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A.X.E.: Judgment Day #6: Review

Oct 2022
Kieron Gillen, Valerio Schiti

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
5 stars

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #6 Review by (October 29, 2022)
Ivan Fiorelli took some of the pencil/ink duties from Valerio Schiti, doing I think the stuff starting with Zuras apologising to Storm.

I find this an excellent ending to a stunning series that built on the recent developments in the Eternals and the X-universe, and to a lesser extent the Avengers. As with most such mega-events the status quo was restored at the end, this time literally by a Deus Ex Machina. But it does have ongoing ramifications for mutants and the Eternals. Not just that Sersi is supposedly dead for real. (But anyway the history of Marvel Comics suggests that some writer at some point will bring her back.)

Strictly speaking when Dark Phoenix destroyed the D'Bari planet in X-Men #135 it wasn't Jean Grey it was the Phoenix Force in a simulation of her. The real Jean was in suspended animation from XM#101 to Fantastic Four #286. But the Phoenix modelled itself on her consciousness so in that way Jean's still guilty.

To be concluded in A.X.E.: Judgment Day Omega.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Celestial Progenitor, reawakened in his body that was Avengers North Pole HQ, stopped the Eternals attack on mutants but then proceeded to judge humanity and found them wanting. It's killed many people including superheroes and is now trying to destroy the Eternals' Great Machine which will in turn destroy the Earth. The X-Men used the Krakoan resurrection protocols to bring back Captain America to lead a last ditch attempt to save the world. A small group of Avengers, Eternals and mutants has infiltrated the Celestial's body trying to reach its self-destruct button (we've followed their progress in the A.X.E.: Avengers, X-Men and Eternals 1-shots). Meanwhile in A.X.E.: Death To The Mutants #3 the Eternal Phastos reset the Machine to its default settings to cut off all outside access including that of Progenitor, and in the A.X.E.: Starfox 1-shot we saw Eros persuade Prime Eternal Zuras to let all surviving humans take refuge in the Machine's fractal dimensions.

Jada is sitting in Central Park where Captain America left her last issue watching the world end around her. Then Cap appears through an Eternals portal and beckons her in to join all the other people they're managing to save. She is 1 of the 6 'representative' humans we've been watching through this series. We now see Tom persuade his family not to trust the portals, and they die in a fire. Katrina sees a portal but prefers to spend her time rescuing others from a (different) burning building - she gets 5 of them but dies trying for a 6th. Komali thinks of her dead husband as she dies. Daniela persuades her mother to accompany her through a portal but regrets leaving her bicycle behind. Jada sees young Kenta lost and alone in the refuge and befriends him.

Starfox walks through the adoring crowd and then rendezvous with Nightcrawler who reports that his AI 'colleagues' are preventing Progenitor re-establishing contact with the Machine. (Immortal X-Men #7 suggests to me that these colleagues are Moira MacTaggert and Nimrod of the X-Men's enemies Orchis.) Cap joins them to predict that the Celestial will just change tactics. He's right - Progenitor knows that the Reality Loom lies at the centre of the Earth so he decides to just physically dig down to reach it.

Meanwhile the gang infiltrating the Celestial (Avenger Iron Man, Eternals Ajak, Makkari and Sersi and mutants Jean Grey, Mister Sinister and Wolverine) are getting close to their target.

The Eternals were all created by the Celestials with certain in-built protocols, 1 of them never to harm a Celestial. But for this mission they allowed Jean psychic access so that she could override that prohibition and 'force' them to fight against Progenitor. But now Ajak tells Makkari and Sersi that when the Celestial judged her (in A.X.E.: Eternals) it shut the mutant out of their minds but also temporarily deactivated the protocols so that they will now have complete free will for the 1st time in their lives.

They all reach the core and find a representation of the Celestial itself. Tony Stark tells Logan, Makkari and Sinister to keep 'antibodies' out. Jean decides on a killing strike with psychic knives, but Ajak stops her with a blast from her mace.

Meanwhile Progenitor has reached an Eternals' city at the centre of the Earth. Starfox calls for the Armouries of Uranos to be opened and the humans to be armed with the weapons within. So they join the fight to delay the Celestial. And then Nightcrawler unleashes a surprise - the Eternal Syne of the Hex merged with the mutant Exodus (as foreshadowed in AXE:DTTM#3). Syne channels the power of the Armouries and Exodus channels the power of mutants, and they stagger the Celestial. All this to give IM's team more time.

Progenitor is actually aware of the invaders within him but is interested to see how it will play out. Ajak and Tony tell Jean that they want to find a way to bring back all the humans that the Celestial has killed, so they can't just kill it. Ajak is convinced that this is all still part of Progenitor's testing of humanity, and as she told the Celestial (in AXE:Et) she believes *it* is being tested too. The Celestial considers her words as it recovers from the Syne/Exodus attack. Just in time to face an assault by MacTaggert, Nimrod, Sentinels and Orchis troops.

But Jean Grey has had enough - she thinks it's more important to save what's left of humanity rather than rely on vague hopes. She mentally signals Sinister to shoot Ajak and tries again to attack the Progenitor simulacrum. But it responds for the 1st time by deflecting her attack and saying this *was* a further test, which she and humanity have now failed. These latest minutes have only increased its conviction that humanity must die because they can't change. Even the Eternals when given free will still act the same.

But the Eternal Sersi decides to make a bold move. She asks the Machine to broadcast her message to the world. And she tells them the Eternals' dark secret. Every time an Eternal resurrects a human dies before his time. This has been happening for millions of years. They can't stop it happening but they chose not to tell humanity about it. And she personally has lied and manipulated to keep the secret, which caused her to fail the Celestial's test. Now it is up to humanity to judge the Eternals. Progenitor witnesses the angry reaction of humanity and disintegrates her, supposedly permanently.

The Celestial is even more sure that humans and Eternals deserve to be destroyed. Ajak responds that this may be true but does *Progenitor* have the right to kill them. The priestess helped create this new version of him to be a better god and this is a test of his quality which he is failing. Sinister urges Jean to have another go at the foe while he's distracted but she says she's beginning to understand him. She reminds Progenitor that she failed his judgement because as Dark Phoenix she destroyed a populated planet (the D'Bari in X-Men #135). But she adds that when that happened she wasn't herself (in several ways), but now Progenitor is committing genocide in full possession of his senses. Can he live with that afterwards?

The Celestial is starting to relent, but points out that he's already killed most of humanity. Tony Stark butts in to say that Progenitor's consciousness was partly based on his own. And the 'god' judged *him* worthy because he always tried to make amends for his mistakes. So surely Progenitor can do the same? The Celestial says there *is* a possible solution but it might destroy him. Tony replies that as a superhero that's the risk he takes all the time.

We've been following the Celestial's musings all through this issue (and indeed the series). Now he thinks to himself that as a god he *is* omniscient and remembers exactly how everything and everybody was before he destroyed them. And he's omnipotent so he *could* put everything back. So to make amends that's what he'll do. As he does so he asks Ajak if he's worthy now. But she gives him the thumbs down and he concurs. His last act is to connect with her and ask her to be a better god.

Most of the team now find themselves in the Arctic waste in front of the Celestial who has reverted to being the dead Avengers HQ at the North Pole. Iron Man gets info from all over the globe which tells him that everyone and everything that Progenitor destroyed is back as it was (except Sersi). The damage caused earlier by the Eternals and Uranos in their war against mutants is still there. Then Ajak joins them and says Sersi is still dead because Progenitor saw that humanity wished it. The others now notice that the Eternal priestess has changed. She tells her fellow priestess Makkari she is now her new goddess Ajak Celestia, merged with Progenitor's consciousness.

We take a peek at the 6 'special' humans. Tom and his family are alive but his son is regretting having confessed a secret when he thought they were going to die. Katrina is now a live heroine for the rescues that killed her. Syne apologises for having killed Komali's husband. Daniele is now closer to her mother (and she's got her bike back). Jada celebrates by having a day in bed but is contacted by her estranged family (I think). Young Kenta tells his parents about the people who looked after him and they don't tell him that they died.

Starfox persuades Zuras to apologise for the Eternals attacking the mutants and offers Storm a treaty of alliance. He also offers the mutants on Arakko (Mars) an hour to do what they like to Uranos (who destroyed their civilisation in an hour). Starfox reminds Storm why Uranos mustn't die and that only the Eternals can keep him permanently secure. She asks about Druig who set Uranos on them - the Arakkii want him to personally bury the bones of every mutant killed. Zuras says maybe later, but in the meantime we see that his current punishment is to be put in the same Exclusion cell as Uranos (who is angry that Druig wouldn't let him out for more than 1 hour). Zuras also says that he doesn't hold with Druig's excuse for the war, that mutants have Deviant DNA and so are automatically guilty of Excess Deviation. After Zuras leaves Nightcrawler notes that humans now hate the Eternals who protect them, just like the X-Men.

They are also party to an idea that Jean Grey now announces to the world. She says that that the mutant nation hasn't the resources to give everyone the benefits of their resurrection system, especially now that it will take them years to revive all the mutants killed by the Eternals (especially Uranos). But the Phoenix Foundation has been set up to resurrect priority cases such as terminally sick children (this was apparently Sebastian Shaw's cynical idea). This will boost the X-Men's popularity but Cyclops notes that their enemies Orchis have also reaped such rewards for their part in fighting the Celestial.

The Avengers have moved back into the Celestial's body with mixed feelings. Tony Stark can't resisting gloating that Progenitor found him worthy but failed Steve Rogers. Cap points out that the Celestial was based on Tony and that it tried to destroy the Earth so its opinion is questionable at least. Steve heads back to the still-wrecked Central Park to bring Jada a coffee he owes her.

Ajak Celestia kneels before a statue of her new church's 1st martyr Sersi. The voice of Progenitor tells us that Ajak will strive to be worthy of her new godly status, and her followers will serve humanity in penance. But she will continue to judge the world.



Valerio Schiti
Valerio Schiti
Marte Gracia
Mark Brooks (Cover Penciler)
Mark Brooks (Cover Inker)
Mark Brooks (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Druig, Exodus, Mister Sinister, Progenitor, Sersi, Starfox, Uranos, Zuras.

> A.X.E.: Judgment Day: Book info and issue index

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