By Chris Arrant
Fear Itself bears down on every corner of the Marvel Universe, and each hero has a choice to make. In UNCANNY X-MEN one of the team’s most benevolent members, Colossus, makes a deal to save his friends that will change his life forever.
With mystic hammers falling into the hands of some of Earth’s most powerful beings, the Juggernaut uses his for an ultimate battle with his enemies in the X-Men that begins in July’s UNCANNY X-MEN #540.
“Cain Marko marches towards San Francisco, with an aim to stomp the runes of The Serpent into its face,” says series writer Kieron Gillen. ”What is he after? Well, that's definitely a wait and see.”
Although Colossus and the X-Men have faced off against The Juggernaut on numerous occasions, Cain Marko wielding a new magical hammer to go with the mystical gem that has traditionally empowers him more than doubles the threat.
“The Worthy were all serious threats anyway,” notes Gillen. “With Juggernaut possessing his hammer, acting as Breaker of Stone, you've got something that's on a higher scale once again.
“With my first arc, ‘Breaking Point,’ I wanted to write something structured to keep the majority of Utopia's inhabitants off the table. The threat was one man with a knife. With this, I wanted to have a threat which could take the best every single X-Man could throw at it. I wanted to underline the word unstoppable until my pen cut through the paper.”
The real question for these Fear Itself issues of UNCANNY X-MEN becomes how to stop someone who’s unstoppable. For that, the X-Men look to the source of Juggernaut’s core powers: the demon Cyttorak himself.
“Over on JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and THOR I've had a lot of experience writing demons and devils of various character; but Cyttorak isn't a demon like Mephisto, all faux-charm and seduction,” the writer explains. ”Cyttorak is a destroyer, a creature of pride and destruction. At the moment, he's sitting and watching the chaos on Earth with what passes for a smile. The fact that the smile passes becomes right at the heart of the story.”
To stop the monster that Cyttorak’s gem fueled in the first place, Colossus comes to the magical being looking to make a deal. As for the exact nature of that bargain, Gillen says it’s simple but with a twist.
“It’s the same deal as ever: ‘Whosoever touches this gem shall possess the power of the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak! Henceforth, you who read these words, shall become forevermore a human juggernaut!’” he recites. “Though it's not that Piotr is the sort to actually make that deal.”
A deal like cannot be taken lightly. If Colossus does indeed choose to accept, Gillen promises it’s not something trivial or easily forgotten.
“Colossus is a character who's always leaned towards sacrificial,” he reminds. “He's the sort of person who'll give up something for someone else, no matter what the cost. And this is that abstractly good character leading him into a very bad place.“Traditionally, The Juggernaut has been written primarily like any other super-powered character origin. He finds a magic gem and becomes The Juggernaut! Except Cain, personality-wise, has generally been in line with Cyttorak. Piotr isn't that guy. The reference point I've put in the scripts for the artist isn't anything from the traditional super hero canon, it’s ‘The Exorcist.’ This is a deal with a devil and trying to live with it.”