Monday, August 22, 2011

Classic Comic: Spider-Man - Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut

The Amazing Spider-Man issues 229 and 230

Writer: Roger Stern
Artists: John Romita Jr. & Jim Mooney

I’ve liked the idea of Spider-Man for many years, but I’ve never been troubled to check out any of the wall crawler’s adventures. I’m a DC comic nerd through-and-through; I just find Batman more interesting than say, Daredevil, or any Marvel equivalent. Marvel has never really tried to upstage DC, there’s been room for both comic giants for years – if merely comes down to fan taste.

In a search for more personal reads (Superman has the emotional spectrum of a toilet paper roll) I thought I should check out some of Spidey’s best trades. Where to start was the question. Theoretically anywhere. All I know is Spider-Man is a fan favorite because he’s more like the common man; just a regular personable guy that can easily be related to. And I didn’t think I needed to read about his back-story to enjoy an issue – I love Green Lantern but it’s much harder to dive into DC’s universe, there’s just too much exposition that’s necessary to understand the narrative, and it would quickly turn someone off. Spider-Man is a household name, and everybody knows his origin.

A simple search resulted in a few stories that peaked my curiosity. The unstoppable Juggernaut vs. Spider-Man had me right away. The big brutish mountain of a man the Juggernaut against little ol’ Spidey sounded like a David versus Goliath clash.

"Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me!"

The Juggernaut’s so unbelievably powerful it’s hard to see how the web head would make it through a fight. He walks through walls like they’re reinforced with peanut brittle not concrete. Juggernaut took on both the Hulk and X-Men – he’s immortal, invincible; stronger than Spidey a hundred times over, and once he starts moving he can’t be blocked. In space a body in motion stays in motion until something physically breaks its path: that’s the Juggernaut…except he is on Earth, and can’t be stopped!

Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut is two issues, and by the end I was rooting for Spider-Man like a soccer fanatic. He won me over not with his charm or wit – there is a lot of that, and Spider-Man is never short on inner-monologue – but with resilience and wiliness to put his body through hell to stop this human wrecking ball.

One page, just one page said all it needed to about Peter Parker to make me care about him. Towards to end of issue #229 Spidey blames himself for not stopping Juggernaut from possibly killing his ally Madame Web. He remises about all his failures as Spider-Man – he’s just a kid in a suit, but he has the weight of an entire city on his shoulders.

Endearment and forming a personal attachment to something or someone is the quickest way to get people to grow to love something. And in this case it only took one small story to make me see Spider-Man as a true hero. His perseverance towards a foe that’s a tank with legs is outstanding. He never gives up; physically he is stopped at every turn, but his “never say die” attitude carries him through to the end.

"Pimp smack yo ass, bitch!"

Originally published in 1982, this nearly thirty year-old story is a must read for any Spider-Man fan…and I considered myself one before reading, but I never really understood what made me thing he as so amazing – outside of the title. Now I know, and you will too if you read this. 

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