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by yo go re

One of the things Hasbro said it wanted to do with the Marvel license was bring back some of the characters fans had a hard time finding the first time they were released under ToyBiz. Whether it was a new version or a plain re-release, they've done a decent job of keeping that promise. The newest addition to the ranks is my favorite villain, the unstoppable Juggernaut.

Powered by the magical energies of the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, no force on Earth can stop the Juggernaut once he starts moving. His strength is immeasurable, and he is nearly invulnerable to any form of damage. In a straight fight, Spider-Man is no match for him. The wall crawler will have to use every trick he's learned from years of fighting supervillains to stop the unstoppable Juggernaut!

It may seem like putting Juggernaut in the Spider-Man line is just a sign of desperation, a poinless pairing calculated not to make any sense, but just to get the figure out the door and onto shelves. Well, if that were true, would it really be so bad? Any excuse to get a Juggernaut, right? Besides, once the plans were in motion, it's not like anyone could stop them. [Is that your sad idea of a joke? --ed.] It's a moot point anyway, because Juggy belongs here: he and Spider-Man have fought before, in Amazing Spider-Man #229 & 230, a battle considered one of Spidey's ten best. So selling him as a Spider-Man toy? Hell yeah, bring it on!

The previous Juggernaut figure (discounting the movie version and that weirdo X-Men Classics thing) was released in Marvel Legends 6, notorious for being the rarest series in the line's history. So yes, we desperately needed a new version of him.

The first thing you'll notice is that this Juggernaut is much smaller than the ML6 version. He's shorter, he's thinner... he's better proportioned, but he's not as massive. He's still more than 7" tall, but considering the size of some of Spidey's previous enemies, it does feel a bit short to me. But then, maybe I'm just playing favorites. He's definitely been drawn different sizes over the years, so this was probably one of them.

Juggernaut's articulation is done in the Hasbro style: balljoints aplenty. The head is a ball and socket, so you can pop it off if you so choose (for whatever reason); the shoulders, elbows, hips and ankles are regular balljoints, and the ankles also have an extra swivel immediately above the ball; the torso is hinged, and the knees are doubled; the waist, thighs and (most unexpectedly) the wrists are all plain swivels. It's enough for most poses - the last version's fingers weren't really necessary, and the torso never really wanted to stay in place - and although his arms are a little too stumpy, it's not a major problem.

The sculpt is very nice. Juggernaut's costume has some subtle textures, and the stripes on his torso are raised details. The veins on his arms and hands nearly pop out of his skin, and the lower edge of his helmet has rivets to hold it on his shoulders. The metal has nicks and cuts, and has been sculpted (or cast or forged or whatever you do to mystic armor) with a furrowed brow - it's magic, maybe it actually flexes to reflect his moods.

Sadly, while the helmet is removable, it doesn't stay in place very well. The ML6 version's helmet fit under a collar on his shoulders, which locked it in place seamlessly and held it on securely. This one? Falls off. Easily. Its lower edge is shaped to fit perfectly with the neck, but there isn't enough friction to hold it there. On the plus side, beneath it he's wearing a little skullcap - since that's something we've specifically talked about before, getting it here is a nice easter egg, and almost make the loose helmet worthwhile.

Since Juggy isn't a Marvel Legend, he doesn't have a fancy base or a BAF piece or anything else - it's just Cain Marko by himself, with his helmet. But really, that's enough. He plays well, give or take a few joints, and he looks very nice. ToyBiz's Juggernaut had big, poorly painted veins, which this one avoids, but that's a symptom of the overall simplified paint apps. Nothing major is missing - he's red and brown, with pink skin, white teeth and crazy blue eyes - but there aren't any sort of extra paint details on the armor, to add depth to the scrapes and dings.

If you weren't one of the lucky few to get the ML6 Juggernaut, then by all means, this release will fill that hole in your collection excellently. If you did get the last one, well, this version is entirely different. He's not as big, but he still has a nice look about him. Plus, he's a hell of a lot easier to find. The question isn't whether you should pick this one up, but whether you could really resist: Juggernaut is unstoppable.

-- 05/11/09

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