Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by Mike Deodato
It’s time again for a big summer event from Marvel. This time around though the event, at least in regards to this first issue seems epic in scope but small in story. Original Sin #1 starts with a mystery; who shot The Watcher?
The first few panels of this book reminded me of the movie Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. Now, that movie isn’t a very good one but it has some really great book end moments. The film starts with the three main characters sharing stories over a campfire and it ends that way too. This comic starts with Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanov or the Black Widow Nick Fury, and Loganaka the Wolverine having steaks at a small diner. They are swapping war stories. The moments here are really well written and within just a few panels reveal a bond in blood shared between these heroes. It all changes when Steve Rogers, that’s Captain America to you and me, gets a cell phone call from Thor. That’s right a cell phone call from the God of Thunder. It’s mildly humorous that Thor would even know what a cell phone is. You’d think he’d just use some sort of super techy com unit designed by Tony Star that all of these guys carry but no just a cell phone, well a cell phone that can make calls from space. At any rate Thor has discovered the body of the Watcher on the moon.
If you don’t know who the Watcher is I highly recommend getting Original Sin #0 because that comic is dedicated to catching readers up on who the character is. Suffice it to say that the Watcher is a cosmic being tasked with simply “watching” everything that happens on earth and being a living recording of the planet’s past and future. He’s a giant and he’s one of the most powerful beings I the Marvel universe. Often when approached by earthlings, even extremely powerful ones he hasn’t even acknowledged their presence, something only he and the planet eater Galactus do on a regular basis. On the surface of the moon the gang is joined by Iron Man to begin an investigation into who shot the Watcher. He was literally shot and his eyes were carved out. The scene is pretty gruesome compared to what we generally see in a Marvel comic but it reinforces the importance of what has happened. So, the core of Marvel’s big summer event is a murder investigation and several groups of folks are investing in finding the answers to this mystery.
Along with Nick Fury’s group a mysterious shadowy character has approached the Black Panther about the investigation and offers up his own leads on in the form of files “with questions that the Panther must ask”. The shady character also recommends a team for the Panther to assemble to work the evidence and it’s a very different sort of group than the Avengers based team already on the case. Of course killing is a sin but there’s more to the “Original Sin” title of this event series than that. This shady character suggests to the Black Panther that the answer lies somewhere in the files which are connected to an original sin. Also the Watcher has observed not only the planet’s successes but he’s also observed our sins, and now he’s not only killed but the tool he used to watch has been cut out.
The material set up in this first issue feels weighty and important, more focused on mystery and drama than on all out tights and fights and that’s a good thing. With that said, it is surprising that a murder mystery is what Marvel went with for a summer event. The possible epic importance of the Watcher’s death will surely lead to action but right now the mystery is truly fascinating. The end frame of the book has me excited for what’s to come in future installments. This is an appropriately humorless book even though Spider-Man and The Thing from the Fantastic Four get small appearances in the book. Based on the tone of this first issue what’s to come will most likely remain pretty dark. So the end result is almost entirely set up for a story that’s going to spill over into other Marvel books. The set-up is that but it’s also full of questions and it does a great job of building an ominous feeling and anticipation for the answers. This could be a fantastic miniseries if Aaron can maintain the sense of dread and not drag out the answers too long. As a partner book to this one Avengers Vol. issue #29 really hints at just how universe spanning this mystery is going to be. The story in that book doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the mystery established in Original Sin #1 but the very fact that the cover lists it as an Original Sin tie is exhilarating. Could everything Hickman has been working toward in the Avengers books be tied to the death of the Watcher? How interesting would that be? So far so good….
The artwork in this book is a great mix of traditional comic book storytelling and modern cinematic depth and detail. The shadows are extremely important in this story for hiding secret characters, exuding emotion, and building a noir feeling without going the obvious black and white route. His computer generated elements however don’t look great and they take away from the hand drawn character work. Some panels that combine CG and drawn art don’t held well.
Original Sin appears to be truly new kind of summer event from Marvel and Jason Aaron is doing some of his best work in establishing the characters, situations, and tone of the series. Let’s hope he can keep up the momentum. Also, this is one of the few Marvel event books that are launched in a way that new readers can easily jump onboard. What could be called formulaic team building is saved by great characterization and it allows the new reader to get to know the eclectic team ups quickly and painlessly.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10