What If Musings: Warbound Hulk and the Juggernaut

September 22nd, 2007 by | Tags: , , , ,

So far I think World War Hulk has been pretty great. A good deal of thought has gone into the event, but they didn’t over-think it, like they did with Civil War. I admittedly haven’t read the badly reviewed Frontline (fool me once…) and Gamma Corps, but most of the other tie-ins were pretty fun. I even enjoyed the Ghost Rider arc, so suck on that.

The X-Men tie-in was cool for what it was. It was just a slugfest where Hulk was meant to dominate the entire X-roster. They used this space to develop Juggernaut’s story. Maybe “develop” is the wrong word here. “Rubber banding” is more accurate, unless this is all misdirection and they’re going to keep him good in the long run, as they really should.

Either way, it was an effective subplot. Juggernaut was one of the few major threats to face the Hulk. Only something about it bothered me and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Like with many Marvel comics, my mind likes to come up with possible What If stories based on canon events. It’s a side-effect from that damn list, so cut me slack.

This fall/winter, we’re going to be getting more What Ifs. The ones announced are all based on the big events. What If: Planet Hulk is a trilogy of stories that sound downright orgasmic. What If: Annihilation pushes the events of Annihilation, Civil War and Silent War into one big, unpredictable melee. There’s a two-story Civil War issue based on Captain America either beating Iron Man, or even getting everyone to join his side. Plus What If Vulcan Had the Power of the Phoenix.

What could the eventual World War Hulk story be? It got me thinking.

Go back to the end of World War Hulk #1. Iron Man just tried to take down the Hulk and came relatively close. He underestimated Hulk’s anger and got torn apart for his efforts. Instead of coming to as a prisoner, like in regular continuity, he wakes up on the streets of New York City. Once his eyes focus, he sees the unmistakable sight of Bruce Banner’s body, lifeless and mangled.

Standing over the dead body is the Juggernaut, dented, decorated in blood and smiling wide.

See, that’s what bugged me about World War Hulk: X-Men. Over the course of the event, Hulk has beaten Black Bolt, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Hercules and a bunch of other major names. Hulk didn’t really beat Juggernaut. All he did was get him out of the way for a minute to buy him enough time to go after Xavier.

On the other side, Juggernaut admitted to Cyttorak that he wasn’t in this to save Xavier. He’s in this for the power, to defeat the Hulk and prove to everyone, including himself, that he is the strongest one there is. When Hulk is gone, Juggernaut just leaves and tells Xavier not to have his students follow him. But… Hulk! He didn’t finish anything with the Hulk! Not only was it a draw, but he knows exactly where Hulk is going to be for the next few hours!

Quitting is the same as stopping, and that’s not what Juggernaut is supposed to do.

With Hulk out of the way, the war goes in a very different direction. It’s still no picnic, but the Marvel heroes can still take care of the Warbound and their invasion.

The smoke has cleared and Juggernaut is known as the guy that dropped the Hulk and saved Iron Man’s life. He didn’t care about the latter part, but he’ll roll with it. The media makes a big deal about the Juggernaut’s recent attempt to redeem himself and he gains popularity unheard of. New Yorkers love him for putting an end to the Hulk’s invasion in their neck of the woods. Many of the mutants respect him for not only protecting Xavier, but representing the X-Men and winning it for their side.

Juggernaut has been in England since before the Stamford incident and he isn’t a mutant, so of course he does have to register now. That’s not much of a problem for him, especially since he’s pushed into the big leagues. Juggernaut almost immediately becomes a member of the Mighty Avengers, though I’m sure Norman Osborn would have rallied hard to have him join the Thunderbolts.

Underneath it all, Juggernaut is getting worse now. He’s becoming more and more corrupt due to both his strength and his popularity. In one case, it’s also a little bit of jealousy.

The jealousy stems from his teammate the Sentry. The two obviously have major friction. For Juggernaut, it’s because of the Sentry’s insane power level. He may have stomped the Hulk, but he feels like the Sentry is in his way now. How can you tell yourself that you’re the strongest with the Golden Guardian standing five feet away?

For the Sentry, it’s a mix between anger and guilt. Anger because Juggernaut murdered his good friend. Guilt because it’s partly the Sentry’s fault that this happened. If he didn’t spend all that time moping around, he could have gotten off his butt, fought the Hulk, possibly won and then Banner would still have a pulse.

Xavier is unsure of himself. On one hand, he and Juggernaut have long buried the hatchet and Xavier is safe from revenge attempts. On the other hand, he knows that Juggernaut is past the point of rehabilitation and is slowly becoming mad with power. He wants to do something about it, but it dooms his own safety. Finally, he confronts his brother about it and they get in an argument. Old fires burn again as Cain tries to destroy Xavier.

Only this time Xavier brought the Sentry with him. Just as Sentry is the climactic opponent of World War Hulk, here he is again, to fight Juggernaut in this story’s final battle. It’s two of the world’s mightiest going toe-to-toe. If this was a straight-up boxing match, it could go either way. It isn’t. Juggernaut may be infinitely strong, but Sentry is infinitely strong with the added abilities of flight and super-speed among others. In the end, he has the advantage.

And just what does the Sentry do to gigantic threats like the Juggernaut?

That’s right, he carries Juggernaut into space and tosses him into the sun. As far as he thinks, this would end the story.

Not so much. This is the Juggernaut. Even the sun will not stop him. The Sentry doesn’t notice, nor will he ever, but the Juggernaut goes in one end of the sun and comes out the other.

He lands in the Atlantic Ocean. Or, to be more accurate, an Atlantic Ocean. It doesn’t take him too long to walk to the surface, where a crazed rampage follows. Those he rages against like Xavier and the Sentry are nowhere to be seen on this planet. He has no outlet but the populace itself. Soon cities lie in ruin and heroes must band together in hopes of stopping this angry, unstoppable monster that came from outer space. The story has come full circle.

The Juggernaut has gone from the champion of Earth to the bane of Counter-Earth.

Similar Posts:

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

4 comments to “What If Musings: Warbound Hulk and the Juggernaut”

  1. I’d like to see some kind of mystic inner quest thing where Cain takes on Cyttorak for control of his soul…

  2. THAT is an awesome story!


    Seriously, good stuff ‘Vok.

  4. did hulk defeat ironman? ^-^