Jonathan Hickman (WRITER)
Leinil Francis Yu (ARTIST)
Teaser Variant also available
WHAT DID HE SEE?
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99
I’ve been a fan of Jonathan Hickman since I first bought The Nightly News, the writer’s 2006 breakout indy title, and I knew I was on to something. Since then I’ve bought just about everything the guy has written, I have yet to be disappointed, and that includes his amazing run on the premiere Avengers titles. Within the pages of those titles, Hickman has been weaving a high science fiction tale of recurring impending doom brought on by universal incursion after universal incursion centered on Earth. In the early issues of his New Avengers run, Hickman brought the Illuminati into this whole incursion scenario by having Captain America use the Infinity Gauntlet to stave off an impending universe, and then using the same weapon to destroy the gauntlet itself, including all the gems save the Time Gem. The rest of the cabal subsequently kicked Cap out of their little club because the other members knew he couldn’t make the hard choice, namely destroy an entire universe and every living thing in it. So, Doc Strange wiped Cap’s memories, and the universe demolishing continued. Marvel’s latest blockbuster event Original Sin, however, presents a great opportunity for some high drama, as Tony Stark’s secrets come back to haunt him. Captain America remembers!
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much going into this issue. It’s just another tie-in to another Marvel event. So I was pleasantly surprised at how great a book it was. We open with Cap asleep in bed, dreaming of his erased past memories as a member of the Illuminati, the destruction of an entire universe, and the disappearance of the Infinity Gauntlet. This acts as a great way to give readers the whole back-story of Cap’s removal from the Illuminati, as well as a creative method of showing Cap regaining those very difficult memories. His friends, including his best friend, have been lying to him for months, and went as far as erasing the man’s memories. Needless to say, Cap is pissed! He gathers Black Widow and Hawkeye on his way to question Tony face to face, with Thor, Hyperion, and Star Brand meeting up with them later…yeah, Cap brought his biggest guns with him. It really helped communicate just how important this issue is to Cap, and was also a great example of the trust Cap has earned with his allies as they accompany him to confront Iron Man without hesitation. The dialogue between Steve and Tony is spot-on, despite having seen this same brother vs. brother fight so many times before, and Tony’s reveal that Cap’s team of heavy hitters is surrounded by hundreds of suits of armor makes for a terrific fight. While the return of the Time Gem last page reveal came completely out of left field, it wasn’t quite out of place, but the true greatness of this ish was the way Hickman showed the dichotomy between Iron Man and Captain America when it comes to dealing with the universal incursion threat. Leinil Francis Yu is a modern day master, and his artwork was the perfect accompaniment to this gripping tale of betrayal and moral ambiguity.
Hickman’s universal incursion story that he’s been spinning within the pages of his Avengers titles was already enormous and complex. With an infinite number of universes, rogue planets from the future, and universe destroying species of all sorts it was already difficult to follow the story sometimes. By the end of this issue #29, however, we’re sent 50 years into the future, presumably due to an exploding Time Gem, adding another layer of WTF? to the entire landscape. I’m all for big stories that take chances with an epic scope, but it may be getting a bit too much. I also had some problems with the whole Tony Stark vs. Steve Rogers morality tale angle that we’ve seen so many times before. It felt way too close to Civil War, Disassembled, and every other time Iron Man and Cap disagreed on how to be a hero.
The Original Sin event has given Marvel the chance to tell some interesting untold stories from Marvel’s past, and, according to the tie-in solicits, that’s the majority of what we’re going to get. The same spider that bit Peter bit someone else, Thor and Loki have a sister, Iron Man and Hulk have some old-school beef, Professor Xavier left a last will and testament, among other things…and we simply had no idea it happened? Yeah, I’m not buying it! But this Avengers #29 tie-in dealt with the whole original sin premise echoing throughout the Marvel Universe in a way that works in current continuity and does so in brilliant fashion. If the rest of the Original Sin tie-in books are half as good as this one it’s going to be a great summer. And Hickman’s entire universal incursion story-line continues to twist and turn with each and every Avengers issue he writes, with a hard left-turn careening off the rails by the last panel of this issue.
Story: 4 Out of 5
Art: 4.5 Out of 5
Overall: 4.5 Out of 5