Illustrated by Andy Kubert, digital paint by Richard Isanove
Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Nicholas Fury, is attempting to secure the weapon of the Knights Templar by sending his man, the Bard Murdock, to make sure it arrives in England safely. The queen’s personal physician, Doctor Strange, struggles to divine all of the moving mechanisms throughout the world. King James of Scotland messages Enrique of the Inquisition through his son Petros to coordinate the removal of Carlos Javier’s School of Witchbreed Children. Meanwhile, Virginia Dare and her protector, the Indian Rojhaz, sail to England to be the Queen for more men and resources for the colony of Roanoke. Count Otto Van Doom the Handsome plots to steal the weapon of the Templars and take over the world. He bilks the crew of The Fantastic into divulging secrets he can exploit to become stronger. All these characters and more are plucked from the pages of modern comics and woven into Elizabethan England for a grand out-of-their-time adventure
It was really interesting to see all of these characters in a different setting. I like how each of them got adapted, including a female character passing for a boy because of lack of opportunities for girls. There was also a subtle change for one hero to being gay in this timeline. In true Neil Gaiman fashion, there were several plots woven throughout the eight issues, and the threads came together in interesting ways in issue seven to build the perfect climax. The explanation of how all these heroes got to 1602 is clever and not obvious right up to the reveal. This story is intriguing and captivating. Kubert's illustrations simultaneously honor the original character designs and give the entire piece an antique wash with artistic choices in homage to 1600s artwork. Digital artist Richard Isanove's color pallet is beautiful and complementary to the antique ambiance of the piece.
There are only a few references that hint at adult situations in this novel. There is some violence, but the bloodshed is minor. Other than historical references to Elizabethan England for which they may have no context, there is nothing about this title that would make it inappropriate for junior high students.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 6-12
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability Level: Middle School, Suitability Level: High School, Comicbooks, Superheroes, Historical Fiction
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