Murder investigations are serious business, leading those in charge down long, winding and often dangerous roads. Along that proverbial road detectives often go to strange places and encounter some unusual characters. Nowhere is that more true than in the Marvel Universe where two separate investigations were just launched into the death of the cosmic being known as the Watcher.
Those investigations are being chronicled in the “Original Sin,” an eight-issue Marvel event by writer Jason Aaron and artist Mike Deodato, Jr. In the second issue, released earlier this week, a team of Marvel heroes led by Nick Fury visited some remote and fantastic locales and ran afoul of three strange and dangerous individuals.
In CBR’s latest installment of MURDER MOST COMIC, our series of post-game chats examining the individual issues of “Original Sin,” Aaron and Marvel Executive Editor and series editor Tom Brevoort provided plenty of insight into the events of issue #2.
CBR News: Jason and Tom, one of the big revelations from “Original Sin” #2 is that Oubliette Midas AKA the Exterminatrix and her father Doctor Midas AKA the Cosmic Man are players in this story. They made their debut in Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones, “Marvel Boy” miniseries, which I believe is now 14 years-old.
Jason Aaron: Has it really been that long since “Marvel Boy” came out?
Tom Brevoort: Yes, it’s been a long time since “Marvel Boy.” A lifetime.
Aaron: That makes me feel old. [Laughs]
Brevoort: Sorry. [Laughs]
Aaron: I didn’t realize it had been that long. That book is still one of my favorite Marvel comics of recent memory and in general. So ever since I came to Marvel I’ve been looking for a place to use Doctor Midas and his daughter. I was going to use them in “Thor” at one point and I believe in “X-Men.” So I’ve been waiting for that chance and now it’s finally come.
When I noticed how long it had been since “Marvel Boy” was released, I looked into it and discovered the collected edition of the series doesn’t appear to be in print, nor could I find digital copies of the series on comiXology. I know it’s not your usual department, but do you know if “Marvel Boy” will be going back into print soon?
Brevoort: It arrives in stores next week, how’s that for service? And I’d assume that we’ll make it available digitally as well.
Will future issues of “Original Sin” show us what Doctor Midas and his daughter have been doing since the final issue of the “Marvel Boy” miniseries? Or is that something you can’t comment on without tipping your hand?
Aaron: No, we kind of pick them up and run with them. So we don’t spend a lot of time filling in what Doctor Midas has been up to since the last time we saw him. You can kind of figure that out. He’s kind of in the same status quo he was in at the end of “Marvel Boy” except now he’s got an army of Mindless Ones with him.
Jason, last time we talked you told me that the Mindless Ones weren’t being experimented on and that what they were and what’s going on with them would become a little clearer in “Original Sin” #2. After reading the issue it appears that they’re essentially foot soldiers for Exterminatrix and her father. Is that correct?
Aaron: Yes, our last glimpse of Doctor Midas in “Marvel Boy” was of him in this dimension where he was surrounded by angry Mindless Ones and he wondering how he can turn that to his advantage. So clearly he’s figured out how. He’s got this army of Mindless Ones at his disposal.
By the time we catch up to him in “Original Sin” here, whatever they’ve been through and whatever they’re a part of is changing them all. It’s changing the Mindless Ones. You’ve seen their intelligence changing. I got to quote Gertrude Stein in a Marvel comic, which is not something I ever expected to do. And clearly whatever happened is changing these other characters as well; Midas, his daughter, and the Orb.
Jason, as you mentioned, assisting the Midases is one of your favorite villains, the Orb. What do you find most appealing about the character? What made you want to bring him into “Original Sin?” Tom, what was your reaction to hearing that the Orb was part of Jason’s story?
Brevoort: Nobody will believe this, but I suggested to Jason that we should use the Orb.
Aaron: [Laughs] I told you nobody would believe that if you remember.
Brevoort: Yes, I absolutely do. I suggested the Orb at a certain point because it’s a story about figuring out who stole the Watcher’s eyes–of course it has to be the Orb! [Laughs] That’s his whole shtick! He’s a big eye dude, and Jason had done a bunch of fun things with the character in a very different context over in “Ghost Rider.” But yeah, literally his first reaction was, “No one is going to believe that you were the one that suggested the Orb.”
Aaron: He’s popped up in pretty much everything I’ve written. He’s popped up in “Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine.” He’s popped up in “Hulk.” So I’ve used him a few times.
And yeah, as soon as you suggested the Orb that’s when I knew we were simpatico, Tom.
Aaron: I knew it was going to work out.
Brevoort: Awww, very nice.
Jason, what is it that you like about the Orb? Is it the character’s unique visual appearance? His off the wall nature?
Aaron: Of course his appearance has a lot to do with it. He started off as an old Ghost Rider villain who wore an eyeball helmet. So when I brought him back I made a new character who really does have a giant eyeball for a head.
I like bringing back those old villains and embracing how ridiculous they were to begin with, but hopefully I give them something new. I think what the Orb goes through in this series might cause people to see him in a different way by the end of it; that’s my hope.
When the Orb is confronted by the heroes of New York and accused of the Watcher’s murder he says, “We’re not the murderers you’re looking for.” So if the Orb is telling the truth what he’s saying is that he and the Midases invaded the Watchers home and stole his artifacts and eyes after Uatu had been killed?
Aaron: I think that’s one assumption you could make, sure.
Brevoort: Yes, it absolutely is. [Laughs]
Let’s move from what happens to Nick Fury and the heroes of New York to the investigations being done by the “Mysterious Boss'” crews. In this issue we find a bunch of monstrous corpses with the same bullet that murdered the Watcher. Are you able to comment at all on the intelligence level of these corpses? Are they essentially animals? Or were they beings with reasoning and intelligence?
Brevoort: They weren’t smart enough to dodge the bullet. [Laughs]
Aaron: [Laughs] Who knows? They’re all just skeletons and rotting corpses when we find them. So there’s no way to tell if they were walking, talking monsters, or just “Hulk Smash”-style creatures, or just mindless rampaging animals. Who knows.? Either way they’re all dead.
Fair enough. I was wondering about the intelligence level of these beings because of what it might tell us about the person or people that killed them. Is this the work of a big game hunter? A fledgling serial killer torturing and murdering animals? Were these kills all done by the same murderer or a number of gun wielding killers?
Brevoort: Those are all good questions. They’re very nice speculations. I like them all whether they’re right or not. I like that these scenes make your brain go in these directions.
“Original Sin” #2 also seemed to indicate that whoever is responsible for these murders has been doing them for some time and can travel to some of the weirder and not easily accessible areas of the Marvel Universe. Is that correct?
Aaron: I would say that’s a valid assumption.
Brevoort: That would seem to be the case.
In the last installment we talked about the dynamic between Doctor Strange and the Punisher, and in this issue we get to spend some time with them, but we also get to spend some time with Black Panther, Emma Frost, and Ant-Man (AKA Scott Lang). Jason, what’s it like writing this team? You’ve written T’Challa and Emma Frost before, but have you written Scott Lang?
Aaron: No, I’ve never written Ant-Man before this series. All these scenes have been fun to write. These groups of characters were all put together for very specific reasons, but I didn’t really know how much fun it would be to write these different pairings. I didn’t throw them together at random though. I imagined different pairings in my head until I got ones that seemed interesting.
I didn’t throw Frank Castle and Doctor Strange together. I knew it was going to be interesting to write those two guys together. So these different pairings have been some of the most fun and surprising stuff. They’re characters we don’t normally see at the heart of a big event like this.
It feels like if we were to look for homicide cop parallels to these three characters Black Panther would be the veteran, Emma Frost would be the world weary cynic, and Scott Lang would be sort of the rookie. Is that a fair assumption?
Aaron: Sure, I’m all for you making homicide cop parallels.
Brevoort: I think Scott Lang has been around the block slightly more than you think. I don’t think he’s a rookie. He did time. So he’s been on the other side of the fence; not necessarily for murder, but I think he parallels to a slightly different place in terms of likening it to a police procedural. He’s the ex-con.
The shadowy mood and intense action scenes of this issue really came to life thanks to the work of Mike Deodato. Jason, I know you like to give your artists free reign when it comes to action so what sort of description did you give Mike for Nick Fury Sr.’s car battle with the Mindless One and the fight at the end between the heroes, the Exterminatrix and her Mindless Ones?
Aaron: The Nick Fury scenes were pretty detailed in the script. I wanted to give Mike this full-on nod to the old Steranko days. So I wanted to see Nick as a super spy again with his crazy, flying car and his gadgets being able to kick butt for a few pages.
â€¨The stuff at the end was just Mike going crazy and getting to draw as many characters as he could cram in there. That’s another thing that the poor artists have to do in a story like this; draw dozens and dozens of heroes fighting. So Mike just got to cut loose on that ending.
Brevoort: There’re a lot of characters in that scene. In fact, there are so many that we left one out of the cast list at the front. Poor Firestar! And she’s really obvious, too. She’s right in the middle of that double page spread. [Laughs]
Aaron: You’re just mad because we brought her back to the X-Men and away from the Avengers.
Brevoort: [Laughs] Yep, it must be my subconscious rage at losing Firestar to the X-Men. So yeah, we missed poor Firestar. She was there, but she didn’t make it to the page of heads. We noticed it too late. So that’s on us.
Let’s start to wrap up with some teases for “Original Sin” #3. When I was talking with some other writers about their “Original Sin” tie-ins they mentioned a “ground zero” event that leads to all these heroes discovering secrets about themselves. Is that what the end of “Original Sin” #2 sets up?
Brevoort: Yes, very much so, and really the opening of issue #3 as well. We thought that event was actually going to be the close of issue #2, but it turned out we needed the space for other things. So it ends up opening issue #3.
Aaron: As you can see, the title to issue #2 is “Bomb Full of Secrets” and by the end that bomb full of secrets is exploding.
Brevoort: The one crew of “Mysterious Boss” guys that didn’t get any play this issue was the team that headed off into space: Moon Knight, Gamora and the Winter Soldier. We’ll check back in with them in issue #3 and see where they’re at. There will be some more fisticuffs, as you would expect, and there will be a lot of fallout from what the Orb has set off at the end of issue #2, which will exponentially cube the number of tie-in issues from the relatively paltry few that we have here to the very many that will be coming out as all these characters suddenly get shot off onto different trajectories and all sorts of stuff begins to come to light.
“Original Sin” #2 is really the point where the larger, wider story starts to kick off in a massive way. So as I said, moving into next month there will be a greater accumulation of tie-in books and spinoff stories. Events will begin to spin and spiral in unexpected directions, which will make things all the more difficult for all the guys investigating the murder of the Watcher and what’s going on in the central story.
Finally, I understand people who were reading “Original Sin” #2 digitally and stopped on that last page with the Orb might want to go back to the issue and read past that point because there’s another story, correct?
Brevoort: Yes, “Original Sin” #2 bought digitally includes the “Original Sin” Infinite Comic; a “Secret Avengers” Infinite Comic. It’s the first of a two-part story. It comes completely free with “Original Sin” #2. It’s like getting a whole other comic for free.
It’s a completely original story that springboards right out of the pages of the “Original Sin” book and tells an adventure of the other, younger Nick Fury and Phil Coulson as they deal with some of the fallout from what’s going on in “Original Sin.”
If you bought the print copy of “Original Sin” #2 and for whatever reason you don’t want to use the free digital copy code, I believe you can also buy just the Infinite Comic as a separate item.
This story is by Ales Kot, the regular writer of the monthly “Secret Avengers” series and it looks like it’s a fun S.H.I.E.L.D. Vs. HYDRA adventure that deals with the nature of reality, coding, and secrets. Is that correct?
Brevoort: Yes, but really what it’s ultimately all about is a secret from the past of the younger Nick Fury, a thing that he did or didn’t do, and how the knowledge of that incident creates a crisis in the present.
So it’s a story that can impact the “Secret Avengers” monthly series if and when Ales decided to do that?
Brevoort: Yes, in fact it almost certainly shall. The reason he wrote it is it’s a “Secret Avengers” tie-in. It’s just one that’s only available as an Infinite Comic, at least for the moment.
This “Secret Avengers” story is a two-parter. Will there be other “Original Sin” Infinite Comics after it’s complete?
Brevoort: Not for “Original Sin” specifically. You’ll definitely see more Infinite Comics in general. We’re doing quite a few more, but for “Original Sin,” much like with “Infinity,” there’s one story. It’s this two-parter with Fury and Coulson.
The second part of the story will be with “Original Sin” #3. So when issue #3 drops, scroll past the tie-in page and there’ll be a whole other comic’s worth of goodness awaiting you there as well!
“Original Sin” #3 goes on sale June 4.