A Guide to Marvel’s Original Sin

Original Sin is this year’s epic – the death of The Watcher, one of Marvel’s most potent and symbolic characters.  With the launch of Original Sin #1 (Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato), I think it’s time to get us ready – with info on the concept, a review of #1, and a summary of the explosive tie-ins!

The concept

The concept is pretty simple, and Marvel came up with the core of it some years ago.  Still, it’s Jason Aaron who came up with the heart of it; The Watcher, he who has seen all of the Marvel Universe’s secrets, is about to die.  He will be the victim of a mysterious conspiracy, and his secrets are going to be flung far and wide.  Axel Alonson, Marvel Comics’ Editor-in-Chief, has described it as “WikiLeaks with superheroes”.

It’s a brilliant idea, frankly.  Unlike most mega-events, the only hook needed for a tie-in is that a secret be revealed.  In short, Marvel have given every single one of their writers an opportunity to make an indelible mark upon their franchise, to redefine and relaunch their series.  James Robinson, writing Fantastic Four and The Invaders, observes:

“As opposed to tie-ins where you really are part of the big story, like “Fear Itself”, where everything involved the ongoing attacks of the Serpent and the Worthy, with this, once the characters have learned what their particular “original sins” are, the book goes off in it’s own direction and you can tell that story.  So while they do tie in to “Original Sin,” these are definitely very reader friendly crossovers in that they’re not really crossovers.  They’re specific to each title, character and book.”

And the impact?  Axel puts it like this:  “Original Sin gives birth to at least five new ongoing series, all featuring solo characters, including at least one female one, and completely transforms three of our core ongoing series, with either a totally new – or significantly altered – character – in the title role.”

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