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Uncanny X-Men #194

February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day. I celebrated by eating Easter chocolate. I suppose that’s just what you do when you’re single. Sigh, woe is me, whatever. By Claremont and JRJr, “Juggernaut’s Back In Town”

Juggernaut's Back In Town

Rogue’s had worse looks.

Juggernaut’s walking down the street, in civilian clothes, and the cops are looking for him in his costume. A TV reporter is talking about him, and notes that the X-Men and Spider-Man recently fought him, and also notes that, despite being labelled outlaws, they always jump in to help people. At the school, everyone’s sleeping. Nightcrawler wakes up to the news report, and hides under the covers, wanting to let someone else handle it. Kitty groggily phases her hand through her alarm so she can get more sleep. Colossus is already wake, having been too sore to get any sleep, and when he hears the news report, he anticipates a chance to fight Juggernaut again. Rachel is thinking about how screwed she is, living in a world where he mom’s already dead. Rogue’s in the shower, enjoying a song by Nazgul, and thinking about how the X-Men have earned a day off. Wolverine’s enjoying a morning run, and when he gets back, he tells Nightcrawler it’s time they headed after Juggernaut.

Out in Kenya, some people are at a bush station as a rest during an expedition. One of the men, Andreas, is hitting on the woman who runs the place, and he won’t take no for an answer. Storm interrupts, and Andreas tells his buddies to deal with her. She whacks them with her staff, then gets tackled by Andreas. She hits him, and his sister draws a gun. Storm throws a knife, then grabs a fallen hunting rifle and tells the group to leave. Storm doesn’t need powers to be a badass. The woman she saved recognizes her as the goddess.

Back in New York, Cain is in a bank. Not robbing it, just conducting business. The X-Men are keeping an eye on him, but they’re perfectly content to leave him alone as long as he behaves himself. The peaceful day is brought to an end by Nimrod. He’s there to kill Juggernaut and the X-Men. He sends Juggernaut flying into one of those construction sites that are always handy for big battles. I kinda think Manhattan in the MCU probably just has a handful of construction sites where they’re not actually building anything, they’re just there for superheroes to use for fights and stuff.

The X-Men follow Juggernaut and Nimrod, and while they wonder which side to take, Nimrod makes the decision for them by attacking Nightcrawler and Colossus. Rogue and Wolverine pull a Fastball Special (Fastball Special Tracker: 12), but Nimrod has a force field. Juggernaut attacks again, but Nimrod knocks off his helmet and attacks him with sonics. Kitty tries to phase through him, but is knocked away and stunned. Rachel dumps a ton of steel on Nimrod, and Rogue admires her ruthlessness, but Kitty doesn’t think Nimrod’s down. She does have a plan, though, and she manages to flop her head against Rogue’s skin to make the plan clear. Rogue phases down to where the others were buried, and absorbs the powers of Nightcrawler and Colossus.

Nimrod climbs out of the wreckage he was buried under, and Rogue attacks with a girder. Then she grabs Nimrod’s arm and teleports it off him. She’s hurt, but so is he, and she keeps attacking. But he starts pulling back together, before teleporting away. Juggernaut wakes up, and Rogue tells him to get going. He doesn’t even thank her for the X-Men saving him. Rogue spots some news crews, and the X-Men slip away.

Epilogue! In Russia, Colonel Vashin is being told about the fight. The news is apparently depicting the X-Men as the bad guys, who aided Juggernaut in escaping, while Nimrod is hailed as a hero. Vashin’s deeply concerned about how the Americans are treating the X-Men. They’ve put their lives on the line to save the world often enough, and he worries that by trying to make them villains, the US is pushing the world towards Armageddon. It’s years before Vashin shows up again, so this scene is pretty much pointless. Claremont abandoned whatever plan he had.

This is a pretty good issue. Not one of the better issues, but good. Lots of fun action stuff. Cool fighting. Nimrod presents a very tough opponent, able to fight the Juggernaut and the X-Men all at once, employing some good strategies and some raw power. We see him analyzing them, but we don’t really get much of his thoughts beyond that, which feels like a shame. It would’ve been nice to get a little more of his personal thoughts on what he was doing. Maybe it’s just because I know how he was developed later on. Nimrod is the first in what will become an increasingly long list of villains whose badassery is shown by beating up Juggernaut. The Worf Effect, as TVTropes calls it. The little character moments for the X-Men early on were pretty fun. I loved Kitty phasing through her alarm clock. That actually could’ve set up a great running gag. This issue also features the debut of Andreas and Andrea Strucker.

You know, I mentioned the Fastball Special Tracker earlier. It kinda amazes me that, after 10 years and 100 issues, there were only a dozen instances of the Fastball Special. Can you imagine that? These days, it’s not uncommon for two books in the same week to include a Fastball Special, but back then, it might be months between instances. Crazy.

There’s also Power Pack #11, by Louise Simonson and June Brigman. They follow a kitten into the sewer, and get attacked by alligators. The end of the issue has a Morlock find the books they forgot behind. This sets up the events of the next issue, and the next issue of UXM.

I also want to mention Thor #356, by Bob Harras and Jackson Guice. I want to mention it because the issue is all about Hercules and it’s awesome. It’s hilarious, and very sweet, and just great stuff.

Song of the day: Ooh La Baby by Galia Arad.

  1. The Fastball Special almost feels more special when it’s rarely used. Sure, it’s still fun (She Hulk fastballing Wolverine after commenting on his butt in Dan Slot’s She Hulk run comes to mind), but they almost have to make light on it or up the ante these days.

    Also, Nimrod is hardcore.

    • It’s not like the Fastball Special was treated as special when it did show up. It was treated as a fairly run-of-the-mill tactic. And yeah, Nimrod was definitely powerful. But he was actually most interesting when he wasn’t an antagonist.

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