Comics : 1602 #8
This review was first published on: 2004.
Marvel in Elizabethan times, written by Neil Gaiman, art by Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove.
This alternative reworking of 1602 is scattered with the major players from the Marvel Universe, but not quite as we know them. The kingdoms of Spain, England, Scotland and the Vatican City vie for power as a strange dark force threatens to engulf them all.
The mysterious Watcher has revealed the truth to Dr. Strange, but forbidden him to speak a word as long as he may live. Yet the good Doctor has powers beyond the ken of mortals, and outlived his "death" at the hands of King James, the brutal newcomer to the British throne.
Strange's decapitated head spoke out, revealing that the universe was at risk from from the spreading effects of the temporal singularity which was thrust back into their time by a chronal tinkerer 400 years in the future? Clea Strange has identified one of the key players in that singularity, Rojhaz, believed until now to be the Native American protector of the lovely Virginia - but suddenly revealed to be an American from the future...
Jun 2004 : SM Guest
Summary: Peter Parquagh Appears
It seems that pretty much everybody is converging on the East cost of the new continent. Carlos Javier and his mutants have arrived, with Reed Richards, his three friends, and Sir Nicholas. Still on the water are Clea, Rohjaz and Virginia. Enrico (Magneto) and his two mutant assistants are also at sea, and not far behind is Sir Banner and Peter Parquah, both agents of King James sent to kill Fury.
Everybody has their own agenda, and once they all hit the shore, everything starts moving pretty fast. But Gaiman has everything well under control, and he has 35 pages of story to wrap it all up in - which he does with consumate ease. There's a universe to save, an evil King James to censure, an America to restore to normalacy, and a bunch of super-heroes born into the wrong time who need a world to call their own. Not only that, but we need to know if Peter Parquagh will do the Spidey thing.
Fear not, it's all in there. Just go buy a copy, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Lovely, lovely. My only complaint is that after two issues in November, then monthly until issue #7, it was a long two months until I saw the final issue arrive. There's a fairly complex cast of characters, and two months is a long time to keep everything fresh in your head while waiting for the conclusion. But when it arrived, it was well worth it.
As I said at the start, the whole "Alternate Universe" schtick is a bit well-worn by now, and it can really be a bit of a risk these days. There was no risk here, though. Four and a half webs, and my hat off to a top team of talent. Reading this story was a real joy.