Sarah's Stars

Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove. Marvel 1602
Marvel  $32.00  ISBN 9-781785-110736  220 pg.
Reviewed by Meghan, Age 15

“We are a boatful of monsters and miracles, hoping that, somehow, we can survive a world in which all hands are against us. A world which, by all evidence, will end extremely soon. Yet I posit we are in a universe which favors our stories. A universe in which no story can ever truly end; in which there can only be continuances. If we are in such a universe as I hope, then we may have a chance.”

The year is 1602. Queen Elizabeth’s reign is coming to its end, her health is failing. Strange occurrences and omens foretell the ending of the world and across Europe and in the New World there are forces at work fighting to save and destroy the world, if they can. Familiar characters from the world of Marvel comics appear throughout the story as they would have been in a Marvel universe existing 400 years ago. On the side of good are Master Carolos Janiver’s students, ‘witchbred’ men and women with strange, superhuman powers. Together with the Sir Nicholas Fury, head of the queen’s intelligence network, and Doctor Stephen Strange, a magician of unknown powers with the power to see the future, they fight the Spanish Inquisition and Count Otto von Doom to save the world from certain doom.

1602 is one of the longest graphic novels I have read but I found that it was much easier to read than other, shorter, graphic novels. The layout made for easy reading and the graphics were excellent. I did find, however, that the characters appearance’s tended to change for frame to frame and with different expressions it was sometimes rather confusing and difficult to recognize characters. Overall though, the pictures do a wonderful job of conveying the story and keeping the reader entertained and interested.

Although not overly familiar with the Marvel universe I found that I was nonetheless able to recognize certain familiar superheroes in their 17th century garb. The story was engaging and very interesting and I enjoyed it up to a certain part. The different stories were coming together and the action was increasing. All in all it had been a very good read so far when it suddenly turned strange. I was very disappointed with the way the story concluded. Although most of the book had a well written plot and well-developed characters, the twist at the end happened too suddenly and there wasn’t enough explanation. I am not, however, an avid comic book reader and this may happen often in them, I don’t know.

Although I would recommend 1602 to fans of Marvel comics, I would not recommend it to those unfamiliar with the Marvel universe. Definitely for boys ages 12 and up, but there are probably some adults who would enjoy it, too.

This reviewer gives Marvel 1602 three universal stars.

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