Going Down the Only Road Yadda Yadda

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So far, Marvel’s latest crossover is at least in the same genre it’s been advertised as. Brian Bendis-written Secret Invasion teased the paranoid body horror of John Carpenter’s The Thing in spandex, only to deliver 8 straight issues of ho-hum fisticuffs. Age of Ultron (also from Bendis) wanted late 70s/early 80s future shock but got distracted by its own time-travel mechanics. Conversely, Original Sin #1 asks “Who shot the Watcher?”, a question which vaguely approaches cosmic nihilism–the reverent tone of “Watcher” suggesting God (as does the Biblical-themed title), who has been murdered like a stock film noir victim. A gaggle of super-people (Captain America, Wolverine, Black Widow, Thor, Iron Man and Nick Fury) boggle at the prospect the bald, remote being before them could even die. Other characters react to this information with various levels of confusion, panic, anger. Mike Deodato handles the shadowy aspects of the high-concept rather well. The early pages contrast grandiose space and majesty of the Watcher’s moon home against the being’s sudden vulnerability–Jack Kirby’s specialty. They’re also the only ones which feel complete, unfortunately. Jason Aaron commits to existentialist whodunnit, introducing the main heroes in ordinary fashion at a steakhouse (with possible foreshadowing) before confronting them with troubling questions, yet Original Sin shares a problem with its crossover brethren: no one exists that isn’t trademarked. Black Widow asks for the check in the steakhouse, yet there’s no sign of anyone but super-heroes even in the building. Deodato’s mise en scene disappears when called upon to draw anything remotely human. Civilians are faceless, voiceless, and appear for a single panel (a serial killer tortured by the Punisher gets more space). Various teases hint this problem will only grow exponentially. The philosophical underpinnings uprooted as humanity is crowded out by fanboy pandering. Again.

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