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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

“Reed says that God made a thousand, thousand worlds, each like this one, only different. I hope there's one of them where I chose to walk another path. But I fear that in any universe my path will be marked with blood.”

-- Nicholas Fury, from 1602 #8


Doom gets ready to deal with a nuisance.

(Click panels for larger images.) _________________________

Featured Characters:

  • Doctor Stephen Strange
  • Sir Nicholas Fury
  • Queen Elizabeth
  • Werner/Angel
  • Peter Parquagh
  • Matthew Murdoch
  • Clea Strange
  • Virginia Dare
  • Rojhaz/Steve Rogers
  • The Grand Inquisitor
  • Wanda
  • Petros
  • Roberto Trefusis/Iceman
  • Scotius Somerisle
  • Donal, the Old Man/Thor
  • Jean Grey
  • Beast
  • Carlos Javier
  • Natasha
  • Count Otto Von Doom
  • King James
  • David Banner
  • Toad
  • Sir Richard Reed
  • Susan Storm
  • John Storm
  • Capt. Benjamin Grimm
  • Uatu, the Watcher

From the Inside Dustflap:

Neil Gaiman's vision of the Marvel Universe in the year 1602!

The year is 1602, and strange things are stirring in England. In the service of Queen Elizabeth, court magician Dr. Stephen Strange senses that the bizarre weather plaguing the skies above is not of natural origin. Her majesty's premier spy, Sir Nicholas Fury, fends off an assassination attempt on the Queen by winged warriors rumored to be in service to a mad despot named Doom. News is spreading of "witchbreed" sightings- young men bearing fantastic superhuman powers and abilities. And in the center of the rising chaos is Virginia Dare, a young girl newly arrived from the New World, guarded by a towering Indian warrior. Can Fury and his allies find a connection to these unusual happenings before the whole world ends?

In Marvel 1602, award-winning writer Neil Gaiman and artists Andy Kubert present a unique vision of the Marvel universe set four hundred years in the past. Classic Marvel icons such as the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Daredevil appear in this intriguing world of 17th-century science and sorcery, instantly familiar to readers, yet subtly different in this new time. Marvel 1602 combines classic Marvel action and adventure with the historically accurate setting of Queen Elizabeth's reign to create a unique series unlike any other published by Marvel Comics.


  Marvel 1602

Reprints: Marvel 1602 #1-8

List price: $24.99 (US) • $40.00 (Canada)
ISBN: 0-7851-1070-4
248 pages

Original Release Date: 10/6/04
Current In-Print Edition: First Print

SPECIAL BONUS FEATURES: (34 pages total)

  • "Time After Time: From 1602 to 2004" Introduction by Peter Sanderson (2 pages)
  • Afterword by Neil Gaiman, written 6/30/04 (2 pages)
  • 1602 Book One script by Neil Gaiman (14 pages)
  • Character Sketches (9 pages)
    • Queen Elizabeth
    • Dr. Stephen Strange
    • Sir Nicholas Fury
    • Inquisitor
    • Virginia Dare & Rojhaz
    • Matthew Murdoch & Peter Parquagh
    • Angel
    • Wanda
    • Thor
  • Scott McKowen cover process (3 pages)
  • Analysis of Andy Kubert's "enhanced pencil" process (3 pages)
  • Introduction page to 1602 #5, exposition cartoon by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert (1 page)

Writer: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Andy Kubert
Digital Painting: Richard Isanove
Letters: Todd Klein
Cover Artist: Scott McKowen
Additional Art Content: reprinted from Steve Ditko's Dr. Strange
Editors: Nick Lowe and Joe Quesada

Buy From:
TALES OF WONDER: $17.49 • AMAZON USA: $24.99
AMAZON UK: £12.54 • AMAZON CANADA: $22.07


1602 #1:
"In Which We Are Introduced to Certain of Our Players"
34 pages + cover • November 2003

In the year 1602, Sir Nicholas Fury and Doctor Stephen Strange provide consultation to the elderly Queen of England about a mysterious shipment of a powerful but unknown item into the country from Jerusalem, an item which has the intelligencia of the rest of the civilized world focused on it. Strange wonders if this potential weapon is responsible for odd weather patterns hanging over the country.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Inquisition readies the execution of a young man with wings- one of the "Witchbreed."

Sir Fury and his young protege Peter Parquagh meet with a blind musician and skilled acrobat who provides Fury with intelligence on the Jerusalem delivery, as well as instructions to greet the delivery man and consolidate safe passage for him.

Stephen Strange goes into a vision trance and sees images of a young girl and her Native American guide passing through the seas on a ship, the winged boy about to be put to death, and a nun bedecked in a crimson habit- she spots him witnessing her and waves him away. Strange wakes suddenly in a sweat, and Clea helps him to bed.

The nun, Sister Wanda, is discussing the power of the one who just spied on her with the Grand Inquisitor. He suggests it was his arch-enemy Javier. He sends a message with the boy Petros, that special care is to be taken with the execution of the winged Witchbreed, so that he will not fall into the hands of Javier.

On the ship The Virginia Maid, the white-haired girl and her Indian companion continue to their destination in England, while Peter and Sir Fury discuss the role of the ancient Templars in the current intrigue. Suddenly, they are attacked by a man wielding a knife, but Fury dispatches him.

Murdock, the blind musician, stands watch on his ship with his mate Captain Nelson, awaiting the delivery. The next day, before the winged boy is able to be burned at the stake, he is broken loose by a band of super-powered young men- one who can project beams from his eyes and another with power over ice. As the Queen dreams of an old man ferrying a valuable but unknown cargo across long distances, the winged boy is taken to a ship to be ferried to Javier's school, where he and his compatriots will be safe, at least for a moment in time.

* * *

1602 #2:
"In Which Things Begin to Change"
22 pages + cover • November 2003

Sir Nicholas Fury journeys to visit Carlos Javier at his school. He is greeted by the man known as the Beast, who carries the paralyzed head of the school to greet Fury. They discuss the ramifications of regional politics should the Queen die and King James of Scotland were to acquire the throne, and later, Javier takes Fury out to see his students in action. The five of them, all boys whose powers can control ice, contain extraordinary athletic maneuvering, winged flight, optic blasts and telekenesis. Peter goes to see Mistress Dare, the young girl from the ship, but her Indian companion named Rojhaz stands in his way. The little girl intercedes and allows Peter to take the both of them to greet the Queen. Later in their journey to see the Queen, young Peter tells Virginia Dare about his past story, and the sadness he has living up to the responsibility of being Fury's asset. The blind man Matthew greets a discreet young woman named Natasha in the city square, and they convene to a carriage where together they will help the Old Man carry his cargo from the Templars to England. On the journey, Matthew tells Natasha of how he became blind; she is not so forthcoming about who she works for as an agent.

In Latveria, Count Otto Von Doom plans strategies surrounding the traffic from Jerusalem, and in Scotland, King James greets young Petros, who delivers a message from the Grand Inquisitor, who declares that he will help King James round up all the Witchbreed and destroy them whenever he should gain the crown from the Queen, and he will also stand in the way of Javier. After the meeting, Petros races across the channel to Spain at lightning speed to deliver James' response to his master.

After witnessing Javier's young boys in action, Fury wonders aloud where Javier's resultant loyalties will lie: with the Queen or with his own kind. Javier tells Fury that there are three assassins out to kill him, the Queen and Virginia Dare. He knows not why. When Virginia Dare finally meets the Queen, she is attacked by an assassin that swoops from the heights like a vulture. He grabs her and makes away to the rafters, but Rojhaz flings a serving tray at him and it knocks him out. But when he falls to the ground, Virginia does not fall with him. The flying vulture man has talon marks slashed across his face, and Virginia flies away outside in the form of a white owl.

* * *

1602 #3:
"In Which There Is Much to Be Learned And the Queen Is Given a Gift"
22 pages + cover • December 2003

From an unknown vantage point, seemingly in outer space, there is one who watches all these events unfold. He does not act, he merely watches.

Rojhaz races up to the roof to find Virginia. Dr. Strange is there to greet him, and they work together to capture the shape-shifting girl without hurting her or themselves. She is now in the form of a griffin, and by the time Fury has scaled the walls to the roof, they have her safely back in human form. They play coy with their knowledge of the girl's true nature with Fury.

The Grand Inquisitor greets an envoy from the Church, who asks to speak in a most private place about grave matters. The Grand Inquisitor leads him down into the catacombs, and they discuss potential problems between the Church and the forthcoming transfer of power in the event of the Queen's death. This is all a setup to assassinate the Grand Inquisitor, and the Church envoy draws a knife of forged steel; the Grand Inquisitor uses his powers of magnetism to stab him with his own knife, sending him tumbling down into a deep pit in the catacombs.

At Javier's school, the boy with wings- named Werner- talks with the boy who is a telekenetic- named John Grey, and they discuss the future of children who have powers like them. Scotius comes along to call them to morning prayers, where Javier invokes not only the wish that they be protected from those that hate them, but to not give in to hate themselves.

Matthew and Natasha are swamped from the storm in their travels, and their horses are spent. They manage to steal some horses at an inn and continue on their way. Meanwhile, the Queen is being consulted on security matters by Fury. He tells her there is an assassin out to murder her: she tut tuts this information, and is soon after given a gift by Count Otto Von Doom of Latveria- a statue of a trumpeter who plays music "without human hand."

Peter heads to the home of Stephen Strange to check on Virginia Dare, who is now in his care. Strange finds out that Virginia changes into animal form whenever she is scared, and that much of the strange weather afflicting the region is rooted around her.

Fury is in the guardhouse interrogating the assassin who tried to kill him. He wants to know who sent him. The man finally breaks: it is Doom. Fury realizes in an instant what terrible fate he has left the Queen with. Sure enough, Doom's gift has laid down its lethal blow.

* * *

1602 #4:
"In Which Much Is Explained and Things Do Not Always Work Out For The Best"
22 pages + cover • January 2004

Clea cares for Virginia Dare as she awakes, and Stephen Strange explains to her what has happened. He also tells her of the successful assassination attempt on the Queen's life. They table investigating her powers and purpose until she can regain more of her strength. In Newcastle, Sir Fury meets with King James and they discuss the transition of power; James threatens Fury if he protects him only as well as he protected the Queen.

Matthew and Natasha cross a bridge over a river on their way to Trieste to meet the Old Man. Natasha persuades Matthew to reveal to him the exact location of where they are meeting him with the treasure of the Templars. Once she has the information, she pushes him over the side of the bridge and carries on to meet the Old Man. In England, Fury sends Peter with a message to Javier: the King demands they surrender to him at once. The Grand Inquisitor tells Wanda and Petros that once they receive all the captured Witchbreed from King James, the "lessons will begin."

Doom is in Latveria, experimenting with new forms of science and technology passed on to him by one of his unknown captives. He visits two of them on his way to his main captive- a seemingly scientific genius who is passing on secrets of technology to Doom in exchange for the survival of his three friends and himself. The captive seems very interested in the "strange weather" that Doom seems reluctant to want to talk about.

Peter delivers Fury's message to Javier. They decide instead to meet Fury's advance guard with a defense posture uniquely their own.

Virginia Dare tells the story of how her colony settled Roanoke in the New World, and how they came to befriend Rojhaz, who helped them fight off leatherwing dinosaurs and provide safe food for them to eat. She tells of how she first changed into animal forms and how Rojhaz stayed with her as her protector. She tells of her mission to England on behalf of her father, to persuade them to send money, supplies and more people to the New World to help them establish civilization there. She also tells of how the strange weather is also wreaking havoc there, as it is in England and all over the world.

Natasha meets up with a band of warriors who help her take the Old Man's cargo from him, but Matthew is there to greet her and try to protect him. Natasha's forces are too overwhelming, and they take Matthew captive along with the Old Man, and take them with them on their way to her master: Count Otto Von Doom.

* * *

1602 #5:
"In Which A Treacherous Course Is Plotted"
21 pages + cover • February 2004

Fury meets with Strange on the battleplains beyond Javier's school, where Fury is marshaling his troops with orders not to hurt any of the Witchbreed they catch. Strange tells Fury it was Doom who has captured the weapon of the Templars. Later, Fury collects his boy Peter at Javier's school, and the negotiates for their calm surrender. Meanwhile, Petros elivers messages from the Grand Inquisitor to both King James, reminding him to turn over all Witchbreed to him, and to the Vatican, where a toadlike creature claims to be working on the inside of the Church on behalf of the Inquisitor.

Doom possesses a glowing, golden globe that he has taken from the Old Man, Donal, and he is trying to figure out its secrets. He cannot do it alone, and he goes to his captive in the depths of his castle- Reed. Reed has little information he can give, and Doom's lover, Natasha, warns him to be careful with its power. In their cell, Donal and Matthew slumber. Strange visits in his apparitional form, talking with Donal about the nature of his weapon from Jerusalem. He says the golden ball is merely a diversion- the real weapon is still undetected by Doom.

Strange comes back to his host body and tells Clea he had visions of Earth, Air, Water and Fire held captive in a castle keep. Clea wonders if it wasn't the crew of the Fantastick that he had seen; a foursome who had disappeared lately, after gaining magical powers after their research ship passed through an eerie glow across the ocean. They fought off monsters and on behalf of the weak before they disappeared. Now they wonder if they are Doom's captives.

Young Werner and Scotius argue with each other about the attentions given to Master John Gray. Scotius is very protective of Grey. Fury convenes with Javier and Stephen Strange, and despite his misgivings about the potential for treachery, he bands with them to save the Fantasticks and wrest the weapon from Doom. Fury makes arrangements to get a ship to convey their stealth war party to their destination in Latveria, and he also sends his aide Peter Parquagh off to home. Fury makes a show of taking the Witchbreed away in chains under the custody of King James, but once in the harbor and at a safe distance, Scotius uses his optic eye beams to blast a force beam which propels them away from shore at rapid speed. Then, with Javier augmenting the powers of young Master John- now revealed as a disguised female named Jean- the ship lifts up into the sky and takes to flight.

As Peter and Stephen watch the amazing sight, Strange slips into a seeming coma. He has been transported somewhere far away...to another planet, it seems, where someone awaits him with an "explanation...."

* * *

1602 #6:
"Alarums and Excursions"
24 pages + cover • March 2004

Stephen Strange finds himself on the moon, talking with a being called the Watcher, who explains to him a being called the Forerunner has been deposited in their timeline. The Forerunner is a being from the future that belongs nowhere near where he is now, and that his very existence has created a situation that the universe is overcompensating for trying to solve: thus the strange storms and disturbances that, if left unchecked, will destroy not only the planet, but the Universe. He implants in Strange's mind all the information he needs to help fight this, but forbids him of speaking of it while he lives. He sends him back to his host body.

As Fury's ship flies across the skies towards Latveria, the large, Thinglike creature imprisoned in Doom's catacombs is trying to push his way through his cell enclosure. Doom greets Petros at his gates, who informs him that Fury is on the way with Javier's warriors. Doom prepares his defenses. When the Thing creature creates vibrating tremors, the shock helps Matthew break his bonds; he and Donal can make their escape.

Jean Grey is keeping the ship afloat while Doom sends his vulture warriors to fight Fury. Javier's children lay waste to the vultures, at the very same time that the Thing creature's vibrations have finally helped free the Invisible Storm girl, who has been imprisoned in a reflecting mirror in Doom's bedroom. The mirror shatters in the face of Natasha, causing her to fall to the floor. Susan Storm releases her brother- a flaming being- and Reed, a man who can stretch his body and limbs.

Matthew leaps down to the castle courtyard with Donal, and they go find the real weapon of the Templars in his cart: a spindly old cane of wood. Donal is not sure what will happen, but he knows he must strike it to the ground. A loud thunderclap arises. A sudden lightning storm bursts forth, and rain helps the boy with ice powers to destroy the vulture creatures with frozen rain. Reed and his family have sprung forth from the castle to fight Doom, who thinks the lightning will now power up his golden globe weapon; the lightning crashes into the globe, burning Doom the Handsome to a crisp. The storm and all its fury is conjured by Donal, now the Mighty Thor.

Fury reunites with Reed, his best friend, and they greet their new compatriot, Thor. Matthew says his goodbyes to the super-beings, who move on to the next part of their journey. Natasha hovers over the body of her lover, Doom, who's face is completely disfigured.

In Spain, the Grand Inquisitor has been double-crossed by his supposed insider the Toad. The Vatican has taken him, Petros and Wanda prisoner, and set to burn them at the stake posthaste.

* * *

1602 #7:
"In Which Many Patterns May Be Discerned By Those With Eyes To See Them"
23 pages + cover • April 2004

While Stephen Strange awaits his execution in his jail cell- having recently been arrested by King James- the Grand Inquisitor and his two proteges, Wanda and Petros, are about to be burned at the stake. James elects to burn all the Inquisitor's notes and artifacts along with him as a sadistic punishment, but among the artifacts is a metal helmet that the Inquisitor lifts up in the air and settles on his head with his powers over magnetism. He bursts himself and the others from the chains that bind them to the stakes and beats down his oppressors, taking the Toad creature with him as they escape.

On Fury's ship, the new "super team" discusses their next move. Fury is bitter that he has had to betray his country, and that all his associates are surely being imprisoned and killed by King James. Virginia Dare and Rhojaz meet Clea outside the King's palace, where they discuss Stephen Strange's impending execution.

Back on the ship, Somerisle explains to the Angel that "Master" Grey is actually a girl, cloaked to look like a boy in order to not arouse suspicion from outsiders as to the nature of Javier's collection of children. Jean is lying on her deathbed, after the massive expenditure of her power to keep the ship flying to its destination. When she expires, the crew sadly inters her body to the ashes in the sky, and in a brilliant exchange of energy, a massive flame in the shape of a Phoenix bird flares up, and then dissipates.

Stephen Strange is beheaded as King James and Peter look on. His ephemeral spirit lives on, though, as Clea discusses what her next move is to be: she is to help the others send the Forerunner back to his correct timeline, pushing him back to the future through the same gate he came to the past through. Clea collects Strange's head and travels to meet up with the crew in the New World, taking Virginia Dare and Rojahz with her.

King James and his chief aide Banner persuade Peter Parquagh to betray Nick Fury so they can bring him to be executed. The boy reluctantly agrees, and he prepares to head to the New World with Banner to track Fury down. Meanwhile, the Grand Inquisitor gathers his Brotherhood of Witchbreed and they, too, make off for the New World to make new lives for themselves.

On board their ship, Clea explains to Virginia Dare and Rojhaz their mission- to return the Forerunner to the future. In so doing, she manages to get the Forerunner himself to admit who he is: Rojhaz is the Forerunner.

* * *

1602 #8:
"The Way of the World"
35 pages + cover • June 2004

Rojhaz explains how he is actually Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, from the 20th century. He explains his origin as a super-soldier for America, but as time went on, America became a dictatorship and hated what he stood for, so he joined the underground movement to topple the government. The current political leader at the time sent him back in time so he couldn't instigate any trouble, and that's how he wound up in 1602. When he stumbled onto Virginia Dare, the first true American, he decided to protect her from all harm as a sign of his loyalty to the American Dream.

After Thor contemplates taking his leave from his comrades, Fury explains to the head of the Virginia colony- Ananias Dare- that King James will come and destroy the colony if he thinks of the colonists as willing collaborators, so Fury concocts a plan to "capture" the colony. Meanwhile, Fury's crew sits and waits for the three powerful forces converging on the New World. Angel and Iceman go out to freeze the Inquistor's ship in a solid block of ice as Javier negotates with him through a mental link.

Clea arrives with Strange's head, and once she is able to reanimate it, Strange tells Fury and the rest what their plan is: they must return Steve Rogers to the future through the time rift where he came from. Virginia Dare leads them to the place where the rift is located, and they discuss how to get Rogers into it. Fury meets Peter out on the beach and encourages the boy to go ahead and kill him as King James instructed- he promises not to fight back, as he feels all the fight has left him. Peter is unable to do so, and runs away.

Javier gets the Inquisitor to agree to stand with them to face whatever may come. The Inquisitor is able to use his powers to reopen the time rift. They begin to get their plan in order, though time is running out, but realize they are missing their key ingredient- Steve Rogers. Fury tracks him down and tries to talk him into give up his wish to stay with the Virginia colony and protect them. Unsuccessful, Fury manages to knock him out and take his body with him. As Fury carries Steve Rogers across the bog, Banner and Peter are there to manage the assassination attempt. As Banner sizes up Fury in the scope of his crossbow, Peter sics his dog on him and knocks him down. Fury is clear to make his path unhindered to the time rift. Thor helps channel the lightning that energizes the time rift, and Fury carries Steve Rogers and tosses him into it, losing his own life in the process.

Banner is nearby and pushes Peter down so he is not bathed in the enormous stream of energy unleashed by the explosion. The Watcher looks down approvingly, and meets with an associate that agrees that order has been restored. Clea returns home to her alternate dimension that she came from. Banner has turned into a huge, hulking monster that wanders the forests, and Peter stands with Virginia Dare, discussing pulling his aunt and uncle out of England to escape the wrath of King James. Unsuspectingly, a spider falls down out of the tree and bites him on the hand.

-- synopsis by Gormuu


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