It's the penultimate edition of Original Spin, our exclusive beside-the-scenes examin-xploratio-tainment of Marvel's big summer crossover event, That One Before Axis, by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato. Yes, that's right, it's the big crossover event Marvel has kind of already forgotten about because it's so busy hyping up the next crossover event! (Though Marvel hasn't quite got around to telling us what that next event is about. Something something Bizarro Red Skull Onslaught? Buy the book, kids! It has Wolverine in... oh wait no.)

Yes, Marvel has already moved on to the next thing, but we at ComicsAlliance are still here, dutifully and patiently waiting for this event to finish. Sure, this recap is a week late, but I said we're dutiful, not quick. In this issue, we find out once and for all who killed the Watcher! Mmmaybe. Maybe not. I'm not really clear on that. Red Skulls are Onslaughts now; everything is crazy. Spoilers follow!



Watch out


In a remarkable revelation it emerged today that Dr. Midas, Oubliette, and The Orb were the villains who invaded professional voyeur Uatu Watcher's home and triggered this crossover event. The Orb shot The Watcher in the ensuing confrontation. It has not been conclusively established that the three villains delivered the killing blow, as the moon-man was later seen alive by Nick Fury, but this revelation has helped investigators narrow focus from their initial list of suspects, which was Dr. Midas, Oubliette, and... The Orb. Hrm.

Wasn't this story presented as a whodunnit? Shouldn't there be more suspects than this? Shouldn't there be some suspects who didn't do it? There were actually more investigators in this story than suspects. Were the investigators also meant to be suspects? I feel like I was lead to expect a set of tropes here that never showed up. Even 'Who Shot J.R.?' had actual suspects. 'Who Shot The Watcher?' just had autofill.

Anyway, flashbacks confirm that the villains and their Mindless One minions attacked The Watcher and stole his eye. Nick Fury investigated the incident and found the Watcher alive and one-eyed, and presumably we'll find out how that little encounter led us to where we are now in the final issue. It's probably too late in the game to introduce any other characters to the story and have them deliver the killing blow. So; the bad guys did it! It was the bad guys all along!

Now the bad guys are in space, and the good guys are in space. Everyone is in space. Surrounded by Watchers. Watchers watching... space.


They all like to watch.





Following the revelation that Nick Fury has been holding down a second job as a preemptive planetary Punisher, the former hero dropped tell-all truth bombs on the Avengers in an effort to avoid being brought to justice. Caught in a headlock by the Norse god Thor, Fury whispered a secret phrase that apparently cost Thor his worthiness, his power, and the right to wield his famous mythical hammer, Hermano.

What did Fury whisper? Was it, "Hail Hydra"? Was it, "Valar morghulis"? Was it the name of the Doctor? Was it, "I have to be leaving, but I won't let that come between us, OK?"

Whatever it was, it instantly made Thor unworthy, somehow rendering all of his accomplishments null and void. Apparently he now understands a profound truth about himself that his worthiness-detecting hammer had never previously noticed. Magic schmagic; Thor just got reverse-Dumbo'd. The unworthiness was inside him the whole time.

Anyway, bye Thor. I guess if you thought you were worthy and you actually weren't, maybe you had some Sucker Punch fantasy/reality thing going on where you believed you were saving Los Angeles from Terminus but you were actually rampaging through a pet shop biting the heads off chinchillas. Unworthy! Sadly this Sucker Punch fantasy did not take the form of elaborate erotic dance sequences, but hey, maybe that's why the next Thor is a lady? Only ladies are erotic in comics, right? What's Milo Manara doing right now?

No, with his other hand?

Anyway, we've let a frog and a horse be Thor, it's probably time to see if a woman can do it. Speaking of which...



You should be so Loki


Beautiful trickster goddess Loki has made a dazzling return to the scene after spending some time away in exotic... small child Loki and teenage dreamboat Loki. In the pages of Original Sin #5.3 -- which I'm going to guess happens back between Original Sin issues #5 and #6, on the generous assumption that those numbers mean something, but who in the comics reading audience still trusts numbers? -- Loki has undergone a stunning transformation so that she and her new sister Angela can team up against stinky boy Thor. (He's still worthy over here, and a fella, because it's not issue #7 yet.)

Loki's stirring beauty is so great that we think the other-dimensional realm of Heven must be missing an angel!

Which, it turns out, it actually was, because one of them accidentally spent twenty years in the Spawn universe. But that angel, Angela (good naming, Neil Gaiman) is back now, and she's about to do something so inconsequential that it happened back before Original Sin #6 and yet no-one noticed or talked about it afterwards. Continuity!



Captain America hanging out on a satellite, just because


We're one issue from the end of this crossover event, and that seems like as good time to assess whether or not the event is working.

Marvel's events seem to change format every time, with the relationship between the core title and the tie-ins ranging from the watertight three-book plotting of Infinity to the sprawling plot buffet of Avengers Vs. X-Men. Age of Ultron was so incidental that its tie-ins were consigned to out-of-continuity issues, while Fear Itself put all the major developments in the tie-ins and left the core book a hollow husk. None of them got the balance right.

On the one hand I appreciate that Marvel is willing to experiment to see what works. On the other hand it seems extraordinary that the publisher still hasn't hit on the best formula. With Original Sin, the approach is a central story that triggers branching narratives -- and while that's produced a lot of strong stories that aren't all contingent on each other, the main Original Sin book feels thin. In seven issues we've had one death, two betrayals, lots of moving pieces, and that's kind of it. It honestly feels like the only reason Original Sin is eight issues long is because event books can't be four issues long. Part of me almost misses AvX and its constant circus of dumb out-of-character loop-de-lunacy. Sure, it was bad, but it was a lot of bad!

That said, I think Original Sin will read well in trade. Aaron has written a compelling drama that holds to itself, and Deodato has produced some of the most dynamic layouts of his career. This is actually one of the strongest core event titles Marvel has produced. It just doesn't quite match the scale that the premise seemed to promise, because the tie-ins are so disconnected from the narrative -- and it really isn't a whodunnit.

The good news is, Marvel gets to spin the wheel all over again in just two months' time in its next event, Axis. Across-the-board Marvel Universe events happen twice a year now.


Graphic by Dylan Todd.