Into the Crimson Cosmos!
Issue 33 picks up with Juggernaut trampling through a forest, on his way to an airbase. He is trying to steal a flight to Europe, so that he can meet up with his new friends, the mysterious Factor Three. Another Marvel hero makes his first X-Men appearance, and we learn more about the mysterious Cyttorak demon.
It isn’t long before Juggernaut is noticed by the military, and they throw everything they can at him. It certainly doesn’t stop him, but it probably manages to slow him down. The X-Men discover his location once Cyclops calls up the Governor. It seems that information regarding combat situations unfolding on a military base on American soil is something that the governor mentions to whoever calls him. Kids, go call your governor right now. Who knows what you’ll find out.
Trying to get a better handle on exactly what is going on, they wish they could speak to the still unconscious Professor. Jean whips up a fresh batch of science and uses her dork helmet to read his psychic impulses. Jean witnesses strange events that occurred hundreds of years ago, events that Charles experienced only by reading Cain Marko’s demented mind.
It is the story of the ancient one, the mentor of Dr. Strange!. He is traveling to visit a shrine dedicated to Cyttorak, to glimpse the Ruby of the Crimson Bands. However, he is greeted by Xorak, a loyal protector of the temple, and destroyer of any who enter. Xorak is surprised to find that the Ancient One isn’t as helpless as most mortal men, and he is soon overpowered, trapped forever within the ruby. That must be shitty.
Once the mystical science show is over, the team is left with the task of finding the Ancient One. He is the only one who can stop the power of Cyttorak. They don’t know if he’s even alive anymore, and they’re on their own with the Professor still in a coma. Their only hope is to reassemble Cerebro and use it to locate the Ancient One’s power. The Juggernaut completely destroyed it in the last issue, but the team just hoists it back up and turns it on. Fantastic. In no time at all, Cerebro has done its job and the Ancient One is summoned.
And look at that, it’s Dr. Strange! And he’s a ghost! Dr. Strange is the Ancient One’s protege, and he has adopted all of his power and knowledge. He is the new Ancient One, which technically makes no sense. He is caught up in some sort of ordeal right now, apparently on trial at Stonehenge. I’d love to know what that’s all about, if anyone has any idea. Due to his predicament, his time is short and his presence is only possible by astral projection.
The X-Men explain their situation and Dr. Strange tells them he can send only two of them on some sort of mystical journey into the heart of Cyttorak. Cyclops has to choose one teammate to accompany him on this extremely dangerous mission, and he chooses Jean with very little hesitation. He did it for love, but they really do make a great duo. That leaves Angel, Beast, and Iceman behind to confront the Juggernaut. They’ll need to slow him down long enough for Cyclops and Marvel Girl to fulfill their mission.
Scott and Jean find themselves in North Korea, just outside the Temple of Cyttorak. They start blasting their way in and say an incantation. They are warped inside of the ruby, into the Crimson Cosmos, the world of Timeless Silence. Xorak shows up and he is livid. He is the ruler of this domain and his new name is Outcast.
Meanwhile, the Juggernaut has broken into the airbase, in hopes of stealing transportation to Europe. Our trio of heroes shows up in some sort of X-Copter. As soon as they’re out of it, they destroy it trying to take down the Juggernaut. Even the deadly blades of a helicopter are no match for his awesome power. The X-Men retreat for the moment.
Cyclops and Marvel Girl are facing off with Xorak, and he throws circles of doom at them. That’s really what they’re called. Then they realize that Jean’s watch is making Outcast recoil in fear. They throw it at him and he dies, aging hundreds of years in mere seconds.
Cyclops and Marvel girl arrive back at the mansion and they have the ruby. The two of them take off in the X-Plane, rushing to stop the Juggernaut. Hell yeah, the X-Plane! I was wondering if we’d ever get to see it again. The one and only time it ever showed up was issue 20. Perhaps it’s like owning a fine Italian sports car, in that it’s always in the shop.
Unfortunately, they have now left the Professor unguarded, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Factor Three. As Cyclops and Marvel girl soar towards their team members, an unseen assailant creeps towards the vulnerable, comatose Charles Xavier.
The five X-Men reunite and we see that Beast, Angel, and Bobby have kept giving Juggernaut a good fight. However it’s all over when Cyclops holds up the ruby.
Juggernaut goes mad with power, and he grabs the ruby from Scott. Caught in some sort of power shock, and unable to let go, it transports him to the Crimson Cosmos. Cain Marko has banished himself to a lonely, lost world, and it serves him right.
With the Juggernaut finally defeated, the X-Men return home to find the Professor missing. They realize that the Juggernaut was only ever a decoy, and that Factor Three has managed to kidnap Xavier after all. The X-Men are completely stunned, standing by his abandoned bedside, when they vow to rescue him. Will we finally see the X-Men battle Factor Three? Will we discover the culprit who kidnapped Xavier?