The year is...well, 1602. Dr. Strange and Nicholas Fury are advisers to the embattled Queen of England, mutantkind has been targeted by the Spanish Inquisition, and Peter Parquagh is a budding young adventurer who thinks spiders are neat. Transporting Marvel characters to an alternate Renaissance is a nifty high concept. Fortunately, with erudite scribe Neil Gaiman (''The Sandman'') at the helm, there's nothing gimmicky (or pretentious) about it. Rendered rich and dark by artists Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove, and accessible to those who don't know X-Men from eczema, ''1602'' is a triumph. The Marvel universe hasn't been this engrossing in ages. Literally.