(Art by Mike Deodato Jr., Jim Cheung, Paco Medina, David Meikis, Mark Morales, Guillermo Ortega, Juan Vlasco, Mike Perkins, Ramon Villalobos, Rick Geary, Raffaele Ienco, Ty Templeton, Ryan Browne, Mark Bagley, Alexander Maleev, Erica Henderson, Butch Guice, Chip Zdarsky, Joe Rubinstein and Scott Hanna)
A collection containing the main 'Original Sin' storyline and the 'Original Sins' spin-offs. Uatu the Watcher is murdered on the moon sparking a hunt for the person responsible who may not only have stolen powerful technology from the Watcher's fortress but may also have access to all of the secrets that Uatu ever learned.
Billed as a classic whodunnit, with the words 'Who shot the Watcher?' plastered over the cover, this book has one significant failing that overrides everything else. That failing is that anyone with any knowledge of the main players involved will figure out very quickly who the shadowy manipulator behind all these events is. It's a murder mystery without the mystery and the attempts of Jason Aaron (who wrote the main storyline) to try to misdirect us are transparent and a bit annoying. We're supposed to be jaw-droppingly shocked by what's really going on, but it's never that surprising (especially if you've read Brian Michael Bendis' ' Secret War ').
The other big let-down for this book is the latter half, the 'Original Sins' section, which initially promises to reveal some deep secrets about familiar Marvel characters but once again totally fails to deliver on that promise. All too much of it is played for laughs in a way that completely clashes with both the serious subject matter and the tone of the rest of the book. Plus the Young Avengers are so stereotypically Millennial that I wanted to puke. The only part of the collection of stories in 'Original Sins' that hits the mark is the one about Dum Dum Dugan, which not only does its main character justice, but also feeds back into the themes of the main storyline.
The best feature of the book as a whole is the way Aaron splits the investigation into two parts. There's the official murder mystery part with the main Avengers and then the far more enjoyable part which features fringe heroes like the Punisher, Moon Knight and Emma Frost approaching the investigation from a very different angle. I've always been a fan of underdog superteams and seeing the Marvel Universe's chief loners all working together was a nice twist. Plus we get to see the Punisher meet Rocket Raccoon, which is worth any fans' time.
Balancing the good and the bad and overall you get a book which is just okay. And just okay is not really good enough for a major crossover event, frankly.
3 out of 5