Jamil Scalese: All good things come to an end. So do bad things. And mediocre things, and average ones too. Cape comics seemingly will never end, at least probably not in our lifetime, so when whenever there are major changes to character or concept fans tend to take notice.
This crossover started very strong but its quality tapered in the second half. In review I think it worked in giving us a much different event experience from the standard event-style plot used repeatedly over the last decade. I liked Original Sin because it was, well, original, and I think that’s epitomized by the story’s last page.
What was once a straightforward murder mystery ended up becoming a sendoff for a classic character, a business move we all thought was coming. But let’s be real: no one expected The Unseen. Craziness! Marvel managed to take Nick Fury Sr. off the board without outright killing him, and I gotta give kudos for that.
Shawn Hill: That it was all an exercise in probably necessary housecleaning (due to the popularity and movie synergy of Fury 2.0) doesn’t excuse my two major problems with the conclusion. Firstly, I don’t buy the concept. I don’t think Marvel 616, which talked Galactus out of eating it thanks to the Fantastic Four, actually needs a Man on the Wall. Furthermore, I don’t think a sniper would be all it takes to deal with extraterrestrial threats. Earth would quickly be thought of as a Death Planet, and retaliation and the scale of threats would escalate proportionally. S.W.O.R.D. seems a much more rational approach.
That’s problem one. Problem two is that the mystery wasn’t a mystery at all; the killer is exactly who we thought it would be, and all that happened is that for a while he let loose some eye-bombs that caused a few problems for the secretive. I want more weirdness than Nick is the world’s worst badass and now the Orb has an extra orb.
However, I did like the art. And Exterminatrix breaking free from her Dad. And the weird trip the Mindless Ones went on. And I guess the Herbert-ian fate of Fury 1.0, who ended up somewhat like the Paul Atreides character in Dune; the blind prophet archetype is a good penance for the hubristic, if a stereotypical one in sci-fi..
Jamil: There are many small bits and aesthetic choices to like in Original Sin. In fact, I’m ranking it up there as one of the more successful crossovers in this modern area of comics. Downer note: crossovers been pretty mediocre overall, so there’s that.
I’m in cahoots with you on the unevenness of the story. The first few issues were lavished in possibilities, a supersized murder mystery featuring some of the coolest characters the MU has to offer. Though I’m a fan of enriching Nick Fury with this quasi-sendoff the way it unfolded reminded me a little too much of Age of Ultron, where one story morphed into another rending the first half obsolete. Luckily, Mike Deodato worked as the binder to hold the whole thing together. The most visually complete miniseries produced by Marvel in the last few years.
You’re also very right about this “new” concept of the Living Man-Wall. Preemptive strikes against threats to Earth is in no way an unfilled role. Uncanny X-Force and Secret Avengers are just two very recent examples of lethal means being applied to hidden threats, and how many times have solo heroes stumbled across an evil plot that conveniently they only have the power to stop. My hope is that this role will be expounded on in Bucky’s new series and the Original Sin Annual.
Really though, my major qualm is that this crossover didn’t really warrant the tie-ins and ceremony. It functions well as a neat little meet-up of second tier badasses and the transformation of a classic character into another classic character. The Avengers sans Cap could have been deleted entirely.
Shawn: Agreed, it just seemed that the tie-ins were there for a summer promotion because they had to be. In a few cases long-held secrets were revealed, but the best ones played it all for laughs, involving Deadpool or Chip Zdarsky or the Young Avengers. The regular series tie-ins that fared best only paid lip-service to the concept (X-men) whereas others went off the rails (FF). Oh, well, it did make Original Sins itself one of the best anthology tie-ins I can remember. And there’s something to be said for using Exterminatrix and Dr. Midas well, after so long.
But you nailed it: the way it began is not the way it ended, and sending off Fury 1.0 in this way is underwhelming and predictable. The final secrets should have been stranger, and didn’t need to be so grim.
TIE-IN TIE UP!
Uncanny X-men #25
The principal attraction here is Bachalo toning down his excesses for the purposes of welcome clarity. And while there’s a lot to show about the current state of the X-men (Scott’s intensity, Alison’s darkness, Bobby’s cold shoulders, Hank’s erudite remorse), the story hinges on the oddity of Charles giving a posthumous last mission to a team he had no idea would be so divided, or that his chosen leader was also to be his killer. His sin is the standard Bendis trope of having to betray a moral code and ideals in order to cope with a dangerous mutant, in this case messing with the mind of a child who can channel destructive alien energies. Charles found a way to turn his powers off, but as usual (check Dark Phoenix) such mental blocks are destined to crumble. The fractured team has to go find the cursed adult, and we still don’t know who gets the school!? That’s Bendis for you, no matter the title. I really do prefer him on solo heroes, the narrow focus plays more to his skills with flawed psychologies.