No time to fiddle-faddle here; it’s week nine of A.X.E.: Judgment Day, and there’s people that are dying, Kim!


Up this week are Avengers #60, Fantastic Four #47, and A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5.


After another job with the new Thunderbolts, Hawkeye (Clint Barton) retires to the nearest diner for a cheeseburger, unexpectedly meeting Black Widow there — or rather, Progenitor taking the form of Black Widow to deliver Clint’s judgment. Clint refuses to play ball with the Celestial and leaves, deciding it would be a better use of his time to go about his usual business of trying to help people while he still has time instead. Later that day, he learns his job from earlier was not properly completed, meaning he has to pick up where he left off before it becomes a problem. While on the way there, he stops by City Hall to wax philosophical with Mayor Luke Cake (who we later learn is also Progenitor in disguise), pondering ethics and what makes a person “good” or “bad.” After a tussle with Crossfire, Clint finishes the job and awaits his final judgment from Progenitor. He passes.

Elsewhere, the Fantastic Four all try to make the best of what may be their final day. Mr. Fantastic pours himself into his work, Sue puts on a brave face for the people of the Baxter Building, Thing prepares himself to fight, Human Torch goes about his usual business of revelry. Sue meets a young woman named Zoe, who introduces herself as a new temp in the Baxter Building, but she soon reveals her true identity: Exterminatrix, daughter of old FF foe Cosmic Man, looking to take advantage of the global situation to exact revenge on them for her father’s demise with the nefarious Midas Corporation at her disposal. As her family responds to the emergency, Reed ponders that the Celestials must actually want Earth to pass their test if it’s gone on this long, or else they would have just eliminated the whole planet already. While this happens, Exterminatrix presses on to secure her real goal: steal all of the Watchers’ knowledge, recently bequeathed to Mr. Fantastic, to take over the galaxy.

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5 coverIn the direct aftermath of Progenitor deeming Earth a failure (as seen in A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5), the global population is left reeling. Tom in London feels like it’s all his fault as his son prepares to confront him for being a bad person. Katrina in Vancouver similarly wonders what she did wrong, but realizes it’s not about her and goes to help people. Komali in Mumbai awaits her final moments. Daniela in São Paulo spends whatever time she has left with her grandmother. Jade in NYC laments being wrong about her heroes saving the day. Kenta in Yokohama finally understands the severity of the situation, doomed to die because of the failures of adults. 

Jada finds Captain America on the street and they have a genuine conversation about the state of things. She shares that, despite the badness of the world, there are people like him who give her hope. Nightcrawler then appears to return themselves to the fight while they still can, but Progenitor makes quick work of the heroes, reducing both to skeletons. Back in Krakoa, Nightcrawler is hastily resurrected and reaffirms his intent to fight with Wolverine. The remaining heroes strategize their next move and it’s decided that, with their firewalls down, Jean Grey will psychically override the Eternals to prevent them from protecting Progenitor, giving everybody one last chance to defeat it. Despite their best efforts, however, it’s not enough; most of the heroes on the battlefield (including Thor, Starbrand, Captain Marvel, Ikaris, Phoenix, Jean, and Cyclops) are killed in the process.

As Earth burns, the remaining heroes evade Progenitor (unaware that some have survived) and regroup elsewhere to lick their wounds. With just a handful of viable eggs remaining, the heroes realize they must be judicious about whom they resurrect next; Jean is resurrected and given exclusive access to control some of the remaining Eternals (Sersi, Ajak, Makkari) from defaulting to their instincts. Returning to Progenitor under psychic veil, Jack of Knives sacrifices himself to buy the team some time and infiltrate the Celestial’s body. Elsewhere, Nightcrawler decides that defying Krakoan custom is necessary to win the fight and opts to resurrect someone other than Cyclops to lead them: Captain America, bursting out of his egg shield-first.


While I did enjoy reading Avengers #60 and appreciated its smaller-scale reflection on ethics and how they relate to the larger themes of this storyline —especially with Clint, a perfect choice— I do think that sort of discussion has already been covered pretty sufficiently in the main series with the various civilians of the world, and it doesn’t add that much to the overall event. Especially compared to the real meat of this week’s offerings, issue five of the core series. Phew.

(As for Fantastic Four #47, it’s similarly fine on its own, once again reiterating the event’s themes somewhat redundantly, but at least offering some good character work with the core cast as well as indulging me with Exterminatrix’s very yas slay girlboss! vibe that I tend to enjoy.)

Let’s just address the patriotic, amniotic fluid-covered elephant in the room: that last page reveal of Captain America emerging from an egg is going to piss people the hell off, I already know it. Whatever reason they choose to focus their anger on regarding the development, they will feel real righteous and, well… judgmental about it, almost like it’s engineered to prompt such a reaction out of them. (What is storytelling?!) But for those of us who aren’t trigger-happy about hating things and are actually willing to see where they go before complaining about them, it does offer an intriguing twist for the rest of the story moving forward. If mutants can and will resurrect others besides themselves, what does that mean for their protocols? Are they going to start making more exceptions for others too? And if so, who gets to be resurrected and why? This decision is obviously meant to emphasize just how dire the situation has gotten, but now that the genie’s out of the bottle, just how much headaches will it cause when the universe goes back to its normally-scheduled program? TBD.

Outside of the obviously major stuff happening this week, I am once again returning to the aforementioned civilians of the story, who are consistently something of a Greek chorus that underlines the themes of Judgment Day and what writer Kieron Gillen wants to say about the world with it. I’ve got nothing but high praise for how Gillen makes the reader care about these characters with such little on-panel time, who almost certainly won’t be returning in any significant manner after this saga is over. In just five issues and barely as many pages, all of them (except Arjun, R.I.P.) have undergone such significant character development. Remember Kenta, the oblivious little kid who barely cares about what’s happening? Well in this issue, he’s finally realized how bad things are and fears for his life once it’s too late, all the while Progenitor muses how careless adults have made a world for him to both live and die in. Something, something, what does that remind you of? Certainly not the grim future our youngest people in the world are doomed to live through as conditions on Earth get worse for myriad reasons. Surely not that! It’s easy to write off a big crossover event storyline like this one, given how frivolous they tend to be (see: Empyre, King in Black, et. al) but Gillen is actually hitting on some very real, palpable ideas with this one, and that’s worth remarking upon. As long as Gillen & Co. continue to overdeliver with this event, then I will excitedly tune in week after week.


Just two issues next week: a tie-in from Amazing Spider-Man #10, and A.X.E.: Avengers #1, the first of three “story-critical” one-shots focusing on each faction. 


Avengers #60


Fantastic Four #47


A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5



  • Writers: Mark Russell (Avengers #60), David Pepose (Fantastic Four #47), Kieron Gillen (A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5)
  • Artists: Greg Land (Avengers #60), Juann Cabal (Fantastic Four #47), Valerio Schiti (A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5)
  • Color Artists: David Curiel (Avengers #60), Jesus Aburtov (Fantastic Four #47), Marte Gracia (A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5)
  • Letterers: VC’s Cory Petit (Avengers #60), VC’s Joe Caramanga (Fantastic Four #47), VC’s Clayton Cowles (A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5)
  • Cover Artists: Javier Garrón & David Curiel (Avengers #60), Cafu (Fantastic Four #47), Mark Brooks (A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5)

Credits (cont)

  • Editor: Tom Brevoort (all)
Nico Sprezzatura
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.


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