Marvel 1602

9 Oct

“Marvel 1602” written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Andy Kubert is my first graphic novel…and the word graphic is used advisedly.  The novel is set during the last days of Elizabeth I and into the reign of James I.  As torture and execution were common, Neil Gaiman has not shied away from this aspect of the times.

The premise is that something has brought the Marvel universe into being 400 years too early.  The cause has to be found and reversed before the universe is destroyed.  Leading this is Dr Stephen Strange, court magician and physician to Elizabeth I, and her “intelligencer”, Sir Nicholas Fury.  These two are the principal characters, but others rotate in and out, to greater and lesser degrees.

Needless to say, when Elizabeth dies, everything goes to hell in a hand basket.  One thing I did like was the way Neil Gaiman picked up on James’ nasty hypocrisy.  Executing witches for “heresy” whilst chasing pretty young men into his bedchamber.

I grew up on a steady diet of DC’s Wonder Woman, and Marvel’s Doctor Strange (with a little Thor and Loki thrown in), so many of the characters I am only familiar with from recent movies.

You will have fun picking out who’s who.  Some of them are obvious, and others are a little more subtle.

Neil Gaiman’s love of Norse mythology shines through in places too.   There was a somewhat blatant analogy to the oracular head Mirmir.

Fantastic story, with all of Gaiman’s flair and verve, and Kubert’s illustrations were brilliant.

Highly recommended to both history geeks and Marvel geeks.

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