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Dark Ages #1 Comic Review | CBR – CBR

Tom Taylor and Iban Coello’s Dark Ages #1 sends the Marvel Universe into a heartbreaking tailspin without delivering anything especially surprising.
2020’s Free Comic Book Day: X-Men #1 introduced readers to an apocalyptic vision of the Marvel Universe. Now, Tom Taylor, Iban Coello, Brian Reber, and VC’s Joe Sabino’s Dark Ages #1 delve into the tragedy that befalls that version of Earth. Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and several of Earth’s mightiest heroes face a threat of unprecedented proportions. While the first issue has some compelling moments, it fails to make the most of its interesting premise.
Dark Ages #1 begins on a fairly wholesome note. Peter Parker, Mary Jane, and their daughter are all hanging out with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage in their New York City apartment. Sadly, their pleasant evening is interrupted when Peter’s spider senses alert him of a coming threat with violent urgency. Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen have similar experiences. Then heroes all over the world see signs of a threat to the Earth, unlike anything they’ve ever faced before. Even the Watcher comes to warn the heroes that, “The world is ending.” Spider-Man, Moon Girl, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, and a who’s who of other heroes all band together to fight this colossal new threat and enter into a conflict that will change the world forever.
Related: Dark Ages Homages Secret Wars with a Jaw-Dropping Tony Daniel Variant Cover
Tom Taylor uses Peter Parker’s narration to establish a sense of dread that starts on the issue’s very first page. As events unfold, the reader can’t help but expect the worst, and in many ways, that’s exactly what they find. While this foreboding tone is undoubtedly effective, it also leaves little room for surprises. The particular tragic details are sure to catch the audience off guard, but the overall tragedy seems to be a foregone conclusion. In this way, the comic packs an emotional punch without being especially interesting. That being said, the conclusion of this first issue implies that there is an even greater threat looming on the horizon, which could be all the more interesting in the aftermath of the initial cataclysm.
Dark Ages #1 calls upon artist Iban Coello to draw a laundry list of superheroes, several cities across the world in varying states of disarray, and ancient god-like creatures. In lesser hands, the sheer scale and scope of this comic would collapse under its own weight, but Coello successfully juggles the numerous elements. His attention to detail adds an emotional gravity to both the scenes of individuals and entire cities which makes for some truly heart-wrenching images. The scenes of heroes scrambling to help entire cities from crumbling are particularly haunting. Reber’s colors match the grimdark tone of Taylor’s writing perfectly, and though they do compliment Coello’s work, they also contribute to the overbearingly mopey atmosphere of the comic.
Related: Spider-Man: Marvel Just Saved the Spider-Verse with a Villain’s Sacrifice 
Dark Ages #1 delivers a remarkable and memorable spectacle that lays the foundation for a series that has the potential to be fascinating. But, this first issue doesn’t seem to be doing anything new or noteworthy. In fact, it seems to be content to telegraph its every move. The stakes are high, but it’s difficult to invest in them in a meaningful way. The creative team flexes their impressive skills on every page, but the overall product is ultimately less than the sum of its parts.
Keep Reading: Marvel’s Dark Ages Reveals the True Colors of the X-Men’s Apocalypse
Dustin Holland is an avid reader, writer, and art-lover living in Colorado. He has spent most of his life reading, selling, and talking about books and comics. Dustin is also an aspiring cartoonist whose work can be found at Gorchverse. Follow him on Twitter at @DustinHolland26.


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