Genre: Superhero Comics
Series: Marvel 1602
Publisher: Marvel Comics (August 2, 2006)
Author Information: Website | Twitter
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.
I read this around the time it came out. I thought it was great, but now I’m not sure. Marvel has done so many quirky alternates that the whole thing seems mild on a reread. Kind of like the trend has taken some of the shine away.
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I agree. If I’d read this series back when it was first released, I might have had a different reaction to it. Now, it was just decent.
I heard they were going to do another ‘1602’ or include it in Secret Wars. Not sure what happened.
Perhaps it hasn’t aged well. Still, it’s Gaiman. How bad can it be? 😀
Not bad at all. Just not spectacular.
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Easily the worst Gaiman I’ve read. Intriguing premise, but predictable plot twist. I revisited it a few years later and still couldn’t get into it.
I’m not going to give up on Gaiman yet, but it is beginning to look like my tastes do not lead in his direction, which is sad since so many of my friends love his writing.
I LOVED The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, but that’s all I’ve read by Gaiman. I’m already not a big of superhero comics, and just because this is in Elizabethan England – it doesn’t do anything to change that. But I do like looking at superhero costumes! 🙂
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