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‘Juggernaut #1’ (review)

Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Ron Garney
Published by Marvel Comics

 

Is it just me, or does this issue feel … slight?

I’ve felt this way about modern comics for a while now, that original home of serialized entertainment suffers as it looks and feels more and more like TV shows.

As the comic books have become farms of intellectual property for the parent company to turn into a TV show or movie, many more of the issues are written like 15-minute installments of a prestige TV show. Big on mood and pretext, while small on, I don’t know, things happening?

Juggernaut picks up with our boy Cain Marko doing demolition grunt work for Damage Control, the agency that cleans up the collateral property destruction after superhero activity. Juggernaut appears to literally be going through the motions, running through the walls of derelict buildings.

But it’s the kind of routine, ex-villain gig you’d want to have after Magik snatched your mystic power gem and hurls a scrawny, de-powered you into limbo. Am I right, fellas?

Of course, Juggernaut happens upon a group of homeless teens squatting in those abandoned structures. He attempts to get them out peacefully, and meets a squatter whose powers allow her to slow down all kinetic matter. Quite a match for the guy who can’t be stopped once he gains a head of steam.

After a bad accident, the teenaged girl offers Juggernaut a way to make it up to her, something that promises to get us more of that classic Juggernaut action in the next issue.

That all sounds intriguing, right?

And, it is, as a premise. However, I think the storytelling could have unfolded in a more engaging way. I like my comics with a little more script, a little more words to them, unless the story is illustrated so strongly that words don’t matter.

For me, there wasn’t enough story there.

The flashbacks to Marko in limbo provide some clues to his state of mind, though. Maybe old pros Fabian Nicienza and Ron Garney are planting the seeds for Marko’s journey out of limbo and regaining his gem and armor (or new gem, new armor?) in order to dovetail with his character arc in the main plot.

Garney’s art has a lot of heavy inks that suggest realism, while still using some standard comic book posing and styling. It’s not full-on Michael Lark, but I hope he can go there on the action set pieces that are destined to come because, hey, it’s a series starring Juggernaut.

Juggernaut #1 shows promise as the start of what could be a pretty good run of stories. I would have liked some more meat to this one as its own episode. But keep reading. Especially if you want to be hip before John Cena or someone plays him on a Disney+ show.

 

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