My thoughts on Endgame (Spoilers)

It was a really good movie, but unfortunately had a handful of problems which dragged down the experience. This isn't going to be a review so much as me just incoherently ranting about things I liked and didn't like. There's probably going to be a number of things that most of you will disagree with in here, so strap yourselves in.

Time Travel

First thing you should know about me, I hate time travel. I absolutely despise it as a concept for stories, particularly when it is going back in the past to change the future. That kind of storytelling is single-handedly responsible for me not liking DoFP, however irrational that is. So with that all said, let me be the first to tell you how happy I was that it was done well in Endgame... mostly. I was over the moon when they revealed that their plan wasn't to just go back to prevent the snap from happening in the first place or reset the universe to just before the snap or anything, but rather just bring back everything that died in the present. I liked the idea that when they were going back in time they were creating new realities which they then fixed by returning the gems at the exact moment they took them. Overall it was handled really well and thankfully didn't ruin the movie for me.

I also really liked seeing the Ancient One again, it was great watching how casually she said "You're about 5 years too early" after Hulk asked to see Strange. I did find it a bit weird though that she supposedly knows that Strange is supposed to be the greatest Sorcerer Supreme of them all despite not being able to see past her own death which is before Strange actually really does anything. Not sure if that was just a continuity error or if they have some secret prophecy excuse, but that's not really important.

The one main bit I didn't like was Steve staying in the past to live with Peggy and then appearing as an old man on that bench. I'm not entirely sure that followed the rules they set for time travel, but I'll talk more about Steve's ending later.

Little Nitpicks

These aren't big problems, just minor things which irked me.

A lot of the first half of the movie just felt like the MCU was jerking itself off, to be honest. Showing the full, uncut spinning shot from the first Avengers with the original theme blaring in the background was unnecessary and served no purpose whatsoever other than to go "HEY REMEMBER WHEN WE DID THIS AND YOU ALL THOUGHT IT WAS COOL, YEAH IT WAS COOL WASN'T IT???"

Carol sucked. I haven't watched Captain Marvel yet so I don't really have any opinions on her as a character, but at the very least the way she was used in the film was terrible. She had like 5 minutes total in the film, and most of that was spent just performing deus ex machina stuff like suddenly showing up to carry Tony & Nebula back to Earth or randomly showing up again to solo Thanos's ship out of literally nowhere.

The short all-female segment was cringy. Female representation is great and I understand what they were going for, but it was sooooooo blatantly contrived and poorly done, and it didn't even make sense in the end. For no reason whatsoever, somehow every single female character they have just happened to be at the exact right place on the battlefield to "help" (which for some reason included Shuri and Mantis who aren't even proper fighters in the first place), but then Carol just ended up bull rushing through everyone solo anyway. At the very least they could have actually shown some of the genuinely cool female characters like Wanda kick ass in that scene, but nope, it was literally just "hey look we have a lot of female characters now lol".

The Action

The action is likely my main problem with the film. There was barely any of it, and the few sequences they had were mostly underwhelming.

First Half

It was really, really lacking. We had what, Clint's Ronin fight super early on, then Cap vs Cap later? Don't get me wrong, I liked both scenes and the Cap vs Cap fight in particular was very entertaining, but this was seriously all they had before the final battle(s) of a 3-hour long film?

Cap, Thor and Tony vs Thanos

The best fight in the film by a long shot (not that that's a huge accomplishment). There's not a whole lot to say about this, it was awesome, I loved watching the bits of teamwork like Thor intentionally amping Tony's suit with his lightning, I loved watching Thor duel wield Mjolnir and Stormbreaker, I loved watching Thanos kick all their asses, and of course I loved seeing Cap finally pick up Mjolnir and start styling on Thanos. The choreography for Mjolnir + Shield wielding Cap was fantastic and it was great watching him do combos like throwing his shield then throwing Mjolnir at the shield to make a shockwave behind Thanos and so on. Great fight.

One thing I will say is I'm not entirely sure about Thanos carving up Cap's shield without the IG. Whether his sword is supposed to be some super metal even better than vibranium, or MCU vibranium simply isn't that good to begin with and can be destroyed by anyone with enough physical strength, we may never know.

The Grand Finale

Let me first just say that seeing genuine fear creep onto Thanos's face once all the portals begin to open and Strange brings through the huge army was amazing. Cap finally saying "Avengers assemble" wasn't as good as I was hoping (I really wanted him to shout it but instead he just kind of mumbled assemble under his breath), but it still left me with a stupid grin on my face so it can't have been that bad.

As for the fight itself, it was... alright. It makes me really sad that I can't proclaim this to be the greatest fight ever from a CBM because I feel like it had the potential to be that, but that's just not the feeling I got when I watched it. There were a couple of really cool moments in it: Obviously the initial charge in, Giant Man socking a leviathan right in the face, Spidey's insta-kill mode, T'Challa running with the gauntlet, the wizards putting up massive shields as the battlefield gets bombarded, Strange stopping an enormous amount of water from flooding the battlefield, Carol bullrushing Thanos then getting punted by the power gem, all of these things were entertaining to me. My personal favourite was probably Wanda though, showing up beyond pissed at Thanos with her eyes glowing red and proceeding to literally just solo him to the point where he had to order his ship to rain fire to stop her was nothing short of awesome.

But in spite of all those cool moments, the final fight just felt... unsatisfying. A lot of those moments I just listed only lasted for a couple of seconds each before shifting to a less interesting character doing less interesting things, and it was at the cost of not allowing characters I was really excited to see do pretty much anything in the fight. Hulk didn't get to fight at all, we barely got to see Cap or Thor do anything, Strange only did one thing and then got taken out of the fight to stop the water, we barely saw Iron Man, Scott only did like 2 things then we didn't see him again and so on.

Character Deaths

I unfortunately had both of these spoiled for me before seeing the movie, but thankfully they were both done so well that they still felt emotionally impactful and the spoilers didn't really ruin the experience.

Black Widow

I'll be honest, Nat isn't a character I ever cared that much about. It's well known that her and Clint are the two "losers" of the Avengers roster who don't really serve much of a purpose on a team full of gods, monsters, geniuses and legendary heroes, so when I heard that she was going to die it didn't really bother me in the slightest, but man was this a sad scene, in no small part because of how damned good of an actor Jeremy Renner is. Yeah, not a whole lot to say really. It was a well executed scene, watching them genuinely try and stop each other from killing themselves so they could be the one to make the ultimate sacrifice was great. The aftermath where they all return except for Nat is just as good.

Iron Man

Oh Tony, what an excellent conclusion to your arc. This is probably my favourite sacrifice I've ever seen in a CBM for a couple of reasons. First, like I just said it is a genuine, great conclusion to a character arc that started the MCU off 11 years ago. To go all the way from a selfish, arrogant weapons manufacturer to sacrificing yourself to save the whole damned universe.

The execution of the scene though... was just perfect. Strange showing '1' to Tony to let him know that this is it. Tony already knows what he has to do and resigns himself to his fate. Thanos thinks he has all the stones on the gauntlet and repeats his line, "I am inevitable" before snapping, and then realises that Tony managed to steal them. "and I am... Iron Man". Snap. No crazy lightshow, no over the top yelling, no gasping to try and say some cliched last words, no loud song blaring in the background. Just Tony lying on the ground, everyone rushing over to him and sitting him up, Peter's heartbreaking reaction as he cries and tells Tony "we did it, we won" and hugs him, Pepper trying to comfort him and tell him he'll be alright as he just sits there and stares into her eyes with no strength left to speak, there is no music in the background and the only sounds heard are the heavy breathing and soft crying of characters as they watch Tony's arc reactor light go out before the scene fades.

Absolutely perfect, nothing else needs to be said. I never cry at sad moments in movies/shows/books/games or anything like that, but I'd be lying if I said that Peter's reaction in particular didn't make my eyes water. Damn you Tom Holland.

Other Characters

Thanos

I really liked him. I'm almost positive that this won't be the prevailing opinion, but I liked him even more than I did in Infinity War. To be perfectly honest I didn't care that much for the whole sympathetic villain thing they were going for, it was done well and all but I just prefer my Mad Titan to be a truly Mad Titan who was going to enjoy destroying Earth and then kill every single thing in the universe before starting over. I also liked how he just sat down and accepted his fate once Tony snapped, it's nice to know that he isn't a sore loser.

Thor

Okay here comes my nuclear take; I thought fat gamer Thor was fine and people are just overreacting because they wanted to see him act all badass and get good feats like he did in IW. I honestly thought it was alright. Thor blamed himself for not killing Thanos, in his eyes, he is the sole reason why half the universe died. He failed, badly, and now Thanos was dead and the stones were destroyed with no conceivable way of reversing what happened, so he ultimately just gave up. I liked his progression in the film, how overjoyed he was when he found that he was still worthy of Mjolnir, and I like his send-off. I'm not really sure how I feel about him handing off leadership over New Asgard to Valkyrie, I guess we're supposed to assume that she pretty much took over off-screen during the 5 years or something, but I really do like the decision to have Thor join the Guardians.

Cap

Everything about Cap up until the ending was great, I don't feel like I need to say anything about that, but I have... mixed feelings about his ending. I get that the filmmakers wanted to give him a happy ending and all, but they've only just defeated Thanos, the world is still partially in ruins with unstable governments and now the population has just suddenly doubled again. Of all people, is it really reasonable to think that Steve Rogers who became worthy of Mjolnir which Thor let him keep would decide to abandon all that to go live in the past? I'm not so sure. Also what happened to Mjolnir anyway? He had it with him when he went back to the past and didn't seem to have it as an old man on the bench. Plus this opens up a lot of plot holes to do with the time travel in the first place, but I don't really want to get in to them. Maybe this is just the part of me that hates using time travel to change the future talking. Also I'm surprised he passed the mantle on to Falcon and not Bucky, given the latter is pretty equal to him in terms of power and skill while Falcon... isn't.

I don't know, just wasn't really happy with his ending compared to the others. I'm not exactly surprised that he retired but the way it happened just felt kind of sudden.

Professor Hulk

Best character in the film.

Dab
Dab

In all seriousness, I absolutely loved Professor Hulk. He was hilarious in pretty much every comedic scene he had (which was like over half his scenes), but I still can't help but feel annoyed that despite finally getting some good character progression, he's once again mostly shafted. He literally doesn't have a single fight in the entire film. That was really disappointing to me because I was hoping he'd be able to make up for his performance in Infinity War but nope, pretty much all he did was survive snapping (which as he himself stated was because the radiation was mostly gamma) and then hold up some unknown amount of the Avengers facility while the rest made it out, and then he was stuck under there for the entire duration of the final fight. He still lacks a healing factor too which is something I would have liked to see. Speaking of which,

A few small things I would have liked to see

Yeah, Hulk's healing factor is one of these. I was really hoping that we would have gotten some cool regeneration scene with his arm where it gets demolished by using the gauntlet and then he heals it back from the bone in a matter of moments, kind of like what 616 Professor Hulk did with his entire body against X-Ray.

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Like I said before, Cap finally saying "Avengers Assemble!" would have been much better in my opinion if he had properly shouted it instead of just grumbling under his breath.

I also would have loved to see this scene be replicated,

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When Thanos totally destroyed his shield and knocked him to the ground, while everyone else was down Cap stood himself up and pulled the strap on his shield tight. I 100% thought then that they were going to recreate that scene, but was very disappointed to find that Strange ruined it by summoning everyone.

Speaking of Strange, like I said earlier in the action section, I would have definitely loved to see him pull out some more moves in the final fight. His fight against Thanos in IW was one of the highlights of the film and it was a delight to see him doing things like transmutation and cloning himself, but here he was just totally sidelined to tsunami duty with no chance to show off any more of his skills. Guess we're going to have to wait until Doctor Strange 2 for that.

Other Aspects of the Film

Thankfully, the humour was really well balanced this time. It's one of the most criticized aspects of the MCU, and even though I personally never really have a problem with it I can certainly understand why people do, but fortunately I don't remember there being any humour injected into serious/emotional scenes like there has been in the past. The vast majority of the humour that is there in the film takes place outside of serious scenes and for the most part all landed. Like I said before, Professor Hulk was the standout for me, I'm not entirely sure why but just about every funny thing he said or did was golden. Scott was probably the next funniest character and had some great moments with Hulk which makes me hope to see the two of them together again.

The cinematography was fantastic though not as good as it's gonna be in Godzilla and the costumes were good as always. CGI was pretty good for the majority of the film, the only time I really noticed bad CGI was Pepper in her Rescue suit with the helmet lifted up. For some reason Marvel seems incapable of having a human face with a CGI suit and not have it look dreadful, just like with Banner in the Hulkbuster during Infinity War. For the most part though it was all perfectly fine.

The score was forgetful which is unfortunately par for the course with Marvel. Really the only standout was the original Avengers theme which was played a few times. That's not to say that the music is bad by any means, something like theme that played on Vormir during Nat's death was actually really good in my opinion, it's just... forgetful.

What I'm looking forward to

I really hope Professor Hulk continues to appear and doesn't just get forgotten about with the rest of the original Avengers having essentially left for good in one way or another. Like I said I think him and Ant-Man are great together comedically, but I would also like to see him actually get to smash something again.

I can't wait to see more of Thor with the guardians. With any luck he will be an official mainstay of the team now and be there for the entirety of GOTG3. If they instead make some shitty excuse about how he left off-screen and won't be appearing, I'm going to cry.

Doctor Strange and Spidey are the two characters I'm looking forward to the most in terms of solo films. It's going to be interesting seeing how the deal with the events of Infinity War and Endgame, Tony's death in particular. Strange knew Tony was going to die and had to keep that from him the entire time, while Tony was very much a father-figure to Peter. Hopefully, their respective movies don't completely overlook this.

More Scarlet Witch being a badass. She showed that she's got some serious power in her little scuffle with Thanos, I definitely want to see more of that.

Final Thoughts

Endgame is a really damned good film. When I first came out of the cinema I felt a bit disappointed, not because I thought the movie was bad at all, but I really hoped there would have just been something more to it. Being the final movie of the saga started 11 years and 22 films ago, I really wanted it to go out with a bang and leave the theatre feeling wowed - and I didn't. But after having some time to process everything, I can happily say that it's one of my favourite MCU films despite the lack of action because the good just so heavily outweighs the bad, and an overall satisfying conclusion to the first big part of the MCU. Maybe my opinion will change after rewatching it, but to be perfectly honest it doesn't feel like a movie that I'm going to want to rewatch a lot compared to something a bit lighter and more action focused like The Winter Soldier or Civil War.

I give it 9 Professor Hulk dabs out of 10.

8 Comments

Trion Juggernaut Crash Course

Well I wasn't planning on making one for Trion Juggernaut but apparently it's needed, since we still have people saying that it was "Cyttorak amping Cain" which is complete nonsense. I'm not going to waste any time so this should be a short post.

Basically, a second gem of Cyttorak appeared in Korea and of course Cain was drawn towards it, but it was a trap, and instead the Gem was powerless and used to siphon Cain's power out of him.

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However, this second gem was imbued with the spirit of the unnamed enemy of the Trion, who are a trio (obviously) of gods ruling over their own dimension. This spirit then possessed Cain's body and gained an enormous level of power.

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It was essentially using Cain's body to channel Cyttorak's powers in order to destroy the Trion, and for some unexplained reason it was able to use all of Cyttorak's power, rather than just the "normal level" of power one would received from the Gem.

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Xavier theorised that this was simply due to the spirit having "the ambition, vision, and imagination to realise the full potential" of Cyttorak's powers, but this is never expanded upon and we never find out exactly why the spirit was able to achieve this level of power. It may simply be due to it being a massively powerful mystic being, or it may specifically be able to siphon mystical power, who knows.

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Anyway, we saw this spirit inside of Cain's mind,

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Before Cain (with a little pep talk from Xavier and Logan) beat the shit out of him and took control back over his body, and as soon as he did he immediately went back to his normal power levels and the rest of Cyttorak's energy caused a black hole which was going to swallow the dimension.

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And that's basically it. The Trion don't have anything to do with Cyttorak, the spirit was just using Cain as a channel for Cyttorak's massive power which he was going to use to destroy the Trion. It certainly has nothing to do with "Cyttorak amping Juggernaut" or whatever nonsense people like to spout. Cyttorak being able to adjust Cain's power at whim, or specifically increase his power, didn't come around until 2012 anyway (over 10 years after the Trion storyline) where it was mentioned in Fear Itself that he could depower and repower Cain as he wished. (With that said he did lose his powers around 2002 due to an unexplained fight with Cyttorak).

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And even then the first time we actually saw Cyttorak specifically give Juggernaut an amp was in The Once and Future Juggernaut in 2015.

And I doubt anyone actually cares about the story, but the unnamed spirit turned out to be the dark side of the Trion which became sentient, spooky stuff I know.

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And just for the record, here are the 3 relevant handbook entries

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This idea that Cyttorak just randomly decided to amp Cain to the point where he can punch through dimensions is just straight up objectively wrong, and anybody who has read the story arc knows that. I don't know why there is so much misinformation about Juggernaut on CV, but people just regurgitate what they hear without stopping for a moment to at all check the validity of the claims.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

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Was Juggernaut Amped During "The Eighth Day"?

Short answer: No

Long answer:

Note: I'm serious when I mean long answer. I'll include a TL;DR in the form of some bullet points at the bottom if you can't be bothered reading all of it.

So pretty much everyone on Comic Vine treats Juggernaut during the Eighth Day storyline as a separate incarnation of the character (called "8th Day Juggernaut") who is more powerful than Juggernaut's standard versions. Now while that's not technically untrue, people claim that he was physically amped far beyond his normal levels, so none of his feats would ever apply to his usual incarnations. The bottom line is while Juggernaut was more powerful in practice, it was due to his mental state, not any form of physical amp.

Disclaimer

Something I want to mention straight away - if you're one of those people who takes any part of any handbook entry as law and don't really care about anything else, then you should know that in Cyttorak's first and currently only handbook entry in 2010, it actually states that Cyttorak did indeed amp Juggernaut's power during Eighth Day.

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However, this is written ten years after Eighth Day, is not corroborated in any other handbook entries (including an entry for the Exemplars, and two for Juggernaut), and not only that but this particular handbook entry has quite a few other contradictions that I spotted that are flat out incorrect, so in other words - I wouldn't trust this at all. Take a look at the three handbook entries I just mentioned.

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All of these mention Cain being controlled by Cyttorak or having a compulsion to follow a psychic call to some degree (more on that later) - none of them even so much as hint at Cyttorak giving Juggernaut a power increase.

So yes if you only care about the most recent relevant handbook entry, then sure, go ahead and continue to believe that he was amped. If you're interested in what actually happened in the comics themselves however (and what was mentioned in those other handbook entries), then read on!

With that out of the way, let's start by going over the story for those of you who haven't read it (and honestly I don't blame you, it really wasn't that good):

Thor Vol. 2 #17

Juggernaut is, as usual, making a huge mess of a town. Luckily Thor is nearby, and goes to try and stop him. Unfortunately for Thor, he is easily overpowered, as Cain claims that he is being drawn somewhere and will march through anyone to get there. Loki observes two individuals becoming Conquest, the Warrior Exemplar, and Bedlam, the Exemplar of the Mind at their respective temples. The issue ends with two Conquest and Bedlam appearing and teleporting Juggernaut away.

Iron Man Vol. 3 #22

This issue provides a lot of backstory for what exactly is going on. Iron Man encounters Inferno, the Exemplar of Fire. Meanwhile, two more individuals become Decay, the Exemplar of Death, and Tempest, the Nature Exemplar. Iron Man briefly fights with yet another - Carnivore, the Hunter Exemplar. While this is happening, Dr. J Vernon deciphers some runes and learns about the history of what is known as the Wager of Octessence, and the Exemplar's plans for the world. The issue ends with Dr. Vernon explaining to Iron Man that the Exemplars are building a great mystic engine which will enslave humanity.

Peter Parker: Spider-Man #11

The final human becomes Stonecutter, the Builder Exemplar, and begins construction on the Godmachine. As chance would have it, Spider-Man finds this underneath the Daily Bugle. He sees all of the Exemplars together for the first time, and as any sane person would, runs the hell away to get backup. He goes to the Avengers Mansion and gets a hold of Thor and Iron Man, and then due to Juggernaut being involved decides to go find Professor Xavier for some additional help, who comes along in his Astral form. They show up at the location of the Godmachine, a bit of fighting, Spider-man tricks Decay into destroying some indestructible material, blah blah blah, but long story short, they lose. Juggernaut also reached through Xavier's astral form and pulled his physical self into the place they were fighting, however that's supposed to work. The issue ends with the heroes being captured.

Juggernaut: The Eighth Day

The grand finale. The Exemplars and captured heroes are teleported to the south pole, Juggernaut ends up in a mental battle with Cyttorak, eventually overpowers him, and proceeds to beat up all the other exemplars and destroying the Godmachine, saving the world. Good job Juggernaut.

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Now on to the good stuff.

The Thor Fight

The first issue is probably the one most people point to when they claim that Juggernaut was amped, and that's mainly due to the fact that he quite easily stomps Thor, who claims that his power has increased a hundred-fold.

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Now for some reason, people automatically assume that because Thor said this, Juggernaut must have had some kind of amp. But all you have to do is take a look at the dialogue, and you'll find that there is absolutely no mention of this, rather Juggernaut states multiple times that he simply has an irresistible compulsion to follow a psychic call, and that he can't let anybody stop him.

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In fact, he quite clearly states that he is simply cutting lose.

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Thor even notes that Juggernaut appeared to have lost all of his sense and sanity.

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This is further backed up by Loki, who called him a "berserker Juggernaut".

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Simply reading the issue should be evidence that this was simply an out-of-his-mind Juggernaut going, as Loki put it, berserk. He was forced to follow his psychic call and was cutting loose against anyone who got in his way. However, I know some people aren't simply going to be pleased with this explanation. "Why would he suddenly be able to stomp Thor? Why would simply not holding back increase his power so much?" Well, there's an equally simple explanation for these too. Let's take a quick look at Juggernaut's first (and last) two sets of fights against Thor.

Thor Vol. 1 #411 - #412

Juggernaut... actually kind of stomped Thor here too. To be fair, Thor was suffering from random sudden waves of nausea, but it was still quite clearly shown that Thor was incapable of harming Juggernaut whatsoever, while Cain was definitely strong enough to bring down Thor. In the first issue, Juggernaut knocks him out by grabbing onto his hammer for the return journey.

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In the second, Juggernaut again tanks Thor's most powerful attacks (including the Godblast, though it does stop his charge), and is BFR'd to a random asteroid in space. Juggernaut never actually got around to hitting Thor here though, due to him being knocked out up until the very end while Juggernaut was being pestered by the New Warriors.

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So from the first set of fights, it would seem that nothing in Eighth Day was inconsistent or indicative of an amp. Now onto the second set.

Thor Vol. 1 #429

Remember that asteroid Juggernaut got BFR'd to that I was talking about 10 seconds ago? Well while he was sitting around, he was lucky enough to be picked up by a random spaceship from a nearby planet. Being the classic villain he is, he decided to take over the world. As you would expect, Thor tries to stop him. Once again, Thor is shown to be completely unable to harm Juggernaut, despite not holding back.

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Then in true Classic Thor fashion, he pulls another power out of his ass, and deactivates Juggernaut's force-field. Yet after an entire minute of punching, Juggernaut is still standing. The fight ends just like you might expect, with Juggernaut being BFR'd into space yet again.

So again, nothing about this is inconsistent with his fight during Eighth Day. Thor was incapable of hurting Juggernaut, and Juggernaut was very capable of hurting Thor. This whole idea that Juggernaut stomping Thor is evidence that he was amped is quite ridiculous to me, given that in both other times they have fought, the fights played out virtually the same, with Thor needing to resort to some special strategy in order to win.

But maybe that's still not enough. What about Thor claiming his might was increased a hundred-fold? Surely Thor having fought Juggernaut before would be able to tell that he was far more powerful than normal, obviously that can't have simply been from his mental state right?

Well, it's important to note that Eighth Day took place after Juggernaut received a major amp in X-Men Unlimited Vol. 1 #12, where he was infused with the power used to bind a destructive aspect of Cyttorak into his own Crimson Gem.

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Funnily enough, Juggernaut also describes himself as feeling "a hundred times better". So not only was Juggernaut quite... unhinged in his fight, but this was also Thor's first time facing off against a Juggernaut far more powerful than his classic self, who was already more than a match for Thor.

And to be clear, this does not mean Juggernaut was "amped" during Eighth day - this was his standard level of power at the time, right up until his depowerment. A story-specific amp is very different from a general power-increase for a character, much like you wouldn't say post-WWH Savage Hulk is "amped" despite receiving a permanent increase in his physical power from the core breach.

The Eighth Day & The Wager of Octessence

Now that we've gotten his fight with Thor out of the way, we can look at some of the other evidence in the story. Maybe this section should be before the Thor part but eh, I wrote the Thor bit first so I'll just do it this way.

Let's establish exactly what The Eighth Day and the Wager of Octessence is.

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Essentially, Cyttorak was one of eight deities who entered into this "game". Each one created an object, such as the Crimson Ruby of Cyttorak, with which someone would come into contact and receive a tiny portion of the deity's power. Now as explained by Dr. Verdon, the 'Eighth Day' is simply a call for the other chosen individuals to be drawn to their respective temples and gain their powers.

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And we see this happen quite clearly:

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This isn't all of them, but I'm lazy and it's enough to get the point across.

So there's nothing to suggest the actual 'Eighth Day' involves amping any of the characters involved. I also see quite a few people claim that Cyttorak increased Juggernaut's power in order to win against the other exemplars, but this doesn't really make much sense to me either. For a start, I could maybe understand this logic if the Eighth Day was straight into a fight to the death between each of the exemplars - but that's not what it is, at all. Back to Dr. Verdon for an explanation.

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At no point is it a straight brawl-to-the-death between the Eight exemplars. First off they construct the Godmachine, then use it to mind control all of humanity, then each Exemplar takes 1/8th of the Earth's population as an army, and then they fight it out. Now sure when it comes down to it most of the exemplars could probably solo the entire population of the Earth on their own, but the main point to take away from this is that it wasn't a case of "The Eighth Day has started therefore must amp Juggernaut because they're about to start fighting", they were working together as a team to construct the Godmachine the entire time.

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Perhaps the argument would hold more merit if the Eighth Day was a straight up battle to the death, but that's clearly not the case - and more importantly, there is no evidence for it. Furthermore, if you payed attention to the first scan under this section, it states that each totem held a fraction of each god's power - if they were capable of just amping their chosen characters out of the blue, then really you would think that all the gods would amp their respective exemplars as much as possible. Something I'd like to quickly point out is that the first time Cyttorak being able to actually adjust (specifically the idea that he can increase) Cain's power at will was much later during Fear Itself, which happens to be right around the same time that the Cyttorak handbook entry came out.

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Cain's Mental State

So now we get to juicy bit - Cain's mental state.

If you remember from the start, we know that Juggernaut was compulsively following a psychic call. Xavier examined Juggernaut and found out that Juggernaut was in fact under some sort of spell.

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The question is, of course, what exactly is this spell? Well luckily for us we get to take a close-up into Cain's mind, and straight away we get out answer.

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He was engaged in a mental battle with Cyttorak, who was trying to get Cain to "release his humanity", which is exactly what we saw happening in his fight with Thor where he was cutting loose and going berserk. This is further called a battle of wills inside Juggernaut's tortured psyche.

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Of course, in the end he beat Cyttorak in the mental battle and regained full control over himself.

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If this isn't clear enough, we get more of an explanation by Xavier after he takes a visit inside of Cain's mind. Xavier states that when Cain became the Juggernaut he wasn't simply given powers, but instead fused with Cyttorak's personality. For all this time Cain had been the dominant personality and kept Cyttorak's influence under control, but after the Eighth Day happened, Cyttorak managed to become the dominant one.

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Xavier goes on to state that Cain has been fighting for control of his body, which is exactly what we saw before.

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In fact, it turns out that every exemplar was under the same spell by their respective Deities. In Avengers Vol. 3 #25 in a story very cleverly titled The Ninth Age, we see the exemplars return, and long story short Cap manages to make Bedlam remember who she is and overcome her own spell, and she proceeds to free the other 6.

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(TL;DR People look here!)That about wraps it up for all of the relevant scans in the comics themselves. So what do we know from this?

  • There is not a single mention anywhere in any of the issues that Cyttorak increased Cain's power
  • The actual Eighth Day itself was simply a "call to arms" of sorts
  • Cain, along with all of the other exemplars were under a sort of spell where the wills of their respective Deities were battling their own for control of their body
  • Juggernaut was simply in a "berserker rage" state during his fight with Thor, had received an amp a few issues before, and even so his performance against Thor was not inconsistent in the slightest
  • The idea that Cyttorak amped Cain's power, or even the idea that Cyttorak could amp Cain to begin with didn't appear until over ten years after the Eighth Day was written, and the handbook entry for Cyttorak which makes the claim is full of other inconsistencies. This claim is not corroborated in any of the 3 other relevant handbook entries.

And yeah... not really much else to say about it. If you want to believe the one Cyttorak handbook entry written ten years after the story you're more than welcome to, but the point of this was simply to showcase that all of the evidence from the actual comics themselves (and what was said in the three other handbook entries) is that Cain was merely in an altered mental state which made him much more "berserk" than normal and he was cutting loose.

If you're curious about the implications of this in terms of his feats transferring over to the battle boards, I would say that, as far as striking power goes, it would apply to basically any situation in which Cain is bloodlusted, because that's pretty much all it was. Durability on the other hand would not change just because his mental state was altered, meaning that those feats would be relevant for standard Juggernaut.

With that said, it's not like he has particularly impressive feats during the story anyway. Lots of people here talk about how "Oh 8th day Juggernaut is insane he would stomp if it was 8th day!" but I would assume that 99% of those people haven't read the story itself and are simply going off of the statements and hype he gets. If you're interested, here are basically all of his feats from Eighth Day:

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Easily no-selling hits from Thor, physically overpowering him and leaving him questioning how he could possibly defeat Cain (You could have just tried to BFR him again Thor, you know)
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Having Mjolnir harmlessly bounce off of him, no-selling some more all-out hits, and nearly killing Thor with a bear hug before the fight is interrupted and he's teleported away

And... that's it, really. It's quite literally just the Thor fight, unless you include an ambiguous hyperbolic statement which suggests that his fight with another of the Exemplars caused the most powerful earthquakes in history.

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So yeah... even if you disagree with everything I've written here, essentially his only feat is stomping Thor which is pretty much what he did the last two times they fought anyway.

Well, that's all I have to say. Hope you enjoyed the read.

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