Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artists: Andy Kubert, Richard Isanove (Painted colours)
Finally, some questions are answered, and forces are mustered to end the threat to the world. This is a highly successful climax to a series that at times looked to be rather over-hyped. There was still a lot of filler, and there were some clumsy storytelling moments, but it’s all made up for in this final issue. The questions of where Spider-Man and the Hulk are in the 1602 world are finally answered, in a couple of neat moments that are almost throwaway in the way they’re shown. It really is a very well constructed finale, and is left wonderfully open for Marvel to spend the next ten years strip-mining for stories, if DC’s treatment of Gaiman’s Sandman is anything to go on. The characters are exceptionally well-written, and it’s clear who Gaiman’s favourites are. One monocular character is particularly well-written in this last issue, and it’s surely no coincidence that his exit here is so ambiguous, given that Gaiman is contracted to write one more series for Marvel…
Even during Gaiman’s writing slumps, Andy Kubert produced excellent artwork, and the increased page count this issue means that the occasionally cramped pages of previous issues are gone allowing Kubert to produce some fine work in the greater space he’s given to work. Richard Isanove’s colouring, or “Digital Painting” as it’s called here, has been subtly spectacular throughout the series, but the apocalyptic nature of this issue gives him a chance to go wild with a more varied palette, to extraordinary effect.
There were times when I thought that this series was a pointless bit of fluff. Certain issues in the middle of the run failed to move the story along, and it became hard to see this as anything more than a vanity project for Gaiman and Marvel, something they’d agreed to do, but didn’t have much enthusiasm for. But in this final issue, Gaiman has pulled it all together in a splendid and satisfying way that has pleasantly surprised me. I think this is where I eat my hat, so pass the Lea and Perrins…
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!