Remember how Marvel successfully established the Inhumans as a popular superteam on the level of the X-Men and the Avengers, in one of the few successful attempts by a publisher to force synergy between their comic books and their cinematic endeavors?
Apparently, neither does Marvel, as the publisher is set to try the same formula once again – this time with the Eternals – in their upcoming Judgment Day crossover event.
Penned by Kieron Gillen (Star Wars Vol. 4) and illustrated by Valerio Schiti (Empyre), Judgment Day will allegedly see the Avengers, the X-Men, and the Eternals, crossover in “an intense saga that’s destined to take its place among the most impactful events in Marvel Comics history.”
“The X-Men have achieved immortality and mutants have taken their place as the dominant species on the planet,” explains Marvel in their official press release announcing the event. “The Eternals have discovered long hidden knowledge about their species, including a devastating truth about mutantkind. The Avengers have come into direct conflict with the Celestials and are currently using a fallen Celestial as their base of operations, slowly unlocking its secrets…”
“When the Eternals brazenly target the mutant nation of Krakoa, the Avengers try desperately to de-escalate a potentially apocalyptic war,” Marvel continues. “But this is no simple conflict. The Eternals’ purpose cannot be denied and mutantkind’s future will not be threatened. And after the opening battles, new players and revelations for both sides will emerge as the inhabitants of the Marvel Universe are JUDGED by the greatest power they’ve ever come into contact with.”
Of the story, Gillen told Marvel, ““There’s a classic metaphor to describe the Marvel Universe – a toybox, which creators take toys out of, play with and put back. I get it, but it’s never quite how I’ve seen it – I think ‘play’ in another way.”
“I think of a music shop, with all these instruments with their different qualities suggesting different songs, different stories,” he said. “For all the Marvel instruments I’ve played, I’ve never written an event. Writing an event is something different. It’s not like playing an instrument. It’s having all the instruments in the Marvel music shop. That’s not like writing a song. That’s like writing a symphony.”
He added, “I looked at everything in Eternals and Immortal X-Men and everything else all the X and Avengers writers have done and thought… yeah, this is an event. In fact, an event is the only way to do justice to this.”
“The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson described the music he was reaching for as Teenage Symphonies to God. I think that’s what the best Marvel Events aspire to be, and it’s what we’re aspiring to here,” concluded Gillen. “I want the scale. I want the heartbreak. I want a book that wears its heart on its sleeve even as it puts a fist in your face. I want something Wagnerian in its volume as emotional as God Only Knows.”
For his part, Schiti exclaimed, “It is great to have the opportunity to draw another Marvel event after Empyre. The difference is that last time I was just excited, but now I know how high the expectations are, so now I am both excited and a bit scared!”
In conclusion to his thoughts, the artist celebrated, “Luckily for me I have the great Kieron Gillen and Marte Gracia watching my back and together we can face any cosmic threat!”
Given the fact that this series is launching following the widely-panned Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of the Eternals, one wonders which chain of events led to its conception.
Did Marvel decide to pull out the big guns in order to promote the niche Jack Kirby team prior to release?
If so, Judgment Day’s publication could be seen as a previously developed, contractually released follow-up on a bet from Marvel that didn’t quite pan out, echoing the (no pun intended) fallout of Inhumanity and the failed Inhuman push that has since seen the period’s premiere creation, Kamala Khan, ditch her Terrigen background in her transition to live-action.
However, if the decision came after Eternals pulled in only $400 Million USD worldwide and failed to find a footing amongst audiences, this three-way crossover could instead hint at a different-yet-similarly-desperate move by Marvel to salvage their plans to hedge the future of the MCU on the now Celestial-crafted pseudo-robots.
Either way, it’s only a matter of time before the events depicted in Judgment Day are inevitably wiped from Marvel’s canon – just like so many of Peter Parker’s relationships with Mary-Jane.
As per Marvel, the story will begin in this year’s Free Comic Book Day release, Avengers/X-Men#1, set to drop on May 7th for this year’s entry of the annual industry event.
After that, the lead-up to Judgment Day can be followed in the pages of the Eternals, Immortal X-Men, X-Men, and Avengers titles.
What do you make of Judgment Day? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!