Mark Waid is a life-long superhero fan. Having had some of the best modern super hero runs across the board including Captain America, Fantastic Four and Daredevil; he is definitely a connoisseur of the genre. But he has a particular affinity with Superman who is his admitted favourite hero. And it is has shown in his great work on the character across stories such as Kingdom Come and Birthright. But what if Waid deconstructed everything that made Superman great and turned it on its head? Well that question is answered in Legendary Comic’s first foray into superhero comics: The Rise and Fall of Axiom.
Axiom and Thena, aliens from another world, arrive on earth and exhibit extraordinary powers. Benevolent and godlike, they cure humanity’s ills and usher in an era of peace, prosperity and complacency. A series of tragic events reveals another side of Axiom: humanity’s saviour becomes its worst nightmare. A Defence Department analyst, armed with only scientific knowledge and courageous spirit takes on the turned hero in a fight for mankind’s survival!
Whilst there have been plenty of deconstructions of the superhero genre (Watchmen most famously), Axiom is a little different. Reminiscent of the themes explored in his previous work Irredeemable, Waid presents a great portrayal of the fallen hero as the once benevolent Axiom – who originally used his powers for good and brought peace to the world – is corrupted by the power he possesses. But unlike Irredeemable where the antagonist had a super-powered opposing group made up of his former teammates, there is no super group waiting in the wings to stop Axiom which leave humanity with no choice but to fend for themselves. The stakes definitely feel higher in this story as the main hero standing up to the all-powerful Axiom is a normal human (albeit a Defence Department analyst with great scientific knowledge and courage but a normal human nonetheless).
Veteran superhero artist Ed Benes (Justice League, Birds of Prey) provides some terrific art and does a stellar job of creating a modern superhero vibe reminiscent of his work on Justice League which makes it all the more tragic when Axiom eventually turns his back on humanity. Benes subsequently does just as well depicting the evil Axiom (just look at the cover).
There’s no reason fans of Mark Waid won’t love this new entry in his superhero body of work and Ed Benes fans will be just as satisfied. Beyond that, anyone looking for a great superhero story or deconstruction and two masters of their craft cutting loose should definitely give Axiom a gander.
Axiom is published by Legendary Comics and is available now from Turnaround.
Post by Leo.