Original Sin #2

Issue Date: 
August 2014
Story Title: 
Bomb Full of Secrets

Jason Aaron (writer), Mike Deodato (artist), Frank Martin (color artist), VC’s Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Julian Totino Tedesco (cover), Dell’otto; Alessio; Adams and Steigerwald (variant covers), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort with Wil Moss (editors), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Special thanks to Allan Heinberg and Ed Brubaker

Brief Description: 

Two of the mysterious boss’ teams reach their locations. Black Panther’s team finds a cavern deep beneath the surface of the Earth, an open graveyard filled with the corpses of monstrous creature left over decades. Meanwhile in a crossroads dimension, Strange and Punisher find a similarly killed creature, from which the Punisher pulls out an intact gamma-treated bullet. Back on Earth, the Avengers fight another Mindless One, which has appeared out of nowhere and begun destroying a high rise office building. After capturing it, they use its energy signature to lead them to the location of its brethren and thus the duo who have been using them. When the Avengers attack, the woman, Exterminatrix, leads a group of loyal Mindless Ones against the heroes, while her hooded colleague attempts to get her father, the ailing Doctor Midas, to safety. However, despite her weapons and martial expertise, as well as the might and power of the Mindless Ones, Exterminatrix is defeated. Facing imminent capture by the assembled New York heroes, the hooded man suddenly realizes that the missing element from his ability to utilize the Watcher’s eye is that it wanted to watch. So inspired, the man removes his hood to reveal that he is the man known the Orb. He then declares that the eye is not an eye… but a bomb. A bomb which is about to go boom.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere deep within the Earth, a trio of Moloids cower beneath the three humans that stand before them. Are they thinking anything useful? Black Panther asks. Terror, Emma Frost replies. Does he consider that useful? In some situations, yes, the Panther replies. By the looks of this place, she begins, referring to the giant cavern in which they now stand, she’d say their killer would agree with him. No, Ms. Frost, Black Panther disagrees as he eyes the skeleton of a large creature, now stripped of all flesh which once covered it. Their killer prefers to be invisible. This place was never meant to be found.

Considering this, Frost asks how did they find it then? Every murderer leaves a trail, Panther replies. Calling out to Ant-Man by surname, the Panther asks if he has found the source of radiation. Ignoring the first call as he scans something with a hand-held device, Ant-Man responds to the second. Via radio, Ant-Man asks the Panther to give him a minute, will he? He’s trying not to puke!

Ignoring both men, Emma turns her attention back to the frightened Moloids. It’s okay, she telepathically tells them. They’re not there to hurt them. Believe it or not, they’re the good guys. Now speaking aloud to Black Panther, Emma informs him that all the Moloids know about this place… is that every few months another body appears. That has happened for as long as they can remember. Then it would appear, the Black Panther muses, that they have rather long memories.

So voiced, the two take in again their surroundings. All around them lie creatures of various sizes, all dead and in various states of decomposition. All are monstrous in appearance, possessing claws and teeth and horns. Examining one such corpse, Emma calls it a graveyard of giants and monsters, hidden away in the center of the Earth. They X-Men are pretty weird, she admits, but she’s still never seen anything like this. What makes him so certain this is the work of the same killer who murdered the Watcher? The facts will make him certain, Black Panther replies. Asked what then, the Panther replies that they’ll see where else this trail will lead them.

In the jaw of one of the creatures, the miniaturized Ant-Man continues to work. Gotcha, he suddenly gloats.

Meanwhile, New York City:
Over the cityscape, Nick Fury pilots his flying car at high speed. Calling to Cap over the radio, he asks for a sitrep. Is the suspect still in sight? Sort of, Cap replies as he steps over the rubble that was once an office. Good God, the Black Widow swears as she follows close behind. This thing is fast. Move! Wolverine yells at an office worker. Get down! To this, Spider-Man adds that perhaps the worker should go ahead and knock off for the day. They might be awhile.

Ignoring the two, Cap reports to Fury that they’re right on top of him. Just tell him there’s someone watching the backdoor. Repeating the word “backdoor” as his car arrives outside the building in question, Fury reminds him that he’s on the 49th floor. What back… Fury’s words trail as he looks up and spies a Mindless One crashing through the window glass and plummeting down on top of him. Back up on the 49th floor, Cap radios to Fury, informing him that the thing jumped. Does someone have eyes on it? To this, Fury rejoins that he’s only got one eye, but a pretty good view.

A moment later, the Mindless One lands in the backseat of the car. Immediately, Fury’s backseat defenses engages, wrapping the Mindless One’s limbs in metal coils. Let me go! the Mindless One yells. I must keep running! I must outrun my own mind before it drives me mad! As the car reports that its backseat defenses are failing, Fury pulls out an energy weapon and fires it over his shoulder, muttering that this is the most action the backseat’s seen in a long time. Is he ready to confess back there, pal? Fury asks the creature.

Unaffected by either the coils or energy blast, the Mindless One leans forwards. Being on the Moon… was the first time I ever knew sin, it informs him. One doesn’t deserve to die for their original sin, do they? He admits it then? Fury asks. It killed the Watcher? I… I still can’t bear to look at that eye, it replies. Why won’t you let me keep running!?! Be his guest, big fella, Fury rejoins. With that, Fury presses a button and a moment later he and his seat are ejected from the flying car. As his jetpack enables, Fury suggests to himself that he go read this thing its rights.

Catching up to the car, which still speeds over the city, Fury informs the Mindless One that it’s got the right to go to hell. Any questions? I demand IGNORANCE, the Mindless One responds. I insist you make me mindless again! Before Fury can reply, the car interjects, reporting first that its defenses are offline, then that its navigation is offline. It’s all right, Bettie, Fury informs the vehicle. He hopes she knows she was always his favorite. Whimsically instructing it to close its eyes, Fury fires his energy weapon. The next moment, the car explodes over the East River, as Fury jets on.

Immediately, Fury radios to the others, informing them that the target is down and for all teams to converge on his signal. When Iron Man radios back, asking him to tell him that he left it alive, Fury replies that he hopes so, or he just killed his car for nothing. He then tells Iron Man that he wants the strongest cell he has at Avengers Tower and a reliable telepath standing by. And Dr. Strange.

Sitting at a giant console in the tower, Tony Stark sits in nothing but his bathrobe and his Iron Man helmet. Through the electronic modulator of his helmet, Stark informs Fury that Reed confirms that the weapon that they recovered yesterday was the Ultimate Nullifier, which was previously seen in the possession of the big bald man on the Moon. So these so-called “Mindless Ones” are looking more and more like suspects numero uno in the Watcher’s murder. They could really use Dr. Strange on this. These things are from his turf.

A short distance away, Dr. Bruce Banner sits at another console. These Mindless Ones are other-dimensional beings, right? he asks. They get one in the lab, he bets he could isolate some sort of energy signature, so they could track any others that might be out there. To this, Stark replies that he isn’t there for his rosy disposition. As for him, Stark then adds, he’s reviewed every second of space-based surveillance footage from the last three days. SWORD says there were no approved flights scheduled between the Earth and the Moon. But, he found this. Pointing to an image of a space craft, he explains that it’s an unmarked ship, leaving the Blue Area of the Moon, headed towards Earth. Tell him he’s crazy, he then asks, but does it look like it’s made of gold?

Ignoring the question about the craft, Banner asks Stark if he thinks he should, maybe, put some pants on. They’re hunting a murderer and he’s talking about pants, Stark replies. They should try to be professional. Hearing Fury report that the Mindless One is in custody, Stark replies “copy that” and then asks its mood. Hard to tell, Fury replies, it having no eyes and all… but he thinks it’s crying. Then it’s ready to crack, Stark suggests. His interrogation cell is ready and waiting, he then tells Fury. Now… would somebody please tell him where the hell to find Dr. Strange?

Somewhere far beyond the realms of man:
Doctor Strange and the Punisher walk through an unearthly realm consisting of vine-like tendrils extending in all directions, including up and down. They shouldn’t be out in the open like this, the Punisher voices, more concerned with their vulnerability than their location. By the Punisher’s side, Strange floats in the air, cross-legged. This is a realm of man-eating shadows, he informs the Punisher. Believe him, in the open is the only safe place to be. When the Punisher then says that he thought they were supposed to be hunting a murderer, Strange replies that they are. Then that must mean they’re bait, the Punisher rejoins. He doesn’t like being bait.

A third, luminous eye appears on Strange’s forehead. He tells the Punisher to put his gun down. They’re not bait. Pointing the Punisher’s attention to a small flock of luminous birds glowing yellow and red, Strange informs him that he conjured them. They can smell murder victims from worlds away. If there are corpses there, they’ll find them. Murder-sniffing birds, the Punisher muses. Why the hell does he need him? If he remembers, Strange replies, that wasn’t up to him. He was chosen by…

Strange stops mid-sentence. They’ve found something, he announces. Before the Punisher can object, they both disappear in a flash of light. A moment later, the two reappear, standing atop the corpse of a gigantic creature, with red skin, giant claws, a massive teeth-filled mouth and tendril like hair. Next time, he can walk, the Punisher informs Strange. Ignoring the statement, Strange informs that Punisher that the creature is a beast king of the ancient world. Eighty feet long. Eight-five, the Punisher corrects, sizing up the beast. Been there for years.

As the Punisher bends down, Strange orders him not to touch it. What is he doing? Looking for an exit wound, he replies, sticking his arm into an open wound. Don’t be ridiculous, Strange rejoins. A thing like that couldn’t be killed with a gun. If he gives him a moment’s quiet, he’ll divine what sort of spell it was that…. Well, the Punisher replies interrupts, now he knows why he’s there. Strange and his birds sniff out the bodies… and he’ll find his damn killer for him. With that, he produces an intact luminescent green bullet.

Back on Earth:
In the warehouse, the Mindless Ones stir. Always it comes very slowly… one voices. The completed understanding of it. The repeating each one does to tell it the whole history of the being in each one, always now I hear it, always now slowly I understand it. Sugar is not a vegetable.

Watching from a short distance, the woman tells the hooded man that they’re quoting Gertrude Stein now. She’s not sure she can take much more of this. They’re evolving, the hooded man replies. No &%#$, she replies. She hasn’t slept in three days, but she feels she could wrestle a Mandroid. That’s good, the hooded man tells her. She’s going to need all of that strength when they come.

Looking down at one of the Watcher’s eye, which he holds in a cloth in his hand, the hooded man suggests to his female colleague that she should tell the Mindless Ones to keep away from the windows. Avengers have been flying past all day. She tells them lots of things, she replies to her colleague. But they don’t listen. They lost another today. Did he even notice? He tried to run on his own, but the Avengers caught him. Then they’ll be coming sooner than he thought, the hooded man responds. That’s what she’s been saying all along, he tells him. But all he does is stare at that stupid eye. Rubbing his hand over it, the hooded man replies that he doesn’t know how to make it open. He thinks there are things inside that want to get out.

The conversation between the two is interrupted by a guttural expression of pain from a massive, rock-like man lying prone on a slab some distance away. He sounds even worse today, the woman tells the hooded man. Not to mention how he looks. Told that he’s changing, the woman counters that he’s dying and she doesn’t know what to do. If he’s too weak to change, the hooded man offers, then they’ll have to leave him behind. Hearing that, the women produces a hand weapon and points it to the location of the head of the hooded man. That’s not going to happen. It will, he replies calmly, whether she shoots him or now. And she really shouldn’t, you know. Because they’re going to need every last bullet.

As the hooded man says this, an electronically enhanced voice booms through the warehouse. Attention, murderers and Mindless Ones! the voice of Iron Man booms. You are surrounded. By every super hero from all give boroughs of New York and then some. I suggest you surrender. Quickly. Indeed, glancing outside, the hooded man can see multiple Quinjets, a SHIELD helicarrier and various flying heroes, including Nova, Iron Man, Firestar and Thor. You have until the sound of thunder to comply. Hovering by Iron Man’s side, Thor adds that the threat that they should otherwise make peace with their mindless gods. That too, Iron Man agrees.

In one of the Quinjets, Banner reports that the energy they’ve been tracking is leaping off the charts there. He’d say there are at least a dozen Mindless Ones inside the penthouse. Hearing this, Fury adds that just one of those things nearly levelled half the city. They need that building evacuated, now. In response, Captain America radios that he’s on the ground floor. They’re evacuating as fast as Magik can teleport. At the other controls of the Quinjet, Black Widow instructs Fury to look at the infrared readouts. It’s not just Mindless Ones up there. They’ve got other targets. And looks to her… like a whole bunch of guns.

Inside the building, the woman addresses the Mindless Ones as she selects her weapons from the arsenal hanging on the wall. Those people out there know what they did, she tells them. So aim for their faces. And don’t let their gushing blood slow them down. A few moments later, Exterminatrix leaps from the building, followed by the Mindless Ones. As she opens fire with her handguns, they emit powerful blasts from what one might call an eye.

As the descending Mindless Ones take on Nova and Thor, Exterminatrix lands on a Quinjet and promptly opens fire on its canopy. As she does so, she radios back to her hooded colleague and orders him to get their injured colleague out of there. At least do that for her! She’ll hold them off for as long as they can! Who knows… they might even kill a few. She then asks the hooded man to tell her father that she died gloriously. Tell him she made Thor bleed.

Elsewhere, the hooded man assists Exterminatrix’s father, Doctor Midas, down a flight of steps, despite the fact that Midas towers above him and possesses greater weight. Radioing back to Exterminatrix, the hooded man replies that she won’t have to die once he figures out how to open it. She’ll see. Damn him and his eye, she rejoins. She hopes it gives him cancer. Damn him for ever finding them in the first damn place! With that, Extrematrix leaps from her Quinjet, which begins to lose altitude, billowing smoke as it does so. Now shut up and run! she yells.

A few moments later, the Quinjet impacts on the streets, exploding in a fireball as it does so. A short distance away, Exterminatrix lands on her feet. Flanked by Mindless Ones, she leads them against the assembled heroes and orders them to kill the pretty ones first! Faced against her are the Thing, Captain America, Falcon, Luke Cage, the Hulk, Black Widow, Wolverine, Shadowcat and Nick Fury himself. Quite the turnout, Exterminatrix announces as she fires. She’s flattered! She just hopes she’s got enough bullets for all their faces!

In the building, Doctor Midas continues to descend stairs, his arms draped over the hooded man. Looking like the Thing, Midas’s rocky skin glows blue in its cracks. He feels like… his face is about to explode, Midas tells him. That’s good, the hooded man informs him. They might need him to do that. Regarding the Watcher’s eye, which the hooded man still holds in his palm, Midas tells his colleague that he hears him talking to the damn eye… every night. He should get rid of it. It knows everything, the hooded man replies. That’s the point. That’s how it’s going to save them. It’s his eye. The Watcher’s. It’s seen the whole history of the world. Of them. It’s seen all the secrets that are or ever were. And he thinks they’re all still inside it. Asked how they get them out of there, the hooded man replies that that’s the question he’s been asking every night. Then asked what it says, he tells Midas that it doesn’t say anything. It’s an eye. It just watches him.

Emerging from the frontof the building, the hooded man and Doctor Midas find the host of assembled heroes waiting for them. At their feet are the defeated Mindless Ones and the shackled Exterminatrix. “Oh,” the hooded man voices simply.

Stepping away from the ailing Doctor Midas, the hooded man glances down at the giant eye in his hand. Oh, yes, of course. It’s still his isn’t it? It still wants to be there when the world is changing. Like it is… right now. It… still wants to watch. Still at the hooded man’s side, Doctor Midas says that he can feel it. It… sees them, doesn’t it? Yes, the hooded man replies. It sees all and everything. Just like always. But now… it also needs them to see. Thank you, he whispers to it.

Seeing what’s in the hooded man’s hand, Luke Cage curses. They got the Watcher’s eyeball. The sick bastards. His eyes boring in on the two, Captain America orders them to put the eye down and step away. Whatever the hell this is, Fury adds, it’s finished. They’re murderers, and they’re going down.

No, the hooded man replies. No, he doesn’t think so. See, they’re not the murderers they’re looking for. And this… this isn’t an eye. Not anymore. With that, the hooded man removes his hood, revealing a giant eyeball in place of his head – the trademark of the man known as the Orb. Holding aloft the Watcher’s giant eyeball, which now pales in size to the one on his shoulders, the Orb proclaims that the eye is a bomb. A bomb full of secrets. And what do bombs do? They go BOOM.

Characters Involved: 

Nick Fury
Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Wolverine (all Avengers)
Iceman, Magik, Shadowcat, Storm (all X-Men)
Luke Cage

Shadowy boss
Ant-Man, Black Panther, Emma Frost (subterranean team)
Doctor Strange, Punisher (extra-dimensional team)

Doctor Midas, Exterminatrix, Orb
Mindless Ones

Corpses of creatures

New Yorkers
SHIELD agent

Story Notes: 

Gertrude Stein was an American author, famous for her novels, poetry and plays.

Doctor Midas and his daughter, Exterminatrix, first appeared in the 2000 miniseries Marvel Boy. Midas currently appears like the Thing, due to an experiment which allowed him to replicate the powers of the Fantastic Four


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