Marvel 1602 - Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert, Richard Isanove

Once again, Neil Gaiman displays his genius for taking the familiar and making it new. The Marvel superhero universe seems like a strange subject for Gaiman, whose writing seems too "serious" in comparison. But Gaiman takes the superheroes and sets them in a story that seems almost mythical. As the title suggests, the story is set in 1602, during the Spanish Inquisition (which includes going after "witchbreeds," the X-men of the time). Queen Elizabeth is about to die and James will succeed her, and young Virginia Dare has just come to England from the Roanoke colony to visit the queen.

Gaiman puts the X-men, Nick Fury, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four and several others into this historical context, and even gives some pseudo-scientific reason for their appearance 400 years too early. As with other multi-character stories I've read, the main problem for me is that there are many Marvel characters I'm not familiar with, so seeing them in only in these different context without knowing their original backgrounds is a little confusing. I really need some sort of character cheat sheet before I read these things.

Still, I recognized most of the main characters and enjoyed the way Gaiman adapted them to the 17th century. Plus, as a bonus, Gaiman's guess at the treasure of the Templar Knights was much better than Dan "Da Vinci Code" Brown's.

Fed to jonathan's brain | February 22, 2005 | Comments (0)


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