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Review: All-New All-Different Marvel Point One #1

I applaud Marvel for putting out sampler books like All-New All-Different Marvel Point One #1 (which I guess isn’t even bothering with the artificial #0.1 numbering, despite it being in the name). They’ve done this kind of book twice before now with 2012’s Marvel Point One and 2013’s Marvel Now Point One, though both of those titles acted as a sampler for a just a few titles (plus two events) at a time where the larger company was still happily chugging along. Now in 2015, Marvel is doing a line-freaking-wide relaunch of pretty much every title. That catalog that Marvel released a few months ago was pretty, but it was also pretty overwhelming as it just gave pretty pictures of the cover pages without showing us the content-so really, you still have no idea what to buy. Books like Point One are the (near) cure-all to that problem.

The one drawback to this book is its daunting price: $5.99. If you haven’t noticed, this has been an expensive week for Marvel fans, with similar books like Amazing Spider-Man and Avengers #0 having the same price (but also the same cost, page count, and concept–and hey, we’re reviewing those books too!). This hefty price is offset by the page count and the fact that you’re getting a decent peek into six books all at once so you can make an easier decision on whether you want to keep going with the books showcased within. At a time when books have to be more competitive than ever, this is a very friendly way to get customers to test the waters. Between this and the $1.00 “True Believers” reprints, I think Marvel’s found a good way to hook readers in.

As to the substance of the book? There’s no way to give this thing a single, solid review. True, the lead Contest of Champions story serves as a “frame” for the other five shorts, but that’s standard fare for these anthology samplers. Really, you have to take all six as separate titles and evaluate whether you want to try the book they lead into. So here we go:

Contest of Champions (Al Ewing/Paco Medina) unfortunately is the “anchor” story for this book, and becomes a bit “chatty” as a result as the characters necessarily need to have dialogue that artificially introduces the other five stories. This one gives us a direct glimpse into the aftermath of Secret Wars, revealing that the remains of Doctor Doom’s battleworld has become a “battlerealm” for fights between alternate reality characters. Ostensibly, Future Imperfect‘s Maestro and the Collector are parties to some kind of grander contest in these fights. It’s OK, though none-too-original since we’ve had interdimensional fights in works like Countdown: Arena and Convergence. Ewing and Medina do acceptably here, but don’t offer much new other than the twist that the combatants can also apparently summon the dead. Recommendation: keep reading if you were crazy for Secret Wars or anything inter-dimensional.

Carnage (Gerry Conway/Mike Perkins): Wait, didn’t Carnage die last year? And since when is Gerry Conway still writing comics? Color me double-surprised by this pairing. This isn’t some heroic Carnage either–Conway is sticking with the strict, psychotic serial-killer here. The twist is that half the story is set up to show us that Spider-Man supporting cast member John Jameson will apparently be hunting Carnage, so if that’s the hook, then at least this thing won’t be nonstop serial killer action. Perkins’ art is good and appropriately dark, but the split story is pretty jarring. Recommendation: “Meh.”

Rocket Raccoon and Groot (Skottie Young/Filipe Andrade): Guardians fever doesn’t seem to have worn out, since this is one of, what, five Guardians of the Galaxy books by Marvel right now? Rocket Raccoon and Groot is, of course, the more “All-Ages” of these books, what with Skottie Young on writing chores. It’s a cute enough story, with Rocket and Groot trying to find some alien criminals on Halloween in Illinois, when finding an alien in public is much harder. Kids will like this one, though I confess that Andrade’s art isn’t as “cute” as it could be for this book (Rocket looking particularly serious on a splash page that should have been silly). Recommendation: Give it to your kids, or the kid in you.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Marc Guggenheim/German Peralta): Well, this was OK, with all the spy action you’d expect if you’re a fan of the show that this story is approximating for the comics universe. Guggenheim’s short here does feel like it tried a little too hard to hit all the right buttons, using only characters who’ve appeared recently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its television supplement, like Baron Strucker, Batroc, Mockingbird, and Deathlok. If this is drawing fans of the show into the comic, then great–it certainly looks and reads like the show. Recommendation: Read if you’re a fan of the TV show.

All-New Inhumans (Charles Soule/Stefano Caselli): Just in case you forgot, Marvel is going all-Inhuman, all the time now with the characters effectively taking the place of mutants as the “spontaneous dangerous freaks” of the Marvel Universe. Charles Soule is doing writing chores on both titles, as we already got a glimpse of what he’ll be doing on Uncanny Inhumans back on Free Comic Book Day. The story here is pretty good, setting up the concept (Inhumans are spontaneously popping up on Earth) with a tough moral call (the newly-empowered character has to choose how to use his power when it unintentionally hurts someone). Still, the high concept isn’t too different from what we saw in the Free Comic Book Day preview, so it’s not clear how All-New Inhumans is going to distinguish itself from that other book. Recommendation: Marvel is going to make you read nothing but Inhumans books between now and 2019.  Surrender.

Daredevil (Charles Soule/Ron Garney): Hey, if you like Soule, you get a double-shot of him here. People have been clamoring for this one, since Soule and Daredevil are both lawyers and Soule wrote him a few times into his now-defunct She-Hulk book. (Which is coming back.) Surprisingly, he doesn’t hit this story from the law angle, but from an immigrant one (Soule has an immigration law practice on the side). This short introduces us to Sam Chung, an illegal immigrant who’s secretly working as a super-hero and hoping that Daredevil will take him on as a mentor. Soule manages to give Sam character, although we don’t see much of what he’s capable of or why Daredevil will take him on. Meanwhile, Ron Garney seems to be experimenting with a radical new art style that relies heavily on lights and darks, perhaps being intentionally evocative of the dark world in which Daredevil operates.  Recommendation: this is a good creative team; keep an eye on this one.

Overall, not a bad product, and there should be something in here for everyone even if you’re someone who won’t buy everything. Oh, and Marvel, please keep using this format of book to get us into new titles.

Rating: Four Decimals Out of Five.

About Adam Frey (372 Articles)
Adam Frey is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. In the meantime, he's an attorney and moonlights as an Emergency Medical Technician in Maryland. A comic reader for over 30 years, he's gradually introducing his daughter to the hobby, much to the chagrin of his wife and their bank account.
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