There’s a lot to address in week seven of A.X.E.: Judgment Day, so no time for preamble — let’s get judgey!
Our chonkiest week yet with four tie-ins: Wolverine #24, A.X.E.: Death to the Mutants #2, Immortal X-Men #6, and Marauders #5.
After its resurrection, Progenitor presents Wolverine with a legion of souls he has killed in his lifetime, telling him he has twenty-four hours to justify his existence. Meanwhile in Hell, the Hellbride (whose betrothed was killed by Wolverine during X of Swords) pledges her revenge on the mutant, using Judgment Day as an opportunity to fulfill two goals: retrieve the stolen Muramasa Blade, and to kill Wolverine as well as his Arakki counterpart Solem. She tracks Solem, completely unfazed by the chaos everywhere, but fails to capture him. When he collides into Wolverine, their unhappy reunion results in a tussle before they make a deal to help one another with their respective problems. Elsewhere, Hellbride avoids judgment from Progenitor by stating her intent to punish those who fail, but she quickly gains its ire when she decides she’d rather let the world be destroyed as a means to boost Hell’s numbers.
In the UK, a civilian named Sally makes a new friend on the internet she knows is likely catfishing her, but chooses to ignore that as a means of distraction from judgment. In Lemuria, Kro and Emma Frost agree to join forces (as seen in A.X.E.: Judgment Day #3) as the Deviants’ ability to use Krakoan gates proves they have more in common with mutants than not. For their bravery and solidarity in the face of certain danger, Kro and the entirety of the Deviants pass Progenitor’s judgment, making them feel loved for the first time in all their lives. The Eternals, however, are in shambles through in-fighting and disloyalty. Makkari fails judgment for trying to prevent the destruction of Progenitor, while Phastos passes for aiding the X-Men in trying to do so; Ikaris, Sersi, and Ajak have their judgment deferred. When Sersi and the Jack of Knives break Eros out of prison (also seen in A.X.E.: Judgment Day #3), he pledges to make good on the past evils of his family. Back in the UK, Sally fails judgment for dooming the world through procrastination, not realizing her new pen pal is in fact Syne, one of the dreaded Hex.
After the Quiet Council voted to destroy Progenitor and were punished with a psychic vision of the devastating fallout it would have caused, it takes the form of Mystique and tells Destiny she has failed judgment for being selfish and deceitful. The Council convenes with a recuperated Xavier, who chastises them for making such a rash decision in his absence. Nightcrawler, Colossus, Storm, Exodus, and Sebastian Shaw announce they have not yet been judged, while Emma informs them she has failed (hiding the fact that Progenitor came to her in the form of the lost souls of Genosha) as does Mystique, while Kate Pryde reveals she passed for reasons unknown. Before dismissing, Storm decides she will return to Arakko for recovery efforts there while Shaw offers to make deals with the resisting Eternals. Progenitor soon faces Shaw (in the form of Frost) to announce he has failed judgment for thinking he could simply throw money at the problem as he’s often done in life, but Shaw does not care and presses on by meeting Eros. But knowing it’s not enough to make deals with gods, Shaw makes an additional play: summoning Mother Righteous from the astral plane.
In Philadelphia, Lockheed infiltrates a meeting held by Scratch for the Theater of Pain, announcing his belief that true human-mutant equality can only be achieved through a lack of laws and rules. Elsewhere, Kate, Cassandra Nova, and Fabian Cortez are stuck in the Altar (a psychic realm inside Legion’s mind), waiting for a Krakoan gate to open inside for their escape. Meanwhile, “combat psychologist” Birdy offers her telepathic abilities to help the other Marauders cope with judgment, using what Progenitor showed them to help them work through their various traumas. Bishop feels guilty for not having his fallen teammates resurrected yet. Aurora is insecure about her dissociative identity disorder. Tempo is reminded of her inability to save a friend from an untimely death she could have prevented. Psylocke is taunted about her checkered past by her dead child. Somnus regrets not coming out and living his truth sooner. Daken tries to defeat his own worst enemy: himself. When they all wake up feeling better about themselves, the gate to the Altar finally opens. With the Marauders ready to fight, a new adversary readies their attack on Krakoa: Judas Traveller, agent of Orchis. A letter from Cerebra (a founding member of the X-Men 2099, now living on Krakoa) to Kate informs that although she is not yet ready to join the Marauders per an earlier invitation, she may be able to use her biometric telepathy to help rebirth mutants from the Threshold —an ancient mutant society that predates humanity itself— through the resurrection protocols.
Above all else, the biggest “new” development of this week’s tie-ins is the established concept that Progenitor can take the form of anybody it wants to deliver judgment. We see it a few times among each issue, which I don’t believe was made clear until now, but it’s an interesting idea. Because Progenitor is a petty bitch, though, it’s usually ironic or taunting with the forms it takes. Judging Destiny as Mystique; Sally as her grandmother; Somnus as his idol Northstar; Psylocke as her dead child; Daken as, well, himself. Will be interesting to see how that develops.
Another major revelation in this week’s issues is that Kro and the entirety of the Deviants have all passed Progenitor’s judgment. This is obviously a big deal given their internal history, originally introduced as unambiguous villains and pests but now apparently more “worthy” of existing than some of Marvel’s otherwise goodest good guys. It’s really fascinating to contrast the treatment of the Eternals/Deviants conflict in newer comics with how it’s presented in the 2021 movie; here, the Eternals are mostly sucky aliens with some decent ones among them while the Deviants have been deemed “good” across the board, when the opposite was true in the latter. It remains to be seen how that’ll be reflected in the MCU —if at all— taking recent continuity into account as well as the mixed-to-negative fan reaction to them.
Of these issues, I think Marauders #5 does the best job of using a crossover event to tell a smaller-stakes story that’s still thematically relevant to the meta plot and provides some character development amid the overarching events; I’d say it’s perhaps the most “essential” one of the lot alongside Immortal X-Men #6, which isn’t as emotionally compelling but shows the fallout of the Council’s nearly-catastrophic decision from the last issue of the main series. (It also leaves us with the tiny morsel of potential plot movement, i.e. bringing back the ancient mutants to fight in the war.)
Next week we’re back to the mothership with A.X.E.: Judgment Day #4 as well as one tie-in, X-Men Red #6.
A.X.E.: Judgment Day — Week Seven
A.X.E.: Death to the Mutants #27.0/10
Immortal X-Men #68.0/10
- Writers: Benjamin Percy (Wolverine #24), Kieron Gillen (Death to the Mutants #2 & Immortal X-Men #6), Steve Orlando (Marauders #5)
- Artist: Federico Vincentini (Wolverine #24), Guiu Vilanova (Death to the Mutants #2), Lucas Werneck (Immortal X-Men #6), Andrea Broccardo (Marauders #5)
- Color Artist: Frank D’Armata (Wolverine #24), Alex Guimarães (Death to the Mutants #2), David Curiel (Immortal X-Men #6), Matt Milla (Marauders #5)
- Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit (Wolverine #24), VC’s Travis Lanham (Death to the Mutants #2), VC’s Clayton Cowles (Immortal X-Men #6), VC’s Ariana Maher (Marauders #5)
- Cover Artists: Adam Kubert & Frank Martin (Wolverine #24), Esad Ribić (Death to the Mutants #2), Mark Brooks (Immortal X-Men #6), Kael Ngu (Marauders #5)
- Editors: Mark Basso (Wolverine #24), Tom Brevoort (Death to the Mutants #2), Jordan D. White (Immortal X-Men #6 & Marauders #6)
- Publisher: Marvel Entertainment