Written by: Kieron Gillen
Art by: Valerio Schiti
Colors by: Marte Gracia
Letters by: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Mark Brooks, Sabine Rich
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: July 20, 2022
A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1 kicks off with an act of war as Druig’s plan to eradicate the Mutants starts with a bang. When the Mutants and the Avengers appear outmatched and outclassed at every turn, an unexpected ally presents a plan of god-like proportions.
Is It Good?
Credit where credit was due, A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1 feels as big and important as an event of this scale should. Things happen. BIG things happen, and you feel swept up in experience almost from the first page.
If you’re not up to speed on the FCBD issue and the Eve of Judgment comic, the basic premise centers around a convenient interpretation of the Third Law of the Eternals – “Correct Excess Deviations.” Druig, now the head Eternal, has chosen to use the now-public knowledge of the Mutant’s Resurrection Protocols and the Eternals’ judgment that Mutants are humans with high concentrations of Deviant genetic matter, to claim immortal Mutants qualify as “Excess Deviations.” Easy peasy. Druig now has an excuse to kill all Mutants and put on a show of force as the new ruler of the Eternals.
Does Druig have a plan, and is it worth the paper it’s printed on? You bet. The plan is brutal in its efficiency and death toll. The Mutants on Krakoa and Arakii are almost wiped out in the first attack. Almost, and that’s where Gillen deserves the most credit for not beating around the bush and getting right to the conflict while leaving room for more.
In fairness, there are a lot of characters to track, but Gillen does an admirable job sticking to the voices that matter without any fluff, side conversations, or pointless conversations with people eating. The bulk of the story is told from Druig’s point of view, and if you’re not up on the Eternals, you’ll immediately gain an appreciation for just how dangerous Druig can be when he sets his plan in motion.
That said, this issue is heavily built on everything that’s come before it in the three titles – Avengers, Eternals, X-Men – so you may feel like you’re missing some context about what’s going on. For example, if you haven’t been keeping up on X-Men, you’ll be confused by the existence of a Mutant colony on Mars and the Quiet Council. There’s no way for Gillen to provide enough CliffsNotes to make it all make sense to a new reader, but again, Gillen does an admirable job distilling the story down to the bits that matter.
Schiti and Gracia’s art is very strong in this issue. The attack on Krakoa/Mars is shock-and-awe-inspiring, and this entire issue feels like a proper war is underway. The linework is excellent, the coloring is spectacular, and the panel compositions (especially during the big attacks) look as epic as they should for an event of this magnitude.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
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Bits and Pieces
A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1 looks, acts, smells, tastes, and feels like a war of interplanetary proportions. The art is great, the story moves with a steady, brisk pace, and the battles are brutally epic in scope. Despite the small army of characters involved, Gillen keeps the focus tight and builds to a cliffhanger that grabs your attention.