Review: Dark Ages #4
Tom Taylor is a master at alternate takes on characters. He’s regularly done that with multiple series for DC and his talents are being used by Marvel in a similar way. Dark Ages takes us to a world where an EMP wave has disrupted electricity. Taking place seven years after the event, heroes and villains have helped form a new society. Unfortunately, they face a threat in Apocalypse who has enslaved some heroes and villains in an attempt to bring back power. War looms and Dark Ages #4 ups the tension and action as our heroes must decide what to do.
Dark Ages #4 doesn’t just show off Taylor’s solid storytelling abilities. What the issue really highlights is his worldbuilding abilities. Each issue has added elements that make this world feel lived in and thought out. Details show off elements that feel like they’ve been in motion for a while and this is all an ongoing story of which we’ve come into, not starting with.
In this issue we’re introduced to the refugee crisis that has occurred in Europe. Nightcrawler and Fury have commandeered a naval force to help bring those fleeing the continent to Africa and Wakanda where Black Panther and Storm have helped create a stable nation. But, it’s the small details of that naval force that stands out. How the ships move, the use of certain powers, it’s not just “this exists”, it’s clear there’s thought put into how it all works.
Beyond the detail, Taylor takes us on a rollercoaster of emotion and action. Of course things don’t go easily and with it being an “alt” take on characters, some can be killed off. That leads to some harrowing moments whose visuals stand out. But, Taylor also brings heart. Like those small details, Taylor remembers we need to care about these characters. And he makes sure to add elements that we can relate to them and connect in some way. This allows the reader to experience even more worry and tension as we don’t know who might be injured or die and since we’re connected, we actually care about those results. This isn’t a story where someone is just going to come back. It being a finite series and “closed” world allows for actual stakes.
Iban Coello’s art style is fantastic. Despite the low-tech setting, there really is a great “Mad Max” quality of it all. Old technology and vehicles are reused. With color by Brian Reber and lettering by Joe Sabino, it all comes together in a focus that continues from Taylor’s story. There’s a detail about the art that helps make the world feel lived in. Things look worn and used. They’re familiar but also slapped together. It’s both clean and dirty in a way. Like the story itself, the details of the world look amazing and will get you to linger trying to figure out where it’s all coming from in the regular Marvel universe.
Story: Tom Taylor Art: Iban Coello
Color: Brian Reber Letterer: Joe Sabino
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review