Where do I begin with massive tome that is ‘Point One’? The cover tagline claims that “The Future Begins Here”. Clocking in at fifty-four pages, ‘Point One’ is an issue that is chock full of exactly what it claims. Written by no less than seven authors, ‘Point One’ is a collection of six tales wrapped within a seventh that give the reader hints as to what is coming all across the Marvel Universe in 2012.

However, the concept is both a good and bad thing for comic buyers. First, that massive size in a comic bumps the price up from the usual three or four bucks to six dollars! That wouldn’t be such a big deal if a reader reads everything Marvel. Otherwise, like me, you might only care about one or two of the tales within.

The second drawback is this reads like a compilation of those free “teaser” issues that Marvel gives away every so often. Most of the stories do nothing more than set up what’s coming without having any real conclusion. I know that’s the point of this issue since it is intended to whet our appetite for Marvel’s next big thing, but I don’t pay for movie trailers and I don’t like paying for comic trailers either. If I had to pay for this, I would have rathered Marvel have released six stand alone mini-issues for $1 each and let readers pick and choose which characters they care about.

All complaints about the cost and marketing aside, this issue did do its job. It piqued my interest in adding a series or two to my comic pull list come December and January. So what’s included in this oversized teaser?

Behold the Watcher

This is the seventh tale that the other six are wrapped within. Right off the bat, the tale at least looks good with Javier Pulido channeling Jack “The King” Kirby with his pencil work. As for the story… Every three years, the cosmic being known as The Watcher must power down for exactly forty-two minutes to do… something. While I love the Douglas Adams reference, the tale doesn’t reveal much. While The Watcher is resting, a couple of space-suited figures creep into his inner sanctum and attempt to steal some of The Watcher’s memories. The purpose for their thievery or what villain or group is behind it is never revealed.

Nova: Harbinger

This brief tale only takes up four of the total fifty-four pages. It focuses on the intergalactic hero Nova as he attempts to warn the villain Terrax of an impending doom. Naturally, Terrax doesn’t listen to the hero and a skirmish ensues. As it ends, it seems Terrax should have listened to Nova’s warning as an ancient and legendary Marvel villain returns.

Age of Apocalypse: The Myth of Man

Sometime in the future, Magneto’s predictions about homo superior have proven true. The mutants have become the dominant lifeforms on Earth. But all is not unicorns and rainbows for mutantkind. The inheritors of Earth are haunted by a secretive group that strikes fear into the hearts of mutants everywhere. As mutants begin to die and disappear, the group is revealed to be the legendary… humans.

Scarlet Spider: The Scarlet Thread

Spinning out of the pages of ‘Spider-Island’ that just wrapped up in last week’s ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #673, ‘The Scarlet Thread’ follows Kaine, a clone of Peter Parker. The events of Spider-Island cured cain of his degenerative condition that was causing his cloned body to decay. Now, able to live for the first time, Kaine realizes that he may have more Peter Parker in his blood than he cares to admit.

Coldmoon and Dragonfire: Yin and Yang

This tale features some new Marvel characters. The brother and sister pair, Zaoxing and Wanxia, were separated at birth. Each child was told that their sibling had died at birth. They have lived their lives sequestered in a scientific facility to “protect” the world from their powers. Zaoxing can create fire while his sister can control the cold. When they turn eighteen, the pair escape and discover that they have been lied to their entire lives.

Doctor Strange: The Shaman of Greenwich Village

Doctor Stephen Strange, no longer Sorcerer Supreme, now lives in Greenwich Village in NYC. In this short tale, Strange attempts to help a homeless artist by entering his mind. While in the astral mindscape, Strange encounters visions of a team of superheroes and other mystical mechanisms that frighten the good Doctor and send him scrounging to discover its meaning. This is a setup for the upcoming ‘Defenders’ series that starts next month on December 12th.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

The final tale of ‘Point One’ follows in the middle of a huge battle with an army of Ultron robots. New York City, and possibly the world, has been leveled by Ultron. Amidst the chaos, Wolverine, Hawkeye, Captain America, and Spider-Man are on the run. The thieves from ‘Behold the Watcher’ claim that this might be an alternate future timeline but nothing is made certain. If it’s true, it looks like the Avengers will have a rough year ahead in 2012.

Out of all the tales in ‘Point One’, the highlights were the stories featuring Scarlet Spider and Dr. Strange. Although I’m admittedly not a huge fan of the X-men universe so I expect some fans might also get excited for the Age of Apocalypse. It was a good primer for what’s coming but, with the inflated cover price and the fact that most readers won’t want to read all seven tales, the verdict has to be…

Verdict: Borrow