The Watcher is an enigmatic character in the Marvel Universe. As his name implies, he watches the events of the world without interfering. Occasionally, he’s offered assistance to some characters but mostly, he watches. But what would happen if The Watcher were murdered?
That’s the premise of Original Sin, a Marvel event from 2014. Overall, the story was pretty good. It won’t go down as a classic but for what they were trying to accomplish, they did as well as they were going to.
The problem I have is how Nick Fury, the original Nick Fury, was portrayed. The story establishes that Nick is growing old by the day due to his body running out of the Infinity Formula that had been keeping him young over the years. They discussed how Nick had a side job separate from SHIELD that had him traveling the universe killing various threats before they could conceivably be a problem for Earth. This side job is just not fitting with his character.
While Nick Fury has killed his fair share of people during his existence in the Marvel Universe, there was always a reason for it. He wasn’t someone like The Punisher who, while having a code he followed, was a little more loose when it came to killing. I never got the feeling Nick Fury would be someone who would share Frank Castle’s ideals when it came to dealing with the bad guys.
Marvel Comics seems to forget the type of characters they’re dealing with. What do I mean by that? They take a character that for years has followed a certain code, responded to situations in one particular way, and has them do a 180, acting in ways that character never would. Now I’m not the type of person that demands the characters I like always act the same in each and every story. What I do demand is that if you’re going to make such a big change in character for someone who is as much a fixture in a fictional universe like Nick Fury, explain why. Retconning an explanation is one way of course which was attempted in this story but that’s lazy story telling. The preferred way to is give the reader the reasons why during the story. Having to sit back waiting for a late issue piece of exposition is just not satisfying.
The art on the piece was pretty good. By the numbers and nothing spectacular but it accomplished what it needed to do without straying too far away from what the reader expects. What particularly stuck out for me with Original Sin were the covers. They evoked the covers of 1930’s sci-fi novels which I really enjoyed. It gave the story a pulp fiction type feel which made diving into it fun.
Overall, I enjoyed Original Sin but it is flawed. As a stand alone piece, it accomplishes everything it needs to do. In the continuing soap opera that is the Marvel Universe, Marvel drops the ball yet again with tossing out weird character turns for no real reason but to advance this particular story. Long term planning is tossed out the window for the sake of cheap surprises.
What Marvel, and DC Comics for that matter, should do is quit with these events. They put their characters through pure hell and than at the end of the story, everything is back to normal. What needs to happen in these universes is a little something called finality. If a character dies, let them stay dead. (Or have them stay dead longer than a few issues.) That way, if a reader sees this, they feel tension that maybe one of their favorite characters will suffer the same fate. Also, address time. Nick Fury has been a character in the Marvel Universe for years. The Infinity Formula is a great device to explain why someone is able to stay young for such a long period but what about other characters? For Spider-Man, he’s been around for over 50 years now yet in the comics he’s close to, if not in, his early thirties. Yet time has been showcased throughout the Spider-Man series. Spider-Man has worn bell bottoms. He’s used cameras with film. He’s used a rotary phone. Yet now he has a smart phone and runs a major company. Have time be a factor in these stories. That way we can grow with these characters. And if they pass away, that doesn’t mean the Spider-Man character, for example, needs to go away. Brian Bendis showed how to accomplish this with the introduction of Miles Morales in the Ultimate universe.
No matter my complaints, it’s still a good story you can check out on Marvel Unlimited. With over 17,000 comics and counting, you will find something amazing in this collection. Every week the app updates so there is no excuse not to have it. The app is available on iOS and Android devices.
Original Sin Reading Order:
Original Sin (2014) #0-8
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