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Sersi and Ajak Face Judgment in Marvel’s A.X.E.: Eternals #1 (Review)

  • A.X.E. Eternals #1

    A.X.E.: Eternals #1

    Writer:
    Kieron Gillen

    Artist:
    Pasqual Ferry

    Letterer:
    VC’s Clayton Cowles

    Cover Artist:
    Nic Klein

    Publisher:
    Marvel

    Price:
    $3.99

    Release Date:
    2022-10-12

    Colorist:
    Matt Hollingsworth

After all that’s happened, the beginning of writer Kieron Gillen‘s run on the Eternals last year feels like a distant memory. Gillen shocked audiences with the bombshell reveal of the truth behind the Eternals’ continued existence. Now that the Eternals have resurrected their Celestial God for guidance, Progenitor’s real intentions have shell-shocked the entire Earth as the Eternals, X-Men, and Avengers come together to stop the approaching apocalypse. The team enters the Celestial’s body in a last-ditch attempt to save the planet. A.X.E.: Eternals #1, written by Gillen with artwork from Pasqual Ferry, colors by Matt Hollingsworth, and letters from VC’s Clayton Cowles, tests the faith of the Eternals’ prime directive.


A.X.E.: Eternals #1 follows the one-shot, A.X.E.: X-Men #1, as the makeshift team consisting of Iron Man, Sersi, Ajak, Makkari, Jean Grey, Wolverine, and Mr. Sinister gets closer and closer to their target. On the way, they encounter more antibodies that attack them from all sides. Finding themselves separated while fighting, Iron Man and Sersi bicker about her being on the team when she was already deemed unworthy by the Celestial. Meanwhile, Progenitor visits Ajak to pass judgment. But before that, she needs to meet every poor soul who has lost their life resurrecting her. Ajak begins her pilgrimage with a heavy heart.

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The high stakes of the situation are crystal clear, as are the dangers awaiting them inside that extraterrestrial body. But this is the first time since the ugly revelation about their immortality that the Eternals have to face their god’s judgment. Sersi and Ajak’s decision to hide the fact from the humans they are bound to weigh on them heavily. This creates internal strife and is the general driving force of the issue. Gillen is prudent enough to punctuate the narrative with skirmishes here and there. But the central conflict is intrinsically spiritual and a culmination of their respective fears. In shifting focus between the two Eternals, the narrative breaks into two aesthetically different paths as Ajak finds herself in a metaphysical space while Sersi relives a poignant moment from her past. Unfortunately, by zeroing in on these two, Gillen lets the overall plot fall by the wayside.

For a story transitioning between the ethereal and the physical, the artwork struggles to match the tone of the script. Everything feels cut from the same cloth. Artist Pasqual Ferry puts up quite the flamboyant display, with thin lines keeping everything in each panel minimalistic. It reaches a point where there is nothing except contour lines to distinguish each element on the page. While chaotic action scenes keep the energy high, the solemn scenes and close-ups fail to convey an appropriate sense of drama. Luckily, Matt Hollingsworth’s colors add much-needed volume and sparking effects to fully render the cosmic scale of this issue. From ominous dark shades to luminous gradients, Hollingsworth helps the book look dynamic.

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A.X.E.: Eternals #1 highlights the hypocrisy of some Eternals who want to change their predisposition but are either too afraid or too comfortable with the status quo. It is time for some to be judged and for some to confront their pasts as the issue slows down to tailor to each character’s needs. Gillen nears the end of his string of one-shots as he completes his narrative focus on each team member, allowing readers to experience the fears and trepidations of some major players from their perspectives. Ultimately, A.X.E.: Eternals #1 is light on plot progression, leaving the rest of the titles to pick up the slack.


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