Marvel 1602

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So one of the early comics that David had me read was Marvel 1602. It is written by Neil Gaiman, which that alone makes it brilliant, but he takes our beloved Marvel characters and puts them in the world of 1602. Somehow all of the Marvel characters have somehow ended up in the time of Queen Elizabeth and King James. Some of them have high positions in the court even.

The interesting thing about seeing the Marvel characters in 1602 is seeing what they would be in this alternate universe. Part of what is great about reading is wondering who you will meet where. Some of the characters from X-men become particularly interesting because it is during a time that they did not have science. What would they think of people who had mutant powers? There is also a larger problem happening that no one can explain, but they know something is wrong. (Spoilers ahead for Marvel 1602)

1602 Characters

The characters in this is part of what makes this alternate universe so much fun. Nick Fury ends up a master spy for Queen Elizabeth and is only out-done by Dr. Strange. Strange is the one who actually first realizes that there is a problem in the world. It is interesting seeing these characters away from the technology that usually accompanies them. I do not know Dr. Strange that well, but he seemed to transition the best into 1602 because he uses magic.

Some of the characters are more subtle than others. One of my favorite characters is Daredevil. He goes around as a blind bard, but is really a man for hire. He is a spy, assassin, mercenary, smuggler, etc; basically anything someone will pay him for. The moments with him are great because everyone just thinks he is some silly blind bard not someone who can scale buildings and basically deal with anyone else.

As I mentioned putting mutants into 1602 is really intriguing. In the comic they are called witchbred and the church views them as abominations that need to be destroyed. Magneto ends up working for the church to try and collect witchbred for his cause to then overthrow the church. Then Xavier is trying to rescue mutants from the church not realizing they are being caught by other witchbred. The way they use the mutant powers is really interesting in the comics because they become so much more interesting in a world without technology. Quick Silver being a messenger for example because there is no telephone to be faster.

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Alternate Universe or Not

So this is the really spoilery section so if you have not read the comic and do not want to be spoiled do not read any further. So I have mentioned the big issue that people are finding out about and I have been calling this an alternate universe, which it is sort of. The event that is happening is tearing the fabric of the universe a part. So as the reader we are going along thinking that these are just the Marvel characters displaced in time. Then we meet a couple of characters that do not seem to be from the Marvel universe, but who seem to be a large part of the plot. One of them looks particularly odd because it is a blond Native American. You question it a little bit, but maybe it is just a 1602 mutant.

Then it turns out that this blond Native American is the epicenter of the problems happening because they are not actually from 1602. It is Steve Rogers from the actual future who somehow got sent back to 1602. This caused a ripple in the timeline that caused the generation of all of these heroes to appear in 1602. Someone like Captain America was not meant to exist in 1602 and his inaccuracy in the timeline causes a flood of other heroes to exist in this time, but the changing of the timeline to such an extreme degree could tear the very fabric of the universe. Thus, they need to reverse the inaccuracy and send Captain America back to his own time.

The moment of discovery for this is brilliant because you do not see it coming. We have just explained away the fact that we are in 1602 with the usual Marvel characters. I feel like people have explained away less than that. At the same time Neil Gaiman actually takes the story to a place to explain the very existence of the comic. How Steve Rogers ends up in 1602 is not really discussed, but the repercussions of him staying are fascinating. It makes sense if you think about everything in the universe is connected. If something appears where it is not supposed to exist it is going to cause a disruption, which, depending on how big the disruption, could cause a catastrophic event to occur.

All images copyright of Marvel

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2 responses to “Marvel 1602

  1. Pingback: Summer Reading Recommendations – Marvel Comics | Sourcerer

  2. Pingback: Comics Review – Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman | Comparative Geeks

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