I used to read comics. A lot of comics. And toward the end of the ’90s, I stopped.

I’ve started picking up some comics here and there–JLA/Avengers, Superman/Batman, various and sundry Hellboy stuff. And I saw Neil Gaiman’s miniseries for Marvel, 1602, picked up the first three issues, read them.

Frankly, I’m left with an “eh” feeling.

Gaiman can do Elizabethan-period fiction well, just look at Sandman. The idea of an Elseworlds series taking the Silver Age Marvel characters and recasting them as actors in the power struggles of the first decade of the seventeenth century holds promise–of course the mutant struggle could be viewed in terms of Catholicism against Protestantism, it’s a natural fit.

I’m waiting for something to happen. The first two issues, and much of the third, have simply been exposition and character introductions. The third issue does have a fairly dramatic cliffhanger, one that, frankly, puts us into serious alternate history land, as James VI’s accension to England’s throne wasn’t guaranteed and Elizabeth’s premature death would throw the carefully laid plans of those around Elizabeth to bring James to the throne into genuine doubt. These events have serious historical ramifications, and if mutants do align themselves on sides of the coming religious conflict, I can only imagine that the Thirty Years’ War will be vastly different in 1602‘s alternate timeline.

My hope is that Gaiman will do something truly amazing with the concluding issues of 1602. My fear is that 1602 will be to Gaiman what Dark Knight Strikes Back was to Frank Miller, a noble effort that falls short. We’ll see.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

One thought on “1602

  1. If you want to see some quality writing/art and kick-ass action, then pick up the soft-back compilations of JSA that are out now.The X in X-MEN stands for
    X-aggeration. The J in JSA stands for Journey of a life-time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.