Is the Marvel Universe any different after AXE: Judgment Day than before?

Axe: Judgment Day #6 art
Axe: Judgment Day #6 art (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

October 26's AXE: Judgment Day #6 from writer Kieron Gillen, artists Valerio Schiti, Ivan Fiorelli, and Marte Gracia, and letterer Clayton Cowles brings the core of Marvel's 2022 event story to its close, with only an epilogue to come. 

And with the conflict between the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals and the subsequent threat to the Earth's very existence by a newly birthed Celestial now largely settled, we can examine how AXE: Judgment Day changed the Marvel Universe.

What happens in AXE: Judgment Day?

a page from AXE: Judgment Day #6 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

To briefly recap the events of the story, it all kicked off when the Eternals, led by Druig, declared war on the mutants of Krakoa because they share some genetic similarities to the Eternals' ancient enemies, the Deviants.

Though they suffered heavy losses, the X-Men and mutantkind managed to survive and fight back long enough for a team of Avengers, mutants, and Eternals to build a brand new Celestial they believe will have the cosmic power to end the conflict. 

And indeed the Celestial does, but by setting forth to judge every person on Earth with the intent of deciding whether to destroy the Earth or save it. Unfortunately, humanity fails its test, and the Celestial tries to destroy the Earth. The Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals resist, but they save only about a billion people from destruction (there are nearly eight billion people on Earth, FYI).

That's where AXE #6 kicks in, with the same team that created the Celestial working to destroy it - and each undergoing some big changes as a result. 

Spoilers ahead for AXE: Judgment Day #6

Though the Celestial's destruction stops when Ajak of the Eternals convinces it to surrender its Celestial power to her, causing her to evolve into the godlike 'Ajak Celestia,' the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals each feel the fallout of the Celestial's defeat.

How does AXE: Judgment Day impact the Avengers?

a page from AXE: Judgment Day #6

a page from AXE: Judgment Day #6 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

First up, the 'A' in AXE - the Avengers. 

Though Earth's Mightiest heroes undergo some profound moments throughout AXE: Judgment Day - including Captain America failing his test and being killed and resurrected, and Iron Man lending his own brain patterns to the creation of the Celestial that nearly destroyed the Earth, there's actually not much impact on the team in terms of big fundamental changes to the characters.

That said, the next thing the team is doing is fighting a Multiversal Doctor Doom and his Masters of Evil in the story 'Avengers Assemble,' which features every Avenger ever and brings Jason Aaron's years-long run on the title to a close. So we're guessing that the Avengers won't come out of that story quite as unscathed.

The X-Men on the other hand…

How does AXE: Judgment Day impact the X-Men?

a page from AXE: Judgment Day #6 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The mutants of Krakoa and their heroes the X-Men are of course the 'X' in the AXE conflict, with the attempted genocide of mutantkind by the Eternals starting the entire chain of events that led to the birth of the new Celestial and its fateful judgment.

Though the Eternals nearly succeed in killing all the mutants and destroying their power of resurrection, only Magneto dies permanently, stating his desire to no longer undergo resurrection.

Speaking of which, at the end of the story, the mutants decide to share their power of resurrection with humanity, starting the process of resurrecting hundreds of children who recently died of illness and disease.

That sounds like a story element that begs to be followed up on in the near future. 

How does AXE: Judgment Day impact the Eternals?

a page from AXE: Judgment Day #6 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Similarly, the Eternals - as in the 'E' in AXE, naturally - take on perhaps the biggest changes in the wake of Judgment Day. 

Sersi reveals the secret of Eternal resurrection - that every time they come back to life, a human dies - and the Celestial destroys her as a result. It's not exactly clear, but this seems to be as permanent a death as comic books offer, as it seems the Eternals won't be resurrecting again anytime soon. 

Following the defeat of the Celestial and the restoration of Earth's population as its dying act, Ajak takes on its power, as well as its role as humanity's judge, with the implication that she has the power to destroy the Earth if she feels it's time to pass judgment again.

Back among the rest of the Eternals, Starfox surrenders the role of Prime Eternal back to its longest-running occupant, Zuras, who vows to no longer attack mutants - and who punishes Druig, the Eternal who started the conflict, by imprisoning him for a thousand years alongside the sadistic Uranos.

And what about that 'Mutants are Deviants' thing?

a page from AXE: Judgment Day #6 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

While marketing Judgment Day, the series' calling card was the implication that mutants in the Marvel Universe are now considered Deviants, the natural enemy of Eternals - whose very reason for existence includes "correcting excess Deviation," eliminating the Deviants when they become too populous or powerful.

The implication had potential major ramifications for not only Marvel Comics but possibly even for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has already taken some liberties with how it's bringing mutants to the screen. We detail what the change might mean right here.

As for how the supposed genetic connection between Deviants and mutants that started the whole conflict shakes out, AXE: Judgment Day #6 does indeed address the concept - but rather than offer up any fundamental changes to the origins or implications of what it means to be a mutant, it kinda gets slightly swept under the rug.

Zuras, the newly rechristened Prime Eternal, confirms to Storm that mutants do indeed share a genetic connection to Deviants - but apparently not one close enough to actually matter to the Eternals, as he vows that mutantkind and Eternals will be allies moving forward.

So what comes after AXE: Judgment Day?

Sins of Sinister promo image (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

In the end, the X-Men and Eternals have undergone the biggest changes as characters, with the Marvel Universe as a whole seemingly coming face-to-face with death - and literally billions of humans, including many heroes and villains, actually dying and coming back to life in the process (sorta like the ending of Avengers: Endgame).

How that could affect things going forward is somewhat hard to say - though it's a bit easier to imagine the more concrete results of mutantkind beginning to share the power of resurrection with humanity, and the Eternals seemingly giving up their ability to infinitely return to life every time they die.

As for what's next, like we said, the Avengers are going into the Avengers Assemble event. Meanwhile, the X-Men are first about to be part of the Spider-Man/X-Men: Dark Web crossover. But then, they're entering into a warped new reality brought into existence by Mister Sinister in his own image in the story Sins of Sinister.

The future of the Eternals is up in the air for the moment, and they may fade to the background the way the Inhumans recently have after a few years in the Marvel Universe sun, only to emerge again whenever Marvel Studios gets around to bringing them back in live-action.

That's just the tip of the iceberg for what's coming for the X-Men, as seen in our listing of all the new X-Men comics planned for release in 2022 and beyond.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)