MURDER MOST COSMIC: Jason Aaron Examines "Original Sin" #7

For several weeks now the heroes of the Marvel Universe have been searching for clues as to the identity of the person or persons who murdered the omniscient being known as The Watcher. That search is being chronicled by writer Jason Aaron and artist Mike Deodato in the "Original Sin" event series. In recent issues the list of suspects in the Watcher's murder has narrowed to a small group: former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, who was revealed to be conducting a decades long crusade against intergalactic and extradimensional invaders he believed threatened Earth; and the villainous Doctor Midas, his daughter the Exterminatrix and their ally the Orb.

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In "Original Sin" #7, the series' penultimate issue, the evidence against these suspects continued to mount as readers saw them engage in suspicious activities in both the present and in flashbacks to the day of the Watcher's muder. CBR reviews this new evidence and what it might mean in today's installment of MURDER MOST COSMIC, our series of post-game chats about each issue of "Original Sin," as writer Jason Aaron joins us for some insight into "Original Sin" #7 and a look ahead to the series' conclusion.

CBR News: Jason, in one of the flashback segments from this issue we see the Orb shoot the Watcher in the head with a gun, but on the final page of the issue we have another flashback where the Watcher is horribly wounded and missing one of his eyes, but still alive. It's clear the Orb wounded the Watcher, perhaps mortally, but was he the one to deliver the coup de grâce that ended the alien's life?

Jason Aaron: You could suppose that, sure. The gun the Orb shot him with looked like one of the weapons they [The Orb and the Midadases] were stealing from the Watcher himself. We know the Watcher had this amazing store house of weapons and items of power, up to and including The Ultimate Nullifier, hidden away in his base.

So the Orb shot the Watcher with his own gun, but as far as how he died and the thing that ultimately killed him you'll have to wait until next issue to get the full answer to that. You will see the moment of death next issue.

The Orb also has some secrets about him like how he was able to enter the Watcher's home and what exactly absorbing the Watcher's "secrets" has transformed him into. Will these secrets be revealed in issue #8?

Yes, there will be a lot of questions answered and a lot of big developments with all of these characters. It's not the type of story though where we stop the action to explain every little bit, but clearly there's something going on with the Orb.

This all kind of started because of him. He was the one who came to Doctor Midas and said, "I've seen this guy who lives on the moon. We should go rob him." So he kind of sets everything in motion. As for the how and the why? It's all kind of there and you'll just have to wait and read the next issue.

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Is it safe to say that the Orb has transformed into something pretty powerful and that if he survives this story he could become a major player in the Marvel Universe?

Yeah, that's all a safe bet. He's certainly been changed by what he's been through and I would guess that the changes aren't over yet since the book isn't over yet.

Clearly, I love the Orb. I've used him in a lot of different stories and at times for comic relief. As we talked about previously, it was actually Tom [Brevoort]'s idea to put him in this. I don't know if I would have had the guts to make that call myself, but when Tom threw it out there I was like, "Hell yeah!" So I ran with it.

So he's more than just a joke character in this. There's clearly something going on here. If we can come out of this with a slightly different version of the Orb with sort of his own mandate and that people can use it will be awesome.

The Orb wasn't the only one privy to secrets in "Original Sin" #7. We also saw Nick Fury use the secrets he learned from the Watcher's eyes in a highly effective manner during his battle with the Avengers. To uphold his mission to protect the Earth, the most damaging thing Fury did in this battle was likely what he said to Thor -- something we didn't hear, but which caused the Thunder God to no longer be able to lift his hammer. With what we know about Thor's future, is this the moment where Thor becomes unworthy of Mjolnir?

All we know right now is the last we see of Thor he can't pick up his hammer. So yeah, this would seem to be the moment.

Can you talk at all about how this whisper led to Thor being unworthy of his hammer? Was he reminded of something he may of forgotten? Did he learn something about himself in that moment?

That moment was very intentionally vague. We can't tell what Fury whispers to Thor. I did something kind of similar during my "Punisher" run years ago where I had Bullseye whisper something to Frank, which we only found out later.

In that issue I actually wrote the line in the script and they just lettered it really small. Then I found out that some people had used a magnifying glass to read it. [Laughs] So I didn't want to make that mistake again. You'll not be able to cheat on this one and figure out what he's saying.

What is said is intentionally a mystery. On the one hand I like that Fury has gotten so powerful from the insights he's gained from the Watcher's eyes that he's able to take down the God of Thunder with just a whisper.

Also in terms of where I'm going with "Thor" that's a mystery right now. What could Fury have possibly said to Thor to make this happen? All he did was whisper something to him and Thor drops his hammer and can't pick it up again. So what could he possibly have said? That will be a mystery that will lead you to the pages of the new "Thor" series.

So this will be an ongoing mystery and not something that will be revealed in the final issue of "Thor: God of Thunder?"

No it's not something I'm going to reveal right out of the gate. It's also something that will cause a lot of people around Thor to wonder what the hell Fury could of said that did this to him? Fury didn't touch him. He just whispered and suddenly Thor is unworthy. How is that possible?

Nick does more than just whispering in his battle with the Avengers. He does a lot of talking as well, especially with Captain America. It felt like from his dialogue that Nick doesn't regret what he's done to protect the Earth, but he regrets what he's become. Is that correct?

No, I don't think he regrets the path he's taken. I think he hates what it's done to his relationship with Steve. It's driven them apart and Nick knows that there's nothing he can say to make Steve see things his way. That doesn't mean he would change what he's done though. This is just one of those things that he had to sacrifice along the way. 
We got a brief glimpse of Woodrow McCord in "Original Sin" #5, who was the previous guy to have Fury's job of protecting the Earth. We see him on one last mission where he dies and he's a guy who is dying alone. Clearly he's given up a lot in order to do that job. He sacrificed his chance of having a normal life in order to keep the planet safe.

I think that's where Fury is at. There's a tragedy in that he recognizes what he's lost and what he's losing because of this job. That doesn't mean he would go back and change things though. I think he still thinks the job is too important and his role has been too important. He saved people and they never even had to know that he was saving them. That was the whole point. So if his relationship with Steve Rogers has to be a casualty of that then that's just the way it had to be.

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So he hates that his long time friend Steve Rogers has discovered this about him?

He knows Steve well enough that he can see himself through Steve's eyes and understand how Steve would be disappointed and disgusted by a lot of the stuff he's done. This contentious relationship between Fury and the Watcher that we've hinted at along the way stems from sort of the same thing. You've got a guy in Fury who's job was to go out and do absolutely anything that was necessary to protect the Earth; no matter how brutal that may be. Then you've got the Watcher who from Fury's perspective just stands around and watches everything happen. He then quietly judges everything.

So it's the same sort of thing in that Fury knows how he looks through the eyes of Steve or the eyes of the Watcher. He's smart enough to realize that. Maybe there's a little part of him deep down that wonders if those guys are right; that wonders, "Am I the monster in the story? Am I the bad guy?" I think that's a tiny little part of him.

How is Cap feeling at the end of the issue when Nick Flies off? Is he still angry at him? Or is he more worried about what Fury might do?

I think all of that. This was never about turning Fury into a mustache twirling villain and I don't think anybody sees him that way; certainly not Steve.

This is always the guy Fury has been. He's always been the guy who marches to his own beat and always worked in the shadows. He's dealt in lies, secrets and subterfuge. Everybody who knows him knows that. It's not like this is all completely new to Cap, but Cap certainly realizes that he's been shoved to the side.

This is not a path or journey he can take with Fury. This is something that Fury is doing on his own and I think that scares Cap for a lot of reasons. He's wondering what his friend is capable of and what's going to happen to his friend.

While Fury and the Avengers were fighting in space, the investigative teams Fury assembled were knocked unconscious by the newly empowered Orb. What does this mean for their role in the story's climax?

We'll have to wait and see. Clearly we'll see them again. They're not cast aside for the rest of the series, but their role in the final battle remains to be seen.
The other question with them is we still don't know what side they're really on. I think some of them are confused on whether Fury is the bad guy in all of this or not.

While we're on the topic of the investigative teams, early on you hinted that Bucky had been communicating with someone. Do we know who that is?

At the end of issue #3 Bucky comes and cuts the head off of what we think is Nick Fury and what we later find out is an LMD and when he does that he's talking to someone. He tells them he is coming. That was Fury. Bucky was one of the first guys to kind of figure things out and realize how they were being played and lied to. So he was headed toward the real Fury in order to get some answers.

Let's talk a little bit more about the work Mike Deodato and colorist Frank Martin, whose work we have not discussed too much, did on "Original Sin" #7. To me it seemed like they really wanted to convey two things in this issue: the surreal and often hazy quality of memory and flashbacks, and the zero gravity effect of space. Was that your impression as well?

Absolutely. I think Deo and Frank make a pretty awesome team. I think both of them are just getting better and better as this book has been going along. I think they've challenged themselves more and more; Deo with his wild and crazy layouts, and Frank as you were saying with the contrast between the two different themes in this issue. So yeah, I couldn't be happier with how this book looks.

Deo has been a machine through this. All eight issues of this series are done by him, and we haven't seen that on too many Marvel events in recent years. These days we have a hyper publishing schedule, this book comes out twice a month, and of course with any of these kinds of stories there's a million different characters to draw. That's always a hard job for one artist to tackle. So hats off to Deo for being able to plow through this and do the whole thing, but he's not just churning it out. You can see how he's been challenging himself as this thing goes along. He's just getting wilder and more daring with his layouts. So he's doing a phenomenal job on this book.

Finally, let's conclude with some teases for "Original Sin" #8, the final issue. The cliffhanger of issue #7 suggests that word of Uatu's demise has finally reached his people. Is that accurate?

Whenever something big is about to happen a Watcher shows up, and here we've got many Watchers showing up. So that should tell you that there's some big stuff that's about to happen.

Okay, so we'll get a big climax, and we'll we get some falling action and aftermath in "Original Sin" #8 as well?

Yes, everything comes down to one big final battle on the moon, which is where everything started. Also, at the same time, we're getting those final flashbacks to the last moments of the Watcher's life. Then once that's all wrapped up I would expect some aftermath. We've got a lot of different characters at play in this book. So a lot of different people will be affected in some major ways. We'll lay all of that out in the last chunk of the issue.

"Original Sin" #8 is on sale September 3 from Marvel Comics.

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