Neil Gaiman’s 1602
Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert (Illustrator)
Paperback 216 pages (September 2, 2004)
Publisher: Panini Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 1904159435

This collection of a key Marvel release belongs on the shelf of any fan of the genre, be they into mainstream superhero or independent comics. It? also getting a rare UK Marvel trade paperback release, so be sure to snap it up.

The storyline, which I won? spoil, is based around a great concept, that of the Marvel universe and its characters transposed onto Europe in 1602. So Nick Fury becomes a Marlow-esque Spy for Queen Elizabeth, Captain America an Indian Brave protecting pilgrims and Dr Strange a court physician suspected of witchcraft. The story concerns the awakening of this breed of hero?, and the machinations of the villainous European Count Viktor Von Doom.

Gaiman draws upon the reader? knowledge of the Marvel-verse, and the rich background of the historical setting. The ?itch-breed?of mutants are being hunted by the Spanish Inquisition, whilst the new scientific breakthroughs from Reed Richards are framed in the light if a post-renaissance world. It? full of great touches for the fan-boy and historian alike.

Kubert? eclectic style suits the whole thing admirably, somewhere between Hammer Horror and Jack Kirby. Richard Isanove is responsible for the special colouring, turning Kubert? pencils into a cross between a mid-60? comic book panel and a 17th century engraving. It? a great visual aid to Gaiman? masterful dialogue. Cracking stuff. The only small problem I had was in the layout of some panels, but I? really just quibbling.

A masterpiece of the genre. ]]>

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