Marvel’s Original Sin is built on the idea of secrets being exposed to the outside world, but the one revealed at the end of last week’s Original Sin #4 might be the biggest yet.
After the beheading death of Nick Fury in Original Sin #3, the Winter Soldier and several of the superhero groups investigating the Watcher’s murder retrace their steps back to the man who put them on the case and find it’s someone they knew – but not how they knew him. Enter an elderly-looking Nick Fury. Nick Fury’s never known to be a spring chicken, but from the looks of it the Infinity Formula he’s been using to prolong his life is running dry leading the most secretive man in the Marvel U to see his age finally catch up with him.
After that twist ending to Original Sin #4, we spoke with Marvel Senior Vice-President of Publishing Tom Brevoort (who also edits this title) to dissect the events of that issue and how they came to be, as well as looking ahead into the shadowy future that is the second half of Original Sin. Although Brevoort is notoriously tight-lipped about events to come in Marvel comics – and especially Original Sin, he did offer some clues to who’ll play a big role in the series going forward as well as the key figure in next week’s Original Sin #5.
Newsarama: Jason Aaron told us after Original Sin #3 that this new issue’s finale would be just as big, and this elderly-looking Nick Fury seems to meet that promise. This plays up on Fury giving Bucky the last of the Infinity Formula after Fear Itself – so how long has this idea of a secretly-aged Nick Fury haunting Marvel been kicking around Marvel summits?
Tom Brevoort: Probably less long than you think; this particular avenue is Jason’s. It pulls from two previous stories – the Winter Soldier story you mentioned, as well as the story that introduced the younger Nick Fury and revealed the older Fury had given him transfusions of his own blood, containing the Infinity Formula. So the set-up for doing this was there, but it wasn’t necessarily something we had planned beyond that. The notion may have been floated at the time, whether by Ed Brubaker or Christopher Yost or someone else, but I don’t recall. But Jason brought it to us on his own for Original Sin.
Nrama: So the real Nick Fury steps forward – to clarify, he is the “Mysterious Boss” in the shadows before and listed as such in the credits page?
Brevoort: Yes. The guy that just stepped out from behind the doors in Original Sin #4 is the “Mysterious Boss”… as some people figured out, or thought they did, early on. In our crafting of Original Sin #1, we thought the cutaway to the Panther talking to the mysterious guy was pretty clear – but it was perhaps not as clear as we intended it to be. A lot of people just assumed he was talking to Nick Fury on the moon – he wasn’t, but he sort of was. It was the real Nick Fury, and he wasn’t on the moon.
Nrama: And Nick Fury has an group of LMD Fury’s to go with him – how many would you estimate he has? Is he working totally on his own, with no SHIELD support?
Brevoort: Well, that’s kind of asking what’s going to happen in Original Sin #5 and #6, and I can’t reveal that. My answer is going to have to be, “wait and see.”
What I can tell you is what readers who’ve read all the issues have seen so far, which is that he does have a satellite base and at least a couple other Life Model Decoys, or whatever those things are that look like him. And he’s Nick Fury, so he has a lot going for him just by that fact. Beyond that, I don’t want to say anything to close off any avenues of conjecture regarding the central mysteries driving Original Sin.
I can say Original Sin #5 is very much about Nick Fury’s history, and things that have been going on behind the scenes by his hand.
Nrama: In last Wednesday’s Original Sin #4, we saw the unique pairing of Doctor Strange and the Punisher get a third wheel – the Orb. This is turning into a 1970s cult movie starring Burt Reynolds or Clint Eastwood and a monkey or something. You said once you wouldn’t be surprised if fans beg for a Strange/Castle series out of this – what’s the update on that, and any chance we could have the Orb in it as well?
Brevoort: Well, I think that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about the Orb. [laughs]
Doctor Strange and the Punisher as a pairing are pretty crazy – but people like it. The only thing that’s seemed to come close to rivaling it is Rocket Raccoon and the Punisher, which we saw in this issue. That’s also been a pairing that’s struck the fancy of fans. Whether or not Rocket will eclipse Doctor Strange in our hearts as the Punisher’s partner in peril, only time will tell. Maybe Doctor Strange and the Orb will be left by the wayside, and the Punisher and Rocket will walk into the sunset together, massive guns in each hand.
Nrama: Another pairing – although a pair fighting each other –is Hulk vs. Iron Man in this month’s Original Sin #3.1 through #3.4. Just those two names alone are a big deal, but we learned last month it’ll also be the finale of both Mark Waid and Kieron Gillen’s run on their respective characters. What’s at stake here?
Brevoort: Well, I think the premise says it all; it’s a story that has a pronounced and profound impact and consequence on the relationship between the Hulk and Iron Man. The notion going in is that perhaps Tony Stark had something to do with the gamma bomb explosion that made the Hulk. If he did, that’s pretty huge for both those characters. If that’s accurate, it’ll definitely have a seismic effect on things.
Nrama: Circling back to the main Original Sin series, one of the big mysteries still to solve is the murder of the Watcher. At one point the Orb was a prime suspect, but that’s diminished somewhat. It could be “old man” Fury, but that’s still to be determined. I know you can’t say who killed the Watcher, but can you reveal if the Watcher’s killer has showed up in Original Sin yet?
Brevoort: I can’t. You’ll know more as we move into #5 and #6, but I don’t want to rule anything out. By the end of this story, you’ll know. We’re not going to pull somebody in from left field in the final moment or reveal that the Watcher was hit by a space bus. [laughs] The killer (or killers) won’t be a new element to the story. But I’m not going so say if readers have seen the killer(s) yet. I have to guard the story’s secrets, but it won’t be someone you’ve never seen before.
Nrama: And the other big mystery is the series title – the Original Sin. The tie-ins deal with “original sin” secrets other characters have, but you said from the beginning the main series deals with one as well. Can you give us any clues on who’s secret it is, or what it might be? Or what it’s not?
Brevoort: The secret is pretty much the story of Original Sin #5. Much like Original Sin #3 and the ending of Original Sin #4, the payout of that secret will raise a bunch of new questions that will take us into issues #6, #7 and #8.
Nrama: Last question, but it’s a multi-parter. It’s word association. I’m going to say some names, and you tell me briefly what comes to mind in relation to Original Sin and what’s coming up:
Nrama: Dr. Midas and Exterminatrix?
Brevoort: Dr. Midas and Exterminatrix are not done. They will be back, and will continue to play an ongoing role in the adventure and the investigation.
Nrama: The Watcher’s Armory?
Brevoort: We will see a bit more of that as we go. All of the various tchotchkes and cosmic doo-dads that were there and pillaged, as well as a few that were left behind.
Brevoort: He’s going to be small. [laughs] But he’s not necessarily going to have a small role to play coming up.
Nrama: Black Panther?
Brevoort: I think the fans that have been asking for the Panther to play a more significant role, particularly in our big events, should be happy with his showing in the next couple issues.
Nrama: Nick Fury?
Brevoort: Original Sin #5 is all about Nick. It’s things you never knew before, and it puts other things into context. It’s quite revelatory.
Nrama: Last one – the Unseen?
Brevoort: We haven’t seen the Unseen yet… or have we? Maybe we have, or maybe we haven’t. We’ll learn about the Unseen in Original Sin #5, especially given the cover copy saying “What is the Unseen?” We’ll answer that question, at least to some degree.