Dark Ages #2 Review

Tom Taylor and Iban Coello wasted no time in making Dark Ages the biggest event possible as the Unmaker showed up to destroy Earth. While the heroes were able to stop the Unmaker the results of this battle led to all forms of electricity to be wiped out after the E.M.P. Doctor Strange used to stop the Unmaker swept over the world. This left all of the world’s technology to become useless, including things like Iron Man’s armor and AI like Viv Vision. Now we are going to be picking up Dark Ages #2 seven years after the events with the Unmaker. What state will we find Earth without the technology they were so accustomed to using? Let’s find out with Dark Ages #2.

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Iban Coello

Colorist: Brian Reber

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: After the world went dark there was mass chaos with wars being fought over borders, and resources including one major fight with Taskmaster leading some villains. Black Widow and Hawkeye were able to win this fight but Hawkeye and Taskmaster ended up killing each other.

As time passed the Avengers, X-Men, and other heroes worked to create unity in the world with Jean Grey and Charles Xavier connecting peoples minds so they could all work together.

In the present, Peter Parker catches his daughter, May Parker, while she is swinging. Mary Jane Watson-Parker calls Peter and May so they can head home. Peter finishes spinning his web.

The Parker family head back to their home community where they meet up with Iceman. Peter reveals that as the world was returning from the brink of destruction from climate change the survivors came together to create communities to survive.

To make sure the communities around the world stayed in community Charles Xavier created a network of telepaths to communicate with one another.

Dark Ages #2
Shuri, Tony Stark, Valeria Richard, T’Challa, Nadia Van Dyne, Amadeus Cho, and Victor Von Doom lead the world’s greatest minds to create a better Earth in Dark Ages #2. Click for full page view.

One of these communities was in Wakanda, which has become the capital of Earth. There Jean Grey linked the world’s greatest minds together, including Shuri, Tony Stark, Valeria Richard, T’Challa, Nadia Van Dyne, Amadeus Cho, and Victor Von Doom, so they could efficiently work together to create a better world for everyone to live in.

One of the things that was created to protect all the various communities was webs based on Spider-Man’s formula to warn the community guards when danger was approaching. Daredevil and Foggy Nelson use these webs to detect vampires and werewolves nearby.

Wolverine (Laura Kinney), Blade, Honey Badger (Gabby Kinney), and Elsa Bloodstone deploy to take care of this latest vampire and werewolves attack.

Elsewhere as Tony and Pepper Potts are talking they are cornered by a vampire. The vampire is quickly beheaded by Steve Rogers, who has been traveling the world. After quickly catching up Steve asks Tony to talk alone outside.

Outside, Steve tells Tony he has something to show him. Apocalypse and Dracula suddenly appear. Tony immediately throws a light grenade the eviscerates Dracula’s vampires. Dracula quickly gets behind Tony and grabs him. Steve then uses his shield to knock Tony out. It is then shown that Mystique disguised herself as Steve Rogers in order to capture Tony.

Apocalypse teleports them all to Europe where he reveals to Tony he has enslaved people to create his own society where he rules. Apocalypse reveals that his goal is to evolve humanity again and shows that Reed Richards and Riri Williams, who Tony and the other heroes thought were dead, are working for him.

Tony asks Apocalypse how he is able to run his facility with electricity. Apocalypse then reveals he has captured Magneto to use him as a power battery to repel the E.M.P. that continues to exist.

Apocalypse then calls on the Purple Man to use his powers to bring Tony under his control like he did to Reed and Riri. Apocalypse then says that Tony is going to help him wake up the Unmaker. End of issue

The Good: Whereas the first issue established what happened to the Marvel Universe, Dark Ages #2 is about world building the new state of Earth after it went dark. In doing so Tom Taylor and Iban Coello are able to introduce us to a new world that exists in its own unique universe. That goes for the character relationships, rules, and how people operate now.

What is really great about Dark Ages #2 is that it does feel like an aftermath issue. All the world building that is done by Taylor’s writing and Coello’s artwork actually enhance the impact of Dark Ages #1. Seeing how the world was impacted by the Unmaker’s appearance and what our heroes had to do to defeat it made that first issue feel like a big event in that single issue. Now we are given an understanding of what the world is like post Doctor Strange not stopping the E.M.P. that defeated the Unmaker before he died.

On the state of the world we see the one thing many have said should be done in a world filled with superpowered people. That one thing is the uniting of all the greatest minds to solve the world problems that includes Charles Xavier, Jean Grey, and other telepaths making sure to make this all work. That along how the Avengers, X-Men, and other heroes work together to stop the chaos and only fighting when that is the only, as shown with the fight Black Widow and Hawkeye have with Taskmaster’s army.

Having Dracula and his vampire army become one of the major threats in this new world works extremely well. We see that because of Dracula and other horror creature inspired villains powers they can excel in this type of world. To answer this by creating the most effective monster busting team consisting of Wolverine, Blade, Honey Badger, and Elsa Bloodstone. This adds to how the heroes are making sure to work together so that things don’t become more chaotic as they are still solving current issues in the aftermath of the Unmaker fight.

Peter Parker being the narrator for Dark Ages #2 worked on multiple fronts. For one he is positioned as someone who is working both along with Tony Stark, Shuri, and others to create the protection web while also being out on patrol. The other reason Peter works as the narrator is that he is able to show how far the world has come as he physically and mentally ages most being the father of May Parker. Adding that dynamic of Peter training May helps ground the story more as we do see communities all working together and people being friendly with one another.

Dark Ages #2
Apocalypse “recruits” Tony Stark to help with his plan that includes using Magneto’s powers in Dark Ages #2. Click for full page view.

All this world building allows the big reveal of Apocalypse being positioned as the big bad as he wants to bring back the Unmaker to create a new form of evolution a great hook ending for Dark Ages #2. Taylor provides all the information that is needed about what Apocalypse is doing and his endgame to make him the biggest threat to the world. It is a version of Apocalypse that has been missing for a long time.

Adding in how he has Mystique, Dracula, and Purple Man as part of his inner circle to execute his plans further elevates Apocalypse as a villain. Because as we see once he appears that Apocalypse is using every method possible including enslaving Reed Richards, Riri Williams, and Tony Stark through the use of Purple Man’s powers. That along how he has imprisoned Magneto to deflect the EMP that surrounds the world in order to execute his plan all makes Apocalypse a villain you instantly hate.

As mentioned prior, Iban Coello does a great job bringing this post-Unmaker world to life. There is a lot of storytelling done in what has taken place during the years between the Unmaker’s appearance and the present day of the Dark Ages Marvel Universe through the artwork. It gives a great sense of time passing that the reader can peace together once we are in the present. Coello also does a good job in putting over the evil actions Apocalypse is taking to accomplish his goals that sets him up as the big bad of Dark Ages.

The Bad: Nothing.

Overall: Tom Taylor and Iban Coello do an excellent job doing a lot of world building in Dark Ages #2 coming off the events of the first issue. The world is fully developed as we learn where various heroes, villains, and other types of characters are in the flash forward for Dark Ages. Apocalypse being set-up as the big bad creates a lot of interest in how our heroes will respond once they find out what the villain is up to.

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