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Dark Ages #1 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. A series of earthquakes leads to the revelation that a cosmic machine known as the Unmaker resides in the center of the Earth. And when it awakens, true to its name it will unmake the entire universe. A group of heroes engages the Unmaker in battle, and the aftermath leaves the entire Earth stripped of technology: in effect, knocked into a new Dark Age.


The series was first teased in Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day 2020 story, but the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately led to its delay. I’d say that the wait was worth it as the creative team takes a great premise and sells the hell out of it. Most of Marvel’s heroes use technology in their adventures, or have origins steeped in science, so the idea of losing that element poses some interesting questions. What would happen if Ant-Man was stuck in skyscraper size? What happens when Iron Man’s armor shorts out when he’s in midair? The answers set up a new alternate universe that I can’t wait to explore in future issues.


Apart from killing off your favorite characters in brilliant yet horrifying ways, writer Tom Taylor is perhaps most famous for two things: being confused with Tom King and writing dystopian timeline stories. Taylor first found fame and acclaim working on the comic book adaptation of Injustice: Gods Among Us, adding surprising depth to what otherwise might have been an ordinary video game tie-in. Later, he crafted a DC Comics-based zombie apocalypse around a horrifying interpretation of the Anti-Life Equation in DCeased. Now, Taylor is doing something similar with Marvel’s new mini-series Dark Ages.


It spoils little to reveal that this first issue is mostly set-up for Taylor’s brave new world and that it is not a happy story, for the most part. (Well, what did you expect with a title like Dark Ages?!) It is, however, a solid basis for a What If…? style story, but with far greater depth as befits a concept meant to last beyond a single issue. The only major change from the status quo is that, in this reality, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson have a daughter (named May Parker, naturally) who is still a precocious toddler, that has inherited her father’s powers and drives her mother up the wall by climbing on the ceiling. Taylor’s love of these beloved characters and his knowledge of them remains unmatched and is apparent in every page of this comic, even as noble sacrifices are made to ensure that the Earth survives this disaster, albeit not entirely unscathed.



Iban Coello‘s art delivers as expected. Joined by Brian Reber on color and Joe Sabino on lettering, there’s just enough spectacle to nail home how tragic these events are but never overwhelms. We see cities destroyed, buildings collapse, and heroes die, but there’s never a moment so shocking it hits you and takes you out of the story. Instead, there’s just a sadness about it. You get a sense of the scale of the disaster but there’s a focus on key moments and characters to set up the “humanity” of what’s happening. As the issue closes, the art kicks it up a notch delivering hints as to what’s to come and what we can expect.



Dark Ages #1 is a solid start. Taylor is delivering yet another spin on classic characters in a new world and setting. The debut sets the bar as what we can expect and the answer is everything. No one is safe and we’re being delivered a solid spin and direction it seems like. If you like Taylor past similar work, this is a start that’s well worth checking out.


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Miles Morales Dark Ages 1 Variants By Tom Taylor 2021

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