I have been hooked on Jason Aaron since he began his run on Thor: God of Thunder. So naturally I was very excited when I heard he would be penning the latest “event” from Marvel Comics. Especially when I heard that he was writing the duo of Doctor Strange and The Punisher like a “buddy cop” movie. So how does it stand up to the stories that came before it? In one word, Triumphant! Please join me as I recap Original Sin with a play by play of the series, all the while adding in my two sense. If you haven’t read the story as of yet and you plan on doing so stop reading now!
Warning: Major Spoilage Lay Ahead!
The premise behind the story is that the cosmic being known as The Watcher has been murdered. This is the guy who shows up whenever something really important is going to happen. You know like the coming of Galactus and other epic things along those lines.
So what does it take to bring down one of the most powerful beings in the universe? Well apparently a bullet. The story starts off in a diner and some of our favorite and famous are enjoying “meat night” and sharing stories. Captain America, Wolverine, Black Widow, and good ‘ol Nick Fury, are all hanging out shooting the breeze when they are contacted by Thor. Once Cap realizes the scope of the call, he assembles the team and tells Fury that they are going to need his help on this one, retired or not! The Watcher is dead and someone has taken his eyes!! Once on the moon, Fury comes to the conclusion that there is only a handful of people who knew of The Watcher’s existence and had the ability to murder him, making the suspect list very, very short. Cap is determined to find the killer and he and his team set off to find some clues.
Flash to Wakanda, the Black Panther has been contacted by a mysterious person who presents him with the mystery and gives him various leads. This stranger tells Panther that the trail leads in different directions but will all converge and reveal the “Original Sin”! Three different “secret” teams are formed to follow these leads. The first consists of Black Panther, Emma Frost, and Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, who head to the center of the Earth. The second team is made up of Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes, Moon Knight, and Gamora tasked to check out deep space. Finally, and my favorite are Doctor Strange and The Punisher, This has to be one of the most odd groups of heroes every assembled into one book, but it works SO well.
Next we taken to NYC where The Thing and Spider-Man are taking on one of the Mindless One’s, who are supposed to be, well mindless. But this one seems to have an elevated consciousness, AND THE ULTIMATE NULIFIER!!! The Mindless One is in agony and screaming about what he has seen and done, he eventually shoots himself with the UN. The Avengers and Fury arrive to clean up the mess, and they become very worried about what other items and/or weapons of mass destruction could be missing from The Watcher’s moonbase.
We are soon introduced to the villains of the story, who end up being some pretty obscure ones. It is revealed the one of The Watcher’s eyes is on the possession of The Orb and Exterminatrix, who are working for Dr. Midas. Now many of you may be asking who the heck these baddies are, because I was, so hit the links (which I placed on their names) to find out more. These are the types of storylines that I can really appreciate, ones where things get a little weird and you are forced to look up characters and LEARN SOMETHING. It beats Doctor Doom trying to take over the world for the 14th million time, right?! No offense to Doom of course. Of course the Mindless Ones tie in nicely with Dr. Midas, a nice nod to a story of the past. Check out Grant Morrison’s Marvel Boy. The Orb is obsessed with finding out what is “inside” The Watcher’s eye, the other’s more or less just want to take over the world, like any other megalomaniacs would.
The three teams all end up finding these dead creatures, most of them aliens and monstrous beings. One is even a living planet, like Ego)! Here’s the kicker, all of them have all been killed with gamma-irradiated bullets! On Earth, the Avengers have tracked down our villains and they capture the Orb, but not before he can unleash the power of The Watcher’s Eye on them all, which reveals all of their “SINS”. Here come the tie-ins! Marvel does a good job making you as a reader want to explore what was revealed about each individual, but you really don’t have to read any of them to understand the main story, something that is greatly appreciated when it comes to collecting an event series. The only two I can really suggest is the Original Sin 3.1-3.4, which rewrites the origin of the Hulk. You’ll want to know why Hulk is so angry with Tony Stark. The story is written by Mark Waid, who also wrote the #0 issue of Original Sin, check that out before you read the main story. It’s a nice prelude that introduces The Watcher through the eyes of Nova. The other tie-in, that is actually written by Aaron as well is Original Sin 5.1, which tells the story of Thor’s sister. Yes I said sister, and you won’t believe who it is! Well maybe you will, but it is a pretty amazing way to give a “new” character a back story.
So now no one trusts each other, the heroes are at each other’s throats, but our killer is still out there. On the living (now dead) planet, Winter Soldier double crosses his teammates by detonating their ship and then teleports away. He ends up confronting Nick Fury, who has The Watcher’s eye, shoots him and then decapitates him! This is a very shocking end to issue #3 and I am so happy that I actually binge read comics when things like this happen. All of the paths are starting to converge, and we are about to get our answers. Of course the answers to the two big ones are the same! Why not right? The real question you should be asking yourself as a reader is, do you really think that Nick Fury is dead. Come on people, we all know that Nick Fury has been using Life Model Decoys forever, but even I couldn’t see what was coming next. On Earth, Wolverine and The Hulk are inspecting the “dead” body of Nick Fury when Doctor Strange and The Punisher blink in and take the duo down! They take the body and The Orb with them. When the three teams come together on a satellite orbiting above the Earth, (oh sorry, Rocket Raccoon gave Gamora and Moon Knight a ride there in case you were wondering), we finally learn who the mysterious stranger pulling the strings is, Nick Fury. But this is not the Nick Fury we all know and kinda love. This is an old man, an old man who claims to be the real Nick Fury. Mind was blown pretty much at this point, especially when we learn what he has been doing with his weekends, you know when he wasn’t saving the Earth as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D..
You see, Nick Fury was recruited by Howard Stark a very, very long time ago to become the defender of Earth from alien threats that NO ONE could ever know about. Fury took over the job from a man called Woody McCord, aka The Man in the Wall, and would continue his work of eliminating threats to the Earth. This included assassinating all of those aliens! This is my favorite revelation of the series, the expansion of the Nick Fury origin. Here we have Mister super spy who is flying around space and who knows where else in the known universe, taking out aliens with his gamma bullets. Thank you Jason Aaron you have me sold on any tie-ins that involve “The Man in the Wall” from this point forward! Fury thought he had been doing his job so well for so long, unseen. But someone did see him, because there are no secrets from The Watcher. But my top question the entire time was: why is Fury SO OLD?! Fury tells the heroes that he has aged so rapidly because the Infinity Formula that has been keeping him young over the years has been depleted from his body. Fury knew this day was coming, and he reveals to the group that one of them would replace him.
Back on Earth, Dr. Midas and Exterminatrix board a space craft that will take them to the moon. They are going there to finish the job they had started at the beginning of the story, steal The Watcher’s goodies! Of course the villains had a very small plot in all of this and were more or less plot devices to send us on this mysterious journey. On the satellite, Panther is still looking for answers, but Fury is still not ready to reveal everything. The question still present is: what happened to The Watcher? The Avengers eventually end up being able to locate Fury via his LMD and they take off to take down the culprit. Fury takes the eye and it is revealed that he has had the second one all this time, pretty much sealing the deal that he is the murderer, but why?! When the Avengers arrive all hell breaks loose and Fury battles them and flees to the moon.
Everyone arrives on the moon at the same time, Fury and the villains. The truth is finally revealed. The villains had gone to the moon to steal the weapons that The Watcher had been accumulating all these years, The Orb being probably the smartest of the lot took the first eye, they leave The Watcher for dead. Fury had arrived on the scene almost to late, he asked The Watcher who had done this to him but due to his oath of non-interference. Fury concludes that the only way to find out the truth is by killing The Watcher and taking the other eye, so he did. Fury confesses this all to the heroes then goes to confront Midas who is trying to become more powerful by absorbing the power from The Watcher’s corpse. Fury uses the eye to overload the power that Midas is trying to harness and overloads him, Midas explodes and Fury is seemingly killed. Or is he? Remember this is Nick Fury we are talking about here. When the Avengers arrive there is nothing left, no sign of their friend. The heroes return to Earth, but two people now have new jobs. The first is Winter Soldier, who assumes the task of The Man in the Wall, after reading this story I went ahead and pre-ordered the first two issues of this comic. Looking forward to it. The second and the most surprising is Fury, but he is now in possession of The Watcher’s powers. Wow, what an amazing ending! It is such a perfect way to replace a being that has been around since the early days of Marvel Comics, and one that I did not see coming. As usual Nick Fury did what needed to be done and not once during the course of this story did he compromise the character that we have all learned to love, or maybe just deal with.
I haven’t enjoyed a Marvel crossover event this much in a long time, probably dating back to Civil War and Secret Invasion. There are stories that make you say “yeah that’s cool” and then there are the ones that rewrite the Marvel Universe as we know it. I still question if the real Nick Fury was present during one of my favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. stories ever, Secret Warriors. I know that you aren’t really supposed to ask such deep inquiries when it comes to these types of “rewrites”, you more or less just let them be, BUT I WANT TO KNOW!
Artist Mike Deodato delivers his best when it comes to this series, not that I would doubt an artist who has such a diverse portfolio. Deodato does an extraordinary job of bringing Aaron’s gritty tale to life. Jason Aaron is an amazing storyteller, and I am on-board with whatever he puts out. I am really excited now to go back and read his earlier works including: Scalped, Southern Bastards, and some of his random Marvel work. I am really looking forward to his Marvel Icon (creator-owned) series, Men of Wrath. If you want to read some of the best Thor stories ever, get on Thor: God of Thunder. Though be warned his writing is not for younger viewers or that faint of heart. At the same time Aaron is able to alleviate the darkness with well placed humor. There was no reason for Rocket Raccoon to show up, but he did and we are all the better for it! He and The Punisher exchange some golden lines.
I give Marvel’s Original Sin a 9 outta 10
Original Sin ranks in my top ten Marvel events ever, and it changes the course of the universe, and the way I look at many past stories. An impact like this means that Jason Aaron did the job he set out to do and I am really looking forward what comes next from this superstar writer!