Friday, August 26, 2022

Them Guys Ain’t Dumb 05 (Judgment Day #3)

The big question heading into this week, for me at least, was what would the criteria by which the new Celestial, the Progenitor, would judge everyone on Earth? Kieron Gillen gives us a single case where we see the reasoning behind judgment and it happens right when the issue begins when it judges Captain America first:

“You are a dream of a better country. You have tried to inspire it for a century. This country is the world leader... and the world is what it is. It is worse every day. You are a failure.”

The judgment is just vague enough that we don’t necessarily get a solid take on the criteria involved. From what I can tell, there are two possibilities with one of them still somewhat vague. The first is that the Progenitor judges based on what the character wants, what their agenda is. Captain America is a superhero, yes, but, more than that, he seeks to be a symbol, an inspiration. Often, his most crucial role as a superhero is to get his team working at its peak, often through leading by example and rousing speeches. But, his name isn’t Captain Superhero; his name is Captain America. At his core, he seeks to make his country better and, by doing so, the world. If he has not been able to do that, then he is a failure. It’s like the Progenitor cuts through a person and has them confess their true judgment about themself – “forgive me father for I have sinned.”

The second has nothing to do with what each person thinks about themself or what they’re trying to do. It is an object measure of do they make the world a better place. There is a strong focus in the Progenitor’s words on how terrible the world is and, in its judgment of Captain America, places a specific emphasis on the idea that Captain America doesn’t make America better, America is the most powerful country in the world, so when it gets worse, the world gets worse. It’s a narrow interpretation of Captain America’s function, ignoring the times he’s been instrumental in saving the world or saving lives. There’s a bit of treating the symptoms, not the disease in what he does, of course. And, moreover, if this world is judged a failure, deserving of destruction, was there anything good about saving it? As I said, this version of judgment is still somewhat vague as we don’t know how that standard would be applied to every single person alive.

Personally, I think it’s more the first than the second. “Justify yourself,” the Progenitor says, a phrase that could skew subjective or objective. Like the Celestials that came before, the Progenitor doesn’t provide a set bar that everyone needs to clear. I’m choosing to view that as it being a sliding scale, quite possibly determined by each person, or at least the version of themself that they try to be. But, I don’t know. The only other judgments we get in this issue are told near the end and only the results, not the criteria: Emma Frost, Destiny, and Mystique all fail, while Kro passes. Not quite a large enough sample size to determine anything yet.

One thing that I’m fairly certain of (and, as always, could be wrong) is that the end of the issue reveal of Eros as a possible means to unite the world is not the answer that the heroes hope it will be. We may not know the Progenitor’s criteria for judgment, but mass mind control and mood altering seems like the sort of thing liable to get an automatic fail for all involved.

His appearance shouldn’t have been surprising given that Eros has his own tie-in coming in October, yet it was. I loved the similarity in his casual sitting on a chair of crystals in the Exclusion and Uranos’s casual sitting on a chair of crystals in the Exclusion from earlier in the issue. This was really the best issue by Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia yet. Looking back, it’s clear that Schiti’s strength is less in big action scenes where his tendency to craft perfect little panels within layouts that convey chaos can make visual continuity a challenge to follow, and in these quiet yet emotionally charged moments where perfectly crafted panels hit that much harder. The return of “The Civilians” for a page in this issue showcases that ability. Each panel summing up where the characters all are at a specific moment in time coupled with the Progenitor’s narration. I particularly enjoyed the expression on Daniela’s face in the fourth panel...

But, I also feel like I’m looking at the wrong thing despite this clearly being the focus of the event at the current moment, and, seemingly, within the larger structure.

We are now halfway through this event by the standards of the main title. By the standards of the checklist in the back, we’re on comic #9 with comics #10-37 still to come. The tie-ins to this event are very back-loaded with 15 comics seemingly scheduled to come out between Judgment day #5 and 6; and lest you think it’s just a bunch of comics shoved in at the end that are inconsequential, six of those 15 are written by Gillen. This is an oddly structured event and, while we’re halfway through the ostensible main story of it, it still feels like we’re just getting into it.

For comparison’s sake, Avengers vs. X-Men #3 was the eleventh comic released during that event and that was only the quarter mark of its story. If we go by the halfway mark of that story, Avengers vs. X-Men #6 was the 30th comic released out of 65 comics total for that event. That event was larger, obviously, and structured a little differently with when tie-ins came out (for example, ones that came out following the final issue of the main event series), and both numbers are sort of a judgment call on my part. But, the point remains, the halfway mark of the main series happened around the halfway mark of the total number of comics released as part of the event. For Judgment Day, the halfway mark of the main series comes about a quarter of the way into the larger event.

So far, the first two issues of the event were about the Eternals fighting against the mutants of Krakoa and Arakko. Those two issues received four total tie-ins expanding upon those fights. Despite my joke reaction of wanting to call this event “Avengers vs. X-Men 2: Vs. Eternals,” any concept of this being an event centred around the three groups engaging in a series of big brawls ala Avengers vs. X-Men was clearly just the throat clearing. When I look at the fights from those issues, I don’t see much potential for further expansion, suggesting that there was either a limited appetite for it by potential tie-in writers, so Gillen didn’t leave much more room; or there was so little interest on Gillen’s part that he didn’t leave much more room.

Either way, the end result is the same and the focus of the event is not so much the big, sprawling action scenes of our heroes fighting one another; it’s the philosophic focus of justifying one’s existence to a god that was born just this morning. That’s where three-quarters of this event is going to happen and it’s still completely ambiguous as to what it means.

I don’t know about you, but I’m quite excited to find out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Them Guys Ain’t Dumb 04 (Death to the Mutants #1, X-Men #13, and X-Force #30)

Judgment Day is now official a proper event.

Up until this week, we had several lead-in issues mostly written by Kieron Gillen, the writer of the main series, two issues of the main series, and two ties-ins, one of which was written by Gillen and the other very closely hewed to the first issue of Judgment Day, filling in a big unseen scene from that book. It’s been a very tight, very Gillen-centric sort of event (and with him writing nearly 50% of the total comics being released under the Judgment Day banner, I imagine it will remain as such) and, while that makes for a cohesive and focused story, it’s not exactly how events tend to play out in full.

So, welcome X-Force #30 to the party with its Judgment Day branding and spot on the list of tie-ins and its complete and utter lack of even the briefest of allusions to the event that it is supposedly a part of.

No, X-Force #30 kicks off a storyarc that will see Kraven the Hunter come to Krakoa titled “The Hunt for X” and why it carries the Judgment Day banner is anyone’s guess. The recap page doesn’t even make mention of the event that it supposedly ties into, which is always a good clue of how much it really will. Now, perhaps I am being hasty and quick to, er, judgment. X-Force #30-33 are all listed as tie-ins to Judgment Day and it is certainly possible that, by the time we reach that fourth issue, forking over $15.96 in the process (more in Canada!), it will stand revealed to have a marginal connection to the event. But, you’ll have to pay to find out.

Every event has these sort of cheap, money for nothing tie-ins. The kind that sucker in completists and dumb critics, while causing loyal readers of the title to fret if their favourite comic is suddenly going to get derailed by an external story that they have no interest in. It’s part of doing business, as it were. I imagine if you ask most people involved and they would rather not slap a Judgment Day banner on the cover of a comic that has literally nothing to do with the event whatsoever, lying to everyone for the sake of selling some extra copies. But, it works. Branding a book as part of an event does increase sales. I’m not usually the sort to pay attention to that, but, when I was writing about War of the Realms, I went back to see the effect on sales and, yes, titles like Squirrel Girl and Asgardians of the Galaxy did see significant increases on the charts when they became involved with the event (though, those books actually, you know, had stories related to the event). It’s a shrewd, short-term business move that may work in the long-term if it gets some eyeballs on the book and people like what they see, if they’re not completely turned off by the lie that got them to buy it.

X-Force #30 is a fine enough comic on its own. It has nothing to do with Judgment Day, however. But, that’s the way you do it when you’re putting out a bigtime superhero comic book event.

And, it’s a shame, because the other two comics released this week, Death to the Mutants #1 and X-Men #13, are the exact sort of tie-in issues that you want. In his newsletter last week, Gillen called Death to the Mutants #1 “aka Eternals #14 aka Eternals #17 if you’re inserting the specials” (Eve of Judgment #1 was Eternals #13) and he’s not wrong. Narrated by the Machine, it’s basically if the ongoing Eternals series had a tie-in issue, showing us what Ikaris and the rest of the exile Eternals are doing, covering the events of both issues of Judgment Day in the process. Meanwhile, X-Men #13 skirts doesn’t just expand upon the Hex/Krakoans fight from Judgment Day #2, it expands upon/ties into scenes from Death to the Mutants.

What I found interesting is that two contradictory ideas espoused by Ikaris are raised in the issue. Or, rather, they seem contradictory on the surface and look like they may, in fact, an evolution of the same idea, a realisation of a higher truth. In X-Men #13, when Ikaris approaches Jean Grey to indicate that he will create a way for them to attack the Eternals’ armoury and cut off supply to the Hex, he tells her his one rule: “Kill no Eternals.” This instruction is wonderful in the way that its two different meanings exist depending on your knowledge.

For Jean Grey, it seems like the instruction of a torn man. Ikaris is betraying his people because he disagrees with their war, but he only wants their efforts to make war on the mutants stopped. They are still his people and, in stopping their actions, he can’t bear to see them killed. There are certain lines that he won’t cross and, should the mutants cross that line, he may be forced to stand alongside his people even as they do something that he disagrees with. And, from her perspective, this is a perfectly valid reading of this instruction.

We know more than that.

We know that Eternals can’t ever really die, not forever. When an Eternal dies, the Machine resurrects it, but does so by taking the life essence of a human, killing that human. Ikaris along with some other Eternals, upon learning this fact, have left Eternals society and are trying to find a new way to live that doesn’t involve killing innocents so that they may live. When he tells Jean “kill no Eternals,” what he’s really saying is “kill no humans.” And to add another layer to this multi-layered instruction, Ikaris’s instruction is, unknowingly, allowing the mutants to avoid unknowingly breaking one of their own laws: “Murder no man.”

How this idea evolves, though, is interesting and comes from the intervention of the new Celestial adding a fourth principle for the Eternals: “You have 24 hours to justify yourselves.” While framed at the end of Judgment Day #2 as a statement for the entirety of world, it also acts as new essential Principle for Eternals, it seems. We don’t see too much of how that affects the Eternals (Druig stalls, for example – how can he justify himself, really?), but the final two pages of Death to the Mutants #1 has Gilgamesh and Ikaris address this new principle, briefly, with the former saying, “This world bleeds because of our arrogance. We hurt humans by existing. Even I, who tried to protect them, killed them indirectly. We die, they die. The Principles have always been riddles. I know the answer to this one.” To which Ikaris replies, “...I think I do too,” which we see him using his eye beams. The final page reveals his answer to this new Principle and the evolution of his thinking it has caused:


What exactly this means is anyone’s guess at this point. It’s a subtle evolution from “kill no Eternals” to “death to the Eternals,” and, yet, still comes from the same impulse. The idea that Eternals live at the expense of human lives disgusts Ikaris and some of the others – so much so that they seek out the Deviants as part of their efforts to find a new path forward. With this new Principle forcing the Eternals to justify themselves, the answer for Ikaris is obvious: there is no justification for an existence that comes at the expense of others. The only way he can justify his existence is to find a way to eliminate the Eternals. It’s a chilling final page that, for me, blows the event wide open in a bigger way than the end of Judgment Day #2.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Them Guys Ain’t Dumb 03 (Judgment Day #2)

“Who are the heroes here?”

For much of Judgment Day #2, that question seems mostly apparent: the Avengers. The Avengers have no stake in the fight between the Hex and the mutants of Krakoa other than saving lives. They see giant monster-like beings attacking an island mostly of non-combative innocents and spring into action to minimise the loss of lives and, later, direct their forces to help save further lives affected by the battle. They seek only to preserve life and are total bystanders in the war between the Eternals and the mutants, coming to rescue of past allies/friends/the victims of an unprovoked attack. There is a singular agenda of self-sacrifice in the service of others. Total heroics.


Their efforts to help defend Krakoa from the Hex cause the damage to the planet that causes tsunamis that causes them to leave the fight. They are the (partial) cause of the danger that necessitates their intervention to save lives. In essence, their heroics are required, at that point, because, it turns out, no one involved truly seemed to understand the consequences of their actions. Are they, actually, heroics? As Cyclops says, “If you deal with the fallout, that’s one less problem for us to worry about,” treating it like a glass of spilt milk that needs cleaning up and something he would rather he and his people not get shouted at for.


While the Hex attack Krakoa and the Avengers/X-Men work to stop them, one of the founding members of the Avengers, Tony Stark, is working with Makkari, Ajak, Phastos, and other Eternals along with Mister Sinister to resurrect the dead Celestial that the Avengers live in, imparting it with a new scripture/soul to end the Eternals’ efforts to exterminate the mutants of Krakoa. They are successful. The resultant new Celestial/new god for the Eternals immediately commands the conflict end and, then, gives the people of Earth a day to justify their existence or face extinction. In essence, Iron Man helps create the possible cause of the end of the world, because, it turns out, no one involved truly seemed to know what they were doing.

To sum up:

The Avengers join the battle between the Hex and the mutants of Krakoa, while Iron Man works with some Eternals to resurrect/create a Celestial that can end the Eternals’ war on mutants. During the fight against the Hex, the Earth is damaged in a way that threatens thousands/millions of lives and the Avengers leave the fight to help minimise the loss of life. Iron Man and company are successful in resurrecting/creating the Celestial and it orders the conflict ended before telling all of the “people of Earth” that they have a day to prove their existence is justified or it will kill them all.

“Who are the heroes here?”

Perspective matters a lot in Judgment Day so far. What we have been shown and not shown matters. The manner in which the story is presented in each issue highlights specific perspectives, like Exodus’s in Immortal X-Men #5. When discussing the first issue, I argued that the only true candidate for protagonist of that issue was Druig, which sounds, I admit, wrong. But, that issue was crafted in such a way that he was the closest thing it had to a ‘hero.’ Yet, he’s almost entirely absent from the second issue save a single panel when the new Celestial speaks and some allusions to his actions in speaking to humanity/setting the Hex in motion. You wouldn’t even know who specifically started this war in the second issue were it not for the recap page. The focus and perspective of the story shifts dramatically from the first issue to the second...

Here, the perspective is that of the Celestial not yet resurrected/created. It narrates the battle and efforts to resurrect/create it along with, briefly, the lives of six seemingly random humans. There are many ways that this being could have narrated the conflict, yet the focus throughout the issue is on the brutality of it, the harsh violence, and the consequences of that violence. The focus is on the deaths and the pain. Even when there are moments of comradery between Captain America and Cyclops, there is always something that undercuts it – when the Avengers leave to save lives in danger as a result of the fight, Exodus argues that they’re abandoning the mutants even though Cyclops instructed them to go.

I can’t shake the way Exodus kills Syne (and himself) and the focus on her final words before he does it: “Please don’t,” placed on the panel where they both explode. There is pain and suffering even though both return to life almost immediately. Everything we’re shown highlights just how cruel and unjust the conflict is, how it degrades both sides, and is a further example of “act[ing] with unrelenting unkindness to one another,” as the Celestial says once alive. Implicit throughout is judgment even if the tone of the narration is flat and affectless. Choices in what is shown and what is said reveal a perspective.

The presentation of the efforts of Iron Man, the Eternals, and Mister Sinister, by contrast, are presented with a detachment. We get the bare bones of their work, including a two-page quasi-montage that specifies the various elements gathered/used in the effort. What I found missing was any questioning of the task. There is no debate, no doubts expressed. The Eternals are guided by blind belief, while Iron Man seems spurred on by ego, and Mister Sinister by coercion and perverse curiosity. There is no sense that what they create will act in surprising ways that they did not anticipate despite that always being the case in situations like these. But, since they are literally creating the narrator/point of view of the comic, it is unlikely to question the wisdom of its own creation. Just as the conflict focuses on the brutality at play, these sequences are as ‘matter of fact’ as possible...

Which leaves the two pages focusing on the six humans.

I don’t know when I clued into the connection between six humans and the six Eternals that make up the Hex. I was surprised when Kieron Gillen didn’t take the connection to its complete conclusion, only showing the effect of a single Hex death when Arjun dies when his life essence is taken by the Machine to resurrect Syne. But, prior to that connection dawning on me as a I read the issue, I hated the use of these humans. For whatever reason, it brought to mind the way Matt Fraction focused on the residents of Broxton in parts of Fear Itself. It seemed... cheap? Pointless? An unnecessary distraction? A wasted page with the possibility of further wasted pages? Fair or not, that was my kneejerk reaction when reading the first page of the issue. I’m still not entirely sold on the focus on these six humans, but the way they seemingly connect to the Hex was a clever bit. I guess I’m reserving judgment of these two pages until we see if they serve a purpose in the larger story or if they’re just two random pages in this issue. Unlike the other threads of the issue, there isn’t enough here to properly fit into a context yet.


A small, revelatory detail in the first page is that the word ‘hero’ only appears in one of the six panels; Arjun’s panel ends with the caption “The heroes will save us. They always do.”

On the final page, the resurrected/new Celestial says, “If there is more that is just than wicked, you will live. But if you are found lacking, there will be no tomorrow.” Despite this being narrating the whole issue, detailing both a conflict it views with seeming disdain, and the means by which it was created, we don’t have any sense of what it considers just or wicked. We don’t know its moral perspective. While the question of who the heroes are in this situation seems completely relevant still (in an abstract sort of way), we don’t have the proper information to define ‘hero’ in the only way it matters at this point.

“Who are the heroes here?”

Hell if I know...

Monday, August 08, 2022

Them Guys Ain’t Dumb 02 (Immortal X-Men #5 and X-Men Red #5)

To some extent, events are about hype. At its peak from House of M through Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel managed to pull off a never-ending supply of hype for what’s coming next, cycling through events and new status quos every six months or so. The MCU even pulled it off between Infinity War and Endgame. The concept of a superhero comic book event is grounded in hype and expectations of something larger than the normal superhero comic book story. Half of the fun is the anticipation of what’s coming next. And, when an event is succeeding, it can make you hyped for tie-ins.

I can’t remember a tie-in with more anticipation than X-Men Red #5 (the number of anticipated tie-ins issues being admittedly small). Only one actual issue of Judgment Day has come out and, before the event started, the hype for this issue was fairly high (it began with a throwaway line in Kieron Gillen’s April 13 newsletter). I saw some tweets from people who had read advanced copies a bit ago (however long ago they may have first gotten advanced copies) and the reaction to the issue from what little I saw online was fairly strong. It tells the story of Uranos’s attack on Arakko that was alluded to in Judgment Day #1. Or, mostly, it tells the story of the first 20 minutes of his hour on Arakko, spending the first 19 pages on that time period before skipping to the end and giving a different version of Uranos’s final seconds before he was returned to the Exclusion as shown in Judgment Day #1. It is a slaughter of the Arakki as Uranos personally kills members of the Great Ring with seeming ease along with other powerful mutants. It showed explicitly what was suggested in Judgment Day #1 in how completely and utterly Uranos dominated the Arakki forces. And it did so with fantastic narration by Al Ewing that added scope and poetry to the slaughter, and Stefano Caselli’s fantastic line art that gave every act of violence a brutal reality.

And yet, I felt mostly disappointment when reading it.

Hype and expectations are motherfuckers.

One of the things that I praised highly in Judgment Day #1 was keeping Uranos’s attack on Arakko off-panel. We get a flash of it beginning, catching the Great Ring off guard, and, then, nothing until it’s the Eternal standing atop a field of bones, crushing Cable’s skull to dust, and disappearing back into the Exclusion. All we know is that he had an hour and used it to completely slaughter a large amount of Arakki, destroy their gates to Krakoa, and leave the mutant forces in a severely depleted position. And he did it alone.

How can actually seeing that happen live up to the hype?

For me, it couldn’t. It just couldn’t. Despite the seeming ease with which Uranos and his weaponry walked through the Arakki, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t as easy as it seemed like it should be in my head. After all, the hype for Uranos began with the promotion for Eternals: The Heretic, the one-shot that had Thanos meets his great uncle (and affectionately refers to him as grandfather) where Gillen built him quite a bit – and the one-shot itself was more build up as his history was told. A former Eternal Prime who wanted to take the principle of “correct excess deviation” to a genocidal conclusion, he fought a civil war against his fellow Eternals and has been in the Exclusion ever since. He was hyped, almost, as what Thanos aspires to be. To finally see him in action was... well, how could it live up to the hype?

What I kept returning to was The Infinity Gauntlet #4, the issue where Thanos fights and kills all of the heroes gathered to try and stop him. It is one of the best event issues ever done, so shocking in the way that page after page is Thanos killing your favourite heroes. It’s a complete massacre of the heroes as he kills Thor, Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Captain America... Thanos kills them all and does so easily with the power of the Infinity Gauntlet. It was made all the more shocking because there was no indication of how any of it would be undone.

Here, Uranos does something similar, albeit with only a fraction of the marquee characters and within a context that contains the resurrection protocols and the Five. It would have taken almost the wholesale genocide of every living being on Arakko to meet my (quite possibly unreasonable) expectations with regards to seeing his attack as it happened.

Oddly, while I was let down as a Judgment Day/Eternals reader, where Ewing and Caselli succeeded for me was as an X-Men Red reader. This issue did a strong job of telling a story that’s rooted within the narrative of that title, focusing on its cast and giving the big moments to them. Magneto’s death, for example, gets a stunning sequence, while whatever happens to Legion (from Legion of X) takes place off panel (more alluded to hype that, now, Si Spurrier needs to live up to when he shows that particular exchange... that apparently lasts only 28 seconds according to the narration here). I’m trying to imagine coming into this issue as someone who only reads X-Men Red with no real background in Eternals or the first issue of Judgment Day, and this issue would have been shocking, I imagine. A single Eternal comes to Arakko, a world populated by a people that solve problems in an arena through trials of combat, where you’re only as good as your last fight, and he kills everyone in front of him with ease. I can only imagine what it would be like to read this issue under those circumstances.

Given some distance, I have no doubt that this issue will stand out not only as a high water mark in this event, but as an event tie-in issue in general. It delivers everything it set out to do and its only failings are ones beyond its control. And I didn’t even talk about that final page, which, in the moment, almost erased whatever disappointment I was feeling.


Usually, when I discuss events, there’s an order of primacy to the specific comics: the main event series, tie-ins written by the writer(s) of the main event series, tie-ins written by ongoing writers whose characters are key to the event, and, finally, those random tie-in issues that seem to only exist to pad things out. On a week where two tie-ins come out and one is written by the writer of the event, it’s my usual procedure to focus on that tie-in. Of course, it’s not often that the event writer spends more time talking up the comic he didn’t write than the one he did.

That said, I did read Immortal X-Men #5, written by Judgment Day writer Kieron Gillen and drawn by Michele Bandini, first this week. There is an order to these things.

Like X-Men Red #5, Immortal X-Men #5 expands upon a fight sequence from Judgment Day #1: the Uni-Mind’s telepathic attack on Krakoa. Each issue of Immortal X-Men is told from the point of view of a different member of the Quiet Council, Krakoa’s ruling body. So far, we’ve gotten issues from the perspective of Mr. Sinister, Hope Summers, Destiny, and Emma Frost; this issue is Exodus. The structure is a clever weaving of his long history and the Eternals’ attack as their telepathic strike involves using memories to distract the mutant telepaths. It’s a conceit that allows Gillen to catch everyone up on Exodus’s story without it seeming completely unrelated to what’s going on. A knight who fought in the Crusades, Exodus’s worldview is shaped by his particular brand of mutant Catholicism that has centred upon Hope as the messiah.

“Who are the heroes here?”

Get used to me returning to that question until the event shunts it aside in favour of another. As this issue is told from Exodus’s perspective, obviously he is the hero. He makes the case for how he came to view Hope as the messiah and mutants as God’s chosen people, along with his role as the rock upon which that church is built. He is unwavering in his conviction and views himself completely within the right in a way that only someone acting on blind faith can. He believes in God and Hope and, as he acts in their service, he is Good.

Any war against mutants, then, is a holy war for Exodus, just as a war to “correct excess deviation” is, by definition, a holy war for the Eternals. They are acting upon their guiding principles given to them by their gods, the Celestials. Of all of the mutants to focus on first, Exodus is a smart choice, placing this conflict in a very specific yet accurate light. Possibly an uncomfortable one for some – which only makes it a bolder choice in an event like this.

I’m coming to Judgment Day with Avengers vs. X-Men sitting in the back of my head. Ten years on from that event, which is where Hope embraced the Phoenix and gave the mutant race another chance. That would have been a pivotal moment for Exodus, although one that isn’t specifically shown here. The final moment of Exodus’s history that we’re told is the birth of Hope, which was enough to convince him that she was the messiah. I wonder why Gillen didn’t include the events of AvX #12 except in a very brief allusion that would also include Hope’s role in the Five. As a being of faith, it’s almost like Hope following through on the promise he saw in her is secondary; of course she did, because he had faith that she would. The important part for Exodus is the faith she inspires with all actions (miracles) secondary because, if he needed concrete proof of her being the messiah, it wouldn’t be faith anymore.

And there’s also the matter of Judgment Day #1’s narrator, the coming new god/Celestial that Ajak and Makkari are creating... a third side to this holy war...

Immortal X-Men #5 may have taken the back seat to X-Men Red #5 this week in general hype and expectations for understandable reasons. I found it a strong thematic overture for what may be coming in the event. More abstract and specific to a single character, I think it hides its importance behind a religious zealot that’s easy to dismiss. But, this event looks to be filled with religious zealots. In X-Men Red #5, we saw what one religious zealot could do if given the chance.

Next week: Judgment Day #2