A-X-E, man. Here it is. Here it is. It’s Judgment Day. This week, sh*t officially hits the fan now that the secret is out about the Quiet Council’s resurrection protocols in A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1. To avoid spoilers about A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1, scroll on down to the Rapid Rundown, where we have blurbs on Avengers #58 and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings #1.

Plus, be sure and let us know what you think of this week’s new Marvel Comics releases, either right here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat!

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1

Written by: Kieron Gillen
Art by: Valerio Schiti
Color by: Marte Garcia
Lettering by: Clayton Cowles

Grim Reaper is calling, it’s Judgment Day. Marvel Comics’ summer event has officially kicked off with A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1. With the truth of the Quiet Council’s resurrection protocols leaked to the press, the Marvel Universe is aflame. As seen in A.X.E.: Eve of Judgement by Gillen, Pasqual FerryDean White, and Cowles, the Eternals want the X-Men dead, humanity is having mass protests denouncing the “life hoarders,” and Krakoa has resigned itself to war.

Over the course of the past year, mutants have been very busy playing god. Not only have the mutants kept the Quiet Council’s resurrection protocols secret (even from their closest allies, like the Avengers), they have been busy creating a mutant afterlife. Yes, those wild and crazy guys are busy reshaping heaven and hell. A resurrected Scarlet Witch has created a pocket universe that serves as mutant heaven. They have also created mutant hell, AKA the Pit. I mean, come on, they have even become more embroiled in mutant limbo.

As the X-Office has repeatedly shown, the mutants have even come up with a justice system to decide who is worthy of being brought back to life. Sorry, clones and time-travel duplicates, you don’t get to join the resurrection queue. It’s messed up. No wonder Madelyne Pryor—and Ben Reilly—are pissed off (clones are people too).

This is a different kind of event for Marvel because, honestly, this time around it seems that humanity has a right to be angry with the mutants.

According to Terror Management Theory, humans are aware of their mortality, and thoughts about one’s own death can elicit potentially debilitating terror that is managed by the development and maintenance of cultural worldviews. To cope with this fear, “all cultures provide a sense that life is meaningful by offering an account of the origin of the universe, prescriptions for appropriate behavior, and assurance of immortality for those who behave in accordance with cultural dictates.” In the context of TMT, “literal immortality is afforded by souls, heavens, afterlives, and reincarnations associated with all major religions. Symbolic immortality is obtained by being part of a great nation, amassing great fortunes, noteworthy accomplishments, and having children.”

When Druig, who is now the Prime Eternal, decides that mutants fall under his mandate because the X-gene came from the Deviants, he sends a message to the people of Earth: the mutants are threat to humanity. The mutants have “overstepped their natural bonds and clearly aim for dominion that stretches across worlds and eternity,” broadcasts Druig, who promises to save humanity—at a cost to personal freedom and safety. To protect humanity from the mutant threat, Eternals must take over the world.

But… What would happen if humans suddenly learned that they had access to literal immortality instead of just symbolic immortality? How much are people willing to give up for a shot at immortality? If TMT has any insight into the upcoming world-spanning battle, then it’s a whole hell of a lot.

While A.X.E. Judgement is small on action, it’s big on ideas. Luckily, these are ideas are not communicated in overly complicated dialogue. Instead, much of the banter in-between the big character moments is also well-written.

Final Verdict: BUY.

Rapid Rundown!

  • Avengers #58
    • This issue is a blast to check out. Jason Aaron serves up some pretty interesting character moments across Japan circa the Edo period, allowing us to get into the heads of most of the team as they fight off the forces of Mephisto. We’ve gotten deep dives into Nighthawk and Valkyrie as of late but I’m glad we’re getting back into some of the team dynamics following a few long-term storylines. Javier Garrón and David Curiel are a really great team here and create some incredible action sequences, with an excellent design for the Ghost Ronin (another spirit of vengeance!). I’ve really enjoyed seeing them be able to go wild with all of the crazy ideas Aaron has been throwing at them. While this book has been up and down (maybe it’s the X-fan in me), this is a solid issue that pushes along this run well. —CB
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings #1
    • In this follow-up to the recently-concluded Shang-Chi (2021) twelve-issue run, Shang-Chi continues to struggle with his role as the leader of his late father’s Five Weapons Society… a struggle further complicated by the arrival of the incredibly powerful Ten Rings. Along with Razorfist and Ta Lo, there are plenty of elements that will ensure fans of the MCU’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will feel at home. But while this could have been a cheap tie-in, it’s elevated by the consistent abilities of Gene Luen Yang, Marcus To, Erick Arciniega, and Travis Lanham. Like certain issues of the previous run, this one combines fantasy martial arts action with some of Shang-Chi’s more mundane experiences in the United States (in this case, a visit to a mini-golf course) for an enjoyable issue that sets high stakes for the ensuing series. —AJK

Next week, Al Ewing and Tom Reilly team for a new Ant-Man miniseries!