Dark Ages #5 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 the events of the last issue, Spider-Man and his fellow heroes have made it to Europe, but at the cost of Nick Fury’s life. They find a surprising ally in Deadpool, who offers to take them to where Apocalypse holds his empire. But they soon encounter a horrifying obstacle in the form of the combined Venom and Carnage symbiotes, which have taken Miles Morales as their host.
The Venom/Carnage/Miles hybrid had been teased ever since the series’ second issue, and he finally engages in a fight scene that takes up half the issue. Coello stages this fight like a scene from a horror movie, as the hybrid’s tentacles lash out from the shadows to either ensnare or impale its victims. And when it leaps out of the darkness, it’s like a thing from mankind’s deepest, darkest nightmares – all razor-sharp teeth and spindly legs. Other heroes continue to receive a post-apocalyptic makeover, including Pepper Potts donning a massive steampunk-esque Iron Man suit and Deadpool wearing a patched-together version of his classic red-and-black suit. Completing the artistic touches are Reber, who makes the heroes’ suits stand out like a beacon against the darkness, and Sabino who perfectly captures Deadpool’s trademark yellow speech bubbles; I kept expecting him to take over the narrative.
Speaking of the narrative, Taylor continues to deliver emotional moments that have the right amount of heft. From Deadpool delivering a twisted tour of Europe – complete with a double-decker bus that he calls “The Deadmobile” – to him noticing that Spider-Man’s web-shooters now go “thwap”, Taylor knows how to deliver laughs at just the right place. He also manages to give the story some emotional heft, including a reunion between Deadpool and Gabby Kinney that will please fans of Taylor’s run on All-New Wolverine. Though I’m happy that Taylor’s exclusive deal at DC Comics will keep great titles like Nightwing and Superman: Son of Kal-El, I’ll definitely miss his touch on the Marvel Universe once this series wraps.
And things are about to get heavy, as Apocalypse intends to take control of the Unmaker – the cosmic being which caused the worldwide blackout. Apocalypse’s main goal has always been to ensure the survival of the fittest, so I’m not sure what awakening a massive godlike being could accomplish – but the creative team has significantly raised the stakes as many heroes including Iron Man and Mister Fantastic are being forced to work for Apocalypse due to the influence of the Purple Man. Not only do Spidey and friends have to stop Apocalypse, but they also have to save their friends – which is easier said than done.
Dark Ages #5 sets the stage for an epic confrontation between the Marvel Universe’s heroes and Apocalypse’s forces and continues to upend the post-apocalyptic genre with both its story and its art. Though this may be Taylor’s final Marvel story for a while, he’s going out with a bang.
Dark Ages #5 is available wherever comics are sold.
Dark Ages #5
Dark Ages #5 sets the stage for an epic confrontation between the Marvel Universe’s heroes and Apocalypse’s forces, and continues to upend the post-apocalyptic genre with both its story and its art. Though this may be Taylor’s final Marvel story for a while, he’s going out with a bang.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.