Pre-review note: Although this is quite an out-dated review, I felt I needed to write my piece about it cos I believe all good things should be shared right?
Many people might be familiar with Neil Gaiman’s work. Yup, he that brought us classics like Stardust, Smoke and Mirrors and Mirrormask have never failed to breathe fresh, unique life into his words, strange at times yet, enchanting nevertheless. Comic fans would also know Mr. Gaiman as the one who introduced us to the dark disturbing world of DC’s Sandman.
So when Gaiman took up the project to write Marvel 1602 way back in 2003/4, many fans and critics alike waited in anticipation of what he would bring. And boy oh boy did he deliever…
The graphic novel paperback that I read collected all eight issues of the mini-series Marvel 1602 #1-8. Gaiman brought along Andy Kubert on pencils and Richard Isanove, who provided the digital paintings and also all 8 variant scratchboard-like covers.
The synopsis of 1602 goes something like this:
The story takes place in the year 1602 in the Marvel Universe, where, for an unknown reason, superheroes have appeared about 400 years early, though they were born and bred in this era and some hold important positions in high places. When the characters come to realize that something is wrong with the universe, the heroes must solve the mystery behind their own existence, while dealing with intrigue at the courts of Elizabeth and James. Some of the heroes included in Gaiman’s masterpiece includes well-loved characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Nick Fury, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, Dr. Doom, Black Widow, and the Fantastic Four!
It is truly an engaging read (for a piece of only about 250 pages) and a real masterpiece where Gaiman beautifully weaves together a mystery in the era of Queen Elizabeth. Readers will be constantly smile and appreciate the super-heroes reflected from today in 1602. He also manages to throw in a few surprises and twists before the tale is concluded, in true Gaiman-style.
The artwork by Andy Kubert is fanastick as well, not too exaggerated but just simplistic enough to showcase the era of 1602 nicely. I especially love the variant covers, which tries not to reveal too much, yet has the readers scratching their heads wondering if there were any clues left in there..
This is one graphic novel paperback not to be missed…not only for all comic fans, but for everyone as well, especially those who wants to appreciate how a good novel is written and delivered. it’s no surprise Marvel 1602 also won the Quill Award in 2005.