REVIEW: Original Sin #8

It’s difficult to discuss a conclusion without spoilers. The ending is the conceit. It’s impossible to really analyze an ending and ignore what happens. So here’s my official warning. I will be discussing what happened in this issue because that’s what I am basing my review upon, the actual events and how they fit into the overall story.

You’ve been warned. Here be spoilers.

The central mystery of the book is solved here and it is deeply unsatisfying. It’s unsatisfying because the motives are very weak. Nick Fury kills Uatu in what is essentially “suicide by cop”. Uatu threatens Fury and forces his hand claiming to have “seen too much”. This moment is unearned. At no point was Uatu explored as a character. There’s no real reason for him to have acted in this way and it leaves the moment hollow. Only a single line is given as to why he might do what he does. It presents a solution, but not a satisfying one. Furthermore, the lack of motivation also leaves the appearance of Uatu’s lover and mother to his child, Ulana, mourning for him meaningless as well. Uatu and Ulana have been characterized well in other series like FF, given personalities and motives. Here they lack any semblance of character.

The problem the mystery suffers from is the opposite of Identity Crisis, a much-maligned event. Where Identity Crisis set up a mystery that ultimately made no sense and was impossible to solve, Original Sin set up one that was obvious from the halfway point of the series and required no work to solve. With only two sets of suspects, Dr. Midas’ gang and Nick Fury, it was a coin toss at best. Everything else about the story pointed to it being the latter of the two. At no point in Original Sin was there significant effort put in to creating a roster of suspects or clues and red herring for reader’s to use in solving it. The problem is not that this story had to be a mystery. It could have been a lot of things. It presented itself as a mystery though and failed in that regard.

I’d previously addressed the tonal problems in the series, moving quickly between over-the-top superhero antics to gritty exchanges. Those issues persist here. Amidst the grim, this-is-the-end feeling of the comic, eyeballs attack people and detached hands are carried around like souvenirs. Before the more farfetched elements felt like a pleasant surprise to lighten the mood and remind us that the Marvel universe can be a fun place to visit. Here they play into the ugliness of what is occurring and feel out of place.

Like previous issues, Mike Deodato’s work is excellent. I would go so far as to say that this is his best mainstream comics work to date. Whether or not the various effects feel justified, they look wonderful. Glowing auras, energy blasts, and explosions all radiate with light and energy. Even small things like Moon Knight’s boomerangs brighten up the page a little.

Deodato is an excellent fit for the high action, character heavy nature of an event title. He has an excellent sense of blocking, posing characters to look their absolute best when they receive a brief opportunity to shine. Black Panther has been a tertiary character in this story, but in a single panel he is made to look like the incredibly skilled combatant he is. Whatever faults the story contains, Deodato tells it as well as he can. He manages to make unearned drama and outright silly developments still feel a little exciting.

Even with Deodato’s contributions, Original Sin #8 stumbles and falls in its conclusion. The answers promised from issue one are unearned. Things happen, but they lack significance or meaning. The answers that are given are hollow. There is no emotional attachment to anything occurring in this issue. What started in Original Sin #0 as a character driven story has ended in a series of events that simply happen.

Grade: D+