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A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1: Review

Jul 2022
Kieron Gillen, Valerio Schiti

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

5 stars

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1 Review by (July 22, 2022)
This issue kicks this event into high gear from the very start. It builds on the Eternals series and the FCBD2022: Judgment Day and AXE: Eve Of Judgment 1-shots. It uses fundamental elements of the X-Men story from House Of X/Powers Of X onwards. While it doesn't reflect the ongoing conflict between the Avengers and Mephisto, it has roots that go back to the 1st arc of the current Avengers series. And Valerio Schiti provides impressive clear artwork (as he did on Empyre). I have great hopes for the series and give this issue a 5. And maybe this time the Marvel Universe really *will* 'not be the same again'.

I thought at 1st that the Eternals' Great Machine provides some narration here as it does for the Eternals own mag. But I think now that it is the voice of the new Celestial that has not yet been created.

The Damocles Foundation previously appeared in several issues of X-Force vol 1 between #77 and #97. Druig wasn't involved there, but 2 of the 3 Eternals mentioned recently as belonging to the Foundation were.

We've never seen the Hex before, and all we knew of them before now was that there are 6 of them, no names, no details.

The Avengers gained a dead Celestial as their HQ in the 1st arc of their series. There we learned that it was the 1st Celestial to visit Earth where it died of a Horde infection. And the current Celestials gave the body to the Avengers to use after the Avengers defeated their enemy the Horde.

Orchis is an organisation that sprang from the House Of X series. It is composed of people who believe that mutants will replace humans as Earth's dominant species unless they are stopped.

The Powers Of X series revealed that Moira MacTaggert was much more than we believed. She had lived through several versions of her life in alternate timelines and could remember them all. She had tried various solutions to the human/mutant problem before her 10th life in the Earth-616 timeline. Powers Of X showed how the knowledge she this time shared with Prof X had shaped events behind the scenes. Then her death in X-Men (1991) #108 was faked and she and Charles Xavier began setting up the House Of X/Powers Of X Krakoan nation. When Moira was eventually revealed to be alive to the Quiet Council she opposed the resurrection of Destiny who knew too much about her other lives. This caused in-fighting among the mutant nation, and MacTaggert to lose faith in the future for mutants so she joined Orchis and planned to cure the mutant 'disease'.
She got turned into a cyborg during the X Lives/Deaths Of Wolverine series, with the ability to disguise herself as anyone else. In a tale in FCBD2022: Judgment Day the disguised herself as Mary Jane Watson to attended Hellfire Gala 2 in the XM:HG 1-shot. I don't know whether she's supposed to look like MJ here.

1 of the things Moira and Charles worked on before Krakoa was the resurrection process, finally resulting in The 5. Egg (formerly Goldballs) creates a large golden egg which is injected with DNA of the resurrectee taken from Mr Sinister's database. Proteus (Moira's son) uses his reality-warping power to create a viable life. Elixir starts it growing and Tempus accelerates the process. Hope Summers (Cable's adopted daughter) enhances the powers of the others. A telepath copies a backup of the resurrectee's consciousness from Cerebro.
During the XM: Trial Of Magneto mini-series Scarlet Witch enabled the process to resurrect mutants who weren't stored in Cerebro.

Mars was renamed Arakko after a sister island of Krakoa which long ago got shunted to the Amenth dimension where its mutant inhabitants the Arakkii fought demons. Arakko and Arakkii led by the Great Ring council returned to Earth-616 in the X Of Swords event. Mars was terraformed for them during the 1st Hellfire Gala.

2 tie-ins to this issue got released in the following weeks.

Immortal X-Men #5 describes the events on Krakoa from the X-Men's POV. It centres on Exodus and has flashbacks as he remembers his 12th Century origin as originally described in the Black Knight: Exodus 1-shot where Apocalypse left him in suspended animation until he was awakened to be Magneto's chief Acolyte. During that origin he met and fought Sersi of the Eternals. (New info is that his origin also involved the Phoenix Force.) The flashback memories are deliberately caused by the  psychic attack of the Eternals' Uni-Mind to confuse the mutants.
The bulk of the issue mirrors the Krakoa part of JD#1. New info here is that the Krakoan Quiet Council know that Mr Sinister has been abducted by Eternals. Exodus links with Hope and Emma Frost to psychically attack the Uni-Mind which he perceives as a 5-headed dragon. And at the end he heads off to attack the Hex in California.
The issue makes it plain that the ex-Knight Templar sees everything in religious terms, but the object of his devotion has changed over the years.

X-Men Red #5 describes the events on Arakko from the X-Men's POV. We find out how Uranos devastated the planet. The ruling Great Ring is disrupted when Isca The Unbeaten ensures she lives up to her name by switching sides and decapitating Idyll The Seer. Uranos unleashes many weapons from his armoury which independently attack various strategic sites including the orbiting SWORD station. He himself attacks the Great Ring, breaking the eye of Ora Serrata The Witness. Legion pops in and he and Uranos go to space to battle. But Uranos soon returns to fight Magneto and Lodus Logos. He rips the heart out of Magneto as 1 of his weapons blasts Lodus. Cable pulls the Omega-One Pulse Rifle out of *his* weapons cache but it doesn't kill the Eternal. However 1 of *his* weapons kills the mutant. Meanwhile lots more individual battles occur. But 20 minutes into his allotted hour Uranos has won and I think he just savours the remaining 40 minutes before he's taken back to Earth.
But he should have checked that everyone really *was* dead. Several of the Great Ring turn out to be still alive. And Magneto seems to be doing OK without his heart.

Legion's cameo in XMR#5 will be expanded on in Legion Of X #6 - but that won't be out for 2 months.

X-Force #30 was released after JD#2. It is only loosely connected to A.X.E. in that it occurs after humanity learns about the mutant nation's resurrection system. But there's no sign of Krakoa being attacked by Eternals or a Celestial intending to judge everyone, so it probably fits even before this issue.
The team are down 2 members. Kid Omega was killed last issue and he can't be resurrected. Wolverine's left to investigate this. So Beast has brought in Deadpool and Omega Red.
Beast and Sage send Black Tom Cassidy and Domino to rescue Angel who's been captured by an angry mob outside a Krakoan gateway. They demand resurrection for all, and to prove they mean business they cut of 1 of Angel's wings. Black Tom gates in and controls the plant-life of the gateway to attack them. The guy holding Angel sees human-looking Domino and asks her to shoot 'him' meaning BT. Domino says yes (but I think it means she'll kill Angel so he can be resurrected with both wings).
Deadpool and Omega Red are in the Arctic to rescue trafficked  mutants. (This is supposed to give the mutants good press.) DP majorly annoys OR so Red chops his arms off and stabs him through the chest with his own 2 swords. He leaves him there, boards the freighter that is their target, kills the crew and finds the trafficked mutants in the hold. Meanwhile DP is approached by a hungry polar bear.
I didn't mention that earlier in the issue we saw Kraven The Hunter hunting and killing a polar bear, apex predator of the Arctic, with only a knife and finding DP's head in its stomach. The issue ends with him entering a Siberian bar and overhearing that mutants must now be apex predators of the Galaxy. This gives him ideas.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue opens in a New York skyscraper restaurant where Tony Stark has invited Sersi of the Eternals for lunch. He asks her why the Eternals and Avengers are going to be fighting each other soon. She responds that her people are more likely to fight the mutants who have recently learned how to do the Eternals' resurrection thing. But the meeting was actually just a ploy to get her out in the open, and now Phoenix (Maya Lopez) zooms in to take Sersi into the sky to meet Captain Marvel and Thor.

Elsewhere in NY in the Treehouse, the X-Men's current base and the Krakoan consulate, Cyclops and Marvel Girl watch Phoenix' flight with mixed feelings considering the battle the Avengers and X-Men once fought over the Phoenix Force (the Avengers Vs X-Men event), and they also view the usual anti-mutant protesters down below, these days with added complaints against the mutants colonising Mars and hogging immortality for themselves. Scott Summers reminds Jean Grey that The 5 can only practically bring a limited number of people back to life.

On the living island Krakoa, currently home to ~200,000 mutants, Destiny has also been predicting a war but she wasn't sure who with. It's not their enemies Orchis but now she tells her 'family' Mystique and Nightcrawler that the Eternals are going to try to kill all mutants. The 2 women go to gather the Quiet Council that rules Krakoa, while Kurt Wagner takes a Krakoan Gateway to Mars, now renamed Arakko, to alert the Great Ring. There he finds Cable, Magneto and Storm. They decide that Ororo will go to represent Arakko at the Quiet Council while Magneto and Nightcrawler take the message to the Great Ring. Cable will formulate a plan of war. Kurt muses that just as the Olympian Gods had to kill their predecessors the Titans, the mutants are now the new gods who must supplant the old gods the Eternals.

Sersi awakens trapped in a chair in a 'psychic dead room' in Avengers Mountain HQ at the North Pole being interrogated by a remote-controlled Iron Man armour to avoid her mental powers. She matter-manipulates her dress into her usual costume as Tony reminds her how last month (Eternals #10-12) some of her people snuck into the HQ to commune with it (because it's actually the body of a dead Celestial). At that time they reluctantly admitted that Thanos had become their leader and was about to destroy the Earth but they'd deal with it (and they did). Now he wants to know what else they're hiding.

But just then Captain America decides to change the approach by entering the room personally. Sersi used to be an Avenger (#314-375) and he's prepared to trust her. But she claims that she doesn't know *anything* about the Eternals preparing for war. Iron Man says he's been monitoring the world for Eternal activity since their last confrontation and last week (A.X.E.: Eve Of Judgment 1-shot) he detected a large spike of Celestial energy in the Pacific (ie below Krakoa as we saw then). And during the last day there have been lower-level pulses all over the world. She still protests her ignorance and tells them that she and others they know like Ikaris and Thena have left Eternal Society. Druig rules the Eternals now and she doesn't know *what* he's up to.

In Olympia (1 hour earlier) Druig addressed hologram representatives of various Eternal groups. He reminds them of the 3rd Principle that their makers the Celestials built in to the Eternals - to Correct Excess Deviation. For millennia they have policed the Deviants. But recently (Et#12) it came to light that Deviant interbreeding with humans was the cause of superhuman abilities, and in particular the X-gene that produces the mutants. So he reasons that the mutants are Deviants and should have been watched for Excess Deviation. And now that they have discovered how to resurrect themselves and have colonised Mars then they will spread Excess Deviation through all time and space. This *must* be Corrected. This (limited form of the) Uni-Mind gives their approval.

Druig then visits the Exclusion prison under the South Pole to talk to Uranos to tell him that the council have agreed to let him out for the 1st time in millennia to do 1 task. He will only have 1 hour then the Great Machine will teleport him back to his cell. Uranos says that the mutants may have terraformed Mars in 1 day (Planet-Size X-Men 1-shot) but he can undo it all in 1 hour.

Druig then moves to the Damocles Foundation HQ in Los Angeles to confer with Moira MacTaggert. He's surprised that the long-time ally of mutants should now be part of their foes Orchis. She relates how she helped found the Krakoan utopia but she was cast out after Destiny was resurrected against her advice. So now she and Orchis will do whatever they can to help Druig destroy the mutant nation.

On Krakoa Professor X explains that the Eternals have not previously been enemies of mutants and the Krakoans aren't prepared for war against them. Meanwhile Exodus points out that Mister Sinister (who he has a grudge against) is suspiciously absent. But all discussion is disrupted by a psychic attack by half of the Eternals joined into a true Uni-Mind. Mutant psychics strike back as Druig describes to MacTaggert how the other half of his Eternals are making a physical attack wearing their ancient war armour. And the X-Men team teleport from NY to Krakoa to take charge of the defence.

Moira points out that there are about a million mutants on Arakko, mostly Arakkii hardened by centuries of war in another dimension. Druig claims to have that in hand. And as the Great Ring meet on Arakko a great destruction begins on that planet. Instead he turns MacTaggert's attention to the mutant race's method of immortality. The Eternals will be resurrected as long as the Great Machine/Earth endures. But the mutant resurrection system depends on Hope Summers and 4 other mutants.

On Krakoa Wolverine and others are fighting the armoured Eternals when Logan detects that 1 of The 5, Egg, as been killed. He quickly moves to where Hope is and saves her from an invisible attacker. The Eternal Jack Of Knives makes himself visible. Wolverine explains that the Eternal was completely undetectable except for the smell of Egg's blood on his dagger. Jack hurls many daggers to pierce Logan's body and then teleports away. Logan alerts Marvel Girl that the Eternals are after The 5 and so obviously know the secret of mutant resurrection. Jean Grey mentally orders everyone to protect The 5. But Druig calls off the Eternal attack now that its main objective has been lost. In Arbor Magna Egg is resurrected from 1 of the eggs he prepared earlier.

But then Nightcrawler teleports in through what he says was the last working Gate on Arakko to report that they need to resurrect the mutant leaders of Mars. We see The 5 bring Cable back to life. And we see Uranos on a devastated planet as the last seconds of his hour tick down. Then he's back in his cell reporting his success to Druig. He deduces that the other half of Druig's plan didn't work and asks to be released again to deal with the mutants on Earth. He promises to only wipe out 1 hemisphere of the globe. But Druig has other tricks to try 1st.

In Avengers HQ IM gets word of the attack on Krakoa. But then he also says that the energy spikes he detected earlier have now concentrated off the western coast of the US. Then Druig beams a message to all human communication devices to tell the world that the mutants have become too much of a menace so now the Eternals will protect the world from them as they have protected it for millennia. Many humans are delighted by this. But he goes on to ask them not to fear the 'towering death machines' that are rising from the sea. They aren't death machines but Eternals known as the Hex come seeking mutants. However it would be wise for humans to vacate the coastal regions.

Cap assembles the Avengers, including Nighthawk, Starbrand and Sub-Mariner who we haven't previously seen this issue. They're keeping Sersi prisoner because she hasn't yet explained *why* she and some others left Eternal society. (Regular Eternals readers know it's because they discovered that every time 1 of them is resurrected a human has to die - something they *don't* want humans to learn about.) Tony Stark has set up extra alarms to detect Eternal intrusion after the last time, and they now go off.

It's the Celestian Priests Ajak and Makarri with their prisoner Mr Sinister (see AXE:EOJ). Ajak explains that they want to avoid an Eternals/mutants war that would devastate the planet. The Eternals are compelled to Correct Excess Deviation by their Celestial programming. But that programming could be rewritten by a Celestial god, and she wants their help to create a new 1. Tony admires the boldness of their plan but doesn't see how it could be done. She gestures around them and points out that they're living in 1 of the major ingredients - the body and brain of a Celestial.

Valerio Schiti
Valerio Schiti
Marte Gracia
Mark Brooks (Cover Penciler)
Mark Brooks (Cover Inker)
Sabine Rich (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)

(Scott Summers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Marvel Girl
Marvel Girl

(Jean Grey)

(Kurt Wagner)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)

(Ororo Munroe)


(James Howlett)

Plus: Destiny (Paul Destine), Druig, Exodus, Goldballs (Egg), Hope Summers, Jack Of Knives, Mister Sinister, Moira MacTaggert, Mystique (Raven Darkholme), Nighthawk (of SSOA), Phoenix (Maya Lopez), Starbrand (Brandy Selby), Uranos.

> A.X.E.: Judgment Day: Book info and issue index

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