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A.X.E.: Judgment Day #2: Review

Aug 2022
Kieron Gillen, Valerio Schiti

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #2 Review by (August 12, 2022)
Last issue it seemed to me that the Hex were threatening the US west coast. But now it seems that was just a side-effect of their rising from the Pacific ocean. Their real target was Krakoa.

The cast list at the beginning of the issue names all 6 of the Hex but only 2 of them (Syne The Memotaur and Phebe Reginax) are identified by name in the body of the issue. The 'centaur' 1 is Rheaka Centaurus and the flying 1 is Theaka The Harpsicus. The other 2 are Tetryona and Themex.

The Celestials killed many Deviants when the 2nd Host sank their island Lemuria (along with Atlantis).
At that time the Celestial Tiamut revolted against their actions and was imprisoned on Earth as the Dreaming Celestial. It was 1st awoken in the Marvel Age by the Deviant lord Ghaur in Eternals (1985) #12. IU believe its consciousness left to roam the cosmos in Et(20085)#9, leaving its body behind in San Francisco. Mr Sinister extracted Celestial science from the body in Uncanny X-Men (2011) #1, and used it to create clones of himself (and others).

The Asgardian Destroyer armour was 1st seen in Journey Into Mystery #118 but it wasn't until Thor #300 that we learned that Odin had created it to oppose the Celestials.

The ending of this issue sends the series/event in a new direction. What follows will be heroes being judged while all sides try to stop the judgement.

There were 2 tie-ins to this issue in the next week:-

A.X.E.: Death To The Mutants #1 shows what the Eternals did while the Hex were attacking Krakoa.
Ajak, Makarri and Sersi let the other 'good' Eternals know what's going on and recruit reluctant Phastos into the plan to create a new Celestial.
The others go with Sersi to Lemuria and with Kro's permission descend into the pit caused by the 2nd Celestial Host's 1st strike against the city to gather eye-witness testimony of the Celestials' acts from the 'ghosts' there.
In particular the issue shows how Ikaris, Kingo Sunen and Sprite help the X-Men invade Olympia. Ikaris recruits the 4 Forgotten (including Gilgamesh) and their supply of stealth suits. 6 of them stealth attack the machinery that keeps non-Eternals out of Eternal cities, while Sprite does the *really* stealthy job of opening the armoury. Magik's team portal in to cut the power to the Hex. Then Ikaris short-circuits the brain of Zuras who's been hampering mutant psychics.
The issue ends with the new Celestial's judgement announcement, which affects Eternals as well as humans.

X-Men #13 shows how the X-Men invaded Olympia to stop the Hex.
Ikaris mentally contacts Jean Grey saying he'll make a way in for mutants to breach the Eternals' armoury and destroy the Hex's power source. But he warns her to kill no Eternals. (She thinks it's a threat but he can't tell her the secret that it's because each Eternal killed would cause the death of an innocent human.) Magik leads a team of Firestar, Forge, Havok, Iceman and Synch ready for the invasion. When Ikaris gives the word she uses a stepping disc to get them there. (I assume the forces they fight with no holds barred are all robots.) Forge works out the safest way to shut the machinery down is to freeze it. Synch copies Iceman's power for double the effect. Firestar turns some of the ice to steam to provide cover. The mission succeeds and they portal back to Krakoa.
Then the new Celestial makes its announcement.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
To cement his rule as Prime Eternal Druig has set the Eternals against the mutants, on the basis that the X-gene derives from Deviants and their recent ability to resurrect themselves represents Excess Deviancy which the Eternals were created by the Celestials to prevent. He sent the Uni-Mind to attack Krakoa as a smokescreen to allow Jack Of Knives to sneak in and assassinate the 5 mutants who are crucial to the resurrection process. And he sent his 'grandfather' Uranos to destroy the mutants on Arakko (Mars). Uranos was very successful but the Krakoa attack failed. So Druig unleashed the 6 giant-size Hex against the island nation, broadcasting to the world that the Eternals were going to save humans from the mutants.
Meanwhile the Eternal priests Ajak and Makkari have kidnapped mutant Mister Sinister and approached the Avengers with a plan to end the conflict. They want to use the Celestial body that the team currently have as their base in order to create a new Celestial who will order Druig to stop.

This issue continues to have a voiceover from the Celestial who hasn't been created yet. It begins by introducing us to 6 humans around the world who it says will be important - but adds that *everyone* is important.

The action proper continues on Krakoa directly from the end of Immortal X-Men #5 with Exodus attacking 1 of the Hex, accompanied by Jean Grey/Marvel Girl. He manages to propel the red-hot giant 'minotaur' off the island and the duo follow it into the deep ocean. Meanwhile Cyclops is leading the fight against another which he describes as a huge metallic 'centaur' that generates attack beasts. Suddenly help arrives in the form of Captain America leading Avengers Captain Marvel, Nighthawk, Phoenix, Starbrand, Sub-Mariner and Thor. MG is keeping the mutant forces linked together. Exodus' religious fervour is against accepting aid from non-mutants. But war captain Magik welcomes all the allies they can get.

The Avengers have left Iron Man working with Ajak and Makkari. The captive Mr Sinister will be useful because he once stole scientific information from the Dreaming Celestial. The mutant now says he wants to help because *he*'s in danger too, but they don't trust him.

Back on Krakoa Cyclops explains to CapA that the Eternals' goal is to destroy the mutant nation's method of resurrection. So the X-Men will concentrate on protecting that if the Avengers will fight the Hex and help get noncombatant mutants to safety. CapM, Phoenix, Starbrand and Thor are helping Banshee and Storm against a flying Hex who can turn intangible. Jean Grey calls for help with the minotaur. Namor's already with them but the beast is about to explode. CapM and Starbrand dive down and blast it but proud Sub-Mariner doesn't appreciate 'help'.

But this titanic battle in mid-Pacific is causing quakes, volcanoes and tidal waves threatening places such as the Philippines. Cyclops advises CapA to take the Avengers to save the rest of the world and leave Krakoa to the mutants. Destiny and Exodus see the Avengers leaving as another sign that humans don't care about mutants.

The voice of the new Celestial brings us up-to-date with the effort to create it. Ajak and Iron Man go to London where the Celestial Arishem The Judge's body fell (in #1 of the current Avengers series). They 'take an impression' of his Thumb Of Judgment. In San Francisco Sinister sends his Celestial-science clones to collect a fragment (the heart?) of the Dreaming Celestial. Makkari siphons power from the Destroyer (created by Odin to defend against the Celestials). The Avengers have freed Sersi (who they imprisoned last issue) and she rouses the friendly Eternals to perform a seance to contact the many Deviants who have been killed by Celestials, while Phastos helps to build the new Celestial. Ajak and Makkari write a new 'scripture' for their space-god. They use Tony Stark as the blueprint for the god's nervous system because he was recently (in his own current series) made a god by the Power Cosmic, and also piloted another dead Celestial during the King In Black event.

Exodus and Marvel Girl are still fighting the fiery 'minotaur', now back on land. They have breached its armour and now can hear its thoughts. It is called Syne The Memotaur and it is being healed by another Hex called Phebe Reginax. Jean Grey thinks all the Hex are sisters. Exodus penetrates inside it and causes it to self-destruct, killing him along with it. Cyclops and others celebrate as the Five continue resurrecting dead mutants (on a priority basis) including Exodus. But the Eternals' Great Machine also resurrects Syne, as usual at the cost of a random human life - this time Arjun in Mombai, 1 of the 6 humans mentioned at the beginning of this issue.

At Avengers Mountain Phastos has finished connecting the dead Celestial Progenitor to a bunker outside where Ajak, Makkari, Mr Sinister and Tony Stark prepare to switch their new god on.

On Krakoa Exodus attacks the 'centaur' Hex but it doesn't work this time. And its combat fauna have disabled the Krakoan teleport gates. However Cyclops reports that the X-Men have infiltrated the Eternal armoury and cut the power supplies to the Hex so they should be running down soon. Then 1 of the gates opens but only to deliver the resurrected Memotaur which starts to destroy the island of Krakoa itself.

Then the dead Celestial comes to life and orders the Eternals to cease. The hex teleport off Krakoa. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief until ...

... the Celestial announces that it is here to judge mankind. Individually and collectively they have 24 hours to justify their existence. If the bad outweighs the good they will be executed. This is what it meant by 'everyone is important'.

Valerio Schiti
Valerio Schiti
Marte Gracia
Mark Brooks (Cover Penciler)
Mark Brooks (Cover Inker)
Mark Brooks (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)

(Ororo Munroe)


Plus: Banshee (Sean Cassidy), Destiny (Paul Destine), Exodus, Great Machine (Eternals AI), Magik (Illyana Rasputin), Mister Sinister, Nighthawk (of SSOA), Phastos, Phoenix (Maya Lopez), Starbrand (Brandy Selby).

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

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