Marvel 1602

    (Marvel, 2003-2004)
™ and © Marvel Entertainment Group

1602 is the mini-series that dares to ask the all-important question, “What if the Marvel universe were set in 17th century Europe?” The reason more than three people in the world might care is that Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert, and digital painter Richard Isanove are providing the answer in this long-anticipated comics event.

The first issue set the scene in the last days of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when the old England of the Renaissance, Shakespeare, and magic was about to give way to the new era of religious strife and absolutism under the Stuart monarchy. Here, we are introduced to archaic equivalents of Marvel stalwarts Nick Fury, Doctor Strange, Peter Parker, and The X-Men, among others, who all have parts to play in some elaborate international scheme. In #2, one is tempted to say “the plot thickens,” but, if it got any thicker, it would solidify. Doctor Doom makes his predictable appearance as the heavy, along with a gaggle of other minor figures.

The texture of the historical backdrop and the richness of the plot only highlight the gimmicky quality of the premise, made worse because the reader is constantly prodded to admire the cleverness with which the familiar Marvel gang are shoehorned into the story in historical context. Gobs of stilted dialogue also spoil many of the beautiful painted images on the pages. It’s possible that the ship may right itself, as the series plows onward, but 1602 #2 does not offer much promise.

Hardcore Marvel zombies unfamiliar with the “Elseworlds” concept (although Gaiman has said that this is not an “Elseworlds” tale) successfully employed at DC for the last 10-15 years may find the novelty of 1602 stimulating—and certainly collectible. Gaiman fans who lack patience for external plot contrivances getting in the way of the story will be less impressed.

— Rob Salkowitz

Jump to issue:
  NotesWriterArtist

#1

  11/1/2003
  $3.50
  $2.25
15 copies available from $1.50
 Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

#1 (2nd printing)

  7/1/2010
  $1.00
  $1.00
1 copy available for $1.00
Marvel’s Greatest Comics reprintNeil GaimanAndy Kubert

#1 Variation A

  11/1/2003
  $3.50
  $3.50
No copies available
Dynamic Forces Exclusive; Signed by Andy Kubert; Limited to 1602 signed copies; Includes COANeil GaimanAndy Kubert

#2

  11/1/2003
  $3.50
  $1.75
17 copies available from $0.91
 Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

#3

  12/1/2003
  $3.50
  $2.25
16 copies available from $1.25
 Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

#4

  1/1/2004
  $3.50
  $2.25
17 copies available from $0.99
 Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

#5

  2/1/2004
  $3.50
  $2.75
16 copies available from $0.99
 Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

#6

  3/1/2004
  $3.50
  $2.75
14 copies available from $1.94
 Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

#7

  4/1/2004
  $3.50
  $2.25
11 copies available from $0.99
 Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

#8

  6/1/2004
  $3.99
  $3.00
12 copies available from $0.99
 Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

Book #1

 
  $19.99
  $19.99
No copies available
Collects Marvel 1602 #1-8Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

Book #1 (2nd printing)

 
  $19.99
  $19.00
No copies available
Collects Marvel 1602 #1-8; ca. 2010Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

Book #1 Variation A

 
  $19.99
  $19.99
No copies available
Quill Award Edition; Collects Marvel 1602 #1-8Neil GaimanAndy Kubert

Book #1 Hardcover

  9/6/2004
  $24.99
  $20.00
2 copies available from $19.00
Collects Marvel 1602 #1-8; Incules Neil Gaiman’scomplete script to Part 1, reproductions of Andy Kubert’s pencils and preliminary charecter sketches, and cover process with Scott McKowen; Introduction by Peter SandersonNeil GaimanAndy Kubert, Richard Isanove

Book #1 Hardcover (2nd printing)

 
  $24.99
  $22.00
1 copy available for $22.00
Collects Marvel 1602 #1-8; Incules Neil Gaiman’scomplete script to Part 1, reproductions of Andy Kubert’s pencils and preliminary charecter sketches, and cover process with Scott McKowen; Introduction by Peter Sanderson; ca. 2007Neil GaimanAndy Kubert, Richard Isanove

Book #1 Hardcover (3rd printing)

 
  $24.99
  $24.99
No copies available
Collects Marvel 1602 #1-8; Incules Neil Gaiman’s complete script to Part 1, reproductions of Andy Kubert’s pencils and preliminary charecter sketches, and cover process with Scott McKowen; Introduction by Peter Sanderson; ca. 2009Neil GaimanAndy Kubert, Richard Isanove

Book #1 Hardcover (4th printing)

 
  $29.99
  $28.00
No copies available
10th Anniversary Edition; Hardcover; Collects Marvel 1602 #1-8Neil GaimanAndy Kubert