A.X.E. – Eve of Judgement #1 is written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Pasqual Ferry, colored by Dean White, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It’s published by Marvel Comics. The Eternals have undergone an upheaval in their society: Druig has replaced Thanos as Prime Eternal and seeks to fulfill the Eternals’ purpose of “correcting excess deviation” by wiping out the mutant race. In the underwater city of Lemuria, other Eternals, including Ikaris and Sersi, grapple with the revelation that their resurrection comes at the cost of human life. And the “Great Machine” the Eternals protect – aka Earth – has more than a few observations on the current state of events.
Gillen has slowly been building up to the events of Judgement Day in the pages of Eternals and Immortal X-Men, and the final pieces click into play with this one-shot. His script divides the story into three different plot threads, each tackling a different element. Sersi, Ikaris, and Thena occupy one thread as they attempt to make peace with the Deviants in Lemuria. The second thread consists of a debate between Phastos, Ajak, and Makkari about the Eternals’ faith in Celestials and how mutants are involved. Finally, in the third thread, Druig plans to slaughter the entire population of Krakoa. The philosophical implications on display will give readers a lot to chew on and cements Gillen’s position as one of the more thoughtful writers in comics.
The issue is brought to life by Ferry and White, whose artwork and coloring capture the vibrant and otherworldly tone an Eternals book should have. This is especially true of the environments the Eternals find themselves in, whether it’s the city of Celestia or the dusty plains of Lemuria. Ferry plays with interlocking shapes, creating towering ziggurats that spread across the entirety of Celestia and giving each of the Eternals a unique costume. White applies different palettes to each scene, depending on the location. True to its name, Celestia is mostly glittering gold, and the sky is dotted with a multitude of shining white stars. In comparison, the Exclusion, which is described as the Eternals’ “hell on Earth,” is comprised of icy blue crystals, gives off the effect of a frozen wasteland. And contrasting that set-up is the light blue color captions representing the Machine’s narration.
Where the issue stumbles is its accessibility. True, it’s setting up elements that will play into Judgement Day down the line, but fans will have to have read other comics to get the complete picture. And while this issue may invite them to do so, I feel a better choice would be to purely explore the issue from Druig’s point of view, as he’s the antagonist. Seeing the X-Men and the Avengers through his eyes could have helped to flesh him out as a character and gave new readers a point of reference.
A.X.E. – Eve of Judgement #1 is a solid set-up for the events of Judgement Day, although it could have been made a bit more inclusive for new readers. If you do pick up this book and enjoy it, I highly suggest checking out the Eternals maxiseries by Gillen and Esad Ribic. Not only does it provide more context for what happens in this one-shot, but it’s also a great read.
A.X.E. – Eve of Judgement #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on July 13, 2022.
A.X.E. - Eve of Judgement #1
A.X.E. – Eve of Judgement #1 is a solid set-up for the events of Judgement Day, although it could have been made a bit more inclusive for new readers.