Friday, August 29, 2014

Original Sin: The Best Marvel Event In A While

Original Sin might be Marvel's best event crossover since Civil War.  But instead of trading on controversial character actions, Original Sin seems to be more interested in high adventure and boundless imagination (and maybe one controversial character action).

I know this picture looks like it's all the same ol' characters, but I promise it's not!

The setup was simple enough:  Someone murdered The Watcher and now someone has weaponized the secrets he accumulated over the years.  Now I'll admit, I was a little worried about this whole setup coming in.  Most of the time when someone uses the "Everything you knew was wrong" trope, everything's a little worse for wear.  Fortunately, the only big big reveal that came out of this whole thing was about Nick Fury, which I'll get to in a minute.

Anyway, with the mystery of the Watcher's murder hanging thick in the air, a ragtag group of heroes - including Moon Knight, Dr Strange, The Winter Soldier, among others - are assembled to follow the clues to find who really did it.  And I'll tell you, it was nice to see some lower tier guys get the spotlight in a big crossover like this.  Not that I don't like seeing Iron Man and Captain America mixing it up, but you know, the universe is bigger than just the Avengers.

And lemme tell you, it's fucking great!  The Punisher and Dr. Strange hanging out in a nether realm talking about the merits of murder, The Orb beating the Avengers with an eye of the Watcher, and Nick Fury being the biggest badass in the galaxy; What's not to like?

If he can't net an action figure after all this, I don't know what would

And listen, I understand if you're shaking your head at the Nick Fury stuff.

A bit of SPOILERS here, please just skip on down if you don't want this big reveal spoiled for you (more than it already has).  So, as it turns out, Nick Fury has become an old man since he got replaced (stupidly) by his long lost son Marcus 'Nick Fury Jr' Johnson - Seriously though, if you're mom got murdered while trying to protect you, wouldn't you keep her name?  What kind of asshole takes the name of his deadbeat dad instead?  I would rather they have brought over the Ultimate Nick Fury during some shitty crossover than this ridiculousness.  But, that's a deal for another day - Ahem.  Where was I?

Right.  The real Nick Fury.  So apparently the effects of giving up the last of the Infinity Formula to keep Bucky alive post-Fear Itself have finally taken their toll on the old warhorse and have made him age appropriate.  That is, he's turned into Bruce Wayne from Batman Beyond; old, crotchety, and supported by a cane.  But while that was the biggest physical reveal, it wasn't the BIG reveal.  That honor goes to Nick's reveal of his job all these years:  The Frontline Defense for Earth aka The Man on The Wall.

It's actually not a terrible setup, but one that falters a little when you think of the stuff Nick let come through.  Sure he was out there murdering rogue planets and developing inter-dimensional bullets, but he was also letting things like Maximum Security (The Earth is chosen to become an intergalactic prison), Secret Invasion (where the Skrulls nearly took over the planet while Nick was busy starring at photographs), and infinity (where Thanos made a run at Earth, landed, and fucked stuff up) happen when he probably could have stopped those from starting.

Regardless, the idea is neat, even if the last thing the Marvel Universe needs at this point is another secret society (Nick hangs with a bunch of LMDs, that's a society in my book) that's secretly running/protecting the world from stuff.  Do you think they ever got in each other's way?  Like, one group is trying to, I dunno, stop an intergalactic war by doing something that totally undermines whatever the opposite group is attempting.  Maybe that's the real reason Operation: Galactic Storm happened.

Back to the book, the only thing I'm not to hot on is the art.  Mike Deodato does some fantastic stuff with some of the craziest layouts ever, but it's totally not my thing.  I respect what he does, but it's too… muddy for me.  It's like Neal Adams' stuff fell into an inkwell but with more boobs.  

In a way, the series reminds me of The Infinity Gauntlet as something that can is very much of the era and can stand on it's own fairly well.  I mean sure, The Infinity Gauntlet had much more story lead up and had the craziest, highest stakes ever, but in the end you could just read those six issues and get nearly the full story of what was going on.  Meanwhile Original Sin, in a welcome change from other modern event crossovers, tells a full story over the course of 8 issues while giving enough motivation to any spin-off series that wants to exist.

You would think that this is where Spidey would remember selling his marriage to the devil.  But then I guess that isn't an ORIGINAL sin.

I really hope this is the model of events for Marvel moving forward.  You know, assuming that they insist on doing these with increased frequency (I see that Axis starts next month… sigh) it'd be nice if the actual event was worth reading and not something utterly disappointing like the past dozen or so.  In the meantime, at least I got this one and it was pretty awesome.