1602 #5 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: “In Which A Treacherous Course Is Plotted”

Written by: Neil Gaiman
Art by: Andy Kubert
Colored by: Richard Isanove
Lettered by: Todd Klein
Editor: Nick Lowe and Joe Quesada
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Things are beginning to get interesting…

Neil Gaiman has undertaken an epic story, which is living up to its grand plans, but I’m still not 100% on whether this is a great series or not. I actually had not kept up on 1602 after issue #2. This review was the perfect chance to catch up. I reread the entire series, to date, in one sitting, and it flows much better than on a single-issue basis. It’s hard to not enjoy the intriguing characters, and the interesting settings, but the mysterious plotline still hasn’t completely captured my imagination. Although issue #5 has gotten me a bit more excited.

Fantastic occurrences…

The issue begins with perhaps the single best summary-page that I have seen. We get particularly well-done dramatis personae with headshots by Andy Kubert, as narrated by our erstwhile writer Mr. Gaiman. We even get a neat little caricature of the pair. Andy responds to Gaiman’s lengthy speech, with a sentiment I must mirror, “I just hope you know what you’re doing.” I believe Mr. Gaiman knows exactly what he is doing; I just hope it plays out well over the last few issues.

Neil Gaiman has shown us a great many incarnations of Marvel Universe characters in the year 1602. This month, we get our first clear look at the Fantastic Four of this “world.” Clea, Dr. Strange’s wife, recounts the origin tale of this version of Marvel’s most interesting family. Artist Andy Kubert brings the sequence to brilliant life. Each image is rendered as a museum style painting, with frame and all. I found this a truly ingenious way to tell of the rise, and perhaps the fall of this extremely important group.

As the rest of the plotlines go, Mr. Gaiman is finally pulling the various threads he’s introduced thus far together. Virginia Dare, the mysterious storms, and the powerful weapon, while nothing is certain, there is definite movement on all fronts this month. It is nice to see Dr. Doom beginning to take center stage as well. With this issue, I can finally say that I’m excited about the prospects for the remainder of this series.

I’ve mentioned his name a couple of times already, but I would like to mention the artwork of Andy Kubert once more. Mr. Kubert has given this story a very interesting look, which is enhanced by Richard Isanove’s digital painting. The Marvel characters are very true to their roots, but they fit into the age-old period quite well. The book has a classic look, and that’s perfect for the setting and hopefully the story will pull together and make the entirety a true classic.

Greatness or a flub?

This series has gotten better with each successive issue. I still wish that I had waited for the trade paperback. I would rather have read all eight issues in a single sitting. This may be a clear case where the whole will be far better than the sum of the parts. Of course, that won’t really be clear until the series reaches its conclusion in a few months.