Writer: Chris Yost
Artist: Jorge Fornes
Issue #18 of Amazing X-Men is billed as the conclusion of a story arc called “The Once and Future Juggernaut,” that has chronicled the efforts of several would-be suitors to acquire the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak and the attempts of the X-Men to thwart them. At the end of the last issue, Ahmet Abdol (aka The Living Monolith) had obtained the gem and, with it, the powers of the Juggernaut. Meanwhile, the X-Men (Storm, Nightcrawler, Firestar, Northstar, Iceman, Rachel Grey, Colossus, Rockslide and Pixie) and Cain Marko, the original Juggernaut who had also endeavored to reach the gem and destroy it, tried desperately to formulate a plan to separate Abdol from his newly-acquired power set. Finally, the group decides to send a small contingent (Colossus, Pixie, Rachel and Cain) to reason with the demon Cyttorak to strip Abdol of his powers.
Where this book really shines is in the dialogue between the characters as they try to make the best out of a seemingly hopeless situation. It is great to see the human side of the team as they sit and reminisce before what they fear may be their final battle. It is a stark reminder of how much some of these characters have been through together and the close bonds they have formed with one another. The biggest weakness of the book is its functionality as the conclusion of a story arc. There is no sense of finality in this issue, and it serves more as a transition to the next chapter of the same story.
Jorge Fornes’s art is solid throughout. The characters are distinct and recognizable with appropriately expressive faces. The art is consistent in quality in both action scenes and dialogue-filled panels where the characters are mostly stationary. The artistic highlight of this book, however, is the character design of The Living Monolith as Juggernaut. He is gigantic, threatening, ominous, and completely looks the part of a boss-level villain.