Comic: "Marvel 1602 #1-8"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Andy Kubert
Plot: What if our beloved superheroes from the Marvel universe were living in the early 1600s? Neil Gaiman decides to tackle this question with entertaining results.
Review: When I was first given this book I was unsure what I would think of it. I am all for sticking popular characters into different settings and hoping for an interesting result. But I have been disappointed before by things I thought would be fun, so I admit I was hesitant to delve into this series at first. I have always had a love of the 1500s and 1600s. It was a romantic time of adventure, exploration, and discovery. So I eventually decided to dive in and I was glad I did so.
The Marvel 1602 universe has several similarities to the current Marvel universe, though some things have been changed to fit the setting. Names have similar pronunciation but with different spelling. Example of this sort of thing would include Peter Parquagh, Carlos Javier, and Rojhaz (pronounced rodgers). Several favorites from the 1960s Marvel universe are included in this series, including the X-men, The Fantastic Four, Nick Fury, and The Brotherhood. Some names have been changed to fit the setting. Mutants are known as Witchbreed, The Fantastic Four are referred to as The Crew of the Fantastick, Nick Fury is Queen Elizabeth's personal bodyguard and intelligence leader, The Brotherhood call themselves The Brotherhood of those who will inherit the Earth, and so on.
I will have to be vague here, because there are so many spoilers if I get to into the plot. It mainly revolves around several factions vying for an artifact that remains shrouded in mystery until almost the end of the story arc. The Inquisition, England, The Witchbreed, Scotland, and Count Otto Von Doom all struggle over the artifact. Some want it for power, some think it will save the world from the instability of the world itself that is evident throughout the story. Eventually the story culminates in the New World where you find out exactly why this alternate universe and it's instability exist in the first place.
I enjoyed the series overall, and I especially liked the re-imagining of Daredevil who in 1602 is a traveling minstrel and freelance agent who occasionally works for Nick Fury. He is portrayed with a mixture of swashbuckler and menacing rogue that gives his character weight and substance that for me stuck out amongst an interesting and motley gathering of superheroes.
I would recommend tracking down the compilation, it mixes dark scenes with vivid colorful backdrops to show how chaotic and unstable this alternate universe has become. Seeing each well known character pop up in an unexpected way is a treat each time it happens. Well worth the read.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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