REVIEW: ‘Dark Ages,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dark Ages #3

Dark Ages #3 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. The mutant warlord Apocalypse intends to awaken the cosmic being known as the Unmaker, brainwashing multiple heroes across the Marvel universe, including Mister Fantastic and Iron Man, to suit his goals. The remaining heroes prepare to take on Apocalypse, but his machinations leave tragedy in their wake.

I said before that the reason I enjoyed this series and Taylor and Yasmine Putri’s Dark Knights of Steel is that it avoids the usual “grim darkness” of Taylor’s other alternate universes. While the same is true of this issue, a tragic death involving a longtime Marvel character tugged at my heartstrings. Taylor slowly builds up to this moment in the issue, with the aforementioned hero enjoying time with his friends and family before meeting his end. Unfortunately, this only makes the death hit harder; even after these heroes worked hard to create a paradise, they still handle a loss like any mere mortal.

The issue also features elements of Taylor’s trademark humor, especially during the opening sequence featuring a tea party with the heroes’ children. When Johnny Storm expresses disbelief that nobody knows who Galactus is, Peter Parker rebukes him: “It’s a tea party for kids and their closest friends, Johnny. Planetary threats aren’t allowed.” Other gems include Gabby Kinney telling people exactly what Captain America smells like and Johnny lambasting Doctor Doom for being…well, Doctor Doom when the heroes are under stress. This humor not only reminds readers of the heroes’ humanity, but it also helps balance the more serious moments.

Coello continues to present his version of the Marvel Universe in surprising detail, giving characters costumes that not only adapt to the technology-free world but inform readers about their characters. Both Doctor Doom and Black Panther sport fur-lined capes, with Doom wearing a more medieval version of his armor. Johnny and his sister Sue wear rugged jackets and khakis over their costumes—a nod to the Fantastic Four’s origins as explorers. One character even receives a redesign that is sure to haunt fans’ nightmares.

Coello also draws the hell out of action sequences, especially with Quicksilver. I’ve rarely seen scenes involving a super speedster that feel like they’re actually moving. All of it is rendered in vivid color by Reber, with scenes taking on a golden-hued light in the kingdom of Wakanda or a dark blue sky in Apocalypse’s kingdom. And Sabino continues to shape the captions in the form of Spider-Man’s logo, as he remains the series’ main narrator.

Dark Ages #3 threatens the paradise the Marvel heroes have built for themselves, as one hero meets their end and Apocalypse plans to live up to his namesake. The end of the issue teases another hero undergoing a horrifying transformation. Since we’re now at the halfway point, I fully expect the creators to punch other readers and me in the heart again.

Dark Ages #3 is available wherever comics are sold.


Dark Ages #3
4.5

TL;DR

Dark Ages #3 threatens the paradise the Marvel heroes have built for themselves, as one hero meets their end and Apocalypse plans to live up to his namesake. The end of the issue teases another hero undergoing a horrifying transformation. Since we’re now at the halfway point, I fully expect the creators to punch other readers and me in the heart again.