The Rise and Fall of Axiom is by Mark Waid (writer), Ed Benes (penciler), Dinei Ribeiro (colorist), Dezi Sienty (letterer), Nicolas Sienty (pre-press and production), John J. Hill (book and logo designer), Greg Tumbarello (editor), and created by Thomas Tull.
I saw this book in Previews some months back, but I hadn’t heard about it before then, which was a bit odd to me because I try to keep an eye and ear out for anything that Mark Waid does. Given that he was writing it, and despite the fact that Ed Benes was doing the art, I took a chance and ordered the book blind (meaning that I did not research what it was about). I thought the worst it could be is a rip off of Waid’s own Irredeemable (which is what I was reminded of when I read the solicitation text), but I hoped it would be more. I was wrong (spoilers commencing).
What I got was your typical Superman is bad story with a lot of showing and not telling. It was like the voice overs we get in some movies to introduce us to the world we’ll be immersed in for a couple of hours, only it was that way for half of the book. That is, alien couple (Axiom and Thena) comes to Earth, offers to help, becomes our champions until Thena (who never utters a word) is possibly killed or trapped somewhere beyond the reach of Axiom, and Axiom starts his decent into darkness resulting in him taking over the world. As he proclaims, “God is alive. You’re looking at him. Commandment the first: don’t stand out.” A human resistance forms, and the back half of the book is preparing for the inevitable fight scene. The story ends with Axiom leaving Earth, but issuing a warning that “they’re coming”.
This read so much like a movie treatment, and given that Legendary is publishing this, I have to assume that this is a precursor to an eventual movie, or trying to recoup some money for something that isn’t being made (you’re welcome, Legendary!). It was just sort of ho-hum. And kind of weird in some spots. For example, why could the aliens cure cancer (as if all cancer is the same), but not heart disease? Also, there’s some pop psychology thrown in, along with unmotivated characterization changes that really threw me out of the story. The one thing I did kind of like was the Benes/Ribeiro art. I normally don’t care for Benes’s work, but Axiom was sufficiently superhero-y and the usual Benes trademark style was a bit muted, which worked in my favor.
I suppose if these “what if Superman were bad” kind of stories is your thing or you like Benes’s art, then go ahead and get this book, but I would recommend you not waste your time (which is why I didn’t care if I spoiled the plot).
That’s my take on Axiom. If you read it, what did you think?