FORSOOTH, feverish ones! You say you’d like to know what our MERRY MARVEL MAVENS were doing 400 YEARS AGO, in the times of YE GOODE QUEENE BESS? They weren?t even foetuses, pilgrim, as you should know. But supposing they HAD been foetuses, or older yet? What if NICK FURY was, um, SIR NICK OF FURY, and the INVINCIBLE IRON MAN was YE IRON SPANIARD, and not invincible because he was made of wood? Would you drop ’2.50 on THAT, true effendi? Wouldja? Huh? Huh? Wouldja? Neil Gaiman’s writing it, so you can be sure it?s FOL-DE-ROL-TASTIC! And because RADIOACTIVITY hasn’t been invented yet, PETER PARQHAR is simply THE AMAZING MAN. Get out your WALLET, pilgrim – or as WILL the PILL would say, ‘Pray hither and lighten thy purse for a merry tale of an optic blast!’
1602 - being Marvel in the year 1602 – is a good, well-told story that you should read. BUT – there’s not much actually propelling it forward beyond the basic ‘What-If’ nature of the thing; in fact, the actual plot was totally subsumed, at least in my case, by a desperate desire to work out who all these people “really” were. I actually felt a vague disappointment that an assassin who’s onstage for all of two panels wasn’t a ‘somebody’ in the Marvel Universe. Then I realised he was the Vulture. You see the problem.
Sure, as a wastoure rather than a winner, I’ll keep reading this – but supposing I didn’t? HMMM? Supposing in fact that I DIED RIGHT NOW and Marvel Enterprises lost another promising reader? Who exactly, on picking up 1602 as their first ever purchase, would want to get into Marvel or any comics in general? HMMMM?
The answer is lots of people – it is very nice stuff – but I have a feeling that a comic about the year 1602 without Sir Nick Of Fury or Scotias Summerisle (stop laughing damn you) would, in terms of readers who weren?t busy playing spot-the-celebrity, bag even more. This is something DC, for all their being the perverted great-uncle of the comics industry, have at least grasped vaguely. Despite the fact that 99.9% of their output is LEATHER GIMP WITTERS ON ABOUT THE CAPED FOOL OF YESTERYEAR, they are still responsible for putting out good self-contained work in their Vertigo imprint – stories that have absolutely nothing at all to do with the “DC” “Universe”. Marvel Max, meanwhile, remains Nick Fury Says Cunt, and Epic’s guidelines specify that they’d prefer stories specifically about the Wonderful World Of Marvel. These will sell better, in the short term if nothing else. I feel a sense of deja vu.
Personally, I?d wait for 1602: The Collection, as it’ll presumably have extra bits you won’t get on the stands and will be cheaper for being in bulk, but if you really want to read good historical fiction in comics, find something else without Magneto in it. I just got Jason Lutes’ Berlin for the first time and it’s aces so read that instead, verily.