Original Sin #1
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Mike Deodato and Frank Martin
Lettering by Chris Eliopoulos
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by George Marston
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Marvel's event cycle is infamous in its unrelenting "one foot in front of the other" mentality and its seemingly endless cycle of death and rebirth for its characters. It seems like everyone gets a ride on the carousel, and this time it's the Watcher's turn in a well-publicized murder mystery by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato in Original Sin. Though it's hard not to feel jaded by event fatigue and the skepticism of yet another "shocking death," Original Sin has a strong hook in its ragtag team-up mentality, and in the inclusion of some unexpected and fan-favorite characters.
If Original Sin has any great strength, it lies in the book's cast. Right from the start, with Captain America, Wolverine, Black Widow and the (thankfully) out of retirement Nick Fury debating the best steak each of them has ever eaten, this book is all about intimate moments rather than big picture stuff. While this first issue only gives us glimpses of the oddball team-ups that Nick Fury has put together, pairings like Punisher (billed as The World's Most Successful Mass Murderer) and Dr. Strange show a lot of promise, not just for their unexpected nature, but because it's at least something more than the usual suspects doing their regular business. Further, Jason Aaron's script manages to capture each character's personality fairly serviceably through these snippets without devolving into Aaron's occasionally pedantic humor.
Though it may quickly be spiraling in another direction, there's something very zeitgeist-y about Original Sin's sci-fi murder mystery, like it's only a few steps away from a Dr. Who storyline. With the more intimate plot of the first issue, it's hard to see quite how what is, essentially, a whodunit will become a line-wide crossover without losing any of its easily waning charm. Still, there's potential in the mystery surrounding Uatu's death, and the wealth of artifacts and weapons glimpsed in Uatu's stronghold. Still, with the strength of Original Sin lying in Aaron's voice for this cast, there's also a lot of potential for those down moments and the procedural elements of an intergalactic murder investigation to get lost in the story's expansion.
Mike Deodato's art continues to evolve, not necessarily for the best. Though his storytelling is still strong in this issue, the devil is in the details. Without someone like regular collaborator Danny Miki adding clarity to his linework, Deodato's chunky blacks aren't balanced by a more textured, tactile attention to line weight and contrast. Frank Martin's dreamy colors sell the surreal elements of a murder on the moon, but they cut the noirish mood of the other side of the subject matter, washing out Deodato's already blocky art. Despite its drawbacks, Original Sin is a decent looking book. It carries an air of importance that's essential for a large-scale event.
In the grand scheme of things, events come and go. And even with a theoretically major inciting event like the death of Uatu driving it, Original Sin could fall into the seemingly endless cycle of Marvel crossovers. But it does carry an intimacy and attention to characterization that set it apart. Though much of its charm lies in its small picture elements, there's enough big cosmic craziness that, if Jason Aaron can maintain his handle on the cast and the buddy comedy-noir premise of his team ups, Original Sin may actually have something to say.