Marvel 1602

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"We live in a time of miracles and wonders and I cannot say that it pleases me."
Queen Elizabeth

It is the year 1602, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First and all is not well in Merry Olde England. Strange storms have rocked the continent, the sky has been cast in haunting tones, rumour on the street speaks of the end-times and only one man might discover the truth of these unusual occurences. He is Doctor Stephen Strange, The Queen's Physician.

Marvel 1602 was an Elseworld miniseries written by Neil Gaiman, transporting the Marvel Universe into the Elizabethan Era. It took heroes such as Nick Fury, The X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man and found a way to make them work in the period and tell an original tale centering upon them.

The original mini-series has had several follow-ups by other writers, focusing on particular (sets of) characters. 1602: A New World by Greg Pak, which introduces Lord Iron, Fantastick Four 1602 by Peter David, and Spider-Man 1602 by Jeff Parker.

Tropes used in Marvel 1602 include:
  • Alien Space Bats: The universe was normal until superheroes started appearing in it four hundred years too early. Yes, the dinosaurs are "normal". Dinos and prehistoric beasts really DID roam the lands a little before the colonists arrived in official Earth-616 canon. In fact, the Savage Land still has dinosaurs.
  • Ambiguously Gay: James keeps calling Brother Petros "pretty", as well as saying the Inquisitor must've been pretty as a young man. This is Foreshadowing the fact that the latter is the father of the former. It also has some basis in reality, being a popular theory on James of Scotland held by many historians.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Averted/Justified. Enrique was born to a Jewish family, but was one of the forcibly converted children baptized during a burning.
  • Animal Motifs
  • Apocalyptic Log: Doctor Strange, once he's sentenced to death.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: James of Scotland.
  • A Wizard Did It: People keep asking Strange how he does various magical acts. his response is usually along the lines of "I am a wizard." This is something of an open secret. He is later executed. No, not for magic, for being a traitor.
  • Badass: Sir Nicholas Fury and Matthew Murdock "The Bard".
  • Elemental Powers: The four crew members of the Fantastick are even more obviously this than their mainstream Marvel counterparts.
  • Elseworld
  • Exty Years From Now: Set 400 years before it was published.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: America has been replaced by the Savage Land in this continuity, so it's now crawling with dinosaurs. According to the page at the end of the comic, it's because Neil Gaiman likes dinosaurs.
  • Historical Domain Character: Queen Elizabeth, King James, Virginia Dare.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: James again.
  • Hope Spot: Cleo asks that Strange not be executed for practicing magic. King James says he won't be, and Virginia grins broadly while The Stoic Rojhaz even cracks a smile. Then James continues that Strange is going to executed for treason.
  • Knight Templar: The Grand Inquisitor, charged with ferreting out Witchbreed. Actually one himself, as he's this world's Magneto.
  • Let's You and Him Fight
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall/Medium Awareness: At one point, Reed says that he believes that the fundamental particles of the Universe are stories, and that they are in a universe that favors them. He posits that stories can never truly end. Ben Grimm asks if it would be possible to restore his humanity, and Reed responds that the "laws of story" would prevent any cure from lasting long. This has happened several times in mainstream Marvel.

'Reed:" For in the end, alas, you are much more interesting and satisfying as you are.

The sequels provide examples of:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • A God I Am: Octavius, when he embraces his transformation instead of trying to undo it.
  • Dropped A Bridge On Her: Natasha, a major character from the original miniseries, questions Doom about his plans... and he pushes her off his flying ship to her death.
  • I Have Your Wife: Baron Octavius keeps Henri Le Pym working for him by continually reminding him that if he doesn't comply with demands, his lady, Janette, will be fed to Conners, who is almost fully dinosaur in this world.
  • Karmic Death: Osborne is horribly wounded by cannonfire when the Kingpin's pirates attack. While he survives the initial attack, he contracts a horrific case of gangrene, and the narration states that he will die in a matter of days.
  • Mad Scientist: Octavius (squid), Conners (dinosaur), and eventually Osbourne (also dinosaur?) are all lab-table mutates, the prior two by their own doing. Octavius' mutation was accidental, though, which was the original reason he'd used a hostage to press-gang Pym into creating a cure. Then, as part of a Kick the Dog moment, he reveals to Pym that he'd been experimenting on Janette while she was in his keep, mutating her into an insect hybrid.
  • Instant Plunder, Just Add Pirates: Kingpin (Captain Wilson Fiske, the King's Pin) and Bullseye (The Bull's Eye) are pirates in this continuity.
  • Jekyll and Hyde: Hulk is the good persona, Banner is a sadistic bastard who was one of the best torture agents in England.
  • Put on a Bus: At the end of the first series the characters talk of making the colony a safe haven for people with unusual abilities. At the beginning of 1602: New World there is a vague mention of the Witchbreed leaving, and they have not been seen or mentioned anywhere else in the follow-up series since.
    • Except Hal McCoy (Beast), who ends up as a test subject for Octavius, and mutated to his familiar blue, ape-like form.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Deciding to become a good man, Banner goes to subject himself to execution. Possibly subverted, however, in that it was likely a ploy to get close to King James as he was shown Hulking Out
  • Revenge Before Reason: Arguably Lord Iron, who doesn't particularly give a damn about either side of the fight, but sides with King James because it means getting to kill Banner.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Once McCoy is released from captivity, he rips his way through the military guards in an attempt to find Octavius, not knowing he's already fled.
  • Shout-Out: The 1602 version of Namor is called "Numenor" after JRR Tolkien's Atlantis, while his kingdom is called Bensaylum after Francis Bacon's New Atlantis.
  • Sissy Villain: King James.
  • Steampunk: Lord Iron's lightning bottle powered armor, which is the only thing keeping him alive after Banner got through with him.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: Arguably, Virginia Dare, in 1602: Spider-Man.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Near the end of 1602: Fantastick Four, the main characters catch a glimpse of the giant form of The Watcher looking down upon them. Everybody is convinced they saw the face of God.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: At the end of Spider-Man 1602, we find out that in the 40s, the Americans discovered an unfinished version of the serum Pym had created from Peter's blood, and refine it to create Captain America.
    • It's also possibly implied that history eventually corrected itself to the point that World War II starts off as normal. Meaning that everything Rohjaz has done to prevent his world from coming to be was all for nothing.
  • Walk the Plank: The crew on Captain Stacy's ship are just about to kill Peter for being Witchbreed when he saves his life by saving their asses from the pirate ship The King's Pin.