Team-Up Review: 'Original Sin' #4 Becomes More and More PotentA comic review article by: Shawn Hill, Kevin Reilly, Jamil Scalese
Shawn Hill: Some of our predictions have come true, yet plenty of surprises are still in store. At just the right time, the mystery deepens, the freakiness continues (Talking Eyeball Guy, who can hear eyeballs), and the natural animosities between the odd set of players force everyone into a big fight. Or they would, if this was your standard crossover. Jason Aaron is craftier than that. While there may be a slight over-reliance on in-character meta-commentary, I gotta say I love both the Punisher and Ant-Man’s attitudes throughout this (especially the latter’s kindly offer to fight Dr. Strange when everyone else wades in, only to be politely but wisely rebuffed). Pretty clever stuff.
I finally got into this story’s version of Emma Frost, too, as she at least seems like herself ranting on about how wealthy people misbehave (who would know better than the once White Queen?), and digging around in everyone’s mind to the extent that she can. Black Panther gives her a headache (she finds his mind like “a bear trap wrapped in barbed wire … that someone set on fire”), but she heads like the rest of our players to their fateful and unexpected rendezvous in space. What could be better when no one is trusting each other, and old rivalries and misconceptions are all anyone has to go on?
Jamil Scalese: We’ve hailed this comic over and over for the structure, and it’s potency grew profoundly in this fourth issue.
With the first responder heroes (aka the A-listers) all knocked out by Watcher’s eye of sexy secrets the story focuses solely on an eclectic assortment of wonderful characters only Marvel can provide. I am beyond pleased that this issue got to the point way faster than I expected, there is a sense of traction moving forward. You’re so right, so many surprises in the future, because I have no idea what to expect from here on out.
I nailed my prediction from our last review. Nick Fury Sr. (with emphasis on senior) is the “mysterious boss” and he’s the key to what the hell is going on. That said, this issue, what a friggin’ page turner, and the packed panels were full of fun developments and tiiiight dialogue. Even the action scenes pushed the narrative forward. I had a good feeling about the direction of the last page and I was still shocked. A savvy use of the issue’s only splash page.
Shawn: It’s both what you predicted, and an interesting twist on the way it might play out. Because if this is Fury Sr. now, there’s a lot we thought we knew about him that was wrong. And yet, like all the best reveals, it makes perfect sense.
Kevin Reilly: Marvel has been making overtures to wipe their slate clean ever since, all those years ago, they announced that Jon Favreau was making a little movie called Iron Man. In that time, if you recall, we’ve seen the comics grow, bend, and reflect the films: Loki, once a child thanks to the brilliant Kieron Gillen, has had the childhood sapped from him and is back to his good, old-fashioned mischief-making ways. Characters like Maria Hill and even Black Widow stepped up and entered the spotlight. Most prominent and controversial, however, is the Nick Fury switcheroo. In the miniseries Battle Scars, fans were introduced to Marcus Johnson, a Marine who turns out to be Nick Fury’s son. He also bears a striking resemblance to Samuel L. Jackson. He’s even got an eyepatch on, for god’s sake. His best friend is Phil Coulson.
So what do we have here, with the Fury twist? While I like the potential strangeness to follow, it appears my initial paranoia about Nick Fury, Sr.’s placement in this story was totally correct: Marvel intends to get rid of ol’ Nick Fury. Why? I assume this is because Nick Fury Senior will not be in a movie any time soon. Instead of waiting until their inevitable post-Avengers: Age of Ultron reboot (the Avengers arc is called “Time Runs Out”, man, I don’t know what else to tell you) they’ve decided to do this now, I guess.
I sincerely hope that Marvel isn’t doing this to seduce new readers, as, if Diamond numbers are to be believed, it hasn’t really seemed to work in the past. The excellent and hilarious Secret Avengers, despite featuring Fury Jr. and Coulson prominently, does not bring them in at all. Neither did the previous volume of that same book. Nor, it seems, has any character tie-in, any “Hey! You just saw Spider-Man. Here’s The Lizard/Electro/etc.” hook they attempt to put in there.
All of the praise from the previous reviews still hold, and aren’t really worth mentioning again: Aaron keeps the pacing up, and Deodato continues to just knock this thing right out of the park. But… man.
Shawn: Well, is it just to wipe out Fury? Or is it just time for Fury Sr. to retire? He’s a WW2 holdover as well, but he’s not a supersoldier like Cap, the First Mutant like Namor, or even an imitation super-soldier like ‘Tasha. The movies also, you know, are getting much better at matching the comics. Who came first, Victoria Hand or Brian Bendis? Samuel Jackson was playing Fury in the comics before he ever got to on screen; and the movies have long taken their cues from the Ultimate versions. With that line mostly moribund these days, we might just be seeing the Ultimate universe finally fully colonizing Marvel-616.
Jamil: I think it’s a little too soon to set Fury’s fate.
It might seem like Nick’s aged too much to be useful but he’s the most resourceful mofo in the 616. This could easily be a smart evolution of the character, changing him into something more distinct than a caucasian model of the movie version. I'll agree Marvel’s sweeping attempts to marry the money of Hollywood with the art of comics are cumbersome, but they’re not all bad. Iron Man, Hawkeye, Widow, Loki, Rocket, etc are all stronger characters due to the movies, and now that I’m used it I’ll admit I kind of like when an event or villain matches up with the big release.
What’s great about Original Sin is that it’s got so much more going than a last page reveal. Jason Aaron is one of the very best writers doing it right now. I am constantly blown away at his versatility and ability to capture tones across a wide array of genres and subgenres. Normally he does that in individual titles but here he has balanced a variety of voices and merged them well. On a similar note Deodato is bringing it all together with concise linework, and some sweet layouts. The tilted paneling helps convey the peculiar, detective noir mood, as do Frank Martin’s shrouded colors.
We’re at the midpoint of what very well might be the best comic book crossover in decades and I’m excited. See you guys in two weeks to see if the back half maintains the high standard.