CBR Review 10: Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

I picked this collection up to break up my reading list, which has been heavily weighted to George R.R. Martin of late. I will read anything by Neil Gaiman as well, so this graphic novel seemed a good bet. It was certainly fun, and very well written and beautifully illustrated, but I think that I have been ruined by the Sandman series.

For those unfamiliar with the series (of which this is first, and I think the only one Gaiman wrote), it has some of the most famous Marvel characters, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Spiderman, etc living in 1602 and playing some key roles in important historical events. In this story, the mutant characters are reviled as “witchbreed,” and are the catalyst for some political machinations at the level of Queen Elizabeth and King James. There is a further plot about meddling with space and time and involved an intergalactic Watcher, not entirely unlike the Observers in Fringe.

The story is nicely plotted and interesting, but the book is not compelling or dense like the Sandman series. Also, I was a bit disappointed in the space/time anomaly storyline. I am not sure it was necessary, if the idea was that the reader could seen versions of well known characters in a different setting and time. I do not read very many superhero graphic novels, but I am under the impression that stories are often written in alternate realities without resorting to explaining why. The art is beautiful, and one of the most interesting parts of the book was seeing how characters with such distinctive physical characteristics are converted into a 1602 era look, notably Beast and The Thing, and how the reaction to their physical appearance by the public is generally the same in the novels set in modern day.

Overall, the book was enjoyable and the art was lovely, but I don’t think I will seek out the other books in the series, unless someone recommends otherwise.

One thought on “CBR Review 10: Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

  1. Pingback: llp/gentlyfalling’s CRR III Review 10: Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman | Cannonball Read III

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