Sudden strange disturbances in weather have provoked panic all over Europe. With Queen Elizabeth on her deathbed, political maneuvering has begun in an effort to slide the “witchbreed” (mutants) hating James VI of Scotland into a ruling position. Before her passing, the Queen instructs Sir Nicolas Fury to arrange for the safe passage of an unknown item making its way to England under the protection of the Knights Templar. Why weren’t the Knights Templar protection enough? Well, there are many powerful men and women who seek the item and will stop at nothing to claim ownership.
Neil Gaiman asks the question – what if the Marvel universe began 400 years earlier? He tries his best to give you an answer.
Unfortunately, I didn’t quite care for this.
The whole story felt overly gimmicky rather than creative and original. Switching up the names certainly made sense based on the era in which Gaiman was setting the story but I found them hokey and distracting. Charles Xavier as Carlos Javier? Peter Parker as Peter Parquagh? Meh. Daredevil was another lost cause. While he had a pretty strong presence in the story, he came across as annoying.
I’ll give Gaiman some points for taking a unique approach to the Marvel universe but I just couldn’t get behind this. I can usually breeze through trades in a night, two nights tops but this here collection took me much, much longer. I felt myself constantly drifting, struggling to pay attention. The writing would often grab me if I stumbled across a memorable scene or exchange between two characters but it was few and far between.
I don’t think this was really for me. Clearly people love it. It’s won numerous awards including a Quill for Best Graphic Novel in 2005. I just had so much trouble getting into it. I suppose I was just bored.