Tom Taylor and Iban Coello have quickly crafted an intriguing alternate Marvel Universe with Dark Ages. In a world without technology different factions have been formed by heroes and villains. Somehow Apocalypse has been able to secretly create one of the more powerful factions as he has assembled a group of villains to grow his own power. One of these villains is Purple Man, who he has been using to manipulate other heroes and villains to do his bidding. This is something Tony Stark learned as Apocalypse used Purple Man to make Iron Man into one of his minions along with Reed Richards and others. Let’s see how things go next with Dark Ages #3.
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: While Johnny Storm helps Peter Parker and Luke Cage host a tea party for their kids Jessica Jones shows up to let them know about Tony Stark going missing.
Over at the Alchemist Cave, Wolverine (Laura Kinney), Honey Badger (Gabby Kinney), and Blade work to find out what happened to Tony. Wolverine quickly detects Mystique’s scent and is able to find where Tony was taken by the Apocalypse’s villain group.
Over in Wakanda, Dr. Doom meets with Black Panther, Spider-Man, Human Torch, Pepper Potts, Shuri, and Okoye to come up with a plan to recover Tony from Apocalypse. Black Panther has an idea to send someone who can quickly get in and out of Apocalypse’s territory with Tony.
Quicksilver is then shown quickly rushing into Apocalypse secret lab where he is shocked to find Magneto being forced to be a power battery. Quicksilver tries to save his dad but is knocked out in his attempt. Apocalypse then tells Purple Man and Doctor Octopus to make Quicksilver part of their plan.
Back in Wakanda, Quicksilver (now under Purple Man’s influence) rushes in and immediately kills Okoye. He then uses Okoye’s spear to stab Human Torch through the chest. Before he causes more damage Jean Grey telepathically shuts Quicksilver down.
Human Torch is unable to control his powers due to his injury. Sue Storm tries to save her brother but Johnny ends up burning to death as he goes Super Nova with his powers out of control.
Later, thanks to Jean Grey, Quicksilver regains control of himself and he tells everyone about what he found out while in Apocalypse territory, including Reed Richards working for Apocalypse. Hearing all this Sue immediately rushes off.
Elsewhere, Apocalypse orders Miles Morales (who is using a combined Venom and Carnage symbiote) to get ready to hunt the heroes who will be entering his territory. End of issue.
The Good: The world building continues with Dark Ages #3 taking what the previous two issues. Every side of the conflict are further developed to get you invested more into this new Marvel Universe. In the process of all that the stakes are escalated as Apocalypse is no longer hiding in the shadows as his big plans are coming together.
And it really is Apocalypse who steals the show. Tom Taylor does such a fantastic job in building off how the previous issue established Apocalypse as the big bad of this series. Even when he is not physically in a scene his presence and the threat he posses to the Marvel Universe. Having such a presence makes the appearances that Apocalypse does have in Dark Ages #3 mean more. Because when he does appear it is to make big decisions that will impact Dark Ages moving forward.
On the heroes side of things, it was interesting to see that even with the current state of the world that they would try to create as much of a normal life for themselves. We see that with how Peter Parker and Luke Cage host a tea party for their daughters with Johnny Storm’s help. This opening scene helps further establish how the heroes did grow closer during the years that passed because they needed each other to make sure their kids still could have some sense of normal.
This opening also worked to get across how quick the heroes are to spring into action as when the news of Tony Stark’s kidnapping happens we already see them working. Bringing in Wolverine, Honey Badger, and Blade was a good way to further develop this team to be more than just vampire hunters. These three are by far the best trackers the heroes have and they showed that with how they quickly figure out what happened to Tony.
This allowed the pacing of Dark Ages #3 to come across as natural rather than rushing along. Every decision a character makes is to progress the plot. Black Panther making the decision to send out Quicksilver to find and save Tony Stark from Apocalypse was an example of this. Black Panther being the one to decide this even with Doctor Doom asserting his authority in the meeting that there is no time to waste in this world. Characters need to be firm in their decision making and Black Panther is really match Doctor Doom as an authority figure with his presence alone.
That moved us well into the next part of Dark Ages #3 as Apocalypse showed he was ready for any scenario as he turned Quicksilver against the heroes. This was by far the best showcase of Quicksilvers power. Both in trying to save Tony Stark and Magneto as well as how he decimated the heroes with how he killed Okoye and Human Torch, this is going to one of the most memorable showings by Quicksilver. The sense of motion that Iban Coello created really got across how there is no one as fast as Quicksilver as he was just about unstoppable at his speed. Which allowed the way that Jean Grey was able to stop Quicksilver’s rampage work well to put an end to things.
In the process of all this Taylor gave Human Torch a death that had the impact it should. Sue Storms reaction to her brother dying really made how emotional Johnny Storm’s death was. Sue already lost the Thing in the fight that led to these events and has no idea what happened to Reed Richards. Having to watch as her little brother died drove home how she has suffered some of the biggest personal losses in this continuity, at least of what we’ve seen on screen.
Johnny’s death added how Quicksilver quickly became the most important character in this series. Not only did he reveal to the heroes where Tony Stark and Reed Richards are but has forced Apocalypse hand so he knows he can’t hide his plan in the shadows. The heroes, led by Sue Storm, are now heading his way. But as he showed in both this and the previous issue, Apocalypse was more than ready for this to happen as he has the merged Venom and Carnage symbiotes that is controlling Miles Morales ready to act as his front lines. Credit to Coello for making both Apocalypse and the Venom-Carnage Miles Morales appear as the most threating characters in this series.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Dark Ages #3 does a great job building on the foundation created by the first two issues to create a compelling narrative around Apocalypse as the main antagonist from this series. The progression of the story was all well done to position all sides of this conflict as strongly as possible. Dark Ages is definitely a can’t miss series for Marvel fans.
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