A.X.E. Judgement Day #5, out this week from Marvel Comics, delivers something that will change the game for mutants in the future, as well as the people of Earth. Where things go from here is anyone’s guess, but this issue is integral to the Marvel Universe moving forward. Kieron Gillen writes this issue with Valerio Schiti on pencils, Marte Gracia on colors, and Clayton Cowles on letters.
Gillen has been doing some wonderful things since his return to the X-Universe. Immortal X-Men is one of the best X-titles on the shelf, thanks to his impressive plot and pacing. With Avengers-X-Men-Eternals Judgement Day #5, we get to the world’s destruction. This is not a test or an illusion. Gillen delivers on the action side of this issue. Your favorite characters get destroyed. This isn’t a spoiler because literally everyone gets annihilated. What works for this is the internal monologue from the Celestial. Gillen lets us know why he’s killing our heroes, and he describes how he does it. This is a book that turns the Marvel Universe upside down. Things are in disarray. It’s not your typical end-of-the-world issue where one main character dies. It all goes south pretty quickly. Gillen also makes sure to give us little character moments too. There is a touching moment between Captain America and Jada as they bond while the world burns. This is where Gillen makes his money. He gives us thought-provoking storytelling that allows the reader to think about their own life.
Once again, we’re treated to Schiti on pencils. Schiti has a tough task with this issue since most of the book is either fighting or emotional moments. As mentioned earlier, the Jada and Captain America conversation works well because we can see that both characters make small talk as the world collapses around them, and Schiti portrays these panels with a sense of uneasiness as these characters let out an uncomfortable smile or a look of great concern. Action sequences are handled perfectly. It’s rare that you can see so many of your favorite heroes die and be perfectly fine with it because the art is amazing. The splash page with every hero going into battle is inspiring. Schiti draws this image and doesn’t dip any quality. Event books are tough to do, but Schiti continues to crush the art duties.
Gracia has become one of the best colorists on Marvel’s roster. There is a lot of red in this issue as the world burns around the heroes. Gracia uses dark reds as bridges collapse, or heroes fall. There are also some cooler whites and light blues used in this issue as well. With the Jada and Captain America conversation, Gracia uses a lighter blue to capture the background. White ash falls from the sky, which plays a nice contrast to the grayish blue in the calmer sky. Gracia rocks this issue with perfect colors that fit the dire need of our heroes.
The letters are handled by Cowles. Sound effects in an issue like this are crucial. As Nightcrawler transports Captain America to the battle, “Bamfs” are perfectly curved around the teleports. Another key part of this issue is the narration boxes. Cowles uses red and black lettering. Normally this might seem like a bad combination that is tough to read, but Cowles makes it work by using a lighter red for the words.
A.X.E. Judgement Day #5 is a huge issue that changes things in the Marvel Universe. Gillen absolutely crushes this issue. Throw your expectations out the window, as there is no way to predict what will happen next. The art is amazing and enhances the reading experience. You might not find better pencils and colors on a book this week. A.X.E. Judgement Day #5 is on sale at a comic shop near you!