Jean Grey on an alternate cover of A.X.E. Judgment Day.

AXE Judgment Day #1 Review

Written by: Kieron Gillen

Art by: Valerio Schiti

Coloring by: Marte Garcia

Lettering by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Editing by: Martin Biro, Annalise Bissa, Tom Brevoort

The Avengers stand between the X-Men and Eternals just before they fight.
Not quite the event you expect in the best way.

I haven’t read a Marvel event in a while that wasn’t strictly about the X-Men. I haven’t kept up with the Avengers (refuse to) nor the Eternals (and will never). Despite two-thirds of the book’s cast being from sub-franchisees, I don’t care about, AXE Judgment Day crafted stakes that I can’t help but care about. Not only that, suddenly there are a whole bunch of characters who could have disappeared from all existence yesterday that I want to root for. They somehow convinced me to side with Iron Man, do know how hard that is to do?

It also helps that the art is some of the best by Schiti and Garcia that I’ve seen so far. While Uranos the Undying kind of just looks like Apocalypse in a different outfit, he still looks terrifying. The action literally jumps off the page. Okay not literally, but it’s meticulously awesome how many different ways this book can stun with its visuals. It opened with Echo using the Phoenix against Sersei, includes a telepathic battle like we’ve never seen it before, and ends with gigantic robots rising from the oceans, ready to raise hell. Even if you don’t care for potentially another “heroes vs heroes” event, this one at least looks fantastic.

And to be honest, this doesn’t seem like a “heroes vs heroes” event. The Eternals are split from the start. It’s not the Eternals vs the X-Men and the Avengers, it’s more like the X-Men, the Avengers, the Eternals people like, vs the villainous Eternals people don’t like. Also I’m guessing on whether its the Eternals people like. I have no idea about them so they could be the unpopular ones for all I know. Suffice to say, Marvel relies on “heroes vs heroes” events far too much, and its nice to at least get the inkling that this isn’t what’s happening here.

Iron Man, Jean Grey, and Ajax stand as the brains of each faction in A.X.E. Judgment Day.
The brains of each team? Is that the theme going on here?

The best part is, that the action scenes aren’t the best parts of AXE Judgment Day. The conversations are the best part when there’s tension behind every conversation. Druig walking over Moira and believably heralding the heroes’ demise, just before Druig shows his true meekness to Uranos is the best example of how the creative team makes a conversation tense. Having the conversation of attempted genocide, between scenes of the attacks and havoc being wrought across Earth and Arakko put most other villainous monologues to shame. It’s a kind of scene that other mediums would struggle to nail.

There’s so much going on in this issue, that to be honest, I haven’t really spoiled that much. This is the Marvel event that’s going to get me excited to see the faces of Avengers and Eternals. That’s something worth commending. Have you read it yet? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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