Marvel Comics
Point One: A New Beginning or an "Epic Fail"?
By Dan Horn
Nov 10, 2011 - 14:41

Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Ed Brubaker, Jeph Loeb, David Lapham, Chist Yost, Fred Van Lente, Matt Fraction, Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller(s): Javier Pulido, Ed McGuinness, Roberto De La Torre, Ryan Stegman, Salvador Larroca, Terry Dodson, Bryan Hitch
Inker(s): Pencilers except Terry Dodson, Bryan Hitch and Ed McGuinness, whose work is inked by Rachel Dodson, Paul Neary and Dexter Vines respectively
Colourist(s): Javier Rodriguez, Morry Hollowell, Lee Loughridge, Michael Babinski, Guru-EFX, Sonio Oback, Paul Mounts
Letterer(s): Chris Eliopoulos, A. Deschesne, Cory Petit, Joe Caramagna, Joe Sabino, Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist(s): Adam Kubert and Morry Hollowell, variant by Nick Bradshaw and Marte Gracia
$5.99 US

Presumably in order to cash-in on the influx of readership DC's New 52 has spurred, Marvel has begun purporting big things in the near future. These "big things" were ostensibly primed to begin in this week's over-sized Point One one-shot, a thick catalogue of graphic vignettes which are underpinned by a caper dealing with the Watcher. The stories are written by comic book mainstays like Ed Brubaker, David Lapham, and Jeph Loeb, and visually rendered by an array of artists. However, after a reading, instead of feeling shocked, enthralled, or elated by these much-hyped teasers, I rather felt like I'd been duped into purchasing an overpriced, Marvel-centric Previews catalogue for an upcoming month that had very little in the way of shocking, enthralling, elating books. The vignettes don't really serve as any sort of backstory, most of them obscured by abstracted reference points, and are rarely in any way integral to your future reading of the titles they supposedly set the stage for. The stories solicited are all upcoming books that the comic book faithful have most likely already heard of through the grapevine. For the new readership, I can't see a magazine full of clunky, inconsequential short stories written and drawn by creative teams, which in some cases may not even be representative of the books they hock, being something that discerning new fans will think is exciting. It was a sly ruse Marvel put together here, hinging fanboys' future reading on one starter issue with an astronomical price point. Surprising readers may have entailed bringing Ben Reilly back or revealing that a creative team that's actually creative was going to be usurping The Avengers from Bendis. Lamentably, even those cheap thrills would suit a heavily advertised book like this much better than the bland filler that's actually inside.

Artwork in Point One is undeniably disjointed, oscillating from pages of inspired artwork to just-plain-bad, and from noir grit to new-school polish and old-school Kirby-worship. It's a mishmash, nothing really jiving visually. Transitions are stark and jarring. The writing as a whole borders on awful as well, a fact not helped by Loeb's infantile Nova spouting off things like "Epic fail." Lapham's short story is really the most serviceable one, but it's unfortunately over before it actually begins, sharing only a bit of character development that's probably better left in the hands of the very capable Uncanny X-Force creative team that will be furthering this sketch's plot.

The bottom line is this: Point One is not only a six-dollar collection of fluff that keeps you wanting for some sort of payoff, but it's also a reproachable display of comic book industry advertising at its most exploitative. Publishers across the board need to be focusing in on cultivating brilliant new creators and developing intriguing new stories, not milking existing franchises and writers/artists for every possible dollar. That marketing strategy is getting extremely dull. This collection has actually turned me off to books, like Scarlet Spider and The Defenders, that I otherwise was interested in reading. Now I'm not sure I'll be adding any of the titles here that weren't already on my pull list, and I'm sure to shy away from anything with Jeph Loeb's name on it for the foreseeable future (sorry X-Sanction). This was, in my opinion, a debacle.

Rating: 2/10

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