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1602 #7

Posted: Friday, February 20, 2004
By: Shawn Hill



ďIn Which Many Patterns May Be Discerned, by Those With Eyes to See ThemĒ

Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Adam Kubert

Publisher: Marvel

Plot:
Bad luck comes home to roost, as a series of disasters befall several principal characters. The Doctor and Inquisitor are punished for their crimes, while Virginia, Jean and Clea suffer for their acts of bravery.

Comments:
If last issue was the action-packed pinnacle of this series thus far, this one symbolizes the other, inevitably mordant side of Gaiman. Death and horror visit our main characters in a variety of guises, with nothing so colorful as a power-mad Von Doom to obviate the heavy hand of fate.

Well, Magneto fares pretty well by finally shedding his Inquisitor robes. It seems in any universe, being all-powerful is a plus. While Dr. Strange is potentially just as powerful, Gaiman writes him as all-too human, compromised by loyalties both chosen and imposed. Itís Clea, anxiously defending her lover and carrying on his mission in his stead, who shines this issue, proving herself the most loyal of mates.

Thereís an interesting bit that I havenít quite figured out, where Angel learns quite to his surprise Jeanís true nature, annoying Scott with his ignorance. Iím not sure why Gaiman is stressing Warrenís concern for young Jean, or it persisting despite any knowledge of her sex.

While her demise is sad (and sadly predictable), exhausted as Jean always is after exerting herself to her fullest, it is Strangeís fate that is truly macabre. Gaiman milks his gruesome end to the fullest. He centers Docís suffering in a medieval world in a very compelling way. We look (a la Poe) at the situation through the eyes of both Doc and Clea. Jean receives a firey memorial, but the real surprise comes from another ship sailing for America. There Clea leads Virginia and Rojhaz, but the mystery is already deepening.

Thereís one more beat to play in this darkening story, and signs point to it being a bravura display of Gaimanís talent. His take on the Marvel universe got off to a slow start, but heís picking up all the threads heís been laying down, at an ever-increasing pace.



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