Writer: Jason Aaron Artist: Mike Deodato
Usually, there are spoiler warnings needed when talking about characters getting killed off during a company-wide comic book event. Not so with Original Sin, where it’s been well-advertised that we were going to see the death of Uatu, the Watcher in charge of observing the Earth and its surroundings.
Original Sin #1 gets to the death relatively early on, right after we learn that Uatu can feel fear. It’s not quite that he knows he’s going to be killed, but he definitely senses the big happening of the day is a personal one, and it appears he may recognize his killer.
(Now we get to the SPOILERS part … )
The remainder of the issue is mostly character interactions. Captain America, Black Widow and Wolverine share a steak dinner with Nick Fury, who thinks back to the best steak he’s ever had. Their meal is interrupted by a call from Thor, who actually stumbles across Uatu’s body after getting hit with quite possibly the most spacefaring blood spatter of all time.
(Also, Cap is like a football player wearing his own jersey, sporting a shirt with his logo on it even while dressed in civilian clothes.)
After the initial investigation reveals that Uatu has been shot — and it had to be a big bullet, since that guy has a huge noggin — it’s time to split up into teams. Fury is in charge, but only reluctantly since he’s supposed to be retired. There’s worry over the fact that some tech bas been stolen, and that Uatu’s eyes have been taken from his body, but not as much as there likely will be later since we know what the heroes don’t: the Watcher’s secrets are stored in his eyes.
Part of the fun in big crossovers like this, dating all the way back to DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, is seeing unusual partnerships between heroes who don’t generally work together and may not even know each other. Aaron doesn’t disappoint, serving up Moon Knight, Winter Solider and Gamora, Black Panther, Emma Frost and Ant-Man, and perhaps the oddest super couple in memory, Dr. Strange and the Punisher. Convoluted? Maybe, but we won’t find out until later issues, and it’s fun to speculate on the logic involved in the sub-teams.
The little bit of action comes from Spider-Man and the Thing duking it out with one of the Mindless Ones, one who isn’t too happy about not being mindless any more. After that poor thing commits suicide in spectacular fashion with the Ultimate Nullifier (read that part over again), Fury and Cap show up. Maybe the four of them will be working together too.
In the final scene, we discover two people in the shadows. One of them may or may not be the trigger man, but it’s clear they’re involved somehow because they’ve got some of the Watcher’s stolen tech, a host of other Mindless Ones and one of Uatu’s eyes — and not the kind comic shops are giving out to promote the series.
It’s tricky to find a balance when you’re giving a story grand scope and still trying to keep it personal at the same time, but Aaron manages to pull it off in this first issue. Not every event needs to be “OMG, the biggest threat ever” every time, though there’s a tendency for them to get that way. I’d argue that the stories Jonathan Hickman is doing in regular issues of Avengers and New Avengers are filling that role now anyway. The tone of Original Sin is just right to make for a refreshing change while still getting across the idea that it’s an Important Story (patent pending). It helps that Deodato’s art is perfect for this, something I never would have said when he was doing his best 90s stereotypes in Wonder Woman and Thor back in the day.
I’m curious to see where this is all headed, and that’s the primary mission of a first issue. Well done Marvel.