Credits: Joe Kelly (writer), Duncan Rouleau (penciler), Steve Moncuse (inker), Chris Eliopoulos & Visual Calligraphy (letters)
Summary: In a New Mexico bar, Juggernaut meets a wild woman named Alex. After he joins her crime spree, Black Tom suddenly appears and reveals that Alex is actually Spite, the demon Juggernaut previously faced inside the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak. After Black Tom goads Juggernaut into striking him, he reveals himself as D’Spayre in disguise. Spite has been manipulating Juggernaut into fighting her brother D’Spayre, while D’Spayre wants to drain the Cyttorak energy within Juggernaut. Juggernaut calls upon his inner rage to defeat D’Spayre, and Spite rewards him by restoring the powers D’Spayre drained from him. The locals throw a festival in honor of Juggernaut for saving their town.
I Love the ‘90s: Juggernaut is listening to the country song “Blue” on the jukebox, which was recently covered by Leann Rimes at the time. Tawny Kitain is cited as an example of an attractive female. The local sheriff is upset he’s missing Walker, Texas Ranger, and doesn’t want to deal with Feds like “Agent Scullery.”
Review: If the Imperial Guard can get a miniseries, I guess Juggernaut can get a one-shot. I wonder if this was originally an X-Men Unlimited issue that was released as a one-shot after Marvel made the decision to radically increase the amount of X-specials in late 1996. It does have the same editor, and the story is essentially a sequel to Unlimited #12. This is an early Joe Kelly story, and it does demonstrate that he had a pretty good idea of what he was doing from the beginning (I haven’t read anything he’s written in years, but apparently he’s now lumped in the “Worst Writers” category). Kelly plays off Juggernaut’s irrational jealousy of his brother, as he’s drawn into D’Spayre and Spite’s sibling rivalry. He also doesn’t make Juggernaut too sympathetic, as his main motivation in helping Spite is so that he can personally kill her later. Kelly shapes the story around Juggernaut’s own personality and existing motivations, which prevents it from feeling like a gratuitous one-shot that’s just there to eat up the competition’s shelf space. My main issue is the art, which is so warped and unsightly it’s a major distraction. I like Duncan Rouleau’s later artwork, but his early stuff is just too hard on the eyes. It resembles a lot of the early Image artwork; not even the stuff put out by the original founders, but the really egregious material pumped out by the second or third-tier imitators. Aside from the unattractive figures, the page layouts are often confusing, and it’s hard to tell which order to read the word balloons. Kelly writes some clever dialogue throughout the issue, but it often takes a few seconds to process what exactly the characters are talking about because the page is such a mess.