The cover to “Original Sin” #5 asks, “What is the unseen?” but the credits page attributes this comic book as “The Secret History of Colonel Nicholas J. Fury,” as written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Mike Deodato, with colors from Frank Martin and letters by Chris Eliopoulos. Fury takes center stage in this issue and, as this issue deals with history, a visit to 1958 kicks off the second half of Marvel’s summer event.
“Original Sin” #5 is told in Fury’s voice, with the one-time Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. narrating adventures from the past seen for the first time, establishing a defense system for Earth that raises more than a few questions. Focusing on the secret history of Fury, Aaron sets S.H.I.E.L.D.’s top cop up as a difference maker in the Marvel Universe. I’d like to see Aaron take this idea and grow it out further. “Original Sin” #5 is a decent-to-good Nick Fury story that adds more subterfuge and sneakiness to one of Marvel’s most iconic personalities, but as the flow of the story goes, this doesn’t appear to be a very critical component to the big picture. It feels like a sidebar to the main article. It needs a little more substance from that main artery in order to be less of a subplot and more of a critical component in the flow of “Original Sin.”
The interruptions and sidebars in the art for “Original Sin” #5 all appear to be planned as Deodato is sectioning off bigger scenes with a grid to modify the layout. As the issue progresses, the grid gets more complex and prominent, forcing the reader to dissect the image with Deodato, sifting through the artist’s details looking for clues of revelations to come. Deodato packs details on top of details throughout “Original Sin” #5, from grit on an asteroid to wrinkles on Fury’s head. Deodato also employs shadows throughout, shrouding characters and scenery alike. When the issue finally finds its way to present day, the artist changes things up again, hitting the pages with cross-hatching that would make Joe Kubert proud. His collaborators Frank Martin and Chris Eliopoulos follow Deodato’s lead tightly. The harsh battlefields of 1958 wash away all other detail. The figures are detailed. The rubble is detailed, but there is no sky, no sun, and no hope. Bright shades of orange and purple fill the early imagery and fill “Original Sin” #5 with visual energy before shifting darker alongside Deodato’s growing grid. Tasked with a massive amount of narration, Eliopoulos makes it all fit but keeps the artwork free, cooperating with Deodato’s grid and creating nifty compositions in the meantime.
“Original Sin” #5 ends with Fury asking if anyone has questions. As a reader, I’ve got questions and there’s no doubt the characters do as well. There isn’t time for answers here, as Aaron and company use this issue as a bit of a transitional piece, shifting from the crazy discoveries of the early half of this series while setting up developments to come. Five issues in, things are no clearer than they were at “Original Sin’s” start. Players are on the board, but there’s a plethora of subplots without providing any clarity. “Original Sin” #5, despite being a sidebar, exacerbates the developments of the story and is certain to leave readers clutching for more in hopes of finally discovering some true answers.