Man is there anything better than an Elseworlds book? Something taking familiar characters and putting them in a different setting from usual? Well, Neil Gaiman’s 1602 isn’t an Elseworlds book as its from Marvel not DC, but it is exactly the right kind of cool. It takes a pile of the Marvel superheroes and has them be (mostly) Europeans in 1602. Magneto is the Grand Inquisitor in Spain, Daredevil is a blind balladeer, Carlos Javier runs a school for witchbreeds, the Fantastick Four were adventurer explorers captured by the handsome Otto Von Doom. Yeah. It’s all pretty cool. I’m not a huge Marvel person so I didn’t get some of the references the first time I read it years ago but this time I picked up more.
I like these alternate comics because they don’t require knowledge of tonnes of continuity. Sort of like the new Star Trek movie really. We just want to see these archetypes do their thing, be recognizable but different. To act like they should. I suppose that’s a notion that character is deep inside, an argument against becoming who you are based on the specific things that happen to you, but on your soul or whatever. I don’t know if I believe in that in life but in fiction it’s all good.
This is why I own books, so on a Saturday evening I can pick one up and get lost.