Comic Book Review: Original Sin Issue #1
Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began taking over the box office the comic book big wigs have been doing their damndest to draw in a crossover audience. DC launched the new 52 reboot of all of their original content, and Marvel followed suit with reboots of their own. Characters have been changed in a large manner of speaking. Some characters have experienced minor transformations whereas others have gone through a plethora of identity changes. Characters races, sexual orientation, back stories, supporting casts and more have all seen changes. Costumes have the more realistic militarized look that we see in the films based on the properties. It is a valiant effort to reach out to a wider audience, and as much as most of these changes annoy me I can understand why they have occurred.
Although I am not dimwitted, I am a traditionalist at heart and so because the comic book industry decided to pander to the general movie going audience instead of us die hard paperback readers I took a break from reading for a while. Until recently I hadn’t read a new comic story arc in a few years, but that all changed when I discovered that Marvel was launching their new summer event (as they do every summer) known as Original Sin (not to be confused with the Marvel X-Men Wolverine Original Sin from a few years back). Original Sin is an eight part series with a number of tie ins that expand throughout the marvel universe and is at its core a murder mystery centered on the death of Uatu The Watcher. Original Sin is written, penned, and inked by Jason Aaron, Mike Deodato, and Frank Martin.
The first issue that I will be reviewing below jumped out at me from the display. Issue number one had a few select special editions covers to choose from, but I went with the original concept art. We see a kneeling wolverine investigating at the boots of The Watcher. Behind him stand Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Spiderman, and The Original Nick Fury. In the top right hand corner we see the Watcher looking over them. In big yellow letters it reads “Who Shot the Watcher?”. This scene called to me, despite having a blurry watermark art design, which I am not very fond of. I was immediately drawn to this story.
I picked it up and was pleasantly surprised that it came with a superball and lithograph to commemorate the event. Which was a nice tough and I hope to display these things prominently in my collection.
Issue one doesn’t waste any time getting leading to The Watchers murder. It happens within the first few pages and though very quick they set a very dark and ominous tone right off of the bat. In case you are unaware of who the watcher is there is a prequel issue (number 0 of 8) that will tell you everything that you need to know about him, and what his death will mean to the Marvel Universe.
After his the mysterious death of the Watcher we cut to earth where Wolverine, Black Widow and Captain America are enjoying a bite to eat with their retired pal Nick Fury. (This is the original Nick Fury before Marvel changed his image to the “Ultimate” African American and the first time he has been in a story since Samuel L Jackson portrayed the Ultimate version on screen.)
They receive a call from Thor about a very bad situation on the moon and Nick joins the group to investigate what is going on. They meet Thor and Iron Man at The Watchers Lair and Thor reveals the chilling tale of following a trail of blood floating in space and finding the body of Uatu. After each character agrees that this is a very big and dangerous situation with terrible implications there is a splash panel revealing to the reader what The Watcher looks like lying dead in a crater, eyes torn from their sockets and bloody and a hole in the center of his head.
Nick and Cap discuss the very short list of people who even know that the Watcher existed, and had the power to do something like this and agree that this was an important investigation that could lead to very dark places. It took a shocking turn of events, but Nick Fury is out of retirement.
Next we cut to the Necropolis where Black Panther is on line with a mysterious man discussing the murder. The man insists that Avengers aren’t equipped to handle the investigation and convinces a very hesitant Panther to take on the investigation. It is also unveiled that there are others taking the case.
Elsewhere we have a few short panels of Scott Lang Ant Man, and Emma Frost discussing things. They have been assembled by someone and just before we find out who it cuts to Los Angeles where a very unique team up of Dr Strange and The Punisher are interrogating an unnamed individual.
It is then revealed that there are even more heroes investigating as we jump to the Earth’s orbit where Moon Knight, Winter Soldier and Gamora are also trying to collect some type of evidence.
Meanwhile Captain America and Nick Fury discover fragments of the bullet used to separate the Watchers brain and it is glowing green, possibly made of some type of Gamma technology. And then they receive transmission from Earth. The Thing and Spiderman may have a suspect and are in pursuit. They are battling a Mindless One, or an extra dimensional monster dude as Spiderman explains. The mindless one is acting in an uncharacteristic manner, speaking and with some knowledge. He is constantly referencing someone who gave him the ability of knowledge and even begs them to make it stop. He reveals to them that he was on the moon and seen things, things that are now changing him. He takes out a nullifier and places it against his head. Claiming that he was content being a mindless beast, but now knowing what sin is was just too much. And he squeezes the trigger decimating the area.
Captain America and Nick Fury arrive and Ben Grimm asks flatly if it was true that the Watcher was dead. Before cap can get a word in Nick Fury interrupts saying. “ I need you to take a step back Grimm. This is officially a crime scene. And I’m in charge.”
The next few panels reveal that Black Panther has joined Ant Man and Emma in their hunt and that they were heading to the center of the earth. And that the Punisher and Dr. Strange have been ordered by someone to leave the Earth Realm to look for clues. Moon Knight, Winter Soldier and Gamora have gone to the moon for clues and finally the final panels reveal three figures standing in a room full of Mindless Ones who are rolling in pain, no longer mindless. And one of these mysterious figures is holding the Watchers eye.
Overall the story was told very well leaving many hints and clues that were clouded with mystery. It was what any great serial story telling should be. I was hooked and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Who was this mysterious person ordering each of the groups? What was Nick Fury going to do next now that he was back in charge? And finally who were these people holding the Watchers eye? Surely they were the killers?
The panels are neither simple nor complicated. The art work is fairly digital (which is another thing that I am not fond of modern comics) but still looks like classic designs. This is one of those rare pieces that could appeal to a larger audience, but I am unsure if it will. The story in the first issue alone is better than Marvel Zombies, and is as compelling as the Marvel Civil War. It’s not just a comic book arc about super heroes and villains it is a murder mystery with many interesting team ups.
I highly recommend this comic, especially if you’re a fan of The Watchmen as it carries the same weight and tone. Of course I will have a review of each issue for all of you, as I continue to follow this mystery myself.