This is my favorite time of the year: the Marvel Point One! No, it’s never the best single issue—and of course it wouldn’t be, it’s purposely all over the place—but Marvel’s Point One books are great because they give us a window into the universe at hand. They’re also pretty good at shilling books to us, whether it be Matt Fraction’s cult classic The Defenders (which, I’ll give you, was guaranteed to fly under the radar either way) to blockbusters like Avengers World. The books on display here have shown incredible promise. So here are the stories, in order, and my thoughts on them:
LOKI, AGENT OF ASGARD: Tumblr fangirls start squeeing now: your Loki solo book is on its way. Hot off the heels of Young Avengers and looking strangely like Tom Hiddleston, Al Ewing’s Loki book is looking to be exactly what you would expect. And, hey, maybe that isn’t too bad. It works as the framing device here, especially for casual movie fans. Fans of the movie will be happy with the page of the comic which just directly pulls from Whedon’s film, complete with an allusion to Black Widow’s “red ledger” and a sequence involving Loki, Phil Coulson, and a large, Hulk-sized containment cell.
SILVER SURFER: Being my most anticipated book of 2014 (outside of that Doop mini), my excitement for Silver Surfer is unabashed and childlike. Thinking about it makes me crazy with hunger for it. But I can’t help but feeling a little disappointed by this story. This is the first look we’re getting at a Silver Surfer book with art by Mike freaking Allred. Where does Slott send him? A gray planet with gray people. Even the shirts they wear are gray.
Because of the episodic nature of the book, I can’t say whether this is “just” this bit, or this is a representation of the Silver Surfer yet to come. But I’m praying for the latter.
THE ALL-NEW INVADERS: Finally, James Robinson is back. I’m a huge Starman fan, and I’ve been on the same roller coaster that many of us have been on. (Yes, at one point, I owned “Cry for Justice”) With this book (and, in a couple of weeks, Fantastic Four) Robinson has jumped across the river to Marvel.
And it’s okay! More than anything else, Robinson gives us a tease as to what the series is going to be like. It looks sharp, and the book looks to be a solid, B-level adventure featuring four guys we haven’t seen together in a while: Namor, the original android Human Torch, Cap and The Winter Soldier himself, Bucky Barnes. It’s about damn time something like this came along, and with James Robinson on board I can honestly say I’m eager to check this out.
BLACK WIDOW: I posted what I thought of the full issue over here, and the comments stand with this eight page story—beautiful but a touch dull.
MS. MARVEL: Marvel’s biggest launch of 2013 does not disappoint with the highlight of the book by a large margin. The writing is spot-on, the art reminiscent but not derivative of the work done last year on Captain Marvel (similar to Ms. Marvel’s whole inspiration, as it seems). It’s a refreshing book, and I hope there’s a big advertising push. Marvel’s got a potential hit on their hands, a real knockout. Here’s hoping it sells.
AVENGERS WORLD: As expected, this is a completely passable Avengers story. In future solicitations, Avengers World looks to be the replacement for the second Hickman-penned Avengers book every month. It’s just as well: since Hickman’s run began, we’ve needed something like this, a book where things wind down for a minute. It’s as funny as Avengers Assemble but more directly tied to the events in Hickman’s book, and therefore the events of the Marvel U at large. It’s going to be solid.
Overall, it’s a pretty great package, and if you don’t know where to start with All-New Marvel NOW this one’s a no-brainer. No story here made me groan, or want to jump eight pages forward like other installments. I’m excited now, more than ever, for Marvel’s new books.