Original Sin #1
Written By: Jason Aaron
Art By: Mike Deodato
I feel depressed about big company crossovers. Used to be I’d be the one at the front of the mob of angry villagers, waving a torch and demanding bloody murder. Now, I’ve become so desensitized to the way the industry works that the most I can muster is a halfhearted shrug. So that’s where we’re at, “Original Sin” is at best another forced crossover none of us really asked for.
The premise doesn’t even sound that bad—almost intriguing. The Watcher, a guy completely removed from the conflict of the Marvel universe, is murdered. A pretty big deal considering the fellow is supposed to be omnipotent and immortal. What’s more is that the story is framed in a suspenseful murder mystery kind of way. The Avengers show up on scene and go into cop mode: making a perimeter, searching for clues, confirming alibies, and compiling persons of interest. And all of that is great and interesting—except it removes quite a bit of the mystery and intrigue the character cast over the universe.
I remember when The Watcher showed up whenever there was about to be a monumental cock-up. In “Civil War” he showed up right before the heroes fractured into two camps. To me, it was a way for him to call Iron Man a prickly doucheasaurus in the most passive aggressive way an immortal God could. He never said anything, or if he did it was incredibly brief—like the time when Mr. Fantastic assembled the Infinity Gauntlet and he showed up to call him a two ton shit canoe. But you know what he didn’t do? Regurgitate a backstory that boiled all the interest out of his character. But now, on the eve of his death, he drops a novella on the reader all about watching and the importance of watching and how cool he is doing the watching.
There’s something about keeping a mysterious character mysterious that is immediately appealing. Questions can be a compelling reason for interest in a character. Because the alternative is the answer the writer gives isn’t nearly as awesome as we hoped. In this case, Marvel made sure to spoil The Watcher in the issue before this one—I know this is a number one but there’s such things as number zeroes—yes I’m aware zero isn’t a number—I agree, it would have been way easier to renumber—or forget the zero issue completely, I agree—Look, comic books do things that are silly; if we can just accept that and move on things will move a bit smoother. In any case, mystery is an incredibly compelling motivation. If we don’t know anything about this character, we want to find the murderer and uncover as much as we can about his past at the same time.
The story isn’t terrible in this book. It makes an honest effort to bring in all the fan favorites from the Marvel universe—even Nick Fury who last we saw was suffering from a bad case of dying. Yes, turns out chronic issues like old age are no match to the continuity power of a companywide crossover. Marvel made a huge deal about it too, Nick Fury Sr.—because they’re related, was passing the torch onto Nick Fury Jr. Now Nick Fury Sr. will always be my favorite Nick Fury but I understand if a character needs to be retired or revamped; move with the times and all. But stick to your guns, if comic books keep waffling on every decision they make we might as well be reading only Choose Your Own Adventure books. “Did Phoenix explode and leave jean dead? Pg 71. If she didn’t, doesn’t matter. Pg 71, everything turns out the same anyways.”
I do have hope in this series though, it could be fun to watch Marvel unravel a murder mystery. “Invincible” did much the same thing when all the Guardians of the Globe were offed. We all watched as one by one the super heroes were murdered. What nefarious plan could be unfolding before our eyes? Who could be the despicable perpetrator? How insanely cool was it when it turned out to be Nolan Grayson, Mark’s father and protector of Earth? It was such an amazing reveal and it turned the corner on what we understood about this universe. Suddenly there was a very real threat of invading super men that could roll over every government institution on the planet without anyone strong enough to stop them. If “Original Sin” wants even a fraction of that impact, there better be real repercussions to this murder or it will be just as forgettable as “Inhumanity”. Tentatively, “Original Sin” is 76% Invincible.