Marvel Madness

That Time the X-Men Got In a Drunken Bar Brawl

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If these Marvel Madness posts I do had a patron saint, it would obviously be my main man Doctor Victor Von Doom. But if anyone was coming in second I would have to say that it had to be Cain Marko, the Juggernaut. His inclusion in a story isn’t as sure-fire a sign of goofy quality as Doom is, but if you learn that Juggernaut is going to be making an appearance in a book, it’s probably going to be pretty fun. Which I guess makes sense, the dude’s an all-powerful doofus whose main ability is just being stubborn and being able to never be stopped. He’s just a big old lummox that the heroes of the Marvel universe have to occasionally come across and try to avoid more than anything else. So what better way to start off 2017’s batch of Marvel Madness stories than one where Wolverine gets Juggernaut to beat the bajesus out of Colossus  in a seedy bar, just to teach Colossus a lesson? None that I can think of, unless there’s also a story floating around out there where Dr. Doom gets in a bar fight, which would be pretty spectacular.

Now, before we get into the plot, there’s a little context that needs to be given, because while this issue is pretty self-contained, it’s a direct effect of the original Secret Wars event. In case you have never read the original Secret Wars before, do yourself and favor and check it out, because it’s absolute nonsense. The Beyonder basically kidnaps a bunch of heroes and villains, makes a patch-work planet from all sorts of different worlds, and sits back while the heroes and villains punch each other. And one of the dozen plots going on in the even was the introduction of an alien woman named Zsaji whose world got stuck on Battleworld. She has the ability to heal people, but as a side-effect makes them fall in love with her. So after a particularly trying battle, she’s needed to use her abilities to save Peter Rasputin, Colossus. Which means that he falls in love with her, despite being in a fairly committed relationship with Kitty Pride, who didn’t get to come to Battleworld. Zsaji ends up dying on Battleworld before the heroes make their way back to Earth, but the effects of her powers still linger, and when Colossus returns to Earth with the rest of the X-Men he finds that he still loves Zsaji, and feels nothing for Kitty Pride anymore. Which is where this issue starts off, with Peter breaking up with his long-term girlfriend on a cliff-side while talking about aliens.

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If you’re concerned at the amount of soap opera drama in those panels, don’t worry, the bar fight is coming, but we need to establish the emotional stakes first. Kitty is obviously crushed that the man she loves has come back from an alien world telling her that they’re through, but Kitty is a strong woman, and acts like it’s all going to be okay. She tries to convince Peter that this is ridiculous, and things can go back to the way they were before, but he remains steadfast and says that their relationship is over. So Kitty just marches away from Peter, and returns to the X-Mansion, where everyone is pretty pissed at Peter. Storm watches Kitty reenter the mansion, and has some thoughts about whooping Peter’s ass for hurting Kitty, but instead goes to chat with Rogue for a while, who has just joined the team.

Meanwhile Kitty goes up to her room in the mansion, which she happens to share with Peter’s sister Ilyana, and she just starts to weep. Which is really going to lead to bad things for Peter. He comes strolling into the mansion, not really seeming that bothered by the events of the last couple minutes, when he’s stopped almost immediately. Wolverine has been waiting in the shadows for him, and as soon as Peter comes into the building he marches up to him and tell him that they’re going to go out drinking. Peter’s not really interested in hanging out with Wolverine, but he doesn’t really get a choice, and the two men head out to Manhattan to drink. Nightcrawler comes along too, and I’m not sure if he’s there to watch Wolverine kick the shit out of Colossus, or to keep him from going to far. But either way, it’s time to go get drunk!

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Storm heads up to Kitty’s room to console her while Wolverine drives Peter and Nightcrawler out to some sketchy bar in the West Village called Monahan’s. The trio sit around, nursing beers while Wolverine starts to get a little aggressive. He sends Peter up to the bar to get another round while Nightcrawler warns Wolverine that he shouldn’t take things too far. Wolverine explains that he plans on teaching Colossus a lesson for hurting Kitty, who he has kind of a fatherly relationship with. And as the night wears on, the two get increasingly aggressive with Peter. They just start calling him an asshole for hurting Kitty while trying to get him to admit that he still loves her, and can make everything be better. But Peter sticks to his guns, and just keeps on insisting that he doesn’t love Kitty anymore, and that it’s none of their business.

Wolverine is really starting to get heated at that point, and is ready to fight. But he’s stopped in his tracks when his acute senses pick up the scent of someone that he knows. He scans the bar and finds some huge guy sitting at the bar, chatting up a lady. The issue tries to keep it a secret for a while, but I spoiled it up top, so let’s just say that the guy is Juggernaut, sans costume. And Wolverine comes up with a plan. He tells Peter that they’re going to leave, and that Peter needs air. So the trio stand up and start making their way outside, when Wolverine pushes Peter into the mysterious man. And the guy is immediately pissed. But, since he’s Juggernaut, he lets his fists do his talking and just throws Peter through a wall. Which is when things really escalate.

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Peter clearly doesn’t recognize this guy’s voice, but he just learned that he has super-strength the hard way, so he figures it’s okay to start wailing on him as Colossus. He runs up to the Juggernaut and just starts whaling on him, while Wolverine just holds back. Nightcrawler is baffled at what’s going on, and tries to come help Peter, but Wolverine holds him back, explaining that this is exactly what he had wanted to happen. Colossus starts getting the crap kicked out of him, while Juggernaut starts to vent. Because he hasn’t been having a good week. It turns out that this story is  set right after that Amazing Spider-Man story that I’ve already talked about before that ends with Juggernaut getting encased in a skyscraper’s foundation worth of cement. Juggernaut has apparently gotten out of that cement tomb, and was just looking for a little rest and relaxation when this X-Man suddenly jumped him, and he’s pretty pissed.

Juggernaut starts kicking the crap out of Colossus, who is really not up to dealing with this guy on his lonesome. Which is exactly what Wolverine was hoping. Juggernaut just starts ripping the bar apart, pummeling the holy hell out of Colossus with everything he’s got. And, to his credit, Colossus is hanging in the fight, getting scrappy and trying everything he can to defeat Juggernaut. But it’s not really a fair fight, and Juggernaut just continues to wipe the floor with Colossus, just smashing the hell out of the bar until everyone else in it flees for their lives. Which is when Juggernaut just says ‘screw it’ and brings the entire building down on Peter, knocking him out. Juggernaut climbs out of the wreckage of the bar, not really sure what the hell just happened, and finds Wolverine and Nightcrawler waiting for him. He assumes they’re going to want to fight too, but Wolverine explains that they’re cool, and he just wanted Colossus to get beat up. Juggernaut is cool with this, and even gives Wolverine a stack of money to give to the owner of the bar to get it rebuilt, and then heads off into the night, presumably to find Black Tom Cassidy to hang out with. And once he’s gone Wolverine and Nightcrawler pull Peter out of the rubble, and explain that this is what he deserved for being such an asshole. They then leave Peter sitting in the rubble to ruminate on this while they head back to the X-Mansion, their goal fulfilled.

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This issue is a whole lot of fun. I’m not really the world’s biggest Wolverine fan,  but I do like that the guys is so incredibly loyal to the people that he cares about. He loves Kitty Pride so goddamn much, and when her boyfriend dumps her he decides to be an overprotective big brother, and get that boy’s ass kicked. Even though the boy in question is a teammate of his who has super-strength and metal skin. But that doesn’t matter, he still needs an ass-kicking. And I love that that is accomplished by using the Juggernaut as a weapon. Which is what I really love about this issue. I adore the Juggernaut, and this issue is just so amazing when you think about it from his perspective. He’s just clawed his way out of a cement tomb after fighting with Spider-Man, and now he’s just going to a bar to relax and forget such a horrible ordeal. He’s minding his own business, flirting with a lady, when suddenly an X-Man comes out of nowhere and starts a fight with him. Juggernaut has no idea what’s going on, gets dragged into a huge fight, and then is told by another X-Man that this was all planned, and that he played his part well. Here he is, just minding his own business, when he sudden finds himself in a super-powered bar brawl. Poor dude. Hopefully him and Black Tom can go have a nice time together and forget this bullshit without Luke Cage or someone showing up and beating him up.

Uncanny X-Men #183, “He’ll Never Make Me Cry” was written by Chris Claremont, penciled by John Romita, Jr and Dan Green, lettered by Tom Orzechowski, and colored by Glynis Wein, 1984.

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…what?

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