Thursday, 18 September 2014

Review: Marvel 1602: Spider-Man by Jeff Parker

The fourth and final instalment of the Marvel 1602 series features Spider-Man, my all-time favourite Marvel hero. Whereas none of the sequels can compete with Neil Gaiman's original, I feel that Spider-Man comes close but loses to Fantastick Four due to a couple of grievances.

In a story full of twists, Peter has grown up in the New World and is returning to Europe. He faces familiar villains such as Norman Osborne and Doctor Octopus who have all been reimagined for their appearances in the 17th century. The story flows well and the stakes keep rising until the very end and we get to see shipboard life in the high seas, Carcassonne in France and Venice in Italy, showing that the writer attempted to put in some period colour into the story as well.

However, I'm somewhat bitter about Peter's Spider-Man mask that appeared first in the New World (which makes him more of a direct copy of the modern Spider-Man) and I was annoyed to see yet more familiar mundane characters copied to the 17th century (mentions of Peter's aunt and uncle and a Mary-Jane copycat makes an appearance as well). These aspects undermine the premise set in the Neil Gaiman's original (of superpowered heroes appearing much before their time) and instead make this just another alternate Spider-Man story that we have had so many of.

However, even as third-best in the series (of four), this was well worth a read and I don't mind the couple of hours that I spent with it.