1602: New World #2

Background

Everyone knows about Marvel 1602, right? Written by Neil Gaiman and set in the Elizabethan Era – pretty much a match made in heaven! It was a big seller for Marvel, so, of course, several spin-offs (NOT written by Neil Gaiman) were launched to capitalize on its popularity. This particular book follows the contingent of heroes left in America after the events of the original miniseries - mainly focusing on the Hulk and Spider-Man.

Story Details

  1602: New World #2
Summary: Peter Parquagh Stars
Editor: Nick Lowe
Writer: Greg Pak
Pencils: Greg Tocchini
Inker: Oclair Albert

A man wearing a green doublet (I think that's what you call those things) and a purple half-cloak, who is clearly Norman Osborn, is trying to make a deal with the Native American tribe that shares the island of Roanoke with the English settlers. He wants to buy the entire island for a bag of trinkets (just like that old wives tale about Manhattan being sold for 25 dollars). Most members of the tribe just want to kill Osborn outright, but their leader, Marioac, is a little less bloodthirsty. You see, this particular Native American tribe has a few advantages the ones in our reality didn't have. During the time that Rojaz was living with them (during the original series) he not only taught them English, but also told them to never trust the settlers. Before the negotiations go even more sideways they are interrupted by a stegosaurus that comes crashing through their village.

Peter Parquagh and some kids from the village are holding on for dear life. The kids are having lots of fun, Peter not so much. The dinosaur eventually succeeds in bucking one of the kids off its back, and Peter makes a daring save by hanging off its tail and snatching the kid out of the air. This is all viewed by both Norman and Marioac. The kid Peter saved turns out to be her grandson. The English kids (somehow safely off the dinosaur's back) see Norman and ask what he's doing with the Indians. He lies and says he was looking for them. Marioac is tired of Norman's scheming already, and tells him that if the kids had not arrived when they did he would be dead. I did says she was only slightly less bloodthirsty, didn't I?

We switch to Peter leaping about in the forest, hardly believing his eyes. Clinging to every surface, jumping higher and higher. And flashbacking to last issue's cliffhanger... The Hulk is forcing open the maw of the T-Rex formerly known as Virginia Dare. Peter recognizes the scrap of purple robes as that of Bruce Banner. (There's no such thing as secret identities in 1602, apparently!) The Hulk is flung into the printing house of the Daily Trumpet, destroying the press. Jonah runs to check on the damage while the Hulk leaps back out. Peter tries to save the publisher from the T-Rex, but Jonah just yells at him. Before they both get eaten, a shot rings out. Govenor Dare has shot his own daughter with a musket! She has enough memories of her previous form to keep from attacking her father. Peter then grabs her tail (heh) and sticks to the end of it while the T-Rex exits the village and disappears into the forest. Meanwhile, the villagers start picking through the wreckage of their village and Jonah is the first to shout “Arrest that man!” while pointing at the Hulk. The Hulk just stands there next to one of the dead dinosaurs.

Meanwhile, Peter, still clinging to Virginia, tries to calm her down enough so she can transform back to her human form and stop stomping around the forest. In Roanoke, the Hulk is soothing the baby dinosaur he saved last issue. I think the dead dinosaur was its mother. Jonah is demanding he pay for the destruction of his press. Governor Dare, with the backing of Dougan, decides to thank the Hulk for helping instead. Then, Jonah makes the mistake of kicking Hulk's baby dinosaur friend. Hulk quickly grabs him and puts him in choke hold. Just then, Peter returns with Virginia Dare in his arms. They recognize each other (from when the Anomaly exploded). Peter tells him, “When you remember who I am, you'll remember yourself.” He also adds “... you will not kill that man. Because you are no killer.” The Hulk disagrees, saying while he is no killer, Banner most certainly is (ooh, foreshadowing). Then he changes back into Banner before the entire village. Everyone is more upset at the appearance of Banner than the Hulk! They still believe he is an agent of King James sent to destroy the colony. Dougan wants to behead him. Governor Dare tells him to sheath his sword. He doesn't want the justice of the Old World to taint the new one. Dougan disagrees and takes a swing. Only, Banner's dinosaur friend snags him by his robes and carries him off.

In the evening, more drama unfolds. Peter stays up and talks with Virginia Dare. She says she is worried about taking on the mentality of the beasts she transforms into and one day she may get stuck and be unable to change form. Meanwhile, Jonah is trying to get the town council to ban super-powered beings of any kind. He says they only bring trouble (amen to that!). Norman Osborn gets in on the act, saying the Indians, with the help of Rojaz, brought the Witchbreed to plague the colonists and drive them away. Then, he claims that the two English children that were carried off by the dinosaur were actually kidnapped by the Indians who are still plotting to destroy them all. Peter listens in. After the meeting convenes, Peter talks to Governor Dare in private. He tells him that Osborn is lying, but he has no proof.

On the other side of the globe, King James is having an agent of King Philip of Spain (an ally of the king because they are both Catholic monarchs) electrify his palace windows to prevent any future attacks from The Devil (that's Daredevil to you and me). Who is this agent? No other than Lord Iron (that's Iron Man to you and me). Afterwards, King James gives him a new mission, telling him to sail to the New World, find Banner, and discover why he has betrayed his king. Lord Iron swears to kill him.

General Comments

King James is still eyeing the colonies. The Indians have something up their sleeves. Norman Osborn is pursuing his own secret agenda. Is Bruce Banner a hero or villain? And where does Lord Iron fit in

Overall Rating

Things are getting more complex, but everyone's characterization is very satisfying.

Footnote

According to Wikipedia, in our own reality, King James I was king of England from 1603 to 1625. He did indeed succeed Queen Elizabeth, and was also the son of Mary Queen of Scots. He was an authoritarian jerk, but no more than most rulers in those days. He is famous for several things that still bear his name to this day - Jamestown in Virginia (established in 1607) and the King James Bible (published in 1611). He was also a firm believer in witchcraft and attended at least one witchcraft trial in Scotland.