One of the most hyped miniseries of the year is off to a decent, but not
spectacular start.

General Information

Title: 1602 #1

Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator(s): Andy Kubert (pencils) and Richard Isanove (inks)

Original Publication Date: August 13, 2003

Cover Price: $3.50 US, $5.75 Can

Premise

It’s the year 1602, and the world is populated with familiar
characters. Neil Gaiman insists this eight issue series will not be
an Elseworlds story, although it will look like one at first. Mutants
seem to be labelled as Witchbreed, and have become the new targets
of
the Inquisition. In the meantime, powerful and unnatural storms are
brewing, and a very powerful object is en route to the Queen’s
physician, Dr. Stephen Strange.

High Point

The bard.

Low Point

If a character isn’t old or scarred, they don’t seem to have any
facial features. As a result, half of the cast looks rather boring.

The Scores

I have to admit, this is a concept that seems pretty
original. There have been other Elseworlds stories like
this, but they haven’t been in continuity before. I’m interested in
seeing where this goes, and how it connects up with the Marvel
Universe we know. I give it 4 out of 6, since the story itself
doesn’t seem like anything new.

The artwork is Andy Kubert. What better way to describe it
is there? Old people and locations look wonderful, but the rest of
the cast (with the exception of the bard) looks pretty drab. I give
it 4 out of 6.

The story is interesting, but not outstanding. It’s the
“protect the powerful object” story with multiple factions thrown in
for fun, as far as we can tell from this issue. (There are seven more
issues coming that might change this, though.) I give it 4 out of 6.



The characterization is not bad. We get some clear but
one
dimensional looks at the members of a rather large cast, and that’s
about it. Nobody gets enough time at the forefront to show any real
depth this month. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was mostly from
playing
games of “spot the character we know.” The story itself holds mild
interest, but most of that is faith in the writer. I give it 3 out of
6.

The flow was a bit choppy, given all the jumping between
currently unrelated scenes. The destruction of the wall was also
poorly represented, in my opinion. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, it’s good enough to keep me buying the series, but
it doesn’t awe or amaze me. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, 1602 #1 receives 27 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

My backlog of other comic reviews from my week of illness also
includes Batman Archives: Vol. 1, Essential Human
Torch
Vol. 1
, JLA: Heaven’s Ladder, JLA: Age of
Wonder
Part 1 (of 2)
, the excellent Sojourn Vol. 1: From The
Ashes
, and Ultimate X-Men #36. Tomorrow,
Ultimate
Spider-Man #45
will be added to the list. The Ultimate titles
will be reviewed first, as they are the most recent stuff. Do you
readers have any preference about the other reviews?