Marvel Comics have always been near and dear to me. They were my introduction to comics at the ripe old age of seven. Back in those days, there were no “summer blockbuster crossovers”. There were only annuals that usually meant nothing to the continuity of the books. Crossovers were rare and glorious like the first time Spider-Man met the Punisher in Amazing Spider-Man #129. Later in the 1980s Marvel started doing large-scale crossovers that weaved through the annuals like Atlantis Attacks or Days of Future Present. These days the industry’s foremost publisher chooses to weave their summer epics through the actual books creating not only great stories but ones with lasting effects. Last summer’s example was Infinity, and I covered it for you from stem to stern, and I loved every moment of it. This week, Marvel Comics enlisted Jason Aaron (Avengers vs X-men, Wolverine), who is no newcomer to the summer epic story, to weave a tale that is sure to rock the Marvel Universe to its core, Original Sin.
Aaron’s writing style is concise like always. His dialogue is easy to follow without being overly wordy. Unlike some of his other work, here he has to be more sly with what he gives the reader, holding back key factors. He did this very well in issue one, while piquing my interest enough that I want to come back for more. Aaron is joined by artist Mike Deodato (Dark Avengers, and just about everything else… ever), colorist Frank Martin, and letterer Chris Eliopoulos on the story of the murder of one of the longest standing background characters in Marvel Comics’ history, Uatu, The Watcher. Deodato is stellar as usual. His art style is flamboyant, but easy to follow. He is very detailed but not at the cost of the big picture. He is obviously going to enjoy flexing his muscles with this diverse cast of characters.
Anyone who has read Marvel Comics knows about the Watchers. They are the race of beings tasked with, well, watching the events of their assigned planet. Uatu was assigned Earth-616 (that’s our Marvel Earth, FYI). He has performed these duties since his creation by none other than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and his first appearance in Fantastic Four #13, circa 1963. The race of observers had taken a vow of non-interference after one of their race made a grave mistake that resulted in the destruction of a race called the Prosilicans. So, the Watcher watched for years and witnessed epic events and adventures, but his final observation was his own death. Someone found him and murdered him in his home on the dark side of the moon. Nick Fury (the original) has been enlisted by Captain America himself to lead an investigation like no other in comics history.
Means, is defined as: 4. means (used with a sing. or pl. verb) A method, a course of action, or an instrument by which an act can be accomplished or an end achieved. So who in the Marvel Universe has the means to kill such a being? Well, just about everyone. We do know that the cause of Uatu’s death was a human head sized hole in his forehead. The shot occurred with such violence that blood was dispersed into orbit, which led Thor to find the body. Next we need to establish opportunity, obviously defined as, 2 a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal, in this context. Uatu lived alone on the Moon, so while there is little chance for an eye-witness, any potential murdered would still have to be able to get to the Moon. But again, in the Marvel Universe, who can’t? Case-in-point: when the Avengers are alerted to the crime by Thor, Nick Fury drives them there in his super-spy car. Yeah, still not narrowing the field. Finally, we need to establish motive, defined as 1. An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action. Ok, now we’re talking, this has to narrow the suspect list, right? No, not so much. Sure, Uatu is the ultimate witness. He’s seen it all, right? He knows where the bodies are buried, who buried them, and what they ate before and after the deed. Motive enough for just about everyone in a universe of super-powered beings, except his race has sworn a vow of non-interference. How is it that Dick Wolf, creator of Law & Order, made this look so easy?
After just the first issue I have no idea where Aaron is going with this eight issue series. The evidence is sparse, but there are a few leads. The Mindless Ones are no longer mindless, and what they have learned causes one of their number to kill himself with an “Ultimate Nullifier”. Could that powerful artifact have been the murder weapon? Who took Uatu’s eyes post-mortem, and why? Nick Fury has assembled an investigation team that you will not believe. They have been broken into very strange groups to follow-up on specific leads that their “skills” best lend to. Seriously? Black Panther, Ant-Man and Emma Frost? Dr.Strange and the Punisher? Spider-Man and the Thing? Moon Knight, Winter Soldier, and Gamora? This grouping really intrigues me! This murder mystery isn’t going end with just some villain with a grudge, I have an inkling that the killer won’t even be a villain, and that the motive will rock the Marvel Universe to its very foundations. The story will weave through Avengers #29, Avengers #30, Mighty Avengers #10, Deadpool #29, and of course Original Sin #2 in the month of May. Stay tuned, this promises to be a good one!
Writing 9/10, I’m a little confused, and quite intrigued.
Art 10/10, it’s Deodato, what did you expect?
Overall 10/10, great start, I’m in!