Marvel is running A.X.E.: Judgment Day on a very tight schedule as we get a second straight week of a new issue in their latest big event released. So there wasn’t much time to process the latest development with Progenitor laying waste to the majority of the society of Earth. Given Progenitor’s judgment of the world, we don’t even know who is left to oppose the Celestial as only Captain America is shown surviving. What will happen next? Let’s find out with A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Marte Gracia
The Progenitor makes its ultimate judgment for the entire world that leaves only a few people alive in the world.
In the aftermath, a woman named Jada finds Captain America in the middle of where a massive group of people was eradicated by the Progenitor’s judgment. Jada and Captain America bond over what keeps them going even on the bad days.
Overhearing the conversation Nightcrawler comes to recruit Captain America. Captain America requests Nightcrawler to teleport him to the North Pole.
Captain America and Nightcrawler then face off against Progenitor. The Progenitor kills Captain America and Nightcrawler right away.
Over on Krakoa, Nightcrawler is brought back to life with one of the last remaining Eggs.
In the Quiet Council meeting room, after a back-and-forth discussion, the X-Men, Avengers, and Eternals agree to attempt to take down the Progenitor by going after the node inside it.
The Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man Family, and Eternals launch an all-out attack on the Progenitor. The Progenitor takes all of the heroes’ attacks and kills all of them one by one.
As the only survivors Iron Man, Nightcrawler, Starfox, Phastos, Sersi, and Jack Of Knives regroup to talk about their plan now that the Progenitor believes they are all dead. With only a few Eggs left Nightcrawler makes a suggestion to resurrect specific mutants for a strike team to fight the Progenitor right away. Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Mister Sinister are chosen to be resurrected by The Five.
Phastos gives Jean Grey firewall access to Sersi, Makkari, and Jack Of Knives in case the Eternals’ principles start interfering with their actions.
Jean Grey, Wolverine, Mister Sinister, Iron Man, Sersi, Makkari, and Jack Of Knives all teleport back to the North Pole and infiltrate the Progenitor while it is integrating itself with the Earth. They are immediately detected. The Progenitor kills Jack Of Knives in an instant.
Back in their hideout Nightcrawler makes the executive decision to use the last remaining Egg not to bring back Cyclops but to bring back another leader that the Earth needs right now. Captain America then suddenly bursts out of the Egg brought back to life by The Five. End of issue.
At the end of the day when it comes to reading a big event as a fan I want every issue to feel like a giant spectacle. That is exactly what Kieron Gillen and Valerio Schiti deliver with A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5 as the spectacle of the things that happen adds to the character moments we get across this issue.
Opening up with the Progenitor going through its judgment of all of humanity was handled well. The importance was felt without having the entire issue be just this. Gillen and Schiti made great use of having each panel on the second page to showcase how Progenitor was judging everyone. The six panels were reflective of what Progenitor was judging humanity by and the emotions on all the people’s faces got that over.
Going from that opening to Jada, one of the normal people that Gillen has been highlighting throughout A.X.E.: Judgment Day, talking with Captain America was handled well. Once again it was about pacing the conversation in a way that was meaningful that reflected where Captain America and Jada were without getting lost in overexplaining everything. Every word was effective and worked well to establish Jada with the reader as we get a clear understanding of her as a new character. There is a lot done that makes Jada a compelling character you hope to see in the future.
The conversation also was a great way to move Captain America forward in his arc for A.X.E.: Judgment Day. We’ve seen Gillen spend time challenging what Captain America symbolizes and the strength of his character. The conversation with Jada got him back into the leader that Captain America is known as. Which worked well to make his final stand against the Progenitor to not be a simple sacrifice but a symbol of how the fight for survival is not over.
Nightcrawler being positioned as a key decision-maker was also a nice change of pace. We don’t normally see Nightcrawler in such a high-profile spot during a Marvel event. Gillen perfectly taps into who Nightcrawler is and how his view on how the heroes need to approach things is very needed. His voice carries a lot of weight that you know that he is making the best decision for everyone.
Nightcrawler being established in this way made him stepping up in a leadership way that he forms the new strike team a great move. He is not deciding just on his emotions. Instead, he is simply looking for who the best people are to make it so they all survive this event. This shows how Nightcrawler makes sure that when he is making his decision to go against Krakoa’s law by bringing back Captain America that it is not a slight on Cyclops for which leader is brought back. Nightcrawler was simply looking at the type of leader needed and he knows Cyclops is seen by others more as a general leader compared to Captain America whose leadership brings hope to a battlefield.
Captain America being brought back by the mutant resurrection protocol will certainly be a contentious decision for X-Men fans. From the way, Gillen developed the A.X.E.: Judgment Day story around the Progenitor it makes sense this type of decision needed to be made. That is all reflective of how Gillen has presented Progenitor as a foe that is completely unstoppable. Even when assembling Marvel’s greatest heroes we see Progenitor easily kill them all as if they were insects. Schiti really stepped up huge to make this entire sequence as devastating as possible as the heroes stood no chance against the Progenitor.
Now the questionable thing about all this is how all the heroes sacrificed themselves to trick the Progenitor into believing all that oppose it are gone. This all seems like too big of a gamble given how big the Progenitor is shown to be. It also makes it so the mutant resurrection protocols and Eternals’ key to resurrection will be used as a big deus ex machina to undo all the damage done by Progenitor. Which would undo all the impact Progenitor judgment on humanity is supposed to have. It could lead to an ending that just resets things to how they were before A.X.E.: Judgment Day since we know the Avengers and X-Men are moving on to their own things after this so the event will have little impact on them.
A.X.E.: Judgment Day #5 delivers an impactful penultimate chapter that pushed all our heroes to their limits against the Progenitor. Kieron Gillen and Valerio Schiti balance out all the giant spectacle moments with strong character moments. Hopefully with how things are left the final issue of A.X.E.: Judgment Day will deliver an impactful ending for Marvel’s latest big event.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10