Warning: contains spoilers for Dark Ages #2 and a minor preview of Dark Ages #4!
Even in a world without power, there are still heroes, as is currently being proved in Marvel Dark Ages series, where Captain America and the surviving Avengers work to protect a world where electronics may be broken, but the human spirit isn’t. Currently on its second issue, the series from Tom Taylor and Iban Coello avoids many classic cliches of post-apocalyptic fiction to tell a story of hope and struggle, with Marvel’s most famous heroes reimagined for a world where humanity works to survive without modern technology, as seen in awesome new cover art for Dark Ages #4.
In Dark Ages #1, Doctor Strange and a team of heroes faced the godlike Unmaker. Though incredibly powerful, the Unmaker is still a machine, and so the Sorcerer Supreme opened a portal to a dimension which emits a constant electromagnetic pulse in a bid to shut it down. The attempt was successful, but Strange was killed, leaving the portal open in the Unmaker’s prison deep within the Earth. As electronics failed, the world above paid the price – hospitals lost power, planes crashed, and society fell to pieces, only to be resurrected in a new form by its heroes.
Dark Ages #2 reveals that once the Avengers are able to get organized, they create a new golden age for humanity. Seven years on, Iron Man has adjusted to the severe injuries sustained when the blackout began, Black Panther has gathered the world’s greatest minds in Wakanda, and Spider-Man is the doting father of a spider-powered daughter. A new world comes with new threats – namely Apocalypse’s brainwashed army, which sends raiding parties of the undead after humanity – but the Avengers have transformed to face them. From Iron Man’s steam-powered armor to Wolverine’s silver-tipped claws, the Avengers not only pull the world back from the brink, but are now committed to keeping it ticking, and the team assembles in full force on an upcoming cover for Dark Ages #4, created by artist Pete Wood and shared on Twitter by writer Tom Taylor.
Taylor describes the team as assembling for a rescue mission to Apocalypse-controlled Europe. At the end of Dark Ages #2, Iron Man was kidnapped by Mystique (who was disguised as a grizzled Steve Rogers), and forced to work on a machine Apocalypse intends to use to commune with the Unmaker, waking it to complete its terrible mission. It seems the team will be on a mission to bring him back, though some surprising members such as Vision and Miles Morales (who is on Apocalypse’s team in the current story) raise questions about the events of Dark Ages #3. Of course, comic covers tend not to be totally literal, and it’s possible Miles will still be an antagonist when the actual issue arrives in January 2022.
Dark Ages has showcased Tom Taylor’s skill at crafting What If…? style alternate worlds, taking a seemingly grim premise and exploring both the good and bad about a world that is without power but under the care of true heroes. One of the highlights has been seeing how Captain America and the Avengers have adapted – visually, tactically, and emotionally – to these new challenges, and Dark Ages #4‘s awesome cover art promises to send the team on a new adventure, deep into the heart of enemy territory.
Source: Tom Taylor