A.X.E. Judgment Day 6 featured Columns 

Don’t Miss This: “A.X.E.: Judgment Day” by Kieron Gillen and Valerio Schiti

By | October 27th, 2022
Posted in Columns | % Comments

There are a lot of comics out there, but some stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This,” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we’re casting our own judgment on Marvel’s latest crossover event, “A.X.E.: Judgment Day.”

Who’s this by?

“A.X.E.” is written by Kieron Gillen, known for a wide range of comics for Marvel, Image, and more. He’s created comics like “Once & Future,” “The Wicked + The Divine,” and “The Ludocrats,” as well as written comics for Marvel that include a highly regarded runs on “Uncanny X-Men,” “Journey into Mystery,” and “Iron Man.”

Currently, he writes both the “Eternals” ongoing and “Immortal X-Men,” which puts him at the perfect spot to coordinate this event.

It’s illustrated by Valerio Schiti, a name any Marvel reader should recognize. He’s penned everything from “Avengers” to “Empyre” to “Tony Stark: Iron Man,” in addition to many, many “X-Men” series. Outside of Marvel, he’s also illustrated comics like “Battle Beasts,” and even “Dungeons & Dragons: Abraxis Wren of Eberron.”

Marte Gracia provides the colors, bringing the same expertise he’s used in other “X-Men” comics, “Hulk,” and even “Spider-Man 2099: Exodus.” His color work is perfectly suited for Valerio’s illustrations, creating the atmosphere and adding intensity to every scene.

Even the letterer, Clayton Cowles, is a name commonly seen in our yearly picks for “Best Letter.”

In short: it’s an all-star creative team.

What’s it all about?

Ever since the new status quo for the X-Men and mutantkind was introduced in “House of X,” mutants have found a way to defeat death. Suffice to say, that’s caused quite a kerfuffle when the world found out.

Meanwhile, the Eternals have been dealing with their own conflicts, as Druig became the Prime Eternal. And as his first act, he decided that immortality was one mutation too far, and that mutants have reached the point of “excess deviation” and must be eliminated.

But what started off looking like it would be another “hero team vs hero team” event took a turn as the Avengers and Eternals animated the deceased Celestial that formed the Avengers’ headquarters into a new god, the Progenitor… who took one look at the world and promptly decided that it was time to judge all of humanity. Too many failures, and it’s time for the end of the world.

Suffice to say, things escalated quickly, and now it’s quite literally the end of the world.

What makes it so great?

As I said: it’s an all-star team, and every last one of them makes this comic great.

There are a handful of writers who I’ve said could write the back of a cereal box and I’d still collect every last one; Kieron Gillen is one of them. He’s built up the events of his run on “Eternals” to lead up to this, and it works wonderfully.

Even when it started, and seemed like it was going to be a matter of teams fighting each other, it was handled well. The dialogue is clever, the characters actually make intelligent and reasonable decisions (rather than just doing something because the plot demands it), and the narration really carries the story while adding voice to it. The way it occasionally cuts to normal humans and how they react to each new change makes the story feel more personal by showing us its impact on the world, not just the heroes.

And once judgment day begins, the stakes grow higher and becomes a worldwide issue, while still letting us focus on individual characters. Who passes, and why? And then it makes us wonder: “would I pass?” I’ve honestly found myself reflecting on my own life and decisions as I read this, wondering what the Progenitor would say about me.

Sometimes, though, sometimes it also gets downright heartbreaking. Without spoilers, this comic features one of the best deaths I’ve seen in a long time (and it kills one of my favorites, so that’s saying something).

Then we get to the artwork. As mentioned, Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia are both experienced artists, and oh does it ever show. Each page is filled with detail, emotion, tension, and action, as the need may be. Valerio’s character designs are top-notch, giving them plenty of personality and dynamic poses, while laying out each panel nicely.

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Some of the images can get outright terrifying, like when we see the damage that the Progenitor can inflight, but it’s still drawn with just the right amount of detail and shading to hit just right.

All the while, Marte Gracia’s colors add to the intensity. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of red in recent issues as the world burns, but even beyond that, there’s still a brightness to the characters that makes it easy on the eyes. The shading, the lighting, and the way the backgrounds glow or dim do a great job controlling the mood and atmosphere, which is especially important in a comic like this.

And sometimes, there are so many characters and so much action on a single page that it’s honestly astounding.

So yeah, it’s good.

Where can I read it?

You can find “A.X.E.: Judgment Day” at your friendly local comic shop. Issue 6 comes out this week, and you can also find issues 1-5 as well as the associated tie-in comics among the singles until they’re all collected. If digital is more your style, you can also find them digitally on Comixology and the Marvel Comics website.

//TAGS | Don't Miss This

Robbie Pleasant


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