The Road to ‘A.X.E.: Judgment Day’
Discover how the Avengers, the X-Men, and the Eternals may have doomed the world! Set the stage with these prelude reads on Marvel Unlimited.
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It’s no understatement that the road to A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY was paved with good intentions. The Avengers, the X-Men, and even the Eternals didn’t mean to set humanity before an angry Celestial judge whose whims could destroy them all. Regardless, their actions put these events in motion and not even their god-like powers combined are enough to prevent the Celestial from deciding whether Earth should live or die.
Before the A.X.E.: EVE OF JUDGMENT #1 prelude one-shot hits Marvel Unlimited on October 10, readers can get a closer look at the events that brought humanity to the brink of destruction. But Marvel Unlimited also has the key issues that set the stage for this year’s mega-event. No one is blameless for what has occurred, yet Marvel’s heroes are still the best hope to ensure that everyone on the planet makes it through JUDGMENT DAY alive.
A MOUNTAIN OF HUBRIS
AVENGERS (2018) #1 reunited Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor with mainstays Captain Marvel and She-Hulk as well as Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider: Robbie Reyes. They came together just in time for the Dark Celestials to descend upon the Earth. Subsequently, in issue #4, the Avengers discovered that the Eternals were all dead. After learning that their purpose on Earth was a lie, the Eternals either committed suicide or murdered each other. That left the Avengers to deal with the Dark Celestials by themselves.
In issue #6, the Avengers triumphed, as they always have before. Riding the wave of that victory, the Avengers made their new headquarters in the corpse of The Progenitor, the Celestial who was the first of its kind to visit the Earth. Thus, Avengers Mountain became the latest home for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and the future body of a mad Celestial god.
RESURRECTION AT A PRICE
ETERNALS (2021) #1 marked the return of the immortal heroes (and offspring of the Celestials), thanks to their “Resurrection Machines.” Unfortunately, those machines also brought Thanos back to life, and the Eternals’ fallen cousin was soon installed as the Prime Eternal, leader of his race. More alarmingly, Phastos learned that the Eternals’ cycle of resurrection came at a high cost. As explained in issue #6, for an Eternal to be revived, the life of a normal human was sacrificed. That led Ikaris, Sersi, and a breakaway faction of Eternals to leave their people behind and dwell among the Deviants in order to live as mortals.
By issues #10-11, Ikaris and Sersi’s plans to stop Thanos led the renegade Eternals to attack the Avengers in Avengers Mountain. In issue #12, Thanos was finally deposed from his position as Prime Eternal. In his place, Druig assumed the role and searched for a way to maintain his grip as the Eternals’ new leader. Druig decided he needed a war, and he found one with the mutants of Krakoa and Arrako. Because Deviant genes had intermingled with humanity, Druig declared the mutants to be examples of “excess deviation” and he ordered them destroyed.
LIFE AFTER DEATH
The Eternals aren’t the only race that can beat the reaper. The “Resurrection Protocols” have freed the mutants of Krakoa from death’s icy grip ever since HOUSE OF X (2019) #5. It was also a closely guarded secret, until X-MEN (2021) #11-12 changed all that with a single headline.
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Realizing that their enemies wanted to use mutant resurrection as a PR weapon against them, Cyclops unilaterally decided to give the story to Ben Urich of the Daily Bugle. This undercut anti-mutant organization Orchis’ agenda, but it also inflamed anti-mutant sentiment just in time for the annual Hellfire Gala. The X-Men’s former ally, Moira MacTaggert, infiltrated the event using Mary Jane Watson’s body. And when Moira escaped, she gave information about mutant resurrection to Druig so he had the key to wipe out all mutants.
NO ONE IS IMMORTAL
When Moira MacTaggert still had a physical body, her mutant power was that she would live her life over and over again while retaining the knowledge and memories of her previous lives. As revealed in IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #1, that ability now rests in the hands of Mister Sinister. Once Sinister learned about Moira’s abilities, he cloned her and developed a way to send new info to her clones in the past so he could have foreknowledge of the future and shape the timeline as he sees fit.
In IMMORTAL X-MEN #3, mutant precognitive Destiny began to see visions of the coming war with the Eternals, even though she couldn’t immediately identify who their enemy would be. Unfortunately for Sinister, not even he saw the events of issue #4 coming. After facing suspicion from Orchis for his connection to Dr. Stasis, Sinister surrendered to the Quiet Council moments before he was kidnapped by the Eternals.
THE RED PLANET
One of Druig’s justifications for war against the mutants was the fact that they had terraformed Mars and transformed it into Arakko, the new capital of the solar system. X-MEN RED (2022) #1-3 chronicled Magneto and Storm’s attempts to earn their place among the Arakki. They even formed their own Brotherhood of Arakko with Sunspot and the enigmatic “Fisher King.”
Arakko has emerged as one of the frontlines for A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY, and the Brotherhood has already faced its first test. But these former X-Men are survivors and warriors, and they may yet turn the tide against Druig’s Eternals and the Celestial god who plans to pass judgment on Earth.
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