It’s a Graphic Bits Special: a full-sized review of comic book goodness designed to get behind the panels and into your hearts.
This week we look at Marvel Point One #1, the blueprint for Marvel NOW! over the coming year. Our bite-sized Graphic Bits will also be along this week, but at 52 pages and X stories, this one warranted some attention.
Don’t forget to listen to Behind the Panels, our weekly comic book podcast, as well.
Late last year, Marvel released the oversized Marvel Point One, promising “the future begins here”. Less than a year late, the publicity for Marvel NOW! Point One #1 assures us “It starts now!”. Tying in with the relaunched titles for Marvel NOW!, the oversized anthology issue asks the question “Who will shape the future of the Marvel universe?”. For the reader, it asks a far more pertinent question: ‘Which one of these books are you likely to buy?’ Like all anthologies, this one is a bit of a mixed bag filled with some titles that will be be must-buys, where others will be met with a profound ‘meh’. For this lucky dip, Marvel is only asking $5.99, a few dollars above their regular price point.
A mysterious traveller has arrived from the future, and begins making big moves on the stock exchange. This triggers S.H.I.E.L.D involvement, with Nick Fury, Maria Hill and Agent Coulson pulling him in for questioning. He begins spinning crazy tales, each of which seems to spark a short story in comic book form. This issue consists of the following:
“Nick Fury” by Nick Spencer, Luke Ross, and Lee Loughridge
“Starlord” by Brian Bendis, Steve McNiven, John Dell, and Justin Ponsor
“Nova” by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, and Marte Gracia
“Miss America” by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Mike Norton, and Matthew Wilson
“Ant-Man” by Matt Fraction and Mike & Laura Allred
“Forge” by Dennis Hopeless, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and David Curiel
“Starlord” is a prelude to Brian Michael Bendis taking on Guardians of the Galaxy next year, and the book is something of an oddity. Bendis had promised to go back to StarLord’s origin, but we didn’t realise it would be immediately. Peter Quill has extraterrestrial connections before he was even born, fathered by Prince Jason of Spartoi, so when alien assassins arrive vowing to end the ‘Spartoi bloodline’, his mother Meredith is killed. Fleeing from the attackers, he finds a mysterious weapon hidden in his house. Cue the wait until Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 in February, where Bendis will pick up where Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA) left off in The Thanos Imperative. We’ve already had a taste of what Bendis will do with the Guardians in the pages of Avengers Assemble, but this is just a big tease. That’s not to say it isn’t an intriguing tease, but it was an odd place to start this series. We look forward to seeing more, especially given the nonchalant Quill has now had his childhood exposed for all to see.
“Nova“, on the other hand, is flat-out fun. Like DC’s Green Lantern, several people have worn the bucket mantle of Nova over the years, and the (presumably) late Richard Rider was the longest-serving. The new Nova, Sam Alexander, was actually introduced in the last anthology Marvel Point One. Since then, he has only really been seen in Avengers Vs. X-Men, but this short story proves that Loeb’s take is exactly what is needed to keep the light of the Nova Force alive. The art style of McGuinness may be at odds with the Nova of old, but it perfectly suits this fun and quirky take on a new character. DnA’s comics were always full of humour, and while this might be a little more goofy than old school fans are used to, but it is exactly the sort of introduction needed to hook new fans and tease the rest of us of the good things to come when Nova launches in February next year.
We’re not quite sure we get the “Miss America“, a prelude to Young Avengers, solicited as being from “Gillen/McKelvie/Wilson (with added Norton Sauce)”. This short stars Miss America and a young Loki causing mischief on a minor level, all over a diner meal. It’s a little bit offbeat, and this seems like as good a place as any to start one of a half-dozen Avengers books in Marvel NOW! It stands out from the crowd in this anthology, but we’ll need a little more convincing before we invest in a whole series.
“Ant-Man“, ostensibly Fraction and the Allred’s introduction to their new FF book coming next month, is the top choice in the book. A complete story in just 8 pages, Fraction creates a convincing story of minor revenge for Scott Lang, who is still hurting over the loss of his daughter. Fraction’s story asks us “what is art?” at the start, and Allred and his wife go on to show us exactly what art is within the context of this amazing tale. Allred is perfectly suited to giving us a battle between Ant-Man and an eyelash mite, making what could be a silly outing into one of the most perfectly natural things in the world. With all eyes on Ant-Man over the next few years after the announcement of the film, this is as good a reason as any to check out the character and the new book that will see him star alongside Medusa (of the Inhumans), She-Hulk and Miss Thing.
The “Forge” story is a mostly forgettable one, especially given we thought that Forge was dead. This story, in which Forge runs from a giant brain monster (yes, you read that correctly) merely serves to foreshadow his upcoming appearance in Cable and the X-Force from Dennis Hopeless. He’s really setting himself up for a fall publishing under that name, isn’t he?