Nothing stops the Juggernaut! More than just a catch-phrase, this iconic sentence basically sums up X-Men foe Cain Marko (aka Juggernaut)’s entire existence. Since being imbued with limitless power by the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, once Marko decides to move, nothing – not even heavy hitters like the Thing, Hulk, Thor, or Colossus – can stop him. So, it may come as a surprise that one of the few Marvel superheroes able to score a decisive victory against Juggernaut was none other than Spider-Man.
At first, this seems impossible. Granted, Peter Parker has super strength – but his muscles can’t begin to compare with a powerhouse like the Juggernaut. Indeed, Spidey himself had extreme misgivings about fighting such an unstoppable foe, but when it came down to it, he came up with a brilliant solution to stop the unstoppable.
The epic battle ran from The Amazing Spider-Man #229-230 in a storyline by Roger Stern appropriately titled “Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut!” When Peter Parker receives a phone call from the blind psychic Madame Web (a character famously voiced in Spider-Man animated cartoons and video games by Stan Lee’s wife Joan Lee), he’s told that an unknown assailant will try to kidnap her within 24 hours. Securing Spider-Man’s aid, Madame Web tells Peter whoever is after her will come out of Battery Park.
As it turns out, that someone is the Juggernaut, a foe that Spider-Man shockingly had never fought before. Believing Madame Web’s ability to see the future could give them a unique edge in their plans, Juggernaut’s partner Black Tom sends the unstoppable monster to kidnap the psychic. Spider-Man intercepts him, but from the start, he realizes he’s in for a major fight when his first blow just sends him ricocheting to another building. Spidey next tries a distance attack with his webbing – only to find that Juggernaut is surrounded by a force field that can block his webs. Switching tactics once more, Spider-Man spins a huge barrier of webbing in Juggernaut’s path, but Cain Marko just keeps walking until the buildings the webs are attached to crumble apart. Incredibly, although he knows he’s being attacked, Juggernaut doesn’t even acknowledge Spider-Man – he just keeps moving closer and closer to his goal.
Still, even if Juggernaut is stronger than Spider-Man, he’s not faster – so Spidey just outdistances him and sets a trap by ripping out a manhole and smashing the ground to form a deep pit for Juggernaut to fall into. Juggernaut actually sees the trap, but intentionally falls into the pit – keeps walking – and smashes his way through the street until he’s back on his regular path. At this point, Spidey decides to go for a frontal attack and begins punching, kicking, and grappling the Juggernaut… to absolutely no avail.
Up until this point, Juggernaut had treated Spider-Man as an insignificant distraction. However, as the web slinger starts to irritate him, Juggernaut simply grabs Spider-Man and walks right through a building – making sure Spidey gets the brunt of the impact. Realizing he’s completely out of his league, Spider-Man gets Madame Webb to try and contact the Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four for help , only to find that all of them are out of reach. Spidey even tries to contact Doctor Strange, but the Sorcerer Supreme is apparently busy in a different dimension.
Even so, other people are willing to stand up against the Juggernaut – like NYPD’s Special Weapons Task Force. Although these policemen have faced down the Hulk before, all of their weapons are utterly useless against Cain Marko, who simply plows through them and keeps going until he reaches Madame Webb’s building. Fortunately, Spider-Man is already there and has created some last-ditch web barriers – which the Juggernaut naturally just rips apart. Madame Web provides Spider-Man with access to generators with enough power to knock out a rhino, but the charge only succeeds in making the Juggernaut angry… that Spider-Man didn’t even give him a decent workout. Knocking Spider-Man away, Juggernaut rips Madame Web out of her chair – only to discover that the “chair” is actually a life support system and without it, the blind psychic will die.
Irritated that he “came all this way for nothing,” Juggernaut callously throws Madame Web away and leaves. Spidey manages to keep Madame Web alive until the paramedics arrive, but his anger at how cruelly Juggernaut treated the old woman causes him to track down Cain Marko and try to stop the unstoppable Juggernaut. He starts by creating a giant web slingshot in a condemned building and uses it to lob steel girders at the monster – only for Juggernaut to bend them like taffy. Cain then rips down the whole building, forcing Spider-Man to grab a wrecking ball and hurl it at his enemy – who backhands it into a building and brings it down on top of both himself and the webhead.
Naturally, Juggernaut survives this catastrophe too, while Spidey just manages to run out of web fluid. Almost out of ideas at this point, Spider-Man “borrows” a gasoline truck from another construction site and drives it straight into Juggernaut, who simply lets it hit him, convinced that nothing can hurt him. And he’s right – although the truck creates an explosion that lights up New York, Juggernaut just walks out, on fire but unharmed – and ready to kill Spider-Man for the mild inconvenience.
Finally fighting for his life, Spider-Man tries to search for any weak spots on Juggernaut – and actually gets the idea to tear off Juggernaut’s helmet (which protects him from psychic attack). Since the X-Men regularly attack him that way, however, Juggernaut already welded the hammer to his armor with a laser torch. Undaunted, Spider-Man realizes if he covers Juggernaut’s eyeholes, he can keep Marko from seeing where he’s going – but this just lets Juggernaut pound Spidey until Peter is almost certain he will die.
At that moment though, Juggernaut finally makes a fatal error. Since he couldn’t see where he was going, he stepped into a slab of wet cement – and begins sinking into the foundation. While the Juggernaut could easily smash his way through rock or concrete, without something to hold onto, he just keeps sinking like a stone in quicksand. As Spider-Man estimates the bottom is forty feet straight down, he realizes that the Juggernaut (although able to survive without air), won’t be able to move surrounded by all that wet cement.
Indeed, years later, Juggernaut relates the story from his perspective, in a sequel also written by Stern called “Something Can Stop The Juggernaut” and reveals just how completely Spider-Man defeated him. Once Juggernaut finally got to the bottom, he had to dig his feet into the bedrock to finally move – then fight through miles of rock, clay, and stone to get to the surface. Although his powers let him survive without air, food or water, he still felt like he was suffocating and starving for the entire month it took him to dig his way out.
Spider-Man has taken on some unbelievably powerful opponents – including the Hulk, the Thing, and even Firelord, a former Herald of Galactus, but his fight with Juggernaut ranks as one of his most intense battles. Although luck certainly played a part in Juggernaut’s eventual defeat, the fact that Spider-Man was willing to take on so much punishment up to that point says a lot about Peter Parker’s tenacity. Juggernaut might claim to be unstoppable – but in his own way, Spider-Man is just as relentless.
Next: Superman Knocked Down The Juggernaut… With ONE PUNCH