Friday, December 02, 2016

To Fight The Unbeatable Foe! (Marvel)
Amazing Spider-man #230 When: July 1982
Why: Roger Stern How: John Romita Jr

The Story So Far...
When Madame Web had a vision of her own impending death -- Spider-man was the only hope in surviving the terrifying ordeal!

It was all a plot was hatched by Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut, who hoped the seer's powers of premonition could help them stay one step ahead of the uncanny X-Men!

Much to his chagrin, the scheme sees the web-slinger in the path of the unstoppable Juggernaut! Removing Madame Web from her chair threatened her life, and led the Juggernaut to abandon his mission. Spidey wasn't about to let the villain simply walk away, though!

Their first brawl across the city ended in stalemate, but now the wall-crawler has picked up the chase, leading him to a final showdown with the unbeatable foe! With the docks in sight, Juggernaut is meters from escape -- will he evade the amazing Spider-man? The classic confrontation concludes here!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Juggernaut 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Spider-man 5 (Professor)
Speed: Spider-man 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Juggernaut 7 (Invincible)
Agility: Spider-man 5 (Cat-Like)
Fighting: Draw 3 (Street Wise)
Energy: Spider-man 2 (Projectiles)

Time to pick up the tab on an unresolved epic! We first tackled this classic battle back in January - surprised to find not one continuous brawl, but rather a terrific two-parter!

The collapse of a building ended their first skirmish in a stalemate, but Spider-man is back on the hunt for the unbeatable foe!

The villain in question is of course: Juggernaut. By reputation, he's known to be unstoppable -- but the profile we've built up over the last twelve months tells a very different story! In fact, in Unlimited Access #1 we saw Spidey himself team with Wonder Woman to best a crossover tag team of Juggernaut & Mantis!

That wasn't the only definitive defeat we documented in 2016. Juggernaut was also stopped by two more team-ups: Hulk & Doctor Strange [Marvel Adventures #14], and Iron Man, Thor & Luke Cage [Thunderbolts #150]. Evidence that ol' Juggernaut may not be quite as unstoppable as you'd be led to believe.

Does that spell victory for the wall crawler? Well, not just yet...

Juggernaut has improved his Fight Club ranking from #330 in January, to his current ranking of #43! You don't make those kinds of gains on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths unless you've earned some wins - and we've seen some big ones!

Juggy smacked around Captain Britain on Cap's home turf [Excalibur #3], gave Captain Marvel Jr a serious clobbering [Unlimited Access #3], and fatally felled Doctor Strange and Magneto in a couple of classic parallel universe battles! He also had a run-in with Spidey's shadowy equivalent Deadpool, which ended in an inconclusive tie with Juggernaut literally on fire, and ready to crush the merc' with a mouth [Deadpool: Sins of the Past #2]!

When last we left today's opponents, Spidey was pulling himself from the wreckage of a fallen building. Juggernaut was nowhere to be seen -- effortlessly escaping the rubble to continue his unstoppable march. A clear indicator of the disparity in damage the pair suffered!

So many of the signs point toward Juggernaut being too powerful for the web slinger to stop, but hope springs eternal. Spider-man has found ways to earn wins against some powerful opposition: Rhino, Venom, CarnageScorpionGrey Gargoyle, Man-Ape. In Marvel Treasury Edition #25, we even saw how his speed and agility could allow him to face down the Hulk - and survive!

History: Spider-man (1-0-1)
The Tape: Spider-man Ranking: Spider-man (#2)

What Went Down...
In hot pursuit of his prey, Spider-man finally catches up with the Juggernaut as he makes a steady line for the docks. The convergence of destinies comes with the sudden revelation that Spidey's fresh out of web-fluid!

The web-slinger tumbles out of the air but makes a graceful landing on top of a gasoline truck! The driver's none too pleased, but is persuaded to leave the hero be when spider-strength does some creative rearranging of a hostile crowbar.

Intent on stopping the villain before he leaves Manhattan island - Spidey jumps behind the wheel of the tanker and plots a course for Juggernaut!

Spider-man gets his foe's attention by honking the horn and wedges the accelerator to the floor! An empty construction site will be the stage for the ultimate battle between unstoppable force and immovable object!

Unafraid, Juggernaut faces the speeding truck with steely determination. Man and machine collide head-on -- igniting into a massive gasoline explosion!

Spider-man watches the blaze from the safety of a shield of girders, still subject to the intense heat. He dares presume the fireball incinerated Juggernaut instantly, but soon comes a dark shadow from within the flame in dispute.

Engulfed in flames - Juggernaut walks out of the fire completely unfazed! A well positioned fire hydrant topples before the heat and lumbering mass of the unstoppable Juggernaut - spewing a mighty torrent of water onto the site.

Juggernaut is literally steaming as he sets his sights on Spider-man and marks him for death! A massive clubbing fist attempts to make the threat reality. It's all Spider-man can do to leap clear of the blow, leaving those steel construction girders to take more damage!

Finding an offense to be the best defense - Spidey vaults over his hulking foe and clings to his still steaming back. His plan is to remove Juggernaut's helmet, but it just so happens it's been laser welded it shut.

Revisiting old tactics, Juggernaut lumbers in the direction of a constructed brick wall. Not wanting to be slammed through it - Spidey covers the eye holes on the immovable helmet. The tactic sends Juggernaut into a literal blind rage!

Giant hands rip at Spider-man's back, but they can't gain purchase enough to pull him off! Spidey's costume tears, but the wall-crawler doubles down on his obscuring hold. He wraps his limbs around Juggernaut's massive body and does his best to absorb the blows!

Juggernaut has no idea he's wandered into the middle of a recently poured foundation! As the sinking feeling becomes clear and the wet cement reaches Juggernaut's chest -- Spider-man summons the strength to leap clear!

Furiously the Juggernaut swats at the sea of cement, but in liquid form the substance shifts around his every blow! Poured forty feet thick at proximity to the river, the gradually hardening foundation sucks him down like quicksand!

Shouting bashfully all the way, Juggernaut slowly disappears beneath the bog. Against all odds - Spider-man found the means to stop the Juggernaut!

The Hammer...
So there it is! After a false start in our earlier spotlight, we come to an exciting conclusion: Spider-man victorious against Juggernaut!

Some may quibble semantics over what it means to win a fight. The rules of pin fall, submission, or count out immediately spring to mind in response. In this instance, Spidey tactically subdued his opponent: a win by any other name!

Of course, it is only a temporary defeat for Juggernaut.
Whether the concrete hardens, or remains soft, he will eventually find his way out of the quagmire. In fact, we know this quite specifically, because we've seen Juggy taking out his frustrations after the fact, when he fought Colossus in Uncanny X-Men #183!

A sense of consequence is one of the things I like most about Juggernaut's appearances in the eighties. Amazing Spider-man #230 is part of a sequence of events that leads Juggernaut into the barroom brawl with Colossus, a rematch against Spider-man & The X-Men both, a team-up against Nimrod, a trip to Muir Island, more fighting with the X-Men, incarceration in Britain, and a fight with Captain Britain (and Excalibur) we featured earlier this year.

None of it is too dense, or obliquely dependent on reading all the issues. There's just a nice consistency to Juggernaut's appearances throughout the decade. Read in succession, it's almost like discovering a separate series away from the pages of Uncanny X-Men and the like. Rewarding for fans - but not necessary to appreciate the issues as they're presented.

Delving into stories and milestones like these has been one of the joys of returning to Secret Wars on Infinite Earths this year. As has picking up the tab on a well known brawler like Juggernaut!

A perennial powerhouse of the Marvel Universe: Juggernaut has always been a popularly sought after character on the site. The classic and curious battles we've featured over the last twelve months have helped elevate him from a site ranking of #761 - to the Top 50! A much more fitting data sample.

There are still many more battles to observe, and I hope we'll be able to get to them all. I recently discovered the joys of late nineties issues of Spider-man, where John Romita Jr revisited this classic rivalry, among others. I think we also have some unfinished business with the Hulk!

In the mean time, take advantage of links included throughout this post for your convenience to discover more from your favourite characters, creators, or series. Check out the Issue Index to dive deeper into all previous entries into the Secret Wars on Infinite Earths!

If you'd like to read this issue for yourself - check out the collected edition via Amazon link provided [right].

If you like what you see on this, or any other entry, be sure to scroll the bottom and hit that G+1 button, or just share the link with your friends! Every little bit helps keep the fight infinite!

Winner: Spider-man
#2 (--) Spider-man
#43 (--) Juggernaut

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