The previous issue of A.X.E.: Judgment Day did not move the ball forward as much as I hoped after Progenitor’s declaration that it will judge every single person on Earth. There were some very good character moments in A.X.E.: Judgment Day #3 but for the most part, it felt like the momentum hit a wall. That said, Kieron Gillen and Valerio Schiti still have enough in place to make the second half of A.X.E.: Judgment Day a memorable experience. Can that happen? Let’s find out with A.X.E.: Judgment Day #4.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Outside the X-Men’s Treehouse, Captain America fails to calm anti-mutant protestors down, leading to the protestors turning on Captain America
Over at Avengers Mountain Starfox talks with the Avengers and Sersi’s Eternals about how they can use Eros’s past as an underperformer compared to Thanos to their advantage.
While that is going Progenitor continues to test various heroes, villains, and regular people across Earth to make their judgment.
Over at the United Nations, Starfox makes a speech to the world leaders about a plan he’s put together for human rights and environmental rights that include the mutants and Eternals working with them.
Meanwhile, seeing his leadership questioned Druig summons every Eternal, including The Hex, to the Uni-Mind.
This leads Druig right into Sersi and Starfox’s plan as with Jean Grey and Professor Xavier’s help the mutants also appear in Uni-Mind. Now no longer holding the majority in the vote Druig loses his position as Starfox is announced as the new Prime Eternal.
Knowing he was losing the vote Druig releases Uranos before that happened. Uranos immediately attacks Earth and completely overwhelms the Eternals and Avengers.
Storm and Magneto, who is using his powers along with Storm’s to keep himself alive from Uranos destroying his heart, suddenly appear. With his lifeforce being depleted Magneto goes all out using his powers to launch and turn Uranos technology against him. This attack takes out Uranos. After the attack is done Magneto collapses as the last of his lifeforce leaves his body.
Afterward, Progenitor gives Sersi a thumbs down judgment and Ikaris a thumbs up judgment. Seeing this Starfox makes his pitch about how he and the others want to make the world better. This is not enough as Progenitor gives a thumbs down judgment as it does not believe a better world could be achieved even with a million years in time.
Captain America tries to protect people from Progenitor’s wipe-out attack but fails. Captain America is shown as the only one surviving Progenitor’s attack. End of issue.
A.X.E.: Judgment Day #4 is a reminder of how Marvel’s current output of comic books and TV shows have one big similarity. That is having maybe one too many chapters of a story that you end up going in circles for the middle part of the story. That happens here as A.X.E.: Judgment Day #4, while more successful in moving the story forward, told the same story the third issue of this event was going for. It made me wish that Kieron Gillen was able to combine the third and fourth issues of A.X.E.: Judgment Day into one big middle chapter.
What made A.X.E.: Judgment Day #4 work better than the previous issue was that it actually felt like our heroes were trying to work together. Specifically, on the Avengers and Eternals side, they weren’t simply presented as antagonists to the X-Men because they were working separately from the current plight of the mutants. There was a sense of actually coming together that made Starfox’s plan even more effective as it was the world’s last-ditch effort against Progenitor.
In that sense, Gillen made the X-Men’s previous attempt against Progenitor have greater meaning because now we are seeing the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals try the more peaceful approach. This put over how all three teams can come together and put together a plan that can work when working in a cohesive fashion. Even for how quickly Starfox implemented his plan it worked because of this unity between the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals were able to get one over on Druig.
Though Druig’s downfall wasn’t as satisfying as you would expect it to be. Unless you are an Eternals fan and know Druig’s history as the Prime Eternal the build-up for what happens to him hear has been minimal in A.X.E.: Judgment Day. Gillen really did a disservice to Druig in A.X.E.: Judgment Day by having him only appear in a handful of scenes in the second and third issues of this series. There wasn’t much of a build-up as the main antagonist to make Druig’s downfall something that was being built towards in the first half of A.X.E.: Judgment Day. It was all just extremely rushed so that Starfox could now take the spotlight dedicated to Druig for the remaining chapters of A.X.E.: Judgment Day.
While Druig’s downfall was less satisfying than expected the opposite goes for Uranos. Admittedly Uranos being taken down by Magneto was satisfying because I came in knowing what Uranos on Planet Arakko in X-Men: Red #5. Having those memories going into when I saw Uranos unleashed by Druig’s final act as Prime Eternal made this moment epic. But if you don’t have that experience reading X-Men: Red #5 I can understand Uranos big moment not hitting as hard.
What no doubt hits hard is Magneto taking Uranos down. Valerio Schiti absolutely knocks it out of the park with how Magneto used the last minutes of his life to go all out using his powers. The power Magneto exhibited was fantastic and gave his sacrifice so much weight. Schiti nailing how Magneto using the last of his lifeforce impacted Storm with the way he drew them both.
All of this made the final few pages of A.X.E.: Judgment Day #4 a much better build for an ending. Gillen and Schiti nailed how impactful Progenitor making its ultimate judgment truly is. The horror in Captain America’s face after barely surviving an attack that wiped out everyone around him has me looking forward to what will happen next. The Progenitor showed it is not messing around and we are all left wondering what the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals can even hope to do now. It’s a strong set-up to build anticipation for the final issues of this event.
A.X.E.: Judgment Day #4 does a great job in putting over what Progenitor’s declaration of the judgment of Earth truly means. The urgency shown by the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals as they went along with Starfox’s plan made this a strong start to the second half of Marvel’s latest big event. The ending now sets up many questions for how things could go in the remaining chapters of this event.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10