There is plenty going on in Marvel comics at the moment and their world is about to change. Some of it is in reaction to stories and events, other parts simply because things haven’t been working, but regardless of the reason as a reader something different is on the way.
This is the whole feeling behind Brubaker’s framing piece “Behold the Watcher”, the story loosely holding the comic together. It’s a retro-looking story revolving around a lesser known fact that the Watchers go offline for a small window of time every three years leaving a brief opportunity for an information heist. Which is exactly what our (semi) anonymous agents of the unseen have done. By delving into the different windows of reality and seeing through their eyes we, the readers, are given a glimpse of what is to come.
The issue gives six stories by a variety of writers and artists across a variety of characters, which is given away a little by the cover but not in its entirety, it still has a few surprises inside as well. Each is a snippet as well which paves the way, quite literally in the case of Nova, who is a herald for one of the most Earth shattering revivals to come. it's no secret for those who read the last issue of fear Itself or have seen the teasers online - the Phoenix is coming...
We also have Doctor Strange and Kaine (Peter Parker clone and incumbent Scarlet Spider) - giving the reader a taste of their current lives, each with their own views and problems. The former is the quite widely advertised new beginning for The Defenders, which is also promoted later in the comic, whereas the latter is a whole new twist with a really interesting identity struggle and internal conflict being prominent, offering a potential redemption common theme emerging.
Interestingly, there is a showcase for a new title (I think as I couldn’t find anything else on it anywhere!) called Yin and Yang. I think I’m almost genetically predisposed to like it as it’s one of my favourite artists working on it, but I wonder if the story will be strong enough. Unlike all of the other tasters you’re given there isn’t really much depth given to this brother and sister combo, so it’s asking a lot of the reader. I also feel like it is vaguely emulating DC’s Firestorm or Hawk and Dove. Still nice and clean but time will tell.
Brian Michael Bendis is taking on the Avengers and also bringing in a big hitter to face off against them. It’s a lovely dark - almost desperate - view we’re given as well and I really liked what was providing. Building on the glimpses of the Age Of Ultron in the first Avengers storyarc and Avengers #12.1, this has great potential to be as huge as the return of the Phoenix.
Finally - and I have taken this out of order for my own selfish reasons - there is an Age of Apocalypse title. I’ve always liked these and this is one of my favourite villains in the Marvel Universe. There is a huge twist to it too. There's a new band of renegades looking to oppose the plans that Apocalypse has strived for - some well known human antagonists from the X-Men stories. This is a really nice version of a future which I am looking forward to.
Overall the Point One is a good little one-shot; the titles are exciting and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing them. It's worth taking a look at and will tease readers, especially as it shows that right now Marvel are happy to build on existing stories, launch new ideas and embrace the future without resorting to a copycat reboot. 2012 looks set to be full of promise.
Matt Puddy questions the marketing of this Point One, but suspects it's an issue we'll all be revisting with fresh eyes next year.