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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where Walks the Juggernaut?

Following a tradition in the 1970s of tying comic books stories to the Rutland Halloween Parade, Amazing Adventures #16 brought Beast to Vermont just in time for the annual event. The tale began on a comedic note, with cameo appearances by members of Marvel's creative staff. But the story turned tragic after the arrival of Juggernaut.

A mystical side effect of the Ruby of Cyttorak, which gave him superhuman powers, trapped Juggernaut in Crimson Cosmos since X-Men #33. Inside another dimension, Juggernaut encountered Dr. Strange, who too was imprisoned at the time but managed to escape (Dr. Strange #182).

As Juggernaut remained trapped, he acquired a prescient knowledge of events on Earth. He knew that exactly one year after an abduction of Dr. Strange (Marvel Feature #2), Beast would be in Rutland on October 31. That degree of symmetry would allow Juggernaut to magically escape.

Unlike the other opponents Beast faced during his run on Amazing Adventures, Juggernaut already knew that the hero had grown fur since his days with the original X-Men. Through experience, Beast knew he could disempower Juggernaut by removing his helmet. But when he finally succeeded, Beast was astounded to witness Juggernaut age rapidly—yet another side effect of the villain's magical origins. To escape death, Juggernaut returned to the Crimson Cosmos.

There was unintentional subtext to the storyline. By stating explicitly that one year had passed between the Rutland Halloween adventures, the tales situated the characters in real time—a storytelling trope best ignored under scrutiny since comic book characters routinely age much more slowly than real people.

When Juggernaut next returned to Earth, magic forces of the other dimension restored him to his normal age (Incredible Hulk #172).

Amazing Adventures. Vol. 2. No. 16. January 1973. "… And the Juggernaut Will Get You … If You Don't Watch Out!" This message brought to you as a public service by the titanic team of Steve Englehart (writer), Bob Brown (artist), Frank McLaughlin (inker), and Charlotte Jettter (letterer); in cooperation with Marie Severin (caricaturist), Glynis Wein (colorist), and Roy Thomas (editor).

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