In Week Eight of A.X.E.: Judgment Day, the heroes are hurling towards final judgment… but will they get a thumbs up?
On tap this week are X-Men Red #6 and A.X.E.: Judgment Day #4.
After the attack on Araako by Uranos, Dr. Craig Marshall of Earth sends out a distress signal recounting recent events. He explains that, despite the bad reputation of Arakki, he has only had positive experiences with them. While protecting two Arakki children, he is saved by Storm, Sobunar of the Depths, and Lactuca of the Stars on their way to fight back against Uranos. Elsewhere, various figures —including Nova, the Fisher King, Isca the Unbeaten, and Sunspot— recount their experiences in the relief efforts on Arakko. Also among them is Abigail Brand, whose (in-process) resurrection is stalled by Xavier, leaving her body without a mind or soul for the time being.
Meanwhile, Magneto (himself thought to be dead after the attack) returns to the fight and reveals that he is keeping himself alive through manipulating the iron in his blood to compensate for his lack of a heart. He’s then met by Sunspot, the Fisher King, and Syzca of the Smoke, announcing themselves as the Night Seats of the Great Ring — a contingency plan of sorts that operates on the fringes of Arakki leadership. The Fisher King reveals to Magento that he was, in fact, one of the founding members of the group (alongside teleporter Syzca, now free from imprisonment) and hid this information from him until it became relevant. Just as Magneto realizes Uranos’ forces are self-healing, Storm arrives with the others to join his fight, and they utilize their powers in tandem with one another to take down a beast. Knowing the odds aren’t in their favor, the Brotherhood decides they will find the “off switch” of the invading army and take the fight to Uranos himself.
Back in New York, Captain America tries to placate the masses as they devolve into further chaos amid judgment. On Avengers Mountain, the Avengers, Eternals, and Mister Sinister plan their next move. Sersi suggests they fake love and togetherness to the world in the hopes that it’ll end Judgment Day, but Eros astutely counters with the sentiment that they need to believe in love if they want anyone else to follow their example. (Progenitor agrees.) Progenitor then reveals the fates of several other figures: Tom from London fails; Mayor Luke Cage fails; Thor passes; Ms. Marvel passes; Katrina from Vancouver fails; Xavier fails; Komali from remains mercifully unjudged; Starband passes; Daniela from São Paolo passes; Doctor Doom passes; Jada from New York passes; Daredevil fails; Miles Morales passes; Kenta from Yokohama is deemed too young to be judged.
All the while, Eros talks with various influential figures to work out an offer to the United Nations: in exchange for cooperating with a package for human rights and environmentalism, the Eternals will help Earth become a paradise. Knowing that the Eternals need to endear themselves to Earth for the plan to work, he decides that the Druig problem needs to be resolved quickly. Upon receiving footage from the carnage on Arakko, it becomes clear to the heroes that Uranos could just as easily ravage Earth as he did the planet formerly known as Mars. Elsewhere, Druig feels the pressure of Judgment Day on him when his fellow Eternals (sans Ikaris and Gilgamesh, who are disabling the Uni-Mind firewalls) pull him into the Uni-Mind. They inform him they are holding a snap vote to determine the true Eternal Prime, and the mutants will be now joining them in the Uni-Mind to do so. Uranos convinces Druig that his only shot at winning this fight is to unleash him once more —his psychic strength would be enough to control the vote in his favor— but once he does, Uranos abandons him, resulting in Eros being named the new Eternal Prime. Before anyone can celebrate, however, a grim reality emerges; Uranos has rallied his Armories to rise from the Earth as he closes off the Machine to his fellow Eternals, trapping Ikaris and Gilgamesh inside. Thanks to some quick thinking by Iron Man, the Brotherhood is transported from Arakko to Earth to aid in the fight against Uranos, destroying his physical body and dooming him to another stint in prison.
As Magneto dies in Storm’s arms, Progenitor finally passes judgment on Ikaris (who passes) and Sersi (who fails), much to Iron Man’s confusion. She muses that Progenitor could have deemed her a failure for any whimsical or nonsense reason it chooses, despite her coming up with the plan to rescue Eros for the greater good. When Eros approaches Progenitor for its final judgment, the Celestial considers the fate of the planet after all it has seen… and decides that Earth has failed judgment after all, saying they’ve had enough time to justify their existence after millions of years and will likely never succeed in doing so even after millions more. As people are reduced to ash and bone, Captain America realizes the severity of the situation, losing all hope that they will make it out alive.
Well that was a lot, wasn’t it? Obviously I knew going into the final stretch of pages that the heroes would fail in their goal for the sake of story (see also: Avengers: Infinity War) but it still came as a real gut punch to see Progenitor deliver the inevitable news. Similarly to the aforementioned Infinity War, delivering such an abruptly cruel twist at the midpoint of the overarching story means the previous suspense of the plot (“will the good guys win?”) has transformed into a new one (“how will good guys win now that they’ve already lost?”) and I’m very curious to see how that happens. We all know that the heroes ultimately have to come out victorious so that the Marvel Universe can continue to exist, so the question is how that’ll happen, and if it’ll be a satisfying conclusion after all the build-up that’s happened. I’ve really been into this event since the beginning, though, so I have faith in Kieron Gillen & Co. to pull it out from here onwards. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long to see what happens next — A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5 is out next week! Speaking of which…
In addition to the aforementioned A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5, next week will also see the release of tie-ins from Avengers #60 and Fantastic Four #47. See you then, True Believers!
A.X.E.: Judgment Day — Week Eight
- Writers: Al Ewing (X-Men Red) & Kieron Gillen (Judgment Day)
- Artists: Stefano Caselli (XMR) & Valerio Schiti (JD)
- Color Artists: Federico Blee (XMR) & Marte Gracia (JD)
- Letterer: VC's Ariana Maher (XMR) & VC's Clayton Cowles (JD)
- Cover Artists: Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson (XMR) & Mark Brooks (JD)
- Editors: Jordan D. White (XMR) & Tom Brevoort (JD)
- Publisher: Marvel Entertainment