REVIEW: ‘A.X.E.: Judgment Day,’ Issue #5

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A.X.E.: Judgement Day #5

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5 is written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Valerio Schiti, colored by Marte Gracia, and lettered by V.C.’s Clayton Cowles. It’s published by Marvel Comics. Despite the best efforts of the world’s heroes, the Progenitor has delivered its final judgment — and the Earth is found wanting. The combined forces of the Avengers, Eternals, and X-Men make one last-ditch effort to stop the Progenitor and save the world…however, the massive Celestial will not be deterred from its purpose.

Though Judgment Day is a massive summer superhero crossover event with all the bells and whistles, it’s also had an ominous cloud hanging over it from the moment the Progenitor was awakened. And now that the Celestial has passed its judgment, that cloud descends to hang over this entire issue. Nowhere is this made clearer than in the opening pages, where Captain America sits forlornly in a patch of burnt land. He’s approached by Jada, one of the six civilians that Judgment Day has been following, and they talk about the impending end of the world over a cup of coffee. Trust Gillen to put his own unique spin on the apocalypse.

Speaking of spins, the Eternals joining forces with the Avengers and X-Men is an unexpected one. Yet it plays into the themes of faith that Gillen has seeded throughout his previous works. The Eternals no longer believe in the principles that have driven them their entire lives and are willing to give up said lives to protect the world. And the rest of the heroes are willing to fight for another day — especially Captain America, who proves his true superpower is perseverance. “Heroism isn’t about strength. It’s about not giving in,” the Sentinel of Liberty proclaims, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was inspired by those words.

Equally awe-inspiring? Schiti’s art. Schiti constantly pushes his limits over this issue, as he’s been delivering imagery that rivals that of big-budget movies/T.V. and often exceeds it. Whole pages feature heroes flying through the sky, teleporting across the Earth, and confronting the Progenitor in one of the biggest battles of the Marvel Universe. The most impressive image features Captain America standing before the Progenitor as he delivers his speech about heroism, resulting in an authentic David and Goliath moment. It’s not the first time Cap has done this, but it’s one of the most impressive instances.

And Gracia tops it all off with a variety of colors, shifting from scene to scene. As if to set the stage for the apocalyptic events to come, the opening pages feature a jet-black sky with bolts of bluish-white lightning and grey flecks of ash. Soon the scenery shifts, growing more and more apocalyptic as things progress. The skies turn fiery red, and darkness looms on the edges. It’s this same color scheme that surrounds Cowles’ lettering since the entire issue is told from the Progenitor’s point of view, and that P.O.V. happens to be rather destructive.

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5 features awe-inspiring speeches combined with blockbuster-worthy artwork as Marvel’s heroes make their last stand. With only one issue remaining, the final fate of the Marvel Universe hangs in the balance. And in my opinion, this is one of the few times where I’ve felt like the stakes are high enough for a story of this caliber.

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.


A.X.E.: Judgement Day #5
4.5

TL;DR

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5 features awe-inspiring speeches combined with blockbuster-worthy artwork as Marvel’s heroes make their last stand. With only one issue remaining, the final fate of the Marvel Universe hangs in the balance. And in my opinion, this is one of the few times where I’ve felt like the stakes are high enough for a story of this caliber.

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