REVIEW: ‘A.X.E.: Avengers,’ Issue #1

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A.X.E. Avengers #1 - But Why Tho

A.X.E.: Avengers #1 is written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Federico Vicentini, colored by Dean White, and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit.  It’s published by Marvel Comics. The Progenitor is delivering its final judgment on the Earth, leaving the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals to join forces to stop it. Iron Man leads a squadron of heroes inside the Progenitor to try and shut it down, but the Armored Avenger is soon haunted by the ghosts of his past. And there’s the fact that he helped create the Progenitor.

The entire concept behind Judgment Day has been an interesting one. Heroes, so used to delivering their own judgment on the guilty, now find themselves on the scales. And in each hero’s case, they’ve had to come face to face with their past as the Progenitor often manifests itself as someone they’ve known. This one-shot is no different, as it takes Iron Man on a psychological bender. He’s attacked by his suits, his fellow Avengers, and even his various love interests over the course of this story. And all of them repeat a variation on the same theme: he’s a mess of insecurities and his arrogance often yields some devastating results.

While this is some well-worn ground at this point, Gillen decides to dig deeper into the root of Tony Stark’s issues. Namely: what’s the real reason he keeps making suits of armor? The answers unfold over the course of the issue, resulting in a revelation that will crack even the stoniest of hearts. And when he’s not putting the Armored Avenger through the wringer, Gillen has fun scripting the interplay between Iron Man and the other heroes. The best bits come from the back and forth between him and Mister Sinister, as Tony, like most people, has little patience for the mad scientist’s cavalier attitude in the face of Armageddon.

Gillen is joined by a top-notch art crew, most noticeably Vicentini. Vicentini is fast becoming one of my favorite artists in Marvel’s stable due to his work on Amazing Spider-Man and X Deaths of Wolverine, and he brings his trademark frenetic energy to this one shot. A battle in the Progenitor’s innards pits heroes against some freaky-looking orange viruses, with Vicentini once again drawing Wolverine leaping into action to hack and slash at foes. A particularly nightmarish scene features Tony being buried alive in the various Iron Man armors he’s constructed over the years, with White’s colors making the various reds and oranges look less heroic and more hellish. Keeping in line with that horror theme, Vicentini adds subtle menace to most scenes, especially when Iron Man comes face to face with Thor.

Rounding out the art team is Petit on letters, and he does a great job of making each character sound distinct. Iron Man’s speech bubbles shift from regular to square and robotic whenever he suits up, and the Thor-illusion features the God of Thunder’s unique script. And as always, the Progenitor hovers above the fringes, narrating the judgment it is about to deliver upon its victims. Great lettering gives each character a unique voice, and Petit more than succeeds in that regard.

A.X.E.: Avengers #1 provides one of the most compelling looks inside Iron Man’s head as he faces the apocalyptic trials of Judgment Day. The next issue will focus on Jean Grey, and I hope it’s as well constructed as this one was.

A.X.E.: Avengers #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


A.X.E.: Avengers #1
4.5

TL;DR

A.X.E.: Avengers #1 provides one of the most compelling looks inside Iron Man’s head as he faces the apocalyptic trials of Judgment Day. The next issue will focus on Jean Grey, and I hope it’s as well constructed as this one was.

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