REVIEW: ‘Dark Ages,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Dark Ages #2
Dark Ages #2 is written by Tom Taylor, illustrated by Iban Coello, colored by Brian Reber, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. It is published by Marvel Comics. After a battle with the cosmic being known as the Unmaker, the world’s technology has been rendered inoperative. Flashbacks narrated by Peter Parker/Spider-Man reveal what happened in the days since the Dark Ages began and how the heroes of the Marvel Universe banded together to help humanity. Yet En Sabah Nur-better, known as Apocalypse—plans to reawaken the Unmaker and has coerced a collection of heroes to do so.
The first issue of Dark Ages perfectly set up this version of the Marvel Universe and its inhabitants, and this issue begins to explore the aftermath of that decision. In contrast to Injustice, where Superman’s murder of the Joker led to the Man of Steel enforcing a totalitarian rule over the world, Taylor’s script shows the Marvel heroes opting to pool their respective resources together after the initial chaos. A coalition of genius, including Iron Man and Black Panther-and even Doctor Doom—have put their brainpower to craft shelter and power for the remaining human survivors. Jean Grey and her fellow telepaths have linked humankind together mentally, allowing everyone to share their thoughts with each other. Blade and his fellow monster hunters—including Laura Kinney/Wolverine and her clone Gabby—fight against the hordes of the night.
The most significant moment comes early in the issue, where multiple heroes tell the remaining citizens of the world: “It doesn’t have to be like this.” Coello draws each hero, delivering the message differently: Jean emerges from a Krakoan portal to confront soldiers, the Black Panther talks down two child soldiers, and Shang-Chi is shown in the middle of meditation. Even Deadpool delivers the message in a way that only Deadpool could, with Sabino bringing his trademark yellow speech bubbles to life. I also love Coello’s designs for the post-apocalyptic heroes: Spider-Man wears a weathered version of his trademark red and blue costume complete with larger gas-powered web-shooters; red is also the major color of the captions scattered throughout the book. Parker’s daughter May takes after her father with her own pink-and-blue spider-suit. Captain America is sporting a more tactical-based uniform, complete with a poncho, and Apocalypse wears robes with a design nodding to his Egyptian origins. Reber’s colors help the heroes stand out, presenting them as the beacons of hope they’ve become to the world.
Apocalypse is also the perfect antagonist for this brave new world; his desire to form a world where only the strong survive has not dimmed. He has allied with other villains, including the lord of vampires Dracula. And it turns out that some heroes are working to help Apocalypse realize his goals—though the reason why may or may not surprise fans. And while the Marvel heroes have faced various odds, the stakes are more significant here because they’ve achieved a utopia after years of hard work.
Dark Ages #2 fleshes out its version of the Marvel Universe, with heroes united for a better cause and one villain threatening to burn it all down. Even though the series is only two issues deep, it’s hooked me and I wouldn’t mind seeing more spinoffs in the vein of Injustice or DCeased set in this universe.
Dark Ages #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Dark Ages #2
4.5

TL;DR

Dark Ages #2 fleshes out its version of the Marvel Universe, with heroes united for a better cause and one villain threatening to burn it all down. Even though the series is only two issues deep, it’s hooked me, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more spinoffs in the vein of Injustice or DCeased set in this universe.