Written by: Kieron Gillen
Art by: Valerio Schiti, Ivan Fiorelli
Colors by: Marte Gracia
Letters by: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Mark Brooks
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: October 26, 2022
A.X.E.: Judgment Day #6 ends the main event (there’s still an Omega issue to go) with a desperate race to stop the Progenitor before it can blow up the Earth. Is Judgment Day finally here?
Is It Good?
Kieron Gillen may have missed the mark on this ending, depending on your point of view. To be clear, this issue has it all. You get big, spectacular visuals, a frantic race to the finish line, and a status quo change for at least one character. However, there are two nagging issues that readers may either dismiss as trivial or cause them to throw their hands up in frustration. More on that in a minute.
Before getting to the story, a word about the art. It’s fantastic. Schiti, Fiorelli, and Gracia put their all into engaging, dramatic action to express the scale of this event. When you see the Progenitor begin to tear the world in half, you feel the stakes of what’s happening. When you see random citizens face death in a myriad of ways, the personal destruction hits just as hard as the global variety. Visually, this is a jaw-dropping comic.
Gillen’s story, however, has the benefit of not setting expectations in any particular direction while serving up an ending that’s certainly unexpected. Without giving too much away, the ending is a two-part combination of the Progenitor deciding “I’m not worthy” while simultaneously lecturing the entire planet to “Be better.”
What are the two nagging issues mentioned in the first paragraph?
First, the rules of judgment are never clarified. When the ending relies so heavily on telling people to be better from a judge whose rules about who is and isn’t worthy come across as random, the label of “better” doesn’t make sense. If you’re fine with going along for the ride in a big spectacle event, perhaps the rules don’t matter, but to this reviewer, the rules are central to the entire point of this event.
Second, the Progenitor’s threat isn’t permanently ended so much as it’s put on hold. The sense of victory and accomplishment from our heroes is effectively reduced to a temporary hold. Not exactly a satisfying ending.
When an event spanning multiple titles, multiple teams, and multiple months ends with self-reflection, lectures, and an inconclusive conclusion, it’s difficult not to wonder what the theme of the event was meant to say.
Was it all an excuse for Gillen to lecture the audience about being better people? That’s the only message that comes across clearly. If not, what was the point? The world may never know.
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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A.X.E.: Judgment Day #6 ends the central conflict with high stakes, big action, and at least one character’s evolution to a new status quo. The spectacle hits hard, but the small character moments hit with just as much impact. That said, the conclusion boils down to a “My bad” and a lot of lecturing, which ends the main event with a whimper instead of a bang.