With the finale looming, this week’s installment of A.X.E.: Judgment Day has Kraven closing in on his biggest hunt yet: Wolverine.
After last week’s whopping nine issues, all we’ve got to look at this time is X-Force #33, the concluding chapter of its A.X.E. tie-in arc.
After hacking the Shadow Room to resemble the Savage Land, Kraven the Hunter has captured Beast to lure his big hunt: Wolverine. Aware of the threat, Sage corrals Omega Red and Deadpool to help their mutant allies. Wolverine eventually finds Kraven and the two engage in a drawn-out fight, while Sage sabotages the Shadow Room into self-destructing to draw them out. Wolverine eventually wins the fight, but chooses to spare Kraven as he finds no pleasure in killing. In the aftermath of the Shadow Room’s collapse, Kraven escapes back to the North Pole, promising that, despite this setback, even the “Immortal” X-Men will not escape his hunt.
Unfortunately not much to say about Judgment Day this week! With just the one concluding chapter of X-Force’s tie-in story, which was otherwise mostly tangential from the main event, we don’t have much forward movement on the happenings in-progress. I don’t really understand why they felt they had to release so many tie-ins last week —specifically while I was on vacation with family— when this week was going to be so light on them anyway, but alas. I know publication schedules can change on a dime. Still just a very weird thing to happen! Especially since the final (or rather, “final”) issue of the event is next week!
In any event, this X-Force arc has been fun to follow, if perhaps not entirely essential to the overarching storyline. Kraven is a great foil for Wolverine; they share lots in common, but just as much not. This could have very easily been its own non-Judgment Day arc if you change some of the details, though, which is why it ultimately feels a little anticlimactic when you get to the end of it. Not every event tie-in needs to be so crucial to what surrounds it, but the best ones either establish the stakes of the main story or take advantage of the event’s themes to reveal character in ways that their normal status quo wouldn’t get to reach. I don’t really think we learned anything “new” about Wolverine, Kraven, or even Beast for that matter here. When an event as massive as Judgment Day encompasses so many issues for the reader to follow, each component needs to justify its cover price or else they might not bother picking it up. There have been notable tie-ins thus far, but I don’t know if this is one of them.
Next week: the finale! Sorta! The main title of A.X.E.: Judgment Day comes to a close with its sixth issue, but in classic comic book fashion, the end isn’t actually the end. (We’ve still got an omega issue after that.) Stay on your best behavior until then, cause Progenitor is always watching…