Jamil Scalese: Dead, dead, dead.
That's our major motif this week, folks. As Marvel's mondo murder mystery expands we find that the Watcher wasn't the only victim of death by "gamma-irradiated bullet". Whoever killed Uatu has been practicing on monsters, demons and living planetoids for decades. There's a high-powered serial killer on the loose and with the heroes dealing with sudden personal matters (conveniently tied into their various origins) it's getting a little hazy as to who actually will save the day, and how.
I'll try to temper my excitement but I have to say Original Sin, so far, is one of the funner things I've read from the publisher in some time, at least on this scale. Normally when a book is this entertaining it's shunted off to some isolated corner of the MU where it eventually peters off and dies due to poor sales. I'm a little shocked that this is the core title to a major event. As I've complained previous: these endeavours are normally fluffed up to the point that it seems like the writers/artists/editors find creative ways not to entertain (see: DC’s Futures End).
This issue is much like the last. We find out a bunch more about the villains, the respective "teams" each get a bit more page time (though the Punisher/Strange and Ant-Man/Black Panther/Emma sequences are pretty redundant) and there's a huge shocker at the end that changes the game dramatically. The art and beauty of the single issue isn't lost on Jason Aaron.
Kevin Reilly: This thing is goofy as hell. First off, the Watcher’s eyes were stolen. Then, they ended up in the hands of some Grant Morrison Marvel Boy villains and a guy with an eyeball for a head. Throw in a walk on a formerly living planet and the sudden death of one of the most iconic characters in Marvel’s flock for good measure. With all this, I’m going to have to echo your sentiments about fun.
In contrast, Marvel’s last event, Infinity, was completely adequate. It built off of Hickman’s Avengers books perfectly, but it was at some times inscrutable and moved at a snail’s pace and its tone was deadly serious. Some things in Original Sin take a minute to sink in, but the stakes are all pretty clear, as are the characters.
In a post-Avengers vs. X-Men world– a crossover, if you remember, where twelve issues amounted to maybe less than half that in actual plot– an event that moves like Original Sin does is sacrilege. That’s the hook for me.
I am a bit afraid that what I said last week is coming true: the mysteries contained within Original Sin are those which we can not solve. The only clue to either of the “mysterious leaders”– that who controls Dr. Midas, the Orb, and Exterminatrix, and/or the two ‘away teams’– is maybe a silhouette. You can’t even speculate because the choice of characters, brilliant as it has been, is so random and strange.
Can we talk about that ending? Marvel’s been looking to do what they did for a bit, but the way in which it happened was so outstanding.
Shawn Hill: I hear you, Kevin, on Infinity and even AvX (which Jamil, Chris and I covered in all its ups and downs). Still, Age of Ultron was such a misfire that AvX seems like a pinnacle of the form in comparison. I mean, at least it achieved what it set out to do. But it was all about plot and a paucity of big shocks. It was the mainstream Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer vehicle, if you will, while Original Sin has a much more quirky auteur flavor from the start.
This issue certainly ups the stakes, and I’m glad to see such action happen early in the series. Whatever is going on it’s going to get much uglier before it’s over. If it can get uglier than the brutal dismemberment that occurs this issue. The pacing strikes me as a little uneven, and the shocking ending came almost out of nowhere, so those are my faults with this issue. I want the series to tell a good story without resorting to shocking deaths too often. And I don’t want all the secrets (revealed by the Orb’s use of one of the eyes) to be explored in the ancillary series.
Jamil: I’m a bit of a fan of the way the tie-ins are set up though. The core series is about Watcher’s murder and the outside titles are about what it means for the heroes. I’m only invested in one of those though (as you’ll read about below), so I’m just happy that they handled it in a single blue-hued flash.
You know what, Kevin? Let’s talk about that ending. I disagree this is unsolvable, and I’ll hark back to something I said last week — that insatiable need to try to figure out the mystery instead of letting it unfold in front of me.
So the Winter Soldier murders Nick Fury after deducing that only one man possesses the skills to kill a planet, reacting quickly and without mercy. First, let me say I’m loving Bucky right now. Somehow my reading choices have danced all around the character since his return but I love the atmosphere of sourness he carries. It does kind of play on how much of a taunting dick he was back in the Golden Age.
Bucky’s actions are very heavy-handed, and the easy conclusion is that Marvel wants to wipe out Old Nick for New Nick, however I don’t buy it. Jason Aaron is too good of a writer to do something so without fanfare, even by company mandate. What I’m saying is it’s a plot device, a (Life Model) decoy, because Nick Fury is (somehow) the “mysterious boss”.
Some clues that I picked up on so far: Everyone seems to know the boss (save Gamora), everyone seems to respect him, Fury fits that bill perfectly; “Fury” at the end of this issue says he never got a flash from the secret bomb; when we see the boss this issue he seems to be talking to a SHIELD agent; there’s a similarity between how the boss and “Fury” are sitting at computer monitors, separated by only a page. Thematic
bonus moment: Remember in issue #1 when “Fury” told Cap to not be surprised about who was behind this? I’m banking on that paying off.
I’m not sure as to the “why” and “how” of it but I have a decent feeling that Bucky had the right idea, he just killed the wrong version… Man, this is one trippy superhero noir.
Shawn: So you don’t think Bucky is being controlled by outside forces, as he was in his recent movie? If he deduced who was at fault, why go off on his own and ditch his teammates? It is way too early to tell, so I’ll reserve judgment for awhile longer.
Kevin: Yeah, Life Model Decoy sounds about right. Especially since we’ll never see this Nick Fury in any movies. That sounds a bit more cynical than I originally thought, but I think you’re spot-on. I just hope it’s a bit more complicated than that, and that Aaron gives us… something. Even a red herring will do.
Tie-In Tie Up
(Gerry Duggan; Brian Posehn; John Lucas; Val Staples)
It's chic to suggest that the current run of Deadpool might be the best ever. That's not much of a distinction because Wade Wilson, though popular and alluring, has not had much a wealth of creative talent behind him in his (relatively) short existence.
Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn have done a very good job of presenting us with a respectable version Deadpool but unlike many I have a really hard time praising their work unabashedly. Simply, in their efforts to elevate the character they've stepped too far into dramatic zones, abandoning some of the offhandedness that defined him previously.
This Original Sin tie-in falls right in line with that they've done the last dozen or issues or so. After marrying dude off and giving him a kid (who makes her first appearance in this issue) the writers are diving into the talkative mercenary's past to reveal some factoids about his parents and whatnot. While for years I've wished for bigger and better plot work in a Deadpool ongoing, however, I'm unhappy with the grave tone this has taken on, using tired accessories like family and matrimony to ratchet up the consequences instead of giving the reader something more in the vein of the character. That is, something off-kilter and completely unexpected. And funny. It needs to be funnier.
The real problem with this issue is it hits a low point in terms of art for a book that has had a had a steady flow of really great pencilers, inkers and colorists. John Lucas' art reminds me the previous line-up of creators that were tossed on previous volumes of Deadpool because their style had a bit of eccentric in it. Lucas has a distinct look that is professional and all, but the sloppy action, and inconsistency in drawing characters page to page is noticeable enough to take the reader out of the story. It's a murky look for a book that's has been superbly crisp since its relaunch.
The point: this title is good, but it could much better. For the foreseeable future Deadpool will retain its strong sales numbers but I warn Marvel not to get complacent in the approach to its sudden cash cow. Deadpool works because he's different from all the other choices out, now stop making him like all the rest.