After operating in shadows and with subterfuge for decades, Nick Fury’s secret one-man war as “Man on the Wall” is out in the sunlight – and the Avengers don’t like what they see. In this week’s Original Sin #7, the Avengers attacked Fury en-masse outside his secret space station and found Fury – despite being aged and powerless – more than a match to fend them off. With a word he took down Thor and Iron Man, and he smacked Hulk clear down to the Moon’s surface – and Captain America and the others didn’t fare much better.
As readers soak up events of Original Sin #7 and look forward to the series finale later this month, Newsarama spoke with Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort about this action-packed (and revelatory-filled) issue of Marvel’s 2014 summer event book. While Brevoort held back from spoiling the events of the finale coming in two weeks, he did provide interesting context to the events witnessed in this week’s issue as well as commenting on speculation of who would be the new “Man on the Wall.”
Newsarama: Original Sin #7 is out now, and it has a lot of action and perhaps even more questions on fans’ lips. How was it putting this issue together and its story beats, for you?
Tom Brevoort: Well, it’s not like it’s any different from any other issue – particularly on a series like Original Sin. If we came up with the issues one at the time, saying “Okay, #6 is done – let’s figure out #7” there might be a problem. But from the jump we had an outline and an overview Jason Aaron put together of the complete 8-issue story of Original Sin and those are pretty much the eight comic books we’ve made. Little things have shifted one way or another as opportunities arose and situations changed, but if you compare that original document with the finished comics it would track pretty well.
So it wasn’t like Original Sin #7 was any more difficult or challenging than the seven other issues of the series. This is the part of the story where we’re racing to the climax; the stakes go up, big things happen, and the climax awaits in just one more issue.
Nrama: That being said, how was it planning and organizing all this big moments in the issue, like Nick Fury stopping both Thor and Iron Man in their tracks?
Brevoort: I think that just comes as a function of the fact that Nick Fury is about as dangerous a person to go up against in the Marvel U. He might seem like just a regulardude, perhaps even more harmlessbeing that he’s 80 or 90 years old, but the fact remains that Fury has more experience, more know-how, more knowledge in the formof those Watcher eyes, and more history of being willing to do the things that need to be done to protect the world. So for Iron Man, Thor, Cap and the others, it’s a daunting task to face Nick Fury. The quick dispatching of a number of key Avengers is evidence of how formidable Nick actually is.
Nrama: In an earlier interview on Original Sin, you said this main series had an original sin for a character on its own to reveal—is it in fact the deeds Nick Fury has done as the “Man on the Wall”?
Brevoort: I think that certainly the secret history of Nick Fury constitutes an “original sin.” But that doesn’t mean we won’t reveal other stuff in the issue left to go. But when we talked about the “original sin” revealed in Original Sin itself, it was specifically the Nick Fury’s secret life as the “Man on the Wall.
Nrama: That being said, the final page reveal of Uatu’s fellow Watchers swarming above his home makes me look at one person’s potential sins that everyone’s been overlooking: Uatu. He’s been looked at as the MacGuffin of this tale, but he in fact has sinned before – at least in the eyes of his race – by interfering in the past in the events transpiring on Earth. Are we going to get more on the Uatu front?
Brevoort: I can tell you that in Original Sin #8, as we started to do in #7, there will be flashbacks and readers will see exactly what occurred on the night of Uatu’s murder, so you’ll certainly see more of Uatu. Somebody is going to shoot him in that flashback and we’ll finally understand the context of how it was done, where it was done and why – all the pieces of the story will be slotted into place. Certainly with the Watchers hovering over Uatu’s domicile at the end of Original Sin #7, they’ll be an element as well.
Nrama: With those Watchers here, could we see a new Watcher take up where Uatu left off? It wouldn’t be the first time.
Brevoort: Well, presumably if the territory is open then someone has to watch it. The Watchers watch everything, so someone has to watch it; if it’s not Uatu, then it’s someone else.
Nrama: From Watchers to the worthy, in this issue we saw the deed which apparently will see Thor become unworthy of Mjolnir and lead to a new, female Thor taking his place. Jason Aaron is writing both this and the Thor series, so how integral was him having this story beat in there like this?
Brevoort: It’s certainly integral to Original Sin and the Thor stuff that comes right after. As you said, Jason is writing both series – which helps.
But for every event, we try to make sure there are lasting ramifications and consequences for the individual characters of what goes down in the event stories. Some are big and earth-shattering, while others are smaller and only affect a handful of characters. We always try to make stories matter to at least some of the players beyond just the confines of the event itself.
So yes, this is the beginning of the build-up to the new Thor, right here in Original Sin. Jason’s writing both, so it as very easy to set up his own story for Thor here in Original Sin.
Nrama: And will what Fury said to Thor that shocked him into unworthiness ever be revealed – and if so, where should people look?
Brevoort: I think the most obvious place to look would be the new Thor series.
Nrama: Ok, getting back to Original Sin -- The revelations behind Nick Fury’s tenure as “Man on the Wall” and his actions against the heroes now that that secret has out has firmly twisted the former Howling Commando from being seen by fans as a hero to that of an evil-doer – or at the least, in the very dark side of the grey area. Fury’s one of Marvel’s classic heroes – so what was it like internally to do a story like this which fundamentally changed how people see him?
Brevoort: Well, you mentioned the new Thor before this. With that and here with Nick, I think it should be very clear to people that we’re not very precious – [laughs] – with our characters and situations. If there’s a good, compelling story to be told, we have no great reluctance to knockingover the dominos and lettingthe chips fall where they may. In the stories we tell, we want people to come along for the ride and get outraged, depressed, excited and surprised – and that’s all about change. Change is one of the central tenants of the Marvel U.
Here with Nick Fury and Original Sin, it’s a story we felt was relevant to Nick based on what we know of him and his outlook on things. This plays on circumstances both recent and from years ago, and it moves him into an interesting new position. That tends to be true of most of the big stories we do – with ridiculous regularity, in fact. It’s not something that’s terribly difficult, apart from coming up with the story itself. Once we had a story we thought was good, interesting and worthwhile, that’s all it really took to get those wheels going.
Nrama: Seeing this play out like it has, I see threads of this going all the way back to Secret War – maybe not with the “Man on the Wall” job title, but at least in the decision-making idea of “the ends justify the means” kind of thing. Has this changing role of Fury been something in discussion in summits and with creators all through the years culminating to this?
Brevoort: Not specifically as a topic or anything; it’s more that one creator would do a story, then another would come in and do another story. The direction, or vector, of a character would be set by all of the stories going on. You can trace the line back to Secret War definitely, if only because it’s the biggest Nick Fury centered story ofthe past ten years before Original Sin. Secret Warriors was a big Nick Fury story too, but as part of an ensemble. So that’s Brian Michael Bendis doing a story, going to Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker doing it in Captain America and now here with Jason. Their individual stories permeated out into the Marvel U and affected subsequent Fury stories.
But there’s never been a real sitdown where we’ve said, “Ok, we want to evolve Nick Fury and have him move in this direction.” It kind of happened as an outgrowth of telling stories.
Nrama: It looks like Nick’s interview process to find his replacement as “Man on the Wall” was cut short, leaving a group of heroes on his base and panicking that they might be seen as co-conspirators by the Avengers. Where is their story heading?
Brevoort: We’ve got 30 whole pages of story to tell you that, all in one place – Original Sin #8!
Nrama: Okay. Let me speculate here for a second, but what if all those heroes took up the “Man on the Wall” position as a group and become a re-defined Defenders team?
Brevoort: That’s certainly as likely as any course.
Nrama: Another popular theory is that Bucky could take up that position – in the advance press for Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier, he looks to have an unspecified “new mission” that’ll see him out in space in much the same way Fury has revealed to have acted as “Man on the Wall.” Could the Winter Soldier become “The Man on the Wall”?
Brevoort: That sounds as plausible as your other idea. Wait and see.
Nrama: Backing out of speculation and into the facts as we know it, in Original Sin #7 we also got another hint as to what the Unseen is – with this issue referring to it as a thing rather than a person or persons. Fury, when he goes to investigate the brouhaha leading up to the Watcher’s murder, tells his Fury LMDs if he dies to “tell them everything” to an unspecified list of people. Everything being referred to as the Unseen? Is this Fury’s dirty deeds list from his time as Man on the Wall?
Brevoort: You will know what the Unseen is by the end of Original Sin #8.
Nrama: You’re a tough nut to crack. One last question -- One thing that’s been missed in the bi-weekly shipping of this is the on-time delivery of each issue, with no fill-ins on any front. Achieving that with an event book, and especially one with one writer and one artist is a hard task to achieve. Good planning could be the cause of it, but can you maybe pinpoint some areas that helped make this happen that might not have worked out so well in past event books?
Brevoort: It’s all from one area – Mike Deodato. He is an Iron Man – the Lou Gehrig of comics. He worked his ass off onOriginal Sin, and I’m not exaggerating. He drew Original Sin #8 -- all 30 pages of it – in 30 days straight, without a day off. I do not exaggerate when I say Deohasn’t taken a day off in months; he actually drew a page in thehospital while waiting for his daughter to be born.
The reason this project is seamless as it is was helped by having Jason Aaron, our colorist Frank Martin, our letterer Chris Eliopoulos, and our editorial staff – but the lion’s share is Mike Deodato. Deo made it happen that way.