This summer, one of Marvel's most enigmatic and powerful characters is struck down and Nick Fury is on the case. In the all-new 8-issue event series Original Sin, Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato tell of the murder of Uatu the Watcher and the investigation by Nick Fury to undercover who did it, how, and for what. But at the same time he's looking for answers to the crime, the Watcher's secrets accumulated for eons on high -- secrets of heroes, villains, and virtually everyone -- are loose in the world and apt to prove information some would like to keep to themselves.
On February 19, Marvel hosted a live "Next Big Thing" conference call for press, with series writer Jason Aaron, Executive Editor Tom Brevoort and Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso all on the line. With Original Sin set to begin in May as a bi-weekly series and a special zero issue coming in April, it's time we learned more about Marvel's summer event.
The conference call starts with Marvel's publicity person Chris D'Lando on the call, succinctly describing Original Sin as a "murder mystery in the Marvel manner." According to D'Lando, Original Sin begis on the moon with the dead body of Uatu the Watcher, discovered by a variety of Marvel heroes. The murderer has made off with valuable technology Uatu has accumulated over the years, as well as secrets of the Marvel U which will "shake the Marvel U to its core."
"When the heroes find the Watcher's body on the moon, his eyes are gone. No one sure what that means, but scenes roll on which outlines the new fact that the Watcher's eyes are secret to unlocking everything he's witnessed over the years," says Aaron. "So whoever holds those eyes is able to explode a bomb full of secrets and unleash all these various secrerts of Marvel Universe out in the wild through those eyes."
One of the big questions of the series besides who murdered the Watcher, but who is in possession of the eye -- possibly the murderer, or someone else higher up. Brevoort describes it as different from other Marvel events, because once this sort of "information detonation" goes on and the frst wave of secrets get released, it will set off a multitude of stories that are going to affect various Marvel characters "in a very personal and very dramatic way." Brevoort describes this as both the "N.S.A. leak of the Marvel Universe" as well as the TMZ of the Marvel Universe, speaking to hidden weaknesses and hidden indiscretions.
"Secrets that involve Spider-Man will lead to stories in the Spider-Man titles," Brevoort says, elaborating that secrets involving other characters will be expanded on in tie-in issues as well. In Spider-Man for example, readers will learn a second person was bitten by the radioactive spider which gave Peter Parker his powers.
"Cap will learn someone close to him has tampered with his memories," Brevoort reveals, "and will have siesmic effect on Cap's relationship with popele around him while at forefront of tracking down who left this dead body on the moon. "
Both Brevoort and Alonso stress that readers of the Original Sin will get a standalone story, but the tie-ins wil explore interesting facets of the revelations of Original Sin in their own tales.
"All of the Original Sin tie-ins will show things being revealed that will have long-term effects on the characters, and how they look at themselves in the mirror and how others look at them," says Alonso. "Will see at least one instance where a hidden part of the past will change how two Marvel characters look at each other forever."
Turning to focus back on the main Original Sin miniseries, Jason Aaron says the cast of that series features names who people may not expect to be at the center of a Marvel event.
"There are two investigations going on in Original Sin. The most public is Captain America and the Avengers' thrust, who brought in Nick Fury to act as a homicide detective," Aaron says. "But there is also a secret, secondary investigation with Black Panther, Moon Knight and others that will discern that this isn't the first time our killer has murdered someone. You're not going to step up and kill the Watcher your first time out, so we start to follow a murder trail that takes us to the depths of the Marvel Universe."
Aaron says one of the "funnest" part of writing Original Sin is the unusual pairings and out-of-the-way places he's going in this event series. Aaron does say the cast isn't happenstance however; they were all chosen for very specific feasons, to cover all the bases in the Marvel Universe.
"It's pushing a lot of characters outside thier comfotrt zone," Brevoort adds. "There is something neat with Punisher talking about ballistics directions in the Dark Dimension."
Brevoort says in Original Sin #2 that some of the secrets will burst into the open, leaving individual heroes reeling and doing a bit of damage control. Brevoort compares it to the classic Spider-Man paradigm of Peter Parker balancing superhero worries like battling super villains while also worrying about taking care of Aunt May.
"Original Sin pretty cunningly designed. Jason really has a steel-trapped mind for this kind of thing, and it's beautifully laid out," Brevoort states. "Mike Deodato is bringing an expert game, adding a little noir Steranko-take on panels and pages. It still has all that superhero 'oomph!' but is heavy, shadowy and not like any event we've done before."
Newsarama asked about crafting these secrets to be added to these long-running characters of the Marvel Universe.
"The thing we had to get pass is of our own reticence to break anything too much," Brevoort says. "We kept coming up with ideas but were pulled back by thinking its too much, but when we proposed it in the Summit room we were encouraged to do it -- and in some cases, turn the dial up and do it more."
Original Sin acts as the defacto return of Nick Fury front-and-center to the Marvel U after seemingly being overshadowed by his son Nick Fury Jr.. One of the journalist in attendance in the conference called asked that given Nick Fury Jr.'s prime positioning in the Marvel U if Original Sin might be a "swan song" for the original Nick Fury.
"If you're worried about Nick Fury dying, that's good," Brevoort exclaimed. "Your concern helps motiviates you to go into comic shops and pick it up. As we've been saying for months, the Marvel U is big enough for two guys named Nick Fury. But that being said, with this kind of story we're doing either Fury is going to be a big player and I can't say what will happen to them."
Brevoort says the seeds for Original Sin goes back to Marvel summits as far back as the planning of 2011's Fear Itself. In the earliest incarnation, Allan Heinberg was pencilled in to write the series, but the Young Avengers writer's Hollywood commitments pulled him away and left the core seed of the story floating around in the ether in Marvel retreats and continued to grow and evolve. Brevoort said that Joe Quesada had very expanded and specific notes for Original Sin, creating three documents of notes for ideas relating to the Marvel murder mystery.
"The one thing I want to stress is while the seeds of this story were laid down a long time ago, they didn't start growing until someone owned them and becomes the author, which as Jason," says Alonso. "Previous writers expressed interest, but never said 'it's mine' and made it their own."
Brevoort says that Original Sin is very topical given the string of leaks people read about in the news, similiar to how Civil War tied into then-current world events.
"But it's still a story about about a giant bald space god whose body was discovered on the moon. If you can find some real real-world comparions to that, great.But if not, just come and enjoy a Marvel murder mystery which starts on the moon."
As Aaron is both the writer of Original Sin and the ongoing Thor: God of Thunder, the question was posed about Thor's specific role in this event series.
"Yeah, he's there from the get-go; he's the guy who discovers the Watcher's body," Aaron reveals.
As far as the Thor: God of Thunder series, Brevoort says that there's a "big juicy secret that'll land on his head" and will run through both Thor's solo series as well as Loki: Agent of Asgard.
Being that a bald character -- Professor X -- was killed in Avengers Vs. X-Men and another bald character -- Uatu the Watcher -- will apparently be killed in the opening pages of Original Sin, Newsarama asked if this is part of some hidden agenda by Aaron or Marvel against the follicly-challenged.
"Brian Bendis has nothing to worry about," Brevoort quipped. "Everything's okay there."
Aaron states that he's been bald since age 19, and has nothing against fellow bald people.
"Beards however, are another matter," Brevoort added jokingly.