Being a beginner in the world of reading comics is difficult. Seriously, sometimes I think comic publishers make resources hard to find on purpose. One can spend hours searching the internet to find out where to start. DC made it easier for us with their New 52, but what I really wanted was to read Marvel comics without having to read thousands of pages of backstory.
Solving my problem—and that of many others with me—Marvel introduced something new last year: Point One. Point One (or .1 for short) comics are starting points within the continuity of comics. Basically, when a Point One comic comes out, Marvel is saying, “Hey look, newbies, here starts a new story for our superhero, buy this comic!” It’s a great concept, possibly better than the complete reboot DC did. After all, it provides a jumping off point within the continuity, instead of rebooting the entire continuity.
To launch their Point One issues, as well as to lay a foundation for their 2012 stories, Marvel released a 64-page issue, also titled Point One, in September 2011. Promising to be a starting point and must-have for new readers, this issue contains six small stories that hint at things to come. Those stories are bound together with the story of a Watcher that sees the past, present, and future. The story of the Watcher, however, felt forced, incomplete, and unnecessary.
The first story is titled Nova: Harbringer. It is designed to tease at the big crossover event of Avengers vs. X-Men, a separate comic series which started last month. While I did not enjoy the manga-style art, nor the writing—for example, after a planet is blown up, the main character simply says “Epic fail.”—the story somehow intrigued me. A two-page spread showed exactly what will be at stake in AvX.
The second story was a lot more epic than the first. Age of Apocalypse: The Myth of Man gives us a preview of a future earth where mutants have destroyed humans. This story will return for one issue in The Uncanny X-Force #19.1, and from there, it will get its own comic, titled Age of Apocalypse. The writing is great, and the story is intriguing.
The best of the six stories in my opinion was the third, Scarlet Spider: The Scarlet Thread. Where the other two stories left a lot to be guessed by readers, Scarlet Spider actually gives a great introduction to this new character who gets a new series of his own. I am definitely interested in this series, and can’t wait to find out more about the character of Scarlet Spider, who was first introduced during the Spider Island event.
From there, Point One went downhill rapidly, starting with the fourth story, Yin and Yang: a cliché tale of conjoined twins who can, between them, manipulate fire and ice. While this story still had something interesting, the cut-off felt merely annoying to me. This annoyance was amplified when, no matter how much time I spent on Google, I had no clue where these characters would pop up next. All readers really know is that it will have something to do with The Avengers.
The low point of Point One was reached with Doctor Strange: The Shaman of Greenwich Village—a weird, random story of incomprehensible events that happen within both the waking world and a character’s dreams. The problem is that there is no way of telling the two apart. Doctor Strange will return in a new series called Defenders. This is one comic I will stay far away from.
Last comes the story of Avengers: Age of Ultron, teasing a new dystopian type event. In this story, we meet a future Spiderman and Hawkeye, on the run from weird robots. This story was intriguing, good-looking, and pretty cool. It’s definitely too short, but based on the event it hints at, The Age of Ultron already seems like it will be a must-read series.
In the end, Marvel’s Point One is really just one big trailer to their new season of comics. It may add some cool teases for fans of these comics, but it absolutely doesn’t do what it promises for new readers. Sure, I’m intrigued about some of these comics and events, but in hindsight, I would rather just have started reading at the beginning of those stories. If this issue is aimed towards new readers, it fails completely. It took me way too much effort to even find out where these stories continue.