REVIEW: ‘A.X.E.: Judgement Day,’ Issue #3

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Judgement Day #3 - But Why Tho

A.X.E.: Judgement Day #3 is written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Valerio Schiti, colored by Marte Gracia, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It’s published by Marvel Comics. In an attempt to help the mutant nation of Krakoa in their battle against Druig, the Avengers and a rogue faction of Eternals helped craft a new Celestial. But this Celestial, named the Progenitor, is far from the salvation the heroes expected. It says it will judge the Earth in 24 hours, and if the Earth is found lacking, it will die.

This is the issue where the meaning of the title snaps into focus. Many readers assumed the title came from the Eternals passing their own “judgement” on the mutants, but it turns out that everyone is going to be judged. And judged they are, as the Progenitor deems some worthy and others not worthy. Throughout this series, as well as his other work including Eternals and The Wicked + The Divine, Gillen has touched upon the machinations of faith. How far is one willing to go for what one believes in? Is that belief misplaced? And what happens when that belief is shattered? All of those questions rise to the forefront as everyone from Avenger to mutant to Eternal works to stop the Progenitor’s judgment—and comes up short.

Having filled the previous issues with earth-shaking fight scenes, Schiti slows down and lets the horror of the Progenitor wash over the reader. From the very first page, the massive Celestial towers over the heroes as they look up in a combined mix of awe and dread. And its design is alien in every sense of the word. Its armor looks less like metal and more like the shell of a beetle, while one of its arms is skeletal and gripping a staff. The other arm is extended outward, its massive muscles pulsing with energy as its thumb literally hovers over the Earth. Images like that are enough to fully shatter the fantasy of living in a superhero universe. Waking up to something like that? No thank you.

And accompanying the shift in mood is Gracia’s colors, which shift to a darker hue. The Progenitor is all shadowy black and fiery red, its cold pitiless eyes gazing out at the world. Its words, which Cowles depicts in bold, blunt letters, carry the same colors and a sense of foreboding. Many of the heroes meet in dark rooms, whether it’s the innards of Avengers Mountain or the Eternal prison known as the Exclusion. The sole exception is a psychic meeting between Krakoa’s Quiet Council, with the members being depicted as ghostly white beings. It speaks to how in sync the creative team is that the artists are able to translate the feelings that are underlying in Gillen’s script.

A.X.E.: Judgement Day #3 brings a sense of foreboding to the story, as the Marvel Universe is judged for its perceived sins. With the fallout set to encompass nearly every hero in the House of Ideas, it remains to be seen who the Progenitor deems worthy and who it condemns. And while the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals have battled gods before, this is a refreshing take on the matter because it may force them to be more introspective.

A.X.E.: Judgement Day #3 is available wherever comics are sold.


A.X.E.: Judgement Day #3
4.5

TL;DR

A.X.E.: Judgement Day #3 brings a sense of foreboding to the story, as the Marvel Universe is judged for its perceived sins. With the fallout set to encompass nearly every hero in the House of Ideas, it remains to be seen who the Progenitor deems worthy and who it condemns. And while the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals have battled gods before, this is a refreshing take on the matter because it may force them to be more introspective.

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