A.X.E.: Judgment Day review – an epic clash of Marvel’s top heroes.

The X-Men and The Eternals finally clash – with The Avengers caught in the middle – in A.X.E.: Judgment Day. The X-Men claim they’re Earth’s new gods. The Eternals know that position is already filled. And the Avengers are about to realise exactly how many secrets their so-called friends have been keeping from them! Years of tension are about to lead to a volcanic eruption — and two worlds will burn! Who has leaked the X-Men’s secrets to their latest foes? Why is Tony Stark abducting an old friend? And who stands in judgment over the whole world? The clock is ticking. Midnight looms. But it’s not too late…

Its hard to beat a well-done superhero skirmish and A.X.E.: Judgment Day  more than delivers in that department. Overseeing the task is writer Kieron Gillen who is now a dab hand when it comes to the Marvel Universe. With a substantial number of X-Men comics and the recent Eternals relaunch under his belt, he is well equipped for the task at hand along with a crew of some of Marvel top tier artists. This includes Valerio Schiti who continues the high standards he set in Empyre.

Marvel’s top teams are in a unique position where they are vying for power. Since establishing the Mutant sovereign nation of Krakoa, the X-Men have re-established themselves as a top tier group both in universe and the world of comics. The Eternals meanwhile are also trying to re-establish themselves after a long period of dormancy, so a clash was inevitable.  There’s some great interplay between the groups that plays on all their long histories and what is going on in their respective series.

But what ends up driving this event is not the clash between the two supergroups, but rather the revival of the Progenitor (the first celestial to arrive on Earth whose lifeless body had been repurposed into The Avengers’ headquarters). As a result of a splintered group of Eternals and Avengers trying to reprogram the Celestial to have ideals more in line with theirs, the Progenitor awakens with the belief that the Earth’s habitants have driven it to ruin and plans to judge the entire population of the planet to see if the Earth is worth saving or destroying. Gillen does a terrific job of highlighting the impact such an event has on the world with everyone from superheroes to everyday people receiving judgement in unique ways, whether it be directly or the Progenitor taking on a form relevant to the person being judged.

There are some high stakes in this story and you never lose sight of the potential impact this event will have on the future of the Marvel Universe. This is definitely required reading for Marvel fans and perfect for anyone looking for an epic superhero tale.

A.X.E.: Judgment Day is out now from Marvel  (9781302947002, p/b, £33.99)

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