The Juggernaut

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Contents

Facts

  • powers: Superhuman strength, stamina, and durability
    Regenerative healing factor
    Force field generation
    Ability to become almost unstoppable while in motion


The Juggernaut (Cain Marko) is a comic book character from the Marvel Comics universe. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist/co-writer Jack Kirby, the character first appeared X-Men #12 (1965#July). A popular character, Juggernaut has fought the X-Men in several animated series and video games, including in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand in which he was played by Vinnie Jones.

Juggernaut is the stepbrother and childhood bully of X-Men founder Charles Xavier. His name is a reference to the biblical character Cain, who killed his brother and received a "mark" (hence Cain Marko). Despite the great mystical power Marko was granted with the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, and the potential danger that he poses to his step-brother's team, the X-Men, Cain has used his abilities in a form that characterized him more as a petty thug than as a super-villain. Unlike Magneto, Mister Sinister, or Apocalypse, who devoted themselves to an ideology, Juggernaut's motivation was primarily greed. During his lengthy criminal career, the Juggernaut has amassed a notable amount of wealth. In the 2000s issues of X-Men comic books, Juggernaut underwent a crisis of conscience and joined the X-Men; he was also a member of the European offshoot New Excalibur.

Publication history

Juggernaut first appeared on-panel in Uncanny X-Men #12, although his presence was sensed by Professor X in the previous issue.

Although appearing as a villain in the Marvel Universe since 1965, Juggernaut had his own one-shot in the late 1990s and was formally a hero and main character in New Excalibur.

Fictional character biography

Background

Cain Marko was born in Berkeley, California. He is the stepbrother of Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men. His father, Kurt Marko, married Charles' wealthy mother Sharon after the death of her husband and Kurt's business partner Brian Xavier. Kurt physically abused Cain and drove Sharon to alcoholism. Cain held a special contempt for his stepbrother Charles, jealous of the better treatment he received from his father, and the academic and athletic achievements which cast Cain completely in Charles' shadow. Cain was further humiliated when Xavier's burgeoning mental powers made him aware of his insecurities and abuse at the hands of his father. The revelation to Cain that Xavier used a superhuman advantage to surpass him all this time was a major factor in Cain's hatred towards his brother.Uncanny X-Men #12, 1965, Marvel Comics, writer Stan Lee Uncanny X-Men #429, 2003, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen

Cain was sent to a military boarding school due to his lack of discipline, and later served in the U.S. Army. While serving together in the Korean War, Cain and Charles stumbled onto the ancient temple of Cyttorak, lost for centuries. On an altar Cain saw a huge red gem, the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, and immediately grabbed it. Upon the gem was an inscription, and he read it aloud: "Whosoever touches this gem shall be granted the power of the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak! Henceforth, you who read these words, shall become ... forevermore ... a human juggernaut!".Uncanny X-Men #12, 1965, Marvel Comics, writer Stan Lee

The cavern collapsed. Charles was able to escape, but it took Cain years to dig himself out as he underwent the transformation. Cain seethed with rage at his stepbrother and, after finally emerging from the mountains he was buried under, set out to hurt Charles as much as possible.Uncanny X-Men #12, 1965, Marvel Comics, writer Stan Lee Uncanny X-Men #429, 2003, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen

Criminal life

The Juggernaut became a professional criminal and fought the X-Men when he first encountered them, and was rendered comatose.X-Men Vol. 1 #12 He soon regained consciousness and temporarily gained psionic powers. He battled the X-Men, and allied with Factor Three, but became trapped in the extra-dimensional realm of the Crimson Cosmos.X-Men Vol. 1 #32-33 He soon returned to Earth, and learned of Charles Xavier's supposed death at the hands of Grotesk, but was then sent back to the Crimson Cosmos. He battled Doctor Strange while there.Doctor Strange Vol. 1 #182 He eventually escaped the Crimson Cosmos completely, and battled the newly mutated Beast. He was revealed to be aging rapidly as a result of his time spent in the Crimson Cosmos, and claimed that the antidote to aging was a constant mental focus on hate.Amazing Adventures #16 After that, he battled the Hulk for the first time.Hulk #172

He has primarily fought the X-Men, but he has also been at odds with other heroes of the Marvel Universe, such as Spider-Man, the Avengers, Deadpool, and the Incredible Hulk (One of the few heroes capable of giving the Juggernaut all he can handle in a head-to-head confrontation).

Cover of Uncanny X-Men #12. Art by Jack Kirby.
Cover of Uncanny X-Men #12. Art by Jack Kirby.

Often accompanying him during his travels was his friend the mutant mercenary known as Black Tom Cassidy, whom he met when they were both in jail at the same time. Sharing a hatred for family members - Juggernaut for his stepbrother, Professor X, and Cassidy for his cousin, the X-Man known as Banshee - the two became close friends. When they got out of prison, they became partners and first battled the "new" X-Men.X-Men #101-103 Juggernaut then battled Spider-Man for the first time.Amazing Spider-Man #229 Marko later tried to share his power with Black Tom, but Cassidy was displeased with the physical effects of the power to his body, and the two Juggernauts were subsequently defeated by the combined forces of Spider-Man and a group of X-Men, with Rogue managing to drain off Cassidy's Juggernaut powers. The power of the Cytorrak is mysteriously divided and diminished when possessed by more than one host. To prevent anyone from invoking the power for themselves, which would weaken him in the process, Cain hurled the gem into space.Marvel Team-Up #150

Later, the Juggernaut became engaged in a bar fight with Colossus.Uncanny X-Men #183 He then battled Nimrod.Uncanny X-Men #194 After that, he battled Captain Britain and Excalibur.Excalibur #3 Juggernaut then battled Thor and the New Warriors.Thor #411-412

During the Onslaught disaster, it was Juggernaut who bore much of the brunt of Onslaught's rage - perhaps unsurprisingly, since the monster was after all composed mainly out of Charles Xavier's feelings of anger, frustration and hate. When Marko first encountered the being, he was knocked clean across the United States with a single blow, and later, when Xavier revealed himself as Onslaught, he apparently reached through Juggernaut somehow, pulling forth the Crimson Crystal and temporarily trapping him inside it.

Later, the Juggernaut and seven other beings were revealed to be a part of the Exemplars, who, like Cain, were living manifestations of the power of various mystical entities. The eight beings were entranced and coaxed into battling each other in order to determine the entity that was supreme. A possible effect of the battle could have been the destruction of the Earth, but it was prevented thanks to the intervention of Professor Xavier, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Thor. The Juggernaut then defeated the other Exemplars earlier than planned, thus thwarting the plan.

The Exemplars later united against Juggernaut and managed to kidnap him. The Avengers- consisting of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Wonder Man, the Scarlet Witch, Firestar, Justice, the Wasp, and Giant-Man, aided by Hercules, Quicksilver, Nova and Spider-Man- intervened to try and rescue the Juggernaut; as Captain America pointed out, they couldn't allow the Exemplars to execute people no matter who they were. Despite their combined might, the assorted heroes were almost totally defeated by the Exemplars, but Captain America managed to convince them that their minds had been altered by the process that gave them their powers; only Juggernaut was the same as he'd been before because the process that created him had been interrupted. With this revelation, the Exemplars departed to try and find their place in the world, and, grateful at having been saved, the Juggernaut agreed to go to prison willingly, especially to avoid having to fight the Avengers.

Redemption

While in prison after a battle with Generation X, Marko was abducted by the sentient Celestial ship, Prosh, and enlisted into a mission to help save mankind and mutant-kind. Along with a select few, his mind was transported back in time at different points of his life where, he was told, he would discover clues that would help him in his mission. During this period of self-reflection, he often found himself witnessing parts of his life where he was trapped (buried under rubble, stuck in cement, in prison, etc.), which made him realize that he had wasted his entire life. It was later discovered that Prosh itself was the threat to the world (as it had been programmed by the Celestials to attack humanity), and so Marko united with the others selected and together they defeated the ship.

An offer from the Commission on Superhuman Activity came to become their headhunter. In exchange, he would be pardoned from his past crimes.X-Men Forever #1–6, 2001, Marvel Comics, writer Fabian Nicieza Nevertheless, Black Tom talked to him afterwards and he took up the life of a mercenary with him again.Cyclops #1, 2001, Marvel Comics, writer Brian K Vaughan

Later, the two friends found themselves in severe danger; Black Tom had been suffering from a virus that was converting his body into plant-matter, while the Juggernaut's power was reduced due to his patron deity Cyttorak withdrawing his energies. The two formed a deal: Juggernaut pretended to reform, trying to appease Xavier and thus become an X-Man. If Tom managed to recover, they both planned to conspire and destroy the X-Men from within. X-Men #162, 2004, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen

Juggernaut with the X-Men, on the cover for X-Men Vol. 2 #161. Art by Salvador Larroca.
Juggernaut with the X-Men, on the cover for X-Men Vol. 2 #161. Art by Salvador Larroca.

The two staged a battle, in which the Juggernaut requested the X-Men's help, but Tom turned on Juggernaut, as he went mad due to his transformation. In the battle, the Juggernaut helped the X-Men defeat Tom (who then faked his death) and after the battle Xavier asked his stepbrother to return with them to the mansion.Uncanny X-Men #410–412, 2002, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen While at the mansion, Juggernaut began to change when he befriended a young mutant boy from Canada named Sammy Paré particularly as both had similar backgrounds, including an abusive father.<ref name="uncannyxmen413">Uncanny X-Men #413, 2002, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen Uncanny X-Men #416, 2003, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck AustenAfter helping the X-Men on several occasions, he and Xavier started to reconcile their differences,Uncanny X-Men #429, 2003, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen and Xavier let his stepbrother join the team (though many of the other members were less willing to forgive, either ignoring or trying to get rid of him).

When Sammy's mother learned how he had befriended a dangerous criminal, she had the authorities take him home.Uncanny X-Men #421–422, 2003, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen Cain later went to Canada to see how Sammy was doing and he arrived just in time to see a bruised and battered Sammy who had been violently beaten by his father (as well as a neighborhood bully who Sammy had fought while calling himself the Juggernaut). Furious at the parental abuse, Marko proceeded to brutalize Mr. Pare, and Mrs. Pare called the Canadian super-team Alpha Flight to stop him. During the battle, she too was knocked unconscious, and after realizing what he had done Juggernaut allowed himself to be arrested.Uncanny X-Men #432-434, 2003-04, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen While in prison, Marko stopped the supervillain Rhino from escaping, instead of using the opportunity to escape himself. This, along with a plea from Mrs. Pare, who stated that various reports to the police of her husband's abusive nature had been ignored, and nothing had been done about it until the Juggernaut came (coupled with his interest in Sammy) helped reduce his sentence. Juggernaut was ordered to undergo many hours of public service, along with court monitored therapy sessions for his anger management problems that stemmed from his own history of abuse from his father. Uncanny X-Men #435-436, 2004, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen

Black Tom Cassidy resurfaced, having gained enough control over his new powers (but now resembling a humanoid tree). Juggernaut joined Tom's new Brotherhood of Mutants but he intended to betray the group by warning the X-Men. Sammy stumbled upon a Brotherhood meeting and presumed that Juggernaut had return to his old ways and thus he began to make a racket. Annoyed, Black Tom killed the boy which enraged Juggernaut who subsequently tried to kill his former friend. When the Brotherhood were sucked into a black hole by the second Xorn, Juggernaut accompanied them to make sure Nocturne (another defective member of the Brotherhood) would be safe and to make sure that the Brotherhood did not try to attack the mansion again. X-Men #161-164, 2004-05, Marvel Comics, writer Chuck Austen

Marko ended up in Mojoworld and became the property of Mojo along with Nocturne. To escape, Nocturne took control of Mojo's henchman, Spiral, and opened a portal to the X-Men's Danger Room, where they were reunited with the team. This, however, was a trap set by Spiral, who was in more control of her body than they thought, and she left a portal open that allowed Mojo to cross over as well. Mojo turned the X-Men into X-Babies, but nevertheless, they managed to overpower his forces. Juggernaut, still feeling guilty over Sammy's death and how Sammy felt betrayed before dying, wondered upon staying as a child and starting life anew. Storm comforted him and convinced him otherwise and thus Juggernaut remained with the team.Uncanny X-Men #460-461, 2005, Marvel Comics, writer Chris Claremont

New Excalibur

In the wake of House of M, in which the majority of the mutant population was depowered, Juggernaut joined the New Excalibur team in London. New Excalibur #1, 2006, Marvel Comics, writer Chris Claremont In a recent conflict, Juggernaut came face to face with Black Tom Cassidy (who lost his tree-like mutation during Decimation) holding a young girl hostage. Deciding to negotiate instead of fight, Juggernaut convinced Cassidy, who felt remorse for killing Juggernaut's friend Samuel Pare, to turn himself in.<ref name="newexcalibur7">New Excalibur #7, 2006, Marvel Comics, writer Chris Claremont Angry with his weakened powers, Juggernaut traveled to Cyttorak's temple in South Korea. When he demanded to have his power restored, Cyttorak revealed that Cain Marko had never been intended to become the Juggernaut at all, and that the ancient god had instead intended for Charles Xavier to become his avatar. Although he told his New Excalibur teammates that he had not taken the gem, it was revealed that he in fact had.New Excalibur #13-15, 2007, Marvel Comics, writer Frank Tieri

Juggernaut and Nocturne have grown quite close, though not as of yet romantically involved, after their time together as moles in Black Tom's Brotherhood, in Mojoworld, and now in New Excalibur. Possibly complicating matters, Juggernaut has also developed a crush on Dazzler, a fellow teammate. However, before this can lead to anything, he leaves the team after the victory on AlbionX-Men: Die by the Sword #1.

World War Hulk

Cain, and the rest of Excalibur, discover that the Hulk has come to the X-Mansion to collect Xavier (for his part in the Illuminati), and has already beaten several X-teams that have attempted to stop him.

Cain asks Cyttorak to have him transported to the battlefield at full power, in turn agreeing to whatever the god asks of him. However, upon arriving and engaging the Hulk in battle, Cain soon discovers that he's still at his weakened state, and is promptly defeated. Cyttorak then informs the beaten Cain that the latter himself is responsible for his own weakness, for trying to use the god's intrinsically evil power for heroic purposes, and denying his own selfish desire to prove himself and thirst for destruction. Finally accepting his role as Cyttorak's avatar to its fullest extent, Cain returns as the Juggernaut in all his former glory, and engages the Hulk in a second round. The two fight causing structural damage to the mansion. Eventually the Hulk used his cunning and Cain's own unstoppable nature to remove Cain from the battlefield by tricking him into charging into a nearby lake, giving the Hulk enough time to complete his mission before Cain's return. After the conflict has concluded, with the Hulk inevitably leaving without Xavier, Cain dismisses Xavier's attempts to thank him for his aid, and warns that nobody should come looking for him after he leaves, lest they not like what they find.

Powers and abilities

Juggernaut is a magical avatar of the supernatural entity Cyttorak; he gained superhuman powers through the transference of mystical energies from Cyttorak via a magical gemstone, the Ruby of Cyttorak. (Because of his association with the X-Men, Juggernaut is often mistakenly labeled a mutant.) The ruby bonds to his soul and alters his being, giving him power comparable to the Hulk and Thor. The Juggernaut possesses untold mystical power which enhances his strength to an unknown degree and makes him a seemingly irresistible, unstoppable being. He has the mystical attribute of being completely unstoppable: once he gets into motion in a given direction, no obstacle or force on Earth is able to stop him. Some obstacles, for example many tons of rock, or forces such as plasma-discharge cannons slow his pace considerably. Only enormously high levels of power have stopped him from advancing. The Juggernaut is also vulnerable to certain mystic forces of sufficient strength.

Besides giving him vast superhuman strength, the mystical energy of Cyttorak gives the Juggernaut an extraordinary degree of resistance to all forms of injury. The Juggernaut can also shield himself even further from injury by mentally surrounding himself with an impenetrable force field. Enveloped by this field, the Juggernaut had been seen to survive the fiery explosion of a truck transporting a huge quantity of oil without any injury whatsoever. The Juggernaut can survive indefinitely without food, water, or oxygen thanks to his being sustained by his mystical energies alone.

When transformed into the Juggernaut, Marko wears a costume made of unidentified indestructible fabric and materials. His helmet and skullcap are constructed from an unknown metal with mystical properties which shields him from all forms of psionic attack or probes. The helmet he wears gives him protection from Charles' telepathic powers. In order for Charles to be able to affect Juggernaut, the helmet must be removed.

In the past, the Juggernaut has temporarily possessed telepathic abilities and certain mystical powers, all of which he has since lost or forgotten. For a time, the Juggernaut lost most of his power, becoming mortal again. But he has been restored to his original power levels.World War Hulk: X-Men #3

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In the Age of Apocalypse, Juggernaut abandons violence and seems obsessed with Xavier's death. He goes by the name of Brother Cain and has become a monk, a complete pacifist. He dwells in Avalon, with Destiny. He functions as a guide to Avalon, meeting people at a waypoint that Mystique brings them to. When Avalon is attacked by Apocalypse's Pale Riders, Cain initially refuses to fight. A furious Nightcrawler then tells him that everyone in Avalon will die if he doesn't help to battle the invaders. Cain struggles with the decision, but falls and dies before he can act - seemingly killed by an aneurysm, a victim of his own mental conflict.

Exiles

The Exiles encounter an alternate Juggernaut in a world where all superhumans have been jailed or exterminated. Cain Marko has been detained for years in a maximum-security prison, held immobile so that he cannot use his powers. He is freed by his brother Charles Xavier, who is an anti-human extremist in this reality, becoming the first member of Xavier's murderous X-Men.

Marvel vs. DC

Juggernaut makes a cameo in the first issue of Marvel vs. DC, suddenly transporting from a battle with the X-Men to Metropolis. Superman knocks him down with one punch.

Marvel Zombies

An alternate Juggernaut briefly appears in the Marvel Zombies series. Infected with the zombie virus, he is one of a horde of supervillains seeking to feed on the corpse of Galactus. Their attempt is unsuccessful and a zombified Wolverine uses his newly acquired Power Cosmic to decapitate Juggernaut, taking advantage of his lack of armor on most of his body.

MC2

Juggernaut is the father of Zane Yama, a.k.a. J2. For years Juggernaut was stuck in another dimension, but managed to return to his wife and son.

Ultimate Juggernaut

Ultimate Juggernaut. Art by Tom Raney.
Ultimate Juggernaut. Art by Tom Raney.

In the Ultimate Marvel continuity, not much is known about Cain Marko. What is known is that he grew up in the same trailer park as Rogue did and does not seem to be related to Xavier in any way. He refers to himself as "trailer trash" at one point, but also points out that because he grew up in a trailer park people often underestimate his intelligence. Ultimate Juggernaut seems to be a regular mutant with super strength and durability, with no mystical background to his powers.

At some point in his life he was incarcerated by Weapon X and forced to act as a living weapon under the direction of Col John Wraith. Juggernaut was part of the strike force that took out the X-Men, forcing them into Weapon X as well. When The Brotherhood removed the security implants that were prohibiting the mutants from leaving their cells, Juggernaut fought for his freedom. After the entire ordeal, Cain was offered a place with both Xavier's X-Men and The Brotherhood. Cain chose The Brotherhood, but has apparently since left the team for parts unknown. In the Ultimate X-Men 2005 annual, Juggernaut was bonded with a gem stolen by Rogue and Gambit called the Cyttorak Gem. Though its full repercussions are unknown, Juggernaut did describe himself as feeling "better than ever". He also revealed that he had a crush on Rogue, whom he grew up with and shared a cell with while in the Weapon X program.

His trademark helmet was made for him by Weapon X. Able to track anyone who has ever been in the Weapon X program, it was destroyed by Gambit when he battled Juggernaut in Las Vegas. In Ultimate Secrets # 1 it is revealed that, after Gambit was fatally injured, the Juggernaut escaped.

In other media

Television


  • Juggernaut again appeared in three episodes in the later series X-Men: Evolution, voiced by Paul Dobson. This version was Xavier’s half-brother, a mutant whose powers were awakened by mysticism. In this series, his strength and intelligence are significantly less than in other continuities, although he can still throw tanks and other vehicles, and he was still described as unstoppable. In all of his appearances, he was released from his prison by Mystique. In the first he attempted to attack Professor X, so Mystique could steal Cerebro. In the second his prison unit was sabotaged by Mystique to draw Xavier away from the institute- Xavier's presence was required to keep Juggernaut out of action while the prison was repaired. In the third appearance he went on a rampage while Xavier was left in his place in stasis in prison, leaving the X-Men to stop him attacking a dam; he is defeated when Cyclops unleashes the full power of his optic blasts against their foe, giving Rogue a chance to steal some of his power. She then throws him into the air, allowing Iceman to freeze him into a block of ice, and he falls into the river.

Film

Vinnie Jones as the Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand.
Vinnie Jones as the Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand.

In X-Men: The Last Stand, Juggernaut (played by Vinnie Jones) serves as one of Magneto's Brotherhood Alliance army. In this version, he is a mutant, and his connection to Charles Xavier is not made explicit.

His helmet, as opposed to the dome with three holes (one for each eye and another for the mouth), instead appears to be a steel version of Magneto's which leaves his face exposed (There is also no mention of the helmet protecting him from psychic attacks as it does in the comics and as Magneto's does in the films). Juggernaut first appears in the mobile prison convoy, but is freed by Magneto. Reading from the prison records, Pyro states that, if allowed to build any momentum, he cannot be stopped, explaining why he can't be simply chained down. Once freed, Juggernaut joins Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. How he was captured and imprisoned to begin with is never stated. The extent of his powers are also in question, as he states he could not reach Alcatraz as he cannot swim, but that could simply mean that he doesn't like getting wet, not that he requires air.

He is involved in two battles. He faces off against Wolverine in Jean Grey's old neighborhood (During deleted scenes on the DVD, he is shown to be capable of surviving being stabbed by Wolverine's claws in various parts of his body, although the blows do penetrate him rather than his skin just being invulnerable). Later, during the attack on Alcatraz Island, Magneto sends Juggernaut to kill Leech, a mutant who is the source of the reviled "cure" for genetic mutation. X-Men's Kitty Pryde outwits him, using her phasing power to trap him in the ground. After breaking free, he is knocked unconscious when he attempts to ram a wall, unaware that Leech had nullified his power. Whether he died when The Phoenix disintegrated most of Alcatraz Island or was simply taken back into custody is unknown.

Spin-off

Vinnie Jones, who played the Juggernaut, has said he would like to reprise his role in a spin-off, as he felt there was too little time in X-Men: The Last Stand to imbue the character with depth.

Video games

Juggernaut as a playable character in the video game X-Men Legends II
Juggernaut as a playable character in the video game X-Men Legends II

Juggernaut has appeared in various X-Men video games spinoffs:

  • He appeared in the X-Men arcade game, as the boss of Stage 5, guarding the gathering of the Egyptian-style temple, and wielding a bazooka; and returns later in stage 7 as the fifth and last of five sub-bosses, after Master Mold, inside of Avalon, Magneto's base in Asteroid M.
  • Juggernaut appeared as an enemy in X-Men Legends voiced by John DiMaggio. A flashback level featured the X-Men preventing Juggernaut from reaching Professor X.
  • John DiMaggio reprises Juggernaut who is a playable character in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. In this game, he is shown as one of the latest members of the Brotherhood of Mutants.

References

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