Marvel 1602

Claires Tag

I’d never heard of this title before, until it was recommended to me by someone who studies comics for a living. (Very good book by the way, worth reading if you have any interest in film studies)

Basically 1602 is a Marvel Elseworld’s title where the characters we know and love are taken from their usual settings, and in this case, placed firmly in 1602 during Elizabethan times. Now, I was pretty apprehensive about the collection I purchased (issues 1-8) as even with Neil Gaiman at the helm, I really didn’t think the story would have enough relation back to the normal Marvel universe to really do anything for me.

Now that I’ve finally figured out how to do a postbreak, read on after this one to find out what else I thought.

It usually takes me a good few issues to really get into a series of comics, but I found myself hooked on 1602 from the outset. The artwork is simply beautiful, and the story is told with the eloquence and complexity I’ve come to expect from Gaiman. I particularly enjoyed the character addition of real life (but long dead) Virginia Dare, but not so much the cringeworthy change of Peter Parker to Peter Parquagh. I didn’t like that. What I did like though was the use of some of the less known characters (at least to me) like the Scarlet Witch, and ones I had a little fanwank about like Uata, the watcher.

There are a couple of sequels to 1602, but don’t read them. The’Fantastick Four’ one is particularly dire and I only managed 4 or so pages of it whilst standing in Forbidden Planet before deciding I definitely wouldn’t be buying it. The other one is probably pants too, as none of the original artists or Neil Gaiman return.

At least for the first volume though, this is a premise that really shouldn’t have worked. I loved little touches, such as instead of mutants, the heroes are ‘witchbreed’, and the authentic feelings scratchboard covers which all made 1602 feel like the writers and artists really had a proper idea of how an Elizabethan world would work.

If there were blind heroes, an American Indian guardian who is in fact Captain America and a dimension crossing sorceress dandering about the place of course.