As a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’m always looking to the comics to determine what may come next in the MCU. While the films and series are rarely a one-for-one adaptation of the source material, there is so much we can gather about the general direction of these Marvel Studio films and how they impact the larger MCU. One of the latest Marvel comic events, A.X.E. Judgement Day seems to be poised for an adaptation in Eternals 2. Judgement Day has been making its rounds in the rumor mill for a while, and the way the first Eternals film ended, it makes perfect sense.
As a quick refresher, Eternals ended with Sersi (Gemma Chan), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), and Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) being taken by Arishem, who is angered by their actions. He indicates that he’s going to judge humanity through the Eternals’ memories, returning with judgment if humans are proven not to be worthy. This promise lines up with some major story threads from A.X.E. Judgment Day, lining up rather perfectly. So there’s no time like the present to break down this Marvel comic and look toward the future of the MCU.
[Warning: Spoilers from A.X.E. Judgement Day are below!]
A New World Order begins in A.X.E. Judgement Day
The time of Mutants has begun, as the comic event opens up. The Mutants living on Krakoa and Mars have developed immortality for their race. Using five heroes (Tempus, Proteus, Hope Summers, Elixir, and Egg) with very specific abilities, the mutants are able to regrow mutants in egglike structures after they die. The Five are able to upload consciousness from the deceased mutants into the new body, ensuring the continued advancement of their kind.
However, not everyone is happy with this new development for Mutant-kind. The Mutants refuse to share their knowledge and powers outside of their own people which threatens many of the superpowers around the world. However, the bigger threat comes in the form of the Eternals, superheroes designed to destroy deviants.
Why exactly is that a problem for Mutants? Well, the change in their DNA is a result of Deviants. Mutants are the biggest form of Deviants still around, who just painted a bigger target on their backs with the learned ability of immortality. Their hubris activates the Eternals’ internal protocol to rid the world of any and all Deviants.
Awakening a God leads to Judgement Day
The conflict between the Mutants and Eternals brings all the major teams from Marvel Comics into play. Caught in the middle are the Avengers, the world’s mightiest heroes looking to put an end to the war before it even begins. With their headquarters housed in the body of a fallen Celestial, The Avengers, along with some Mutants and Eternals develop a grand idea. Waking up the Celestial, although having an iota of control over him, will stop the fighting in its tracks.
However, in true comic fashion, nothing ever works out that simply. Yes, Tony Stark and the rest of the group inside the Celestial manage to wake it up, however, controlling a god is near impossible. Instead, the Celestial takes over its body once again, announcing its judgment against all on Earth.
If the Celestial deems a person good, they are allowed to live. If he believes an individual to be corrupt in any way, they’re removed. Fundamentally, it might make sense to spare those who are worthy, however, the Celestial takes what is corrupt to the extreme. Looking through an individual’s entire life, actions made at any point in their life could condemn them. If someone like Captain America doesn’t pass the arbitrary test, there isn’t much help for anyone else.
A.X.E. Judgment Day switches focus quickly, from a race to save Mutants from Eternals to saving the entire world from the judgment of a God. The struggle becomes dismal, as heroes die left and right, with the world becoming hopeless about their chances. Can the heroes of the Marvel universe stop the life-ending titan before everyone’s gone? Or does this spell the end for our heroes and the people they protect?
Translating A.X.E. Judgment Day to Eternals 2
I don’t expect Eternals 2 to be a large ensemble film, similar in fashion to an Avengers film or Captain America: Civil War. Instead, the essence of what makes this story will elevate the sequel to new heights.
Using the memories of the captured Eternals, Arishem will determine humanity is not worth saving. His decision will throw the world into chaos, a problem only the remaining Eternals will be able to stop because of their intimate knowledge of Celestials. While other heroes could appear in the film in some capacity, the focus shifting to the Eternals pits these vessels for deviant elimination against their creator. A much more intriguing struggle to watch.
The Five could easily be replaced with The Great Machine, a system to make new Eternals. The Five become important later in bringing back heroes of all kinds, which could be useful here as well. The central conflict with the use of The Five in A.X.E. Judgment Day would easily translate to the Eternals. In the comics, some Mutants push for The Five to bring back heroes such as Captain America. However, others, ones that want to keep the power to themselves, are against the usage of this ability for others.
I could see this conflict existing between Sersi and someone like Ajak (Salma Hayek) if she returns from the dead. Which come on… is likely to happen in a comic book film. The opposing force could also be Ikars (Richard Madden), who was the true believer of the group in the end. Having a strong force against the use of The Great Machine for anything other than its designed purpose would bring this conflict to light with ease.
Final thoughts on Marvel Comic’s Judgment Day event
As an avid reader of Marvel Comics, some of my favorite pieces are the event crossover series. These huge cataclysmic events bring heightened excitement and danger to the comic world, and A.X.E. Judgment Day is no exception.
The story itself is a page-turner, I couldn’t put it down until it was over. The change of pace from one threat to another was expected, which dialed the drama up from a 5 to a 10 out of 10. I knew eventually we had to get to the Celestial judging the people of Earth, but how and why we got there was a treat. Kieron Gillen brings another wonderful story to Marvel Comics.
The art of Valerio Schiti is exceptional as well. Judgment Day uses colors in ways that seem different than many of the other comics I’ve read before. At times, they remind me of The Upside Down from Stranger Things. Schiti also brings a level of realism to many of the characters, with Tony Stark jumping out at me as one character drawn well.
Overall, if you haven’t checked out A.X.E. Judgment Day you definitely should. Not only is it a great comic, but it definitely seems like it has huge implications for the future of the MCU.
A.X.E. Judgment Day is available now! Have you read it? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord. And if you haven’t already, check out our review of Ms. Marvel, the 2014-2015 run!
Comics Review: Ms. Marvel 2014-2015 by G. Willow Wilson