All-New, All-Different Marvel Point One #1

"All New All Different Marvel Point One" #1 is a sample platter of several different stories launching from the publishers' upcoming initiative, giving readers a taste of books like "Agents of SHIELD," "Carnage" and more. It's all framed by a story titled "Chess Not Checkers" by Al Ewing and Paco Medina, an odd omniscient scene between the Maestro and the Collector, who review the various stories and comment on why readers won't see any of these characters in their own upcoming "Contest of Champions" series. Featuring the work of Al Ewing, Gerry Conway, Skottie Young, Marc Guggenheim, Charles Soule, Paco Medina, Mike Perkins, Filipe Andrade, Germán Peralta, Stefano Caselli and Ron Garney, the issue is a good way to get a feel for many of these new books and it shows off some new art styles from veteran artists.

It's difficult to gauge the tales in a book like this, as everything is merely a tease for future stories and some feel like they are lifted directly from the opening pages of the upcoming series. For instance, take Conway and Perkins' "Carnage," which feels very entertaining. Conway delivers the story of a serial killer from the killer's point of view. It's enhanced by some painterly art from Perkins, who adds grit and grime to the script.

Others, like the continued Inhumans push in Soule and Caselli's "Sublimation," look great but unfortunately repeat the same beats the series has been hitting for the last couple years. Others still, like the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." segment in Guggenheim and Peralta's "The Coulson Protocols," are a more realized version of the television concept within the trappings of the 616 Universe. Guggenheim's scripting on this story looks promising and pulls together the characters from the show, including Mockingbird and Deathlok, with snappy dialogue accentuated by Peralta's strong art, which makes the characters recognizable to new readers but still adds the dynamic element necessary for the Marvel style.

In "Trick or Treat or Shot by a Big Gun," Skottie Young and Felipe Andrade make a smart move and officially add Groot to Rocket's adventures, giving the mouthy Raccoon a straight man to play off of. The story is fun with more beautiful cartooning from Andrade; he and Young also give the preview a strong focus, which sharpens the gags and dialogue.

Garney's art in the "Daredevil" story is a departure for the artist, a darker and more angular style that services the new characters and settings of Soule's script. It's very noir, full of shadows and reminiscent of Frank Miller's "Sin City" work or Scott McDaniel's run on the series in the '90s.

Perhaps an unintended side effect of the Maestro/Collector segments is the way the characters judge the previews and characters, sometimes harshly. It makes sense for the characters to have these feelings, but it is odd for them to speak to each other -- and, in turn, to readers -- about how the heroes in the stories aren't good enough for the "Contest of Champions." It's also a disappointing use of Medina, who does a great job with action sequences and dynamic page layouts, as he illustrates talking heads scenes almost exclusively here. The visual consistency will guide readers into the series, but it feels like having a sports car and only driving it to the grocery store.

Though the title is a mouthful and the climax of "Secret Wars" has been delayed, "All New All Different Marvel Point One" #1 is worthwhile for readers looking to dig in to the new Marvel Universe.

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