When it comes to operating in both the literal and metaphorical shadows of the Marvel Universe, nobody is more at home in either space than Nick Fury Sr. As the former head of the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D., and Earth's recently revealed "man on the wall" against alien invaders, Fury has performed countless morally gray deeds he'd prefer the world would never know about. So the idea that an omniscient alien like the Watcher, who monitors all the events of the Marvel Universe from his home on the moon, is aware of every move Fury's ever made is obviously something the superspy could never be fully comfortable with. But the question remains: What could Uatu have witnessed that was so terrible it led Fury to put a gamma irradiated bullet in him?
In "Original Sin" #6, by writer Jason Aaron and artist Mike Deodato, readers found out more about Fury's relationship with the Watcher, and his possible connection to the omniscient being's murder. And in this installment of MURDER MOST COSMIC, CBR's series of post-game chats about each issue of "Original Sin," Aaron and Marvel Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort join us for some discussion of and insight into "Original Sin" #6, including Fury's plan to find a successor, what's happening to the Midases, Deodato's drive to be the only artist named on the eventual collection and why Nick Fury may still be the most dangerous individual in the Marvel Universe.
CBR News: In "Original Sin" #6 we learn some more about the relationship between Nick Fury and the Watcher. It seems like it was a bit contentious. Is that a fair description?
Jason Aaron: Yeah, it's still kind of vague as to what the extent of that relationship was, but clearly there's some kind of history. If you think about it, after what we learned about Fury in Issue #5, his secret history and life, where he's been the man guarding this proverbial wall; protecting the Earth and doing whatever it takes including some pretty heinous things to keep the Earth safe, and then you contrast that to the Watcher, a guy, who for the most part, stands around and observes -- you get a pretty interesting dichotomy between those two characters.
As you can imagine, they probably wouldn't like each other very much.
The Watcher seems to have some affection for Earth's heroes, but I guess the larger question here is, did he see Fury as a hero? Is that something we'll find out more about in "Original Sin" #7-8?
Aaron: We'll certainly see more of the two of them together. I will say that.
In our last conversation you, said Issue #7 would end with a red flag pointing towards the Watcher's killer. Right now, that red flag appears to be pointing at Nick Fury, but is it safe to conclude that, or is there more there that we haven't yet been shown?
Tom Brevoort: Well, there are two more issues. [Laughs]
[Laughs] Yes, but...
Those two more issues could answer the why and how of the Watcher's murder. Has the who been answered? Or am I jumping to conclusions?
Brevoort: Well, I don't know that we definitively say the who in Issue #6. Although we certainly point the finger in one fairly serious direction in that Fury has the Watcher's other eyeball. So you can kind of draw your own conclusions based on what's on the page.
Aaron: Yeah I would say at this point in the book, all the characters are looking at Fury as the murderer, but over the course of these next two issues, we will flashback and see what actually happened. The next two issues cut back and forth between this battle in the present and what actually happened during that day on the moon when the Watcher died.
Since the eyeball was brought up, the Midases are being transformed by their exposure to the eyeball they had in their possession. Is Nick Fury being affected in a similar way by the eyeball he has?
Aaron: It's not just their exposure to the eyeball, because, remember -- the Orb was the one who had the eye. What happened that day, the energies that were released from those events are what have been affecting them.
In this issue, we get a flashback scene where a still somewhat youthful Nick Fury and the Watcher interact, with Nick laying on the floor, coughing up blood. Are we seeing the day where the Infinity Formula starts to fail Nick? Is that why he's currently elderly?
Aaron: Yes that's clearly what's happened. The Infinity Formula in his blood is all burned up, so every morning that Nick Fury woke up, he was older than he was the previous day by quite a bit.
Brevoort: This scene might not have been the first day that happened, but it was early on. It's at a point where he knew what was going on.
Aaron: The Watcher did appear though, and it's a pretty good indicator that something big is happening.
Nick talks about his age, his failing health and how the reason he put his various investigation teams in motion was to pick his successor as Earth's "man on the wall." These characters are a pretty diverse bunch -- is there a common trait they all share that caused Nick to believe they might be his potential replacement as guardian of Earth?
Aaron: No, the fact that they kind of represent different parts of the Marvel U are why he picked them. He didn't want five different versions of the Punisher to choose from. He wanted candidates that covered a lot of ground.
These are all people he either knew personally, and perhaps owed something to him from the past or he knew by reputation. It is a diverse group of candidates.
Brevoort: I think if you look at these characters as a group, they all have some sort of shading of gray about them. They're less about black and white heroics and are more willing or likely to do the kind of things that Nick himself has done if the occasion called for it.
Nick is looking for somebody else to take on his mantle and keep the Earth safe by doing the sorts of things he did. So there's something in these candidates that in one way or the other implies to him that they might be somebody who could be brought about to doing those sorts of things.
Aaron: Right -- there's clearly a reason why Steve Rogers isn't part of this group.
Of course, "Original Sin" #6 isn't strictly about Fury and his investigation teams as the Midases make their return in this issue. How dangerous are they, going into "Original Sin" #7? It's clear that Oubliette and the Mindless Ones are still feeling the effects of their transformation, but Doctor Midas appears to be almost hale and hearty.
Aaron: I don't know if he's hale and hearty, but he's certainly starting to embrace the changes he's been through. His power is growing and, as we'll see next issue, he can still become even more powerful, and there's still stuff to be stolen on the moon. He wants to go back and take everything.
Captain America and the Avengers also come back into "Original Sin" with Issue #6. Can you talk about how Captain America is feeling as he leads his Avengers team into space to confront Fury? Given what he learned about how Iron Man and the Illuminati wiped his mind and lied to him, is he any mood for secrets or deception?
Aaron: Cap is still trying to figure out what the hell is going on. The Avengers don't know any of the stuff that Black Panther, Doctor Strange and that whole group of characters have discovered, so they're still in the dark about most of this. They just know that Nick Fury has lied to them and is keeping something from them. They're looking for answers.
Tom, can you confirm if the "Original Sin" tie-in arc of "Avengers" takes place before or after the Avengers scenes in this issue?
Brevoort: I think you can say with some reasonableness that the "Avengers" tie-in most likely takes place between "Original Sin" #3, where everybody split up, and here, #6, where everybody come back together. I don't want to be so definitive though, and you'll see the reasons why for that in the weeks to come. The "Avengers" tie-in may have to happen after "Original Sin" itself concludes!
Mike Deodato's art has been getting better and better with each issue, his flair for inventive layouts being especially noticeable in #6. What sort of feedback has Mike been giving you about what he's drawn so far?
Brevoort: Essentially, he's told us he's working hard and he wishes he had more time. [Laughs]
Aaron: Yeah, Mike is a machine. He keeps his nose to the grindstone. He turned in a page on Christmas Day! He sent us a photo of him drawing in the hospital room with his wife and newborn baby. He's just been plowing through this, and he's determined that when the "Original Sin" collection comes out, he's the only artist named on the cover. He wants to make sure he can draw the entirety of these eight issues, which would be awesome. It's not something we've seen from most of our recent big events. We usually have to pull in multiple artists.
This is a big job, drawing so many characters, but Mike has been plowing right ahead, and I think you're right. His stuff is getting better and better as the book has gone along.
Now, looking the cliffhanger on the final page of "Original Sin" #6, it looks like Nick Fury has become bigger and badder than ever. I see hints of Cable there, with his two guns, gray hair and eye patch. What sort of notes did you guys give Mike about the design for Nick on that page?
Brevoort: Mike didn't necessarily do all of that design. Most of that design was done by Julian [Totino Tedesco] when he did the cover for Issue #7. In terms of that cover, even though in the end we ended up pixelating out the head when we showed it, at first the intention of the cover was to not reveal that this guy was Nick Fury. We realized that people would see this cover before we got to the reveal of old Fury, so leaning into the Cable of it all was least somewhat deliberate on our part. It was to help confuse the issue of who that dude is on the cover to Issue #7 and why he's important to the whole thing.
Aaron: I think he's part-Cable, part-Batman from the last issue of "The Dark Knight Returns." At this point, he's a very frail, old man because he's been aging so rapidly. So it's him making his last stand, and he's suited up and armed not just with weapons, but also with both of the Watcher's charged up eyes. We saw what happened the last time one of those eyes was "opened" and all the secrets came flying out. It appears that Nick has somehow been able to access that -- even though he's an old man, he's still a pretty dangerous enemy for the Avengers in this next issue.
Brevoort: And given all the things that Nick has done over the years, both what we known about and what we've just discovered, and all of the many things that he's gone up against that might have been out of his weight class, I don't know that there's a more dangerous individual in the Marvel Universe; even an aged Nick Fury.
Aaron: He also has conviction on his side. This is not a Nick Fury who woke up one day and decided he wanted to kill all the Avengers. He still feels like he's the hero in this story. He still has a job to do. It's a job he has been doing for a long time, and he's not going to let anyone stand in the way of that. He doesn't have time to stop and explain to Steve Rogers that this is what he's been doing, and this is what he needs to go do right now. Even if he did, Steve is not going to understand.
Brevoort: In addition to the big throwdown in the present, as all the various forces converge on the moon, we'll also get to see the beginning of the actual events that transpired there some days earlier; the murder of the Watcher and what that means.