REVIEW: ‘Original Sin’ #4

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Written by Jason Aaron
Artwork by Mike Deodato, Jr.
Color Artwork by Frank Martin, Jr.
Lettering by Chris Eliopoulos

It seems we have only just collectively recovered from the shock of last issue’s concluding revelation involving Winter Soldier and Nick Fury(?) only to have Jason Aaron blow our minds once more with yet another pulse pounding final page bombshell. We are about midway into Aaron’s complex and compelling murder mystery centered on the demise of Uatu, The Watcher, and the egregious theft of his all-seeing eyes and it would seem that for every answer or lead we are given we receive an accompanying question. This may sound frustrating to the scores amateur sleuths in the reading audience clamoring for closure or at the very least to be set firmly on the path of resolution, and perhaps that would be the case in the hands of a less shrewd scribe, but Aaron slowly unfolds the narrative before us like a treasure map that leads to untold riches, albeit in a somewhat less than direct route; it’s the searching not so much the finding that is so addictively tantalizing here. Far from being on a proverbial wild goose chase, Aaron is most certainly leading us toward ultimate resolution but at his pace and on his terms; fortunately for us those terms include some of the very best characterizations in any book Marvel has put out in recent memory, event or otherwise. These pages are full of chemistry and that chemistry often comes from the most unlikely of sources and “team-ups”; if you thought the Punisher and Doctor Strange made for some interesting dialog wait until you see with whom the mirthless mercenary shares a scene in this issue.

Jason Aaron has crafted his story like a chess game; at this point he is still working on his opening moving into the middle game and though he can see the end game that he has in store for us, it remains for us to be shocked and shattered along the way as each move is reveled and each set of circumstances is set into motion. In this issue, the fallout from the events of last issue is only just touched upon before this chapter presents its own dilemma to deal with. The central question of The Watcher’s murder takes a bit of a backseat as the focus shifts to just who is manipulating these heroes; a question that underlies the majority of events in this issue up to and including the dramatic final page, which is in many ways a refutation to last issue’s climactic scene, a divisive response no doubt but, a rebuttal nonetheless.

What Aaron has done by creating such a divisive element is to effectively split the cast into factions; those who know and those who do not know or know far less. This is an intriguing dynamic that fuels the characters’ interactions and their suspicion of one another, in fact everyone with the exceptions of Doctor Strange and Ant-Man seem to share a mutual skepticism and distrust of one another even when striving for a common goal. The cast of Original Sin is certainly one of the larger and more varied we have seen in recent times and Aaron makes extremely clever use of this fact. He pairs up unlikely characters causing each individual to call upon strengths and abilities that may have otherwise remained unexplored or under-developed. I think what Aaron has done here is nothing short of redefining the “event” book for modern times. His clever use of juxtaposition to extrapolate more from a character or conflict is genius as are his noir inspired thematic elements and tonal quality. This is such an original, inventive and imaginative concept that there is really nothing to compare it to and that alone speaks volumes about the groundbreaking nature of this book.

Mike Deodato continues to astound. If you haven’t been using the Marvel AR app when reading Original Sin, I recommend giving it a try. The AR enhancement offers tons of insightful glimpses into Deodato’s creative process. I was reluctant to try the app again because I had so many problems with it when it was introduced but Marvel seems to have worked most of the bugs out and what remains is a useful tool that adds an element of research to your reading experience. Deodato is an intelligent artist with great respect for his influences and inspiration; he speaks of Steranko with reverence when discussing his striking page compositions and dynamic use of panels. In this issue Deodato uses a somewhat less defined line to add a degree of kinetic energy to his usually precise line work, the result is a much more moody and gritty image which is perfect for this stage of the narrative. Frank Martin absolutely kills it once again bringing Deodato’s darkly emotive images to life with his vibrant palette of vivacious hues, shades and tones. Overall this is another visually flawless effort from one of the absolute best creative teams assembled today.

I am obviously greatly impressed by what Aaron and company have accomplished thus far with this book. Original Sin is that rare work that satisfies stuns and entertains all at once. It’s visually cinematic while it reads like a tense thriller full of razor sharp dialog and wit. If you like dark, moody, tightly wound thrillers as much as action packed super hero drama then this is the obvious choice. Pick up Original Sin, nuff said. (4.75/5)



Shawn is an aspiring writer/ artist who has been reading, collecting and living comic books for over 30 years. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, their son, lots of cats, dogs and other various finned and furry friends.

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