As much as continuity can be a great thing, I do love it when a great storyteller can tell a tale completely unfettered by timelines and death. When they can let loose, unencumbered by canon. Some writers have a knack for delivering stories like that.
I’m looking at you, Tom Taylor.
This Australian wunderkind is a simply outstanding writer, whose in continuity work is always strong. Taylor has that knack for delivering great dialogue and fun stories, and he’s never let us down.
BUT, it’s Taylor’s work outside timelines and rigid rules where he really shines brightly. His Injustice series for DC could have been just another video game spinoff, but his writing made it not just a spectacular comic based on a game, but indeed, one of the best Justice League books you could ever read. With Injustice, Taylor took familiar ideas like a Superman who goes “bad” and just created wonderful, intense stories that couldn’t have been done in a regular DC book.
The same can be said for Dark Ages, the brand new Marvel mini-series that just launched. This is the story of what happens when something at the core of the Earth awakens, putting the planet on the path of ultimate destruction. In Dark Ages, the lights go out in the Marvel Universe.
Featuring art by Iban Coello, Dark Ages is an all hands on deck event, featuring appearances from Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and many more. And without giving much of anything away, I will reveal to you that there are casualties in this first issue, and they’re notable. In a regular book, the creative team wouldn’t be able to deliver these goods, as it were, but with Taylor and Coello working a “What If…” type title, anything seems to go in Dark Ages, and the creative team are already swinging for the fences and connecting hard with the ball (I don’t even watch baseball, but the metaphor feels right).
Tom Taylor has worked in the regular Marvel Universe before, with an notable run on Wolverine (the X-23/Laura Kinney version), and there’s a part of me that would love to see him weaving his artistic magic in the world of the X-Men again (even more so now, knowing that Jonathan Hickman is leaving his Head of X position); however, I love reading Taylor when he has the running room and space to go to town with stories and characters, without worrying about how things will affect other books or storylines.
To paraphrase that “other” Wolverine, Taylor’s the best at what he does, but what he does isn’t very nice. Pick up Dark Ages for a taste of what that is.