You can be pretty sure a publisher is heavily promoting an upcoming new series when the publisher issues a press release stating they’re heavily promoting the upcoming new series.
That’s exactly what Marvel Comics did for the May-debuting Original Sin event this past week and it was just a small slice of the numerous first looks, press conferences, new stories about offshoot series, and teasers that found their way into a crowded comics sphere.
With the wealth of new images and mostly cryptic clues issued by Marvel (it is, after all, a murder mystery), Marvel invited Newsarama to interrogate editor-in-chief Axel Alonso about his knowledge of the crime. Though his legal counsel advised him against letting us hook him up to the polygraph machine, hot lights were allowed and we did manage the following exchange where he revealed … well … keep reading...
...and looking - we got a few new images to show too.
Newsarama: Axel, it seems some of the better-received event crossovers in Marvel history have been about trust between heroes and dissention in the ranks; Civil War, Secret Invasion, and Avengers vs. X-Men come to mind immediately. Can you talk about that in light of Original Sin and the presumption that the killer might be one of the heroes?
Axel Alonso: Original Sin is a Marvel Universe-spanning murder mystery that is chock filled with viable suspects that include heroes and villains, red herrings, and twists and turns that will keep readers guessing. When it’s discovered that someone killed Uatu, who holds all the secrets of the Marvel Universe, super heroes of all stripes – the Avengers, X-Men and some you might not expect, like Dr. Strange, Winter Soldier, Emma Frost, Ant-Man and Punisher – scour every corner of the Marvel Universe to find out who did it, and why, using their unique skill set to scour territory that no one else can. Doctor Strange will reach into the beyond. Ant-Man will shrink down to a subatomic level. Emma Frost will work the synapses of the least cooperative witness. And the Punisher? Well, he’s got a special gift for interrogation. Needless to say, the bread trail of clues will turn up some surprising suspects, and readers will be left with the sinking feeling: Is one of my favorite heroes capable of this murder?
Nrama: I can’t ask you to reveal who the murderers will be, but I will ask this: is the murderer (or murderers) new characters or someone fans will know beforehand?
Alonso: Fans will be well acquainted with the killer – or killers – whose identity and motive will be very shocking.
Nrama: Everything we’ve seen and read so far has only shown Marvel heroes on the case here – and these unseen murderers could be in fact heroes themselves. Will any major villains have a role to play in this series?
Alonso: Yes, the killer could be a hero or a villain – like I said, no one can be scratched off the suspect list. And, there will be plenty of villains in the mix. Everyone – the Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four – will have to deal with the powerful forces that are set in motion by the Watcher’s death.
Nrama: This seems to have all of Marvel’s hero heavyweights in this one, but past crossovers have also introduced new characters. Will Original Sin feature some new original characters for the Marvel U?
Alonso: The core Original Sin series by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato, Jr. will focus on the characters you know – characters with a long history in the Marvel U. That said, in Original Sin #2 there is a huge, game-changing moment – an explosion that will send shockwaves through the Marvel Universe – and our Original Sin tie-in books will show those shockwaves. Dark secrets from our hero’s past will emerge – profound and life-changing secrets that sometimes go back to their very origins – and one of those secrets is a new character whose very existence will turn the life of a Marvel mainstay upside down and tee up a new ongoing series.
Nrama: Uatu the Watcher is part of a larger race of beings known as Watchers. He’s had disagreements with his kind before, but could we possibly see them step forward with his death?
Alonso: I wouldn’t rule anything out, because Original Sin is universe-spanning. So, yeah there is more than one Watcher, but this series will focus on Uata because it is his eyes that have taken in all the secrets of the Marvel Universe, and it is his death that will leave us reeling when those secrets are suddenly exposed.
Nrama: You mentioned one of the big secrets revealed relates to Peter Parker’s past; another teaser touches on the fact that Captain America was mind-wiped by the Illuminati and he, presumably, will find out about it. Can you talk about these skeletons coming out of the closet for heroes, and what ripples that’ll have for the Marvel U at large?
Alonso: These secrets will transform characters’ lives and relationships with each other, and, in some cases, the way you look at them:
In Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker unearths a secret that goes right back to the very beginning.
In Uncanny X-Men, Brian Bendis has planned perhaps the most provocative and incendiary X-Men story ever.
In Daredevil, Mark Waid unearths a dark secret that predates Matt Murdock’s transformation and cuts to the core of who he is.
In Fantastic Four, James Robinson unearths a secret that will threaten one of the best bromances in comics.
In Deadpool, Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn unearth a secret about Wade’s past that is, for once, no laughing matter.
In Original Sin #3.1 – 3.4, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner unearth a dark secret that’ll rock their relationship to its core – deeply buried secret that goes all the way back to the Gamma bomb that created the Hulk and it will irrevocably change their relationship and the way you view one of them.
And there’s another big character who learns that he and his brother have a—wait, nevermind. Look, I could go on, but I’ll cap it there.
Like I said, this event is huge. Just like Avengers vs. X-Men gave birth to Uncanny Avengers and numerous “Marvel NOW!” launches, Original Sin gives birth to at least five new ongoing series, all featuring solo characters, including at least one female one, and completely transforms three of our core ongoing series, with either a totally new – or significantly altered character – in the title role. Remember the first time you saw the solicitation for The Superior Spider-Man? Yeah, like that.
Nrama: I’m here talking to you about Original Sin the same week the Inhuman series debuts, which was pegged as a major event as well. Is there any danger in introducing a new major crossover storyline like Original Sin when the Inhuman one has barely gotten off the ground, or is that intentional in any way?
Alonso: Inhuman isn’t an event; it’s an important ongoing series that sprung out of an event, Infinity. Like Guardians of the Galaxy, Inhuman is the first series of what will soon be a franchise. Charles Soule and Joe Madureira are assembling key pieces for a slowly growing universe. These characters will be very important going forward, trust me.
Nrama: Speaking of tie-ins and spin-offs, so far we know of two – a Point One-type series and then a pluralized series, Original Sins. Can you give readers and retailers any insight into what those will contain?
Alonso: We first came up with the core concept of Original Sin several years ago, but that’s all it was – a concept – until Jason Aaron took control and built an actual story to drive it. So there was a big gap in time, during which writers slow-baked ideas for stories that revealed our heroes’ darkest secrets. Most of these stories found their home in the ongoing series tie-in arcs; those that didn’t found a home in Original Sins.
In Original Sins, there’s an Inhuman story by Charles Soule that shows Black Bolt didn't reveal all his secrets in Infinity. There’s a Young Avengers story from Ryan North and Ramon Villalobos that reveals that one of the Young Avengers has a deep personal connection with the events of Jason and Mike’s series. There’s a story by Nathan Edmonson, who’s red-hot off Black Widow and Punisher, and Mike Perkins that serves up a dark secret that tees up a new ongoing series for one of my all-time favorite characters – some of you might know him from a little show called Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Deathlok.
Nrama: That’s a lot to digest, but one more question: once it ends, will Original Sin change the status quo in the Marvel U akin to how Civil War and Secret Invasion did for the Marvel titles in general?
Alonso: Well, for starters the Watcher’s death will create a huge hole in the fabric of the Marvel Universe. Our heroes will wrestle with some big questions. First and foremost: What happens when there is no Watcher? They’re about to find out.
But the big impact of Original Sin is twofold. First, the Watcher’s death will have a profound effect on the fabric of the Marvel Universe, and the identity – and motive – of the killer will resonate beyond the event. Second, there’s no putting a lid on these secrets once they’re out there. Individual hero’s lives will be changed, their relationships will be transformed, they’ll have to deal with life-changing developments in their lives – some psychological, some physical, some both. If you’re a fan of Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Captain America, Deadpool – we’ve got a story that’s going to knock you back on your heels.
Oh, and before I forget: The Watcher isn’t the only one who dies in the course of Original Sin; there’s another shocking death before the story is done that’s sure to be debated, and a major character will be transformed into something completely different.