So I just recently got a stack of comics from my local dealer that he had been saving up for me for the past half-year or so. This weekend, I went down to see him and to pick up this hefty stack before it grew much larger. As I went through the stack, I noticed that there were lots of Original Sin issues. Not only was there the main series, but also 3 tie-in series, at least 1 of which I don’t recall ever ordering. But that’s ok.
So, here I will present to you all four of the story lines, full of my opinions and also, spoilers. I’m not that best at doing reviews that don’t have spoilers so I will experiment with the layout. I will post this as four articles, over 4 (or so) days. For those of you who don’t like spoilers, skip to the bottom of this post and you will see a general, overall review, without any spoilers.
But here we start (SPOILERS included), with Original Sin (the main series, written by Jason Aaron with Mike Deodato doing art). I was pretty excited for this one, as it was solicited to be an interesting murder mystery, and like my cohort, the Slim James, I do enjoy Uatu. One thing I noticed in reading this very recent story is that I am a bit out of date with what is happening in the Marvel Universe.
There was actually an issue #0, which can add to the general story, but are often unnecessary. This is one of those cases. This story focuses on Sam Alexander, a young boy who is apparently the new Nova (where is the old one?) and his interactions with the MU. We see him eager to show off to the Avengers and then ask the question, “Why does the Watcher watch?” With Iron Man and Captain America unable to answer this, Sam actually visits Uatu at his home on the moon. This is great because it does give us, the readers, a nice look inside Uatu’s home, which is full of interesting and dangerous things. We are also given the back story of Uatu, and what happened when his father did interfere with a planet. All around cool stuff. Needed for the rest of the book? Not really, but it does add some information that is at least interesting.
Now we actually will kick it off with #1. Gotta say, I am a big fan of Deodato art, and I keep loving it here. Uatu gets himself blown up pretty quickly here and the big idea of this issue seems to be introducing us to the teams that will be investigating the murder. Nick Fury, Cap, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Wolverine are the crew that first finds the body. Black Panther, Ant-Man (the Scott Lang one) and Emma Frost make another team, which is on their way to the center of the Earth. Dr. Strange and the Punisher are together, going somewhere. Moon Knight, (who is acting very out of character, IMO) and the Winter Soldier are out in space and meet up with Gamora. Some glowing green bullet fragments are found in the Watcher (gamma? Banner?) and we also get an odd scene of a Mindless One going a little crazy and killing itself with the Ultimate Nullifier, a weapon stolen from the Watcher’s home. It claimed to have “seen sin.” At the end we see the villains in the shadows. One woman looks familiar, and the guy holding the eye looks like it might be Nitro?
#2. Well it turns out I was wrong. Not Nitro at all. The white hair I thought I saw was really a cowl covering up the face of… The ORB! “Who?” said everyone. Well, this guy.
Yeah, the guy with a giant eye for a head stole the eye of the Watcher. We see him with some guy who looks like a mutated Thing. No clue on that guy. Meanwhile, Panther, Ant-Man, and Emma are in the earth and find a monster graveyard (cool). Dr. Strange and Punisher, in some other dimension, find a dead monster with the green bullets embedded in it. Fury finds another Mindless One going nuts. And, in probably the best scene, we see Bruce Banner and Tony Stark doing some sciencing together, and Stark doesn’t even bother wearing pants for it. Classic science bros. Also, the bad girl is named Exterminatrix. Because of course she is.
#3 So I had no information on the Orb, but in this issue, we do get to learn a bit about him. Apparently he has the power to see things that others can’t. Kind of vague, but an interesting power to explore further. He also says that he steals peoples’ eyeballs and rolls around naked on them. So… there’s that. Have fun with that mental image. The underground team finds that those monsters were all killed by the same green bullets. The team out in space finds some floating bullet casings, and also an entire planet that has been killed. I don’t know which living planet it was, but I don’t think it was Ego or Id. Back on Earth, there is an actual fight, in which the Watcher’s eye that the Orb has released all the secrets it was holding, which were only shown to people they affected. We don’t get to see those secrets in this comic, but it is obvious that they play a big role in the tie-ins and other series. The eye ends up with Fury. We also got to find out that the Exterminatrix is Dr. Midas’s daughter. (oh right, of course). The end of this issue is the biggest shock. The Winter Soldier abandons the rest of his team and blows up the space ship. Moon Knight suspects him, but I thought he couldn’t be the killer. Too obvious. Then there is a page showing him finding Fury, and literally ripping Fury’s head off and taking the eye.
#4 The big thing to take away from this issue is that it appears no one liked Bucky. It was four or five different characters who had that same reaction to learning what the Winter Soldier did last issue. Kind of weird that everyone would say that, but it does make sense as to what happens much later. Anyways, this issue seemed like filler to me, with nothing really happening until it’s found out that the dead Fury was really a LMD (well duh. How many times does Fury die, only for it to be a LMD?) It turns out that the real (?) Fury is actually an old man, and he ends up fighting the teams that have all come together.
#5 More flashbacks. This time to 1938, where we get a look at Fury, and Howard Stark. Fury comes across a man who controlled a secret base that protected the Earth from a wide array of threats. That man dies, and Howard tries to get Fury to take his place. It turns out that for years, Fury has had this second, secret job. (How could he possible have fit everything in that he has done?) We see him create the gamma bomb bullets and snipe aliens from space. Did he kill the Watcher? Not sure. He did almost kill Spider-Man when he first started web slinging, but held off due to a “gut feeling.” Still never quite figured out why he’s old. Maybe an LMD had gotten the Infinity formula?
#6 No, I was wrong again. Boy that’s happened a lot this series, which I like, because it does make it seem more like a mystery. So the Infinity Formula in Fury is getting old and no longer works on him. Instead he is aging very rapidly. It turns out that he recruited all the team members as potential replacements to be “the man on the wall” and protect the Earth. (which is very close to being part of The Wall in Game of Thrones) Everything (the monster graveyard, bullet casings in space) was Fury. (As an aside, Rocket Raccoon suddenly turns up with the teams in this issue, but I don’t understand how he got there, as I don’t recall him being in any previous issue) The Orb gets tortured by Fury s the LMDs fight the other good guys. The guy who looked like the Thing turned out to Dr. Midas (an interesting villain). Cap, Iron Man, Wolverine, and Black Widow finally find out Fury was a LMD and, pissed off, they armor up and come to attack Fury, who has both Watcher eyes, and no need for a eye patch.
#7 This issue is split between a big fight and flashbacks. We actually see the Orb and Exterminatrix breaking into Uatu’s place. The Orb does shoot the Watcher, and steals one eye on his own. We later see that Fury had the other eye all along. The fight is okay, and we do see Fury use some trump cards. He has an override code for Iron Man, that sends him far out of the fight. He also whispers something to Thor, which causes him to be unable to lift his hammer. Hulk manages to get taken down and out by the Orb. Now, this right here seems very wrong. This is the third time in the series that Hulk has gotten knocked out by a character that has no place doing so. The end of the issue sees a ring of Watchers looking down at what is happening, doing what they do best.
#8 The final issue of this tale, where things get a little weirder. Fury admits now to actually killing the Watcher. He saw too much obviously, and Fury didn’t want him knowing the secrets. I don’t buy it. It seems forced and dumb. I am not satisfied with the reasoning behind Fury killing Uatu. I like the Watcher, and wish he had gotten a better death. But anyways, this is the wrap-up issue, where we see the outcomes of things that have happened. There is a big fight leading up to an explosion. Exterminatrix steals a hand of Midas and goes back to Earth. The Orb now has an eye of the Watcher embedded in his torso and is back on Earth watching a murder take place. Bucky has taken Fury’s job as the man on the wall (probably due to the fact that no one liked him). Yes, Fury is dead, or is he really? Apparently not, as we also see him taking on the role of the new Watcher? Doesn’t that mean that Bucky will just end up killing him? I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to.
Overall thoughts (SPOILER-free zone): I thought that the idea driving the story was a lot more interesting than it actually turned out to be. I was impressed with the artwork, but beyond that, found little to really enjoy. Some of the dialogue seemed forced and fake (see Moon Knight and the discussion about steaks). Characters acted in ways that made no sense when compared to their history. I was expecting more bad guys being a part of this story, in some way or another. I don’t mind using a Z-List villain to be the overall bad guy, but I did think that Dr. Doom might be involved in some way when a Watcher is killed. After all, he has killed one of his own. Also, there were some inconsistencies. Lastly, I was a bit disappointed that the fact that we didn’t actually learn any of the secrets that the Watcher was holding onto. I know that those would be discussed in other series (including some to come on here), but some sort of explanation for Thor being unable to pick up his hammer would be appreciated. The artwork was stellar though, so nothing negative to say about that. It was dark and heavily shadowed, which made the settings seem to fit the murder mystery story that was struggling to be told.
Stop by next time when I look at the first mini-series that went along with it, Hulk vs Iron Man.