Jonathan Dobres

x-men re-examined: the unstoppable juggernaut

Air date: March 6, 1993. This is the first episode that aired out of sequence from the show’s production order. It originally aired after “The Cure” and “Come the Apocalypse”. I’m following the production order, which is the intended narrative order and the one used on Disney+.

This episode introduces two of Marvel’s largest men: Colossus and Juggernaut (Hulk sold separately). The Colossus segments are all very fun, and I think that if the episode had been about him exclusively, it would have been a great one. But these 22 minutes are also saddled with a pretty shallow version of Juggernaut and a story riddled with plot holes.

The X-Men return from Genosha to find the X-Mansion in ruins (in a sign of this episode’s poor writing, Gambit, who at the end of the last episode was on this very plane, has vanished into thin air). The team finds a message from the Professor saying that he’s gone off to talk to an old colleague of his about something important, which means the destruction of the mansion is entirely coincidental. Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, and Jubilee fan out into the city to figure out who could have done this.

Jubilee finds some teamsters, who are mad that their job is being handled by someone they refer to as “Super Russki” and “mutant scab”. It’s Colossus, who merrily demolishes the building as requested. Jubilee and Wolverine immediately assume he’s responsible for the destruction of the mansion. The X-Men, of all people, should definitely know better than to rush to this kind of judgment, but that’s the quality of writing we’re dealing with here.

One of the teamsters decides to drive a semi-truck into Colossus, who transforms into organic steel and lets it hit him at full speed. He doesn’t move an inch, while the truck crumples like paper. Despite this impressive display of power, Wolverine and Jubilee decide to take him on. They’re a poor match for Colossus’s sheer physical strength and he has little trouble shrugging them off. He mostly just seems very put upon by the whole ordeal, and exits the scene muttering about the strangeness of Americans.

Everybody rushes over to the aftermath of a bank robbery. Colossus somehow (bad writing) gets there faster than anyone, just to try to open a bank account and end up falsely arrested (at least it’s funny!). The X-Women decide to break Colossus out of jail, which leads to this classic moment:

Rogue: “Dear, dear! No back door!”

Colossus transforms into organic steel and punches through the wall, smiling at Rogue.

Rogue: “I just love it when he does that!”

Rogue is obviously strong enough to do this herself, which means she just wanted to see the Russian hunk show off. These two would have made a great couple.

Having left no real clues as to the identity of the bank robber other than super strength, the show decides to just reveal Juggernaut knocking over another bank minutes later. He’s a gigantic brute, crushing cars as he walks over them and tossing heavy artillery aside like toys. The episode is running out of time, so we learn a lot about him very quickly: he is monstrously strong and nigh invulnerable, he was looking for his hated brother, Xavier, which is how the mansion got wrecked, his helmet protects him from telepaths, his powers derive from magic rather than mutation,1 and he spouts an endless stream of grade-school puns. He has no motivation for the bank robberies other than being a bad guy and the writers having no other ideas.

It’s clear to Cyclops that to defeat this villain, they’ll have to work together “for a change”. The writers reached for an easy “value of teamwork” moral, but it makes absolutely no sense on this show, because we’ve seen the X-Men work together in almost every episode. Working together, playing off each other, and combining their abilities in novel ways is a big part of what makes X-Men so appealing. I mean come on!

Anyway, the team (including Colossus) does successfully team up, everyone chipping away, until Juggernaut’s helmet is ripped free. Jean finally puts the psychic whammy on him and he exits the scene with severe memory loss. Letting a super strong criminal who has no idea who he is or how strong he is just wander off seems incredibly reckless, no?

In the epilogue, the X-Men continue to rebuild the mansion (it’ll probably be fixed before Xavier even knows what happened), with more help from Colossus. Everybody likes him, and why wouldn’t you? He declines to join the team, as he must find his sister and see more of America. It’s a shame that we won’t be seeing much of him after this introductory story. His sheer strength makes him an interesting addition to the roster, plus he’s a funny fish out of water and has great chemistry with Rogue. If only, you know?

Now That’s What I Call ’90s: Juggernaut wondering if Colossus is recyclable.

Stray observations:

  • Gambit is on the toilet for this one, again.

  • In this episode Colossus is always referred to as “Colossus”, never by his given name, Piotr Rasputin. I love the vaguely Slavic music that plays whenever he has a scene.

  • After his brief fight with Colossus, Wolverine remarks, “Guy’s got a great arm.”

  • A surprise cameo from Beast! When the ladies decide to bust Colossus out of jail, Beast is in the next cell over, still eagerly awaiting his day in court. He refuses yet another jailbreak, but offers to “catch up on gossip” the next time the girls are around. We’ve barely seen Beast this season but he remains delightful. I’m so glad they brought George Buza back to voice him in X-Men ‘97.

  1. Almost certainly meant to be the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak