Why do bad things happen to good fans? Whether it’s atrocious art, ridiculous writing or something else entirely – some crimes against fandom cannot go unanswered. When that happens, it’s time to say “BLAARGH!”
One year ago, Marvel released their massive Point One one-shot. It was billed as the book to set the stage for 2012. It was destined to be such a big deal that Marvel doubled the orders of every retailer in the country without them even asking to. If your store ordered 20 copies, they got 40. This book was supposed to be a big deal. With a cover price of $5.99, it was a tough pill to swallow (but some retailers cut the cost in half since their quantities were doubled, which was an awesome move).
The recent Age of Ultron announcement got me thinking about this fabled one-shot. Age of Ultron is set to begin in March of 2013, despite being one of the more prominent stories teased in Point One. Bendis and Hitch came together to tell the dystopian tale set in the barren post-Ultron world, presumably setting the stage for an Avengers arc in 2012, just like Avengers #12.1 did way back in April of 2011 (that issue would later be reprinted in May of 2012 as one of Marvel’s FCBD offerings). Then there’s the Moon Knight finale from April of this year. The final page promised “Moon Knight will return in the Age of Ultron.” All of this made Bendis’s “Ultron War” seem pretty imminent. This was happening soon. And yet here we are a full calendar year later as 2012 comes to an end with the first real concrete information on that story. We’ll finally see it four months from now.
The Hype Machineª tells us that this was always the plan, but if that’s the case, I feel cheated and lied to. Given the presentation, it seems unlikely to me that this was always the way this story was meant to be told, and I’m not alone. Theories include that the project was delayed because Hitch is notoriously slow or that maybe the hangup was Marvel trying to get the rights to Rom the Spaceknight. It’s also entirely possible that this was the plan all along and that the seeds planted thus far were intentionally misleading or simply poorly executed.
All of this got me thinking about that Point One one-shot and I started to wonder exactly how many of the plots introduced to us have been hanging unresolved and what kind of follow-through did the others have. So I tracked down the issue in my archives and broke it down piece by piece. You can read my initial review here.
- First, there’s the framing story involving the Watcher and two… I’m going to say “thieves.” They break into Uatu’s base and steal something. We’re never told who they are or what they’re after and they’ve never been mentioned since this comic came out. Just what the Hell is “The Unseen?” Status: Dangling
- Next, Nova fights Terrax, but a planet dies thanks to what we now know was the Phoneix Force. Nova would go on to appear in the first and last issues of AvX and again in the next Point One one-shot for Marvel NOW!. Status: Resolved
- The Age Of Apocalypse story flowed into a genuine dedicated title. Status: Resolved
- The Kaine story is a setup to the ongoing Scarlet Spider series. Status: Resolved
- All signs point to Dragonfire and Coldmoon never appearing on the printed page again. Despite a lengthy bit of exposition in this origin story, we’ve not seen these characters make any sort of impact for a full calendar year. Status: Dangling
- The Doctor Strange story led right into the Defenders, which recently wrapped. Status: Resolved
- The last story is the “Ultron War” tease. For the sake of actual comic storytelling, there’s yet to be any payoff in any way. We now know what’s coming thanks to interviews and announcements, but a year later, there’s been nothing in the comics themselves that follows up on this story. Status: Dangling (sort of)
Of the seven stories presented in this anthology that was supposed to set the stage for 2012, three of them have gone completely unmentioned as we enter the last month of the year. That accounts for a significant portion of the comic, and that’s not okay. Like a chump, I bit on the Marvel Now! Point One issue last month, so we’ll see how much of those stories actually stick next year. Even now, though, that issue looks to be more relevant than the first one.
But wait… What if Marvel didn’t drop the ball? What if it’s all part of something bigger? There are seven stories in Point One #1. Four of them got some kind of follow-up. Three did not. 3/7 is roughly 42%. So, 42% of the comic has proven useless thus far. In the framing story, the Watcher takes a 42-minute break, allowing the burglars to take whatever it is they were looking for. 42 minutes and a 42% useless comic book. Coincidence? Or conspiracy? Did that just blow your mind?