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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

All I can say is: it's about damn time.

Cain Marko is a human juggernaut. Once he begins moving in a certain direction, no power on Earth can stand in his way. Scientists would classify him as an "irresistible force" - and when he gets a head of steam, there's no object he can't move. The Juggernaut possesses untold power, mystical in nature, which enhances his strength and grants him an extraordinary degree of resistance to all forms of injury. Once he begins moving in a certain direction, no force on Earth can stop him - only slow his pace. Sustained by the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, Cain Marko can survive indefinitely without food, water or oxygen. However, Juggernaut is vulnerable to magical forces of sufficient strength. Without his helmet, constructed of an unknown mystical metal, he is susceptible to psionic attack.

Juggernaut is one of the X-Men's oldest foes, and also one of their newest allies. Never really an extremely malicious villain, Juggernaut faced up to the error of his ways and has recently joined the side of the angels - on a provisional basis.

One of the first X-Comics I read featured Juggernaut, and I've been a fan of his ever since. He's tangled with some of the biggest names in the Marvel Universe - Thor, the Avengers, Spider-Man, the Hulk - and he's always come out on top. Well, for a little bit, anyway.

Like most of the Marvel Legends, this is far from the first time Juggy's had an action figure. He showed up in the very first 1990 series of the X-Men line, and had made a few more appearances over the years. But out of all the Juggernauts, none has even come close to this level of excellence!

Standing 7¾" tall, this is the largest Marvel Legend released to date - just looking at the way he's crammed into the packaging tells you what a powerhouse he is. He absolutely dwarfs everyone else, just as he should. Cain is articulated at the neck, shoulders (balljoints and pull-outs), biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, thumbs, fingers (with separate index finger), torso, waist, hips, knees, boots, ankles and toes: 40 points all together.

The finger joints are hindered a bit by the big metal bands that run across Juggernaut's hands - in fact, their articulation is contained inside those bands. The four-way torso joint (just like the Hulk movie figures) can get pulled around by all the upper body weight it has to support, but it's not really loose. He's far too thick for a torso joint like Colossus had.

The sculpt on this bad boy is great - it's not like Juggernaut has a complex costume, but he actually looks believeable as a nine-foot guy in a big red metal suit. The figure is actually a pretty extensive retooling of Phil Ramirez's "Savage Hulk" from the Hulk Classics line that came out earlier this year: only the upper torso, shoulders, and forearms (between the elbows and gloves) are reused. The paint is a little bit browner than he's usually shown in the comics, but it's not unheard of. His armor shows evidence of battle, and every little seam and rivet is detailed here.

The figure's helmet is removable, which is only the third time that's been a feature: the first was in 1996's X-Men Light-Up Classics line, and the second was from X-Men: Evolution. The helmet has small pegs on either side that help hold it in place, and it can be slipped under the "collar" in the back for a nice tight fit. Awesome! Beneath the helmet, Cain's got an appropriate mocking look on his face - the guy's the ultimate big bully, and he definitely looks the part here.

Juggernaut escaped the early '90s trend of turning villains into "kewl" heroes - Sabretooth, Venom, we're looking at you - and his recent switch to the ranks of law and order came more out of actual character growth than anything else.

The change really began in Fabian Nicieza's X-Men Forever miniseries, a trip through the X-Men's 30+ years of history that, among other things, forced Cain to examine his life. The change wasn't immediate, and it may not be permanent, but it makes sense.

Like most of the Marvel Legends, Juggernaut comes with a detailed base. His is reused from ML1 Hulk, a shatted concrete wall. To help make it more specific to Juggernaut, ToyBiz added some twited iron bars and a plaque naming Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters - this is now the X-Mansion's front gate! The remains of it, anyway. There are footpegs on the base, but they're of no use for this figure. Big as he is, a base wouldn't really have been necessary, but it is nice that they included one.

Juggernaut comes with a reproduction of X-Men #13, the second part of the story that introduced him. While there have certainly been better Juggernaut stories, this one does a good job of showing off all his powers - issue #12 focused on his origin. Interestingly, this isn't a straight reprint; when they went back to the presses, Marvel changed something from the original printing. Bonus points to anyone who can guess what.

-- 09/12/04

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