Genre: Superhero Comics
Series: Marvel 1602
Publisher: Marvel Comics (August 2, 2006)
Length: 248 pages
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that “hype” ruins any possibility that I might actually love a book. Sure, sure, occasionally a highly recommended piece of fiction will almost live up to the gushing accolades showered upon it, but most of the time books crumble under my lofty expectations. And, honestly, Marvel 1602 is a prime example of that sorry fact, because, even though it is on lists of the “Best Comics Ever” and whatnot, after reading it all I can say is that it was okay . . . I guess.
Now, just to be clear, I’m not a Neil Gaiman fan. Yes, I tried Sandman years ago when he was penning that comic, but I never got sucked into it. It was a good, solid series, just never more than that to me. And, honestly, Marvel 1602 felt the same way: a nice little gimmick on a standard Marvel superhero tale. There wasn’t any new ideas presented, no amazing storylines, or surprise characters at all. Gaiman merely switched the setting to Elizabethan England and early colonial America, changed the names and looks of the characters, but other than that nothing else was much different.
Wait a minute, I take that back: Gaiman did add a couple narrative themes that were “new.” One, we have an iconic character saying that the United States is a totalitarian government going to hell. (Obviously, this was written during the Bush presidency.) Two, in a single sentence, a character basically admits he is homosexual. (Not very startling or shocking now. Maybe it was then.)
Really, there just wasn’t anything earth shattering in this collection. It was fairly straightforward and meh to me. But I did mention that everyone has a cool Elizabethan name and costume, right?
Oh, I already mentioned that. Huh, I got nothing else.
Anyway, I know all this sounds like I’m bashing on this comic collection, but I’m not. It was a decent read. The problem really was that I was expecting something different, something amazing, because all the hype led me to believe that is what Marvel 1602 was. The reality, however, was that I’ve read better.