After Druig’s attack on both mutant nations of Krakoa and Arakko, the massive A.X.E.: Judgment Day crossover event continues this week with a pair of tie-ins that expand on what we’ve already seen up to this point — and warn us of what’s to come later.
This week, we’ve got two tie-ins with Immortal X-Men #5 and X-Men Red #5.
(All of the following events occur before and during A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1.)
Before Druig’s attack on Krakoa, the Quiet Council meets to discuss Destiny’s visions of war with the Eternals. Xavier also has information to share with the group regarding Mr. Sinister’s absence, claiming that he has been abducted by Eternals based on intel from Forge. Emma Frost expresses concern over Sinister’s kidnapping, noting that several key mutants have taken themselves off the board lately, making Krakoa overall weaker to threats than it should be. The Council disagrees on how they should respond. Then the Eternals’ Uni-Mind begins a psychic assault on the Council, paralyzing them all.
After warning them not to underestimate the Eternals, Exodus tries to break free by recounting his centuries-long inability to keep faith in a singular “messiah” figure, most notably Apocalypse and Magneto. He also remembers briefly encountering Sersi a thousand years ago, scaring him with her alien nature. When the Council finally regains control of themselves, Wolverine informs them that the Eternals have killed Egg and nearly took out Hope Summers —Exodus’ new “messiah” on Krakoa— while they were incapacitated. While Xavier defends the Council from the Uni-Mind, Emma prepares to attack it with fellow telepaths Hope and Exodus. Guarding himself with a diamond shield from Emma and a sword of phoenix flame from Hope, the telepaths break through the Uni-Mind’s code to attack a psychic dragon. He’s quickly overtaken by their power, but then falls back on his unwavering faith in Hope —the one who restored so many depowered mutants after M-Day– to come out victorious. As the council regroups to strategize their next move, Exodus leaves to fight The Hex as they rise out of the oceans.
Contemporaneously on Arakko, Abigail Brand convenes with the Great Circle to relay information of an impending attack from the Eternals, which the prophet Idyll confirms with her mouthpiece, the sentient eyeball Ora Serrata. Isca notes regent Storm’s conspicuous absence; Cable expects the Eternals to attack Arakko promptly, as they are Krakoa’s second line of defense. He is immediately proven correct when Uranos arrives to fulfill his mission: lay waste to Arakko within one hour. Isca beheads Idyll and defects to the side of the Eternals, reflecting her full title as “the Unbeaten.”
Uranos then deploys his forces upon Arakko, attacking the whole of the planet without discretion. He takes out every member of the Circle with ease, either maiming them greatly or killing them outright. Within the hour allotted to him, Uranos completes the job with 98% of all life on Arakko eradicated, but fails to realize that Lodus Logos, Xilo, and Ora are still alive, albeit incredibly injured. Before Lotus can come up with a strategy to return to the fight, a cosmically revived Magneto —who’d had his heart torn out by Uranos moments earlier— reveals himself, assuming control of the effort.
In lieu of the next chapter in this story, Immortal X-Men #5 and X-Men Red #5 dial the clock back a bit this week to show the events of Judgment Day #1 in greater detail. While we don’t learn anything “new” from either of these issues, the perspective shift shows us how both governing bodies of the expanded mutant empire react to Druig’s attack right as it happens.
Immortal X-Men #5 focuses on Exodus to show the power of faith (figuratively but also literally in his case) as it pertains to war — a fitting connection, given his origins in the holy wars, the Crusades. Exodus is only as powerful as he is confident and faithful, so him requiring a spiritual anchor amid a dogmatic invasion from the Eternals means he could end up being incredibly crucial to this storyline as it unfolds. Will his faith in Hope continue to bear fruit as it does in this issue, or will she too fail to sustain him spiritually as Apocalypse and Magneto did over the course of this battle? TBD! I also appreciated the callback to his origin, which was already established to involve Sersi before now, albeit briefly. It really does show how the Eternals have permeated throughout the history of the Marvel Universe despite being fairly obscure, even after the release of their (contentious) movie.
X-Men Red #5 takes a more literal approach in its flashback, showing how Arakko immediately responded to the threat of Uranos right as it happens, playing out like a tragedy as we already know going in that it doesn’t end well for them. (A colossal understatement there.) By this point in the story we’ve been told Uranos is an incredible threat, but we only see the aftermath of it in Judgment Day #1. Here, we’re shown precisely how much of a non-issue the Arakki were to him in the fight, making quick work of heavyweights like Cable and Magneto. The adage of “show, don’t tell” in storytelling is almost a cliche at this point, but it’s still a valid and true one. If we’re to believe Uranos is a bad dude, we need to see it, and this issue proves he’s an intimidating figure nobody —Druig included— should fail to take seriously. I can’t totally figure out what Magneto’s deal is at the end and how he managed to survive a de-heartening like that, but I’m very curious to find out.
(Also, there’s a great crossover between the iconic info pages of the respective X-Men and Eternals comics, with the former clashing into the latter as it depicts the telepaths of the Quiet Council fighting back at the Uni-Mind. Fantastic stuff.)
We’re back to the main story in next week’s A.X.E.: Judgment Day #2. Until then!
A.X.E.: Judgment Day — Week Two3.99 (both issues)
- Writers: Kieron Gillen (Immortal X-Men), Al Ewing (X-Men Red)
- Artists: Michele Bandini (Immortal X-Men), Stefano Caselli (X-Men Red)
- Color Artist: David Curiel (Immortal X-Men), Federico Blee (X-Men Red)
- Letterers: VC's Clayton Cowles (Immortal X-Men), VC's Ariana Maher (X-Men Red)
- Cover Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Jesus Aburtov ( (Immortal X-Men), Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson (X-Men Red)
- Editor: Jordan D. White
- Publisher: Marvel Entertainment