REVIEW: Marvel 1602

REVIEW SUMMARY: Gaiman weaves a strong tale of apocalypse in the 17th century.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The Marvel super heroes emerge in early 17th-century Europe, and must save the planet from imminent destruction while being hunted by the Catholic church, the Spanish Inquisitors and the King of England.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Super heroes without the silly costumes, very interesting story with several surprise elements, excellent illustration by one of the the top comic artists, great coloring, wonderful ‘scratchboard’ cover illustrations, a nice ‘how we did it’ section at the end that gives insight on how comics are put together

CONS: Some of the heros weren’t developed (sequel in the works?)

BOTTOM LINE: If you like super heroes or Gaiman, or just appreciate comics for outstanding art, you should read this.


My review will be biased since I’m a hard-core Gaiman fan. I’ve read most everything he’s published, and enjoyed it all. This story is perhaps closer to American Gods than his Sandman comics, but I actually think this is something altogether different.

In 1602, the world is coming to an end. A rift in time has opened and everything that ever was is threatening to become undone. It is theorized that in times like this, the world creates heros to save itself, and so abberations are born with powers greater than normal man. They are called monsters by some, including the Catholic church and the Inquisitors who hunt them down and burn them. England, ruled by Queen Elizabeth tolerates them, and in fact her physician is Dr. Stephen Strange, while her spymaster is Sir Nicholas Fury. There is a hidden academy in England, led by Professor Carlos Javier that harbors and trains the ‘monsters.’

Every character in this story is interesting in his own fashion, but my favorite was Matthew Murdoch (Daredevil) – a blind travelling bard who wears a red blindfold.

The story is very well constructed, with a surprise on almost every page.

I’m guessing Marvel will continue forward with this series, though I haven’t heard anything about it, or whether it will be the same team producing it.

6 thoughts on “REVIEW: Marvel 1602”

  1. I am interested in reading this, but I do question the statement “super heroes without silly costumes”. Why are they silly? They do serve the purpose of potraying the hero as somebody truely different. Would Superman have been as impressive wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt? How about Batman and then the whole identity thing. I think that superheros and the mythos they represent are somewhat a key part of american culture. Even the Matrix was at its core an attempt to build a superhero movie and they wore different clothes than the “normals” to demonstrate thier difference from everyone else.

  2. Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

    SFSignal has posted a review of Marvel 1602. This is a title I haven’t read, but have kept several eyes on for a couple of reasons. For one, its an “alternate reality” tale and those can be fun if done well. For another it was written by Neil Gaim…

  3. I would give this series (which I borrowed from Kevin) 4/5 stars. Its really, really good and interesting. The mixture of super heroes and 17th century civilization is quite unique. I knocked an entire star off because of the ending. Not because the ending sucked, the resolution was fine. No, because it felt incredibly rushed. Its almost as if the finished issue #7 and realized that there is only 8 issues for the series. The ending was wrapped up in about the last 8 pages which left me saying: ‘Wha? How could they know that? Where? Who? Huh?”. It was too fast. Otherwise, incredibly interesting. If only all comics were this good. Of course, Neil Gaiman was involved.

  4. I would have to agree with JP’s feelings about this series. I really enjoyed the way they interleaved the Marvel universe in with the 1600 history. I do like the way each character was developed and I think that they did a great job of creating a believable universe. But the ending was a little wierd in that they really just resolved it ST:NG style (Its a an hour show and something bad happens in the first 30 minutes, but in the next 30 minutes the major problem is resolved and the the show continues…. I would love to see this continued as a longer story, but it was a great ride…

  5. Hmm, I guess I have to come in against the ‘rushed ending’ crowd. I enjoyed it – beginning to end, and thought the pacing was just right. I thought the ending was right where it needed to be and I appreciated the very end part most of all. Fantastic way to pull a deus ex machina!

    It gets 4/5 from me, only because I felt he tried too hard to get every meaningful marvel character into the story – some were simply unneeded and served to distract rather than add content.

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