Up until this point, nearly every issue of X-Men has promised that the next issue’s villain would be more menacing and more terrifying than anything we’ve seen yet. So far this hasn’t happened. It’s not that X-Men doesn’t have a ton of great villains, it’s just so hard to top Magneto. He was introduced in the first issue and I have yet to see a villain that can live up to him. Unus, Vanisher, and Lucifer left a little to be desired. Blob and the Brotherhood were very entertaining, but they’re no Magneto.
Finally issue 12 is making good on that promise. The X-Men are going to face their biggest challenge yet. The Juggernaut. This is easily their most dangerous battle so far, but first, who is Cain Marko?
Our story begins with the alarms going off all over the Xavier estate, signaling an intruder. Professor X looks terrified and is preparing for WWIII. This issue wastes no time showing any training or any goofing around. No time for that. The monster outside is Charles Xavier’s very own brother, Cain Marko! I think that once upon a time I knew that Juggernaut was Xavier’s step-brother but I had long since forgotten.
Xavier has the kids going full Rambo on the house, even so far as to fill all the logs with grenades. (Of course.) They’re preparing for an all out assault, adding layers of security. Whoever Xavier’s brother is, Charles has reason to be utterly terrified of him. Now before they clash, it’s important to know who this guy is.
So with all the logs turned into weaponized Combos*, Charles decides that it’s story time. The rest of issue 12 is Charles telling this story while the Juggernaut smashes through every layer of defense they have. We’re about to learn a lot about Xavier’s past, and about this evil brother of his. Apparently his father, Brian Xavier, was killed in a nuclear blast in New Mexico. I have a feeling this will be important later, too. A man named Dr. Kurt Marko steps in to support his grieving mother. Dr. Marko was working with her husband at the time of the accident. Charles doesn’t trust him, thinking that it’s suspicious his father died in the blast but Dr. Marko survived. Before long, Dr. Marko has married his mother and become a spooky step-father.
When Dr. Marko moves in he brings his boarish son Cain along with him. Charles has a new step-brother and he’s an asshole. This guy is rude, ungrateful, ignorant, and violent.
He is also terribly jealous if Charles. Charles excels in everything he tries at, whether it’s athletic or academic.
It isn’t long after that Charles’ mother dies broken hearted. Dr. Marko ignored her and now Charles is left along with these two bucketheads. Things escalate quickly once Charles eavesdrops on this conversation.
Amidst the argument, a chemical spill starts a fire. In this scene, Dr. Marko partially redeems himself for being such a shitty husband and shady character. First he refuses to give Cain any money when he demands it. As much as he seems to have spoiled his son, he refuses to give in to him. He tells him that he can earn any money he wants. Cain has likely had everything given to him his whole life. Second, instead of saving his own life he uses his last energy to carry these two children to safety. With his dying breath, he seems more concerned for Charles than for his own rotten son. Charles always suspected that Dr. Marko killed his father. We find out here that this is only half true. We also discover that Dr. Marko knew about the telepathic ability that Charles has, and he warns him to never let Cain know.
Cain and Charles continue to fight throughout the years, with a few fist fights and even a car accident. They both eventually joined the army and fought in Korea together.
While they was there, Cain’s cowardice drove him to desert his unit and hide in a cave until the fighting was over. Just like Bilbo Baggins. Cain discovers an ancient temple, the lost temple of Cyttorak. Apparently the place is some sort of local legend that our boys in uniform heard about from our allies because Charles has heard of it. Cain finds a giant ruby, and even though he’s warned not to, he touches it. Luckily for him, instead of certain doom he uncovers an amazing power.
And just as Charles is finishing his story, we get to see what his step-brother has become. Cain Marko bursts into the Xavier School not as the impetuous boy he once was, but as an unstoppable beast.
He has become the Juggernaut!
*Did you know that Combos now come in buffalo wing blue cheese flavor? I didn’t.