[SPOILER WARNING: THIS INTERVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR “ORIGINAL SIN” #3, ON SALE NOW.]
The Marvel Universe has always been a dangerous place full of weird monsters, wild magic, and fantastic powers and technology, but it’s even more deadly now that the eight-issue “Original Sin” event by writer Jason Aaron and artist Mike Deodato has begun. That’s because in the series’ debut issue, the omniscient alien known as the Watcher was murdered and several investigators set out to find the culprit responsible. What they’ve discovered so far suggests that the Watcher was the latest victim of a killer or killers who preys upon cosmic beings and monsters, which means everyone investigating the Watcher’s death is in mortal danger.
The final page of “Original Sin” #3 showed just how much danger they’re in as one of the investigators, the Winter Soldier, turned on another and seemingly murdered Nick Fury, Sr. In today’s installment of MURDER MOST COSMIC, CBR’s series of post-game chats about each issue of “Original Sin,” we take a look at the book’s most recent murder and other events as Aaron and Marvel Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort join us for some insight into “Original Sin” #3 and look ahead to the next installment.
CBR News: Jason and Tom, let’s kick off our discussion with the last few pages of “Original Sin” #3, in which the Winter Soldier not only shoots the elder Nick Fury, he cuts off his head. How did this scene come about? And was it originally meant to be as hardcore as it turned out to be? While it’s not quite Ares getting ripped in half by the Sentry in “Siege,” but it is pretty gruesome.
Tom Brevoort: Certainly Ares getting ripped in half set the bar at a really high level. I actually looked at that scene again recently — I had a reason to go back and pull reference on it several days back. I was astonished by it. I had forgotten just how graphic that was. I went, “Ohhh, I probably shouldn’t have done that.” [Laughs] It was probably a bit over the top, but it was fun! It’s fine.
And yes, the last scene here certainly is a visual tour de force on the part of Mike Deodato and it certainly leaves little doubt as to the final constitution of Nick Fury at this point.
Jason Aaron: [Laughs] That was always the plan that issue #3 would end with this big shocking cliffhanger of Winter Soldier taking down Fury. I think the cliffhangers will actually get even crazier from here on out. Each issue ends on a pretty big final page.
Brevoort: Yes, certainly issue #4 does as well. It’s got a really good last page.
Aaron: The last page of #3 was my favorite page of the book at that point, until we got to the last page of #4. Then that became my favorite page.
What was it like writing what appears to be the murder of Nick Fury? How do you think readers will respond?
Aaron: Obviously it’s meant to be a very in your face scene. It’s meant to provoke a reaction. Hopefully everyone who reads it wants to know what the hell is going on here? What happened to the Winter Soldier? There’s a lot of questions being raised. We’ve certainly raised more questions in three issues than provided answers.
â€¨That carries over into the next issue where you start to get your first glimmer of answers and reveals.
The final page certainly left me with a bunch of questions — Was Bucky acting in his right mind? Was Nick villainous? Or was Bucky brainwashed or misled? And is the person Bucky killed indeed Nick Fury? Or an LMD? I imagine a lot of those questions will be answered as we move along.
Brevoort: I think all of those questions will be answered as we move along. Whether you’ll like the answers or not is another story, but every one of those questions will be answered before we’re done.
The Winter Soldier is part of the cast of “All-New Invaders.” Will this issue impact the “Original Sin” tie-in arc of that book?
Brevoort: I don’t think that it will. I don’t think Bucky is in that story very much. He is in the sequences that flash back to World War II, but not so much in the present because he’s busy tracking down the Watcher’s killer.
â€¨Aaron: The nice thing about the setup for “Original Sin” is the first couple of issues feature a lot of Cap, Iron Man, Spider-Man and kind of all the main Marvel U characters. For the most part though, those characters are free to spin out to their own tie-in stories.
So Spider-Man pops up and then he goes off and deals with the Spider-Man tie-in. He’ll come back before the end. It’s the same with Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and most of those characters. The only ones that are part of the core, indispensable group of “Original Sin” are this group of murder investigators like Winter Soldier, Black Panther, and Moon Knight. So those guys are pretty confined to this book for the duration of that story.
Bucky’s attack on Nick Fury has me wondering how big a role Captain America will play in this story since he has close ties to both characters?
Brevoort: Cap will certainly be back. He’ll be involved again before everything is said and done. That being said, he’s off at the moment dealing with his own “Original Sin” stuff as we’re seeing in the tie-in of “Avengers.
Aaron: Here in the middle of this story we kind of focus more on this group of investigators, but Cap and the Avengers very quickly come back into play in a huge way.
Bucky’s attack on Nick Fury came after he, Moon Knight and Gamora discovered the murdered corpse of a living planet, which makes for a very interesting visual. What inspired it? Jason, how much of this was you and how much of it was Mike Deodato?
Aaron: It was my idea, but Mike certainly nailed the corpse of a living planet, which I don’t think is an easy thing to draw.
I think it kind of went back to the “God Butcher” story I did in “Thor,” which is similar to “Original Sin” in that it starts out as a mystery with Thor tracking down this murderer and finding different dead bodies of gods. At one point he finds this huge Godzilla-looking god and there were a lot of crazy gods he tracked down. So I wanted to one up that in terms of finding weird Marvel Universe bodies. I figured the biggest I could go was to find a dead planet.
It feels like Mike’s imagination had ben running wild with all the dead monsters you’ve given him as well.
Aaron: Yeah there’s the underground monsters and I think my favorite stuff that Mike has done is the other dimensional stuff. I told him to put some [Steve] Ditko in it and he really went crazy with that. You get these wild, wacked out Ditko Doctor Strange-style landscapes and these huge, other-dimensional beasts.
Brevoort: I think that’s one of the reasons that Deo was an excellent choice for this particular project. You can see that especially in the first couple of issues. He’s playing into the noir sensibility of it being a murder mystery, but he’s also doing a Steranko “Outland” style thing with his page layouts and he’s adept at visualizing everything in the Marvel Universe. From the biggest craziest visual to the smallest personal moment.
â€¨So he can pull off the corpse of a dead planet and make it look excellent at the same time he can deal with a smaller moment. So I think the whole series is going to be a show piece for what Deo is capable of and all the various gears he has on his gear box.
Aaron: Right. I thought the first two issues looked awesome, but I feel like he took it up a notch with issue #3. I love the layouts of those first few pages and he continues to do these crazy layouts as things go along. I think issue #3 has some of my favorite stuff that he’s done so far.
I also enjoyed the way Mike drew the Winter Soldier, Moon Knight and Gamora. Jason, I believe this series is your first time writing those characters. Is that that correct?
Aaron: Yeah, I don’t believe I’ve written any of those. It’s fun. All the different little pairings have been fun to write. I didn’t just throw them all together by accident. I put together my list with Tom and then sat down and tried to figure out who would make the most interesting groupings. It’s been really fun to write all of those different ones. I feel like I could have done another five issues of just all of those characters hanging out and tracking down different bodies.
In this group it feels like you’ve got the assassin in Gamora, the spy/assassin in the Winter Soldier, and the sort of insane perspective in Moon Knight.
Aaron: Yeah, certainly Moon Knight is the more unhinged, but also at times with those two he seems more like the voice of reason, which should be a little scary.
Aaron: Also, I just really loved the idea of Moon Knight on a space adventure. I don’t know if we’ve seen much of that before. Moon Knight is usually the gritty, street crime guy. So I just loved the idea of sending him into outer space. And who knows? We might actually see him on the moon before it’s all said and done.
Bucky, Gamora and Moon Knight’s discovery of the murdered planet is observed by another character on a view screen. Is this the “Mysterious Boss” observing them?
Aaron: Yes, that would be the “Mysterious Boss.” The same guy we’ve seen in the same darkened room and who we initially saw holding a green bullet. So yes, that is, as dubbed by Tom, the “Mysterious Boss.”
So that scene in this issue suggests to me that this investigation is going places the Boss might not want it to go?
Aaron: Well, you’re making an assumption there. Certainly he set this investigation in motion. He was the one who contacted Black Panther. He said, “Here’s some information and here’s a list of people I’d like you to coordinate with.”
â€¨So yes, our Mysterious Boss set these investigations in motion as for why, where he stands, and what he thinks about all of this? Those are questions to be answered in the next couple of issues.
Brevoort: Yes, you’ll definitely know more in the next couple of issues.
Let’s talk a little bit more about the scenes with the other groups of investigators. In the scenes with Doctor Strange and the Punisher we learn that the killer who stalked the monsters in this particular dimension was an expert marksman.
Aaron: Yes, that’s what the Punisher says.
Then in the scenes with Ant-Man, Black Panther and Emma Frost we learn that all the creatures underground were killed by the same gun, but does that necessarily mean the same gun was also used in the killings the other teams are investigating and/or the murder of the Watcher?
Brevoort: Not necessarily. It’s another clue and fact uncovered, but how all these disparate facts connect is still yet to be seen. These three groups of investigators have not yet compared any notes or really as far as we can tell been in contact with one another. So the pattern of what’s being uncovered still remains to be seen.
We touched upon Mike Deodato’s work a bit earlier.What other scenes of his in this issue really stood out for you?
Brevoort: It’s a pretty brutal final scene! [Laughs]
Brevoort: Of course it’s not the Sentry killing Ares, but what is? Hopefully it’s very shocking. It’s almost like a scene out of “Psycho” in the way it’s framed and the way it’s lit. So it takes on a very creepy and a very sinister sort of dimension. Even beyond the fact that it’s a guy shooting another guy and then cutting his head off. I think Deo brought a lot of atmosphere and added a level of verisimilitude to those whole proceedings.
Essentially what we’re seeing in that scene is one friend and comrade at arms murdering another, correct?
That bit of meaning made the scene even more intense for me, especially in the way Mike depicted it and with Fury’s bit of dialogue where he tells Bucky that he never liked him.
Aaron:[Laughs] Well, Fury’s an old, grumpy guy now. So when an old friend is about to cut your head off maybe your true feelings about him finally come out. [Laughs]
Brevoort: I’ve found that to be true.
Aaron: [Laughs] I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is the first splash page in Marvel history that features a guy holding a severed head and a giant eyeball.
Brevoort: [Laughs] I think you’re probably right. Once again, not a follower but a trendsetter.
Aaron: [Laughs] Exactly.
What sort of teases can you offer up for “Original Sin” #4? How soon does the story pick up from this cliffhanger?
Brevoort: It picks up fairly immediately, but not necessarily in the same room. It certainly picks up with the characters in the places we left them and moving onto the next step in whatever they’re doing including Moon Knight and Gamora being stranded way out in space, Strange and the Punisher making their way to where they’re going, and the Panther and his crew making their way to where they’re headed. Things escalate. It’s got another shocking, slam dunk, last page reveal.
We’ll begin to start getting a sense of what actually is going on here, and there’s a big fight scene in the middle.
â€¨Aaron: Yeah, things start to come together. We were talking about these three different investigations off in different parts of the Marvel Universe. In issue #4 they start to come together and all of those roads start to lead to the same place. We also have a new character pop up in the issue, correct Tom?
Brevoort: That’s actually issue #5. Certainly a character comes in issue #4 that we haven’t seen in the book before.
Aaron: Yes, that’s what I meant, not the brand new character.
Brevoort: Right, you get a brand new character in issue #5 and a new established Marvel Universe face in issue #4.
In issue #3 Nick Fury commented on how everyone but him had a secret revelation. That will come back into play. We’ll definitely learn the reasons for that before we’re done.
Aaron:I’ve been waiting for a while to bring back Doctor Midas because “Marvel Boy” is one of my favorite Marvel Comics of the last several years. So I was really happy to be able to throw him and Exterminatrix into the mix of this.
Brevoort: I was always kind of surprised that they didn’t show up more regularly and more often. It seemed like they were really poised to be big, new reoccurring major Marvel villains when “Marvel Boy” came out. They showed up in “Iron Man” around that time in a story that Joe [Quesada] wrote and then for the longest time nothing. It was really kind of strange, but now they have a second chance at life. Assuming that they live, which is certainly not guaranteed.
Aaron: Yeah I don’t know why that happened. Fantomex was a character that sat around for awhile too before people started using him. I think those Grant Morrison characters are kind of the pretty girls at the dance that nobody can work up the nerve to ask for a dance.
Brevoort: Maybe so. It’s good though that we’re going back and tapping into that stuff because they were pretty cool. And I think in our last discussion you were asking about the “Marvel Boy” trade and the new printing of that is out now. So anybody who missed that story back in I believe it was 1999, there’s a new pressing out. It’s pretty great and people should stop and give it a look. It’s got some fantastic J.G. Jones art, too.
Doctor Midas and Exterminatrix sort of exit stage left in “Original Sin” #3. Will they be back before the series is done?
Aaron: They’ll be back. They’re still considered fugitives and suspects in a murder investigation.
Brevoort: Yes, they are definitely “persons of interest.”
Aaron: Right, the Avengers are still searching the globe for them and they’re intelligent Gertrude Stein quoting Mindless Ones.
Aaron: So yeah, they’re a part of all of this in some way. What part that is will become clear as we go along, but they’re still tied up in all of this. It’s clear from the scenes we’ve seen with Doctor Midas that there’s something happening to him. All of these characters talk about how something is changing them. Clearly we’ve seen how the Mindless Ones are changing too. So whatever happened to these characters, whatever they were a part of is still affecting them.
“Original Sin” #3 is on sale now; “Original Sin” #4 goes on sale June 18.