saw Juggernaut in the pages of Thor #1, where the God of Thunder tested out many of his new hammers as he brought down Cain Marko. Since that defeat, Juggernaut has been with the disciples of Cyttorak, training to look within himself to find a way to truly earn the right to be called unstoppable. As the issue begins, we see him fighting against the original five X-Men, but already Marko knows that something isn’t right.
This feeling is further compounded when he sees a younger version of himself appear next to him, giving him advice. At first, Juggernaut thinks that this is another one of his step-brother Charles Xavier’s tricks to get inside his head, but then he realizes there’s something bigger going on here, and that nothing around him is real at all. As he fights against the X-Men, the reality of the X-Mansion warps around him until the truth of the situation is laid bare: Cain Marko is being tested in the Temple of Cyttorak in Thailand, and the disciples around him come to a startling truth: Juggernaut is weak.
Despite being helped by the child version of himself, Juggernaut is still holding back. When he comes face to face with the vision of the demon Cyttorak himself, he has to face the fact that in some way he’s always been holding back. This in itself is a scary thought. Up until now, the Juggernaut has been one of the most physically powerful beings that the X-Men have ever faced, but now Cyttorak is telling him that there’s more strength still within him.
By undergoing what the disciples call a Dream Binding, Cain Marko is able to not only confront the demon Cyttorak, but his own demons. These specters goad him, stripping him of his helmet and of the Gem of Cyttorak -- the item that gives Juggernaut his powers -- and yet, by calling upon this untapped strength, Cain Marko is still able to punch out Cyttorak. As the demon lays bleeding in front of him, Juggernaut is surprised to see Cyttorak start to laugh. The demon tells him that this was all a test, one which Juggernaut has passed.
By passing the test laid out before him, Juggernaut is more powerful than he’s ever been. However, even though Cyttorak now deems him worthy, there’s an unintended side effect. Knowing now that his strength comes not from the Gem of Cyttorak but from his own rage, Juggernaut swears that the demon that tested him will pay for what he’s been put through. The child version of himself remains in his head to remind him that the rage is a part of him, and if they work together, perhaps one day they can make Cyttorak bend to their will. This new Juggernaut, free from any mental restraints or feelings of subservience towards Cyttorak, may finally have earned the right to be called unstoppable.