Original Sin #3

Issue Date: 
September 2014
Story Title: 
Trust No One, Not Even Yourself

Jason Aron (writer), Mike Deodato (artist), Frank Martin (color artist), VC’s Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Julian Totino Tedesco (cover), Dell’otto; Hans; 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: 

Weeks before, the Orb convinces Dr. Midas and his daughter, Exterminatrix, that he has a way of getting inside the home of the being Midas knows as the Watcher. Now, weeks later, the Orb stands before the assembled heroes and fells them low with a most unusual weapon: the eye of the recently-murdered Watcher. As the heroes are physically staggered by the secrets which the Watcher’s eye has inflicted upon them, Dr. Midas escapes with his daughter and the Mindless Ones. The Orb, however, stays behind and allows himself to be captured, wanting to learn the secret of who really killed the Watcher. Once in custody, the Orb promises to tell Wolverine and the Hulk what he knows, but only to Nick Fury. Meanwhile, the teams of the shadowy boss continue their missions. Below the Earth’s surface, Black Panther, Ant-Man and Emma Frost discern that all of the subterranean monsters were killed by the same gun and same type bullets, over a period of decades. In another dimension, the Punisher and Doctor Strange find a similarly murdered monster, killed by a marksman of nearly unparalleled skill. On the galaxy’s outer rim, Moon Knight, Gamora and Winter Soldier follow a trail of spent casings in space to a planet. The meaning of their destination is a mystery until the Winter Soldier realizes that the planet was once living, killed by the individual they’ve been pursuing. Convinced he has solved the riddle, the Winter Soldier destroys Moon Knight’s craft, stranding his two partners, and then uses a teleportation device to take him to Nick Fury’s monitor room. There he kills Fury and decapitates him. Now wielding the Watcher’s eye Nick obtained from the Orb, the Winter Soldier promises no more secrets.


Full Summary: 

(weeks ago)
In his dreams, the Orb explains, he’s on the moon. And there’s this mansion there. He walks inside like he owns it. Like it knows him. He wants to stay, but… He wakes up. He always wakes up. And then he is always there, at the foot of his bed. He never speaks. He just… watches. At first, the Orb that he thought he was part of the dream, but now… He thinks it’s his house, and he thinks he doesn’t like that he can see it.

That’s what he does, the Orb continues to his audience, he sees things other people can’t. And sometimes… he steals eyeballs and rolls around naked in them, but mostly… he sees things. For example, he can see that he’s considered killing him at least seven times since he came in there. Eight, the Orb’s audience corrects. Take off the mask. It’s not a mask, the Orb replies, touching the single, gigantic eyeball which serves as his entire head. Asked by a second party what does he mean it’s not, and how is talking if it’s not, the Orb explains that it took him a long time to learn. He used to just make squishy noises and…

Interrupting the other party and calling her “Oubliette,” the Orb’s audience tells her to never mind his damn face. This man he saw, changing the subject back to the Orb’s stranger, what did he look like? Big, the Orb answers. Big and bald. He thought he was God at first, but he doesn’t think God would dress like that. Then asked about the Moon, the Orb replies that it’s wondrous. Full of treasures. Full of things they can’t begin to imagine. Secrets. The whole place is filled with secrets. More secrets than there are stars.

Asked why they should care about his dreams and why is he there, the Orb replies that they’ve seen him, too. He can tell. They want to walk through the doors of that mansion the same as he does. And he’s the only man alive who can get them inside. So what does he say? the Orb asks Dr. Midas. Do they have a deal? Shall they rob the man in the Moon of all his secrets?

Sitting on the other side of the desk, flanked by his bondage-clad daughter Exterminatrix, Dr. Midas’ armor hides any thoughts his face might betray. Exterminatrix speaks first, asking her father to let her shoot this fool in his big, stupid eye, only for Dr. Midas to order her to silence. Speaking to “Mr. Orb,” Midas explains that the man is called the Watcher. And, yes, he’s seen him. All men who change the world with their bare hands have seen the Watcher. He, Dr. Midas then adds, is such a man. Tell him, Midas asks of the Orb, if his power of sight is as he says… these secrets… where does the Watcher keep them? Ah, the Orb voices, isn’t it obvious? The Watcher keep his secrets… right where he can see them.

(Now, Manhattan)
In his hand, the Orb holds up one of the eyes of the Watcher, which pulsates with energy, emitting blue lightening at all of the assembled heroes, pushing them back. So many pretty little secrets, the Orb muses, all now out in the wild. This will be fun to watch.

Though the energy wave has subsided, each of the assembled heroes struggle to regain composure. Haltingly, Spider-Man asks what just happened. Was he the only one who saw… who saw… Oh, no… A short distance away, Luke Cage asks what the hell does this mean? Why would… Behind Cage, the Hulk seems wracked with rage. Hulk… smash… Stark! By the spires of Asgard, Thor proclaims with wide-eyed horror, he has… a sister?! Behind the heroes, regular bystanders have not gone unaffected. While one woman berates her lover for being with the babysitter, another realizes hers has never loved her. A man suddenly realizes that he knows who killed his mother. Suddenly… he just knows!

Nearby, on his feet only thanks to his daughter holding him up, Dr. Midas calls out to the Orb. He doesn’t know what the hell he just did, but this is their chance! Move! However, as Dr. Midas, his daughter and a small group of Mindless ones flee, the Orb finds himself at the end of a weapon held by Nick Fury, who orders him to out down the eye and put his hands on his… head. He’s under arrest for murder. There’s no need for that, the Orb explains. He’s not the one Fury is after. Raising his hands (and still holding the eye), the Orb adds that he wants to know the next big secret the same as Fury does. He wants to know who really murdered the Watcher. Because it certainly wasn’t him.

Miles below the Earth’s surface, the Black Panther holds a plastic bag full of dozens of luminescent green bullet casings. He doesn’t think there’s any question, Ant-Man informs him as he carries another. They were all killed with the same gun, and the same unique, gamma-irradiated bullets. But not all at the same time, he then adds. He’d say the oldest corpses have been there for decades. The most recent, only a few years.

Surrounded by the cavern which serves as the dumping ground for the shooter’s victims, Emma Frost notes that they’re all creatures of the underworld. Some are familiar. Some she’s never seen before. Which likely means no one has ever seen them before. A bunch of dead monsters buried in the center of the Earth… what does this have to do with the Watcher being shot on the Moon?

Considering this, the Panther replies that their killer has been at this for a very long time, right beneath their feet. Which means they are quite skilled at staying hidden. Perhaps the Watcher died because he saw something he should not have. Asked by Emma if he means he saw the killer, Black Panther replies that he was the Watcher. He saw everything. Even the unseen.

Somewhere beyond their dimension, Doctor Strange and the Punisher stand on the corpse of another creature. Eyeing its wound, the Punisher motions to a place far off and explains that the creature was shot from somewhere… way over there. Hard to tell in this place, he then adds, but that looks to be almost 4000 yards away. Doesn’t matter what kind of gun you’ve got… that’s one hell of a shot. Aren’t many people alive who could make that shot. Not on Earth at least. He’d say ten total, including him.

Grimacing at the murdered creature before them, Doctor Strange mutters of common killers, walking these sacred plans. He likes this not. Hearing this, the Punisher remarks that he can’t tell if Strange is talking about the guy who did this… or him. Asked if there is a difference, the Punisher replies that when he kills somebody he doesn’t hide it. No, he most certainly does not, Strange rejoins. Irritated, the Punisher informs Strange that he can take him back to L.A. anytime he wants. And then he can explains why to… Interrupting, Strange notes that this place makes the Punisher uneasy. Good. He likes him uneasy. Changing subjects, Strange reminds the Punisher that he said “ten people.” Tell him. Tell him every single name on that list.

Somewhere on the galaxy’s outer rim, the Winter Soldier sits in the spaceship’s cockpit and broods. This is a complete waste of time, Gamora announces. There’s nothing out there. Who was the fool who gave them these coordinates? To this, Moon Knight replies someone who’s not normally known for being a fool. They should be back on Earth, Gamora then adds, searching for the Watcher’s killer there. Turn the ship around, she orders Moon Knight. She’s had enough of this folly. No, the Winter Soldier voices. They were told there was something there. So there is. Addressing Moon Knight by his name “Spector,” he tells him to keep going. When Gamora snarls that she doesn’t remember agreeing to take orders from him, the Winter Soldier tells her to get out.

Moon Knight begins to point out that the ship is technically his, but a sound grabs their attention. Gamora is the first to realize that it sounds like something hitting the ship’s hull. Meteorites most likely. Right, Moon Knight confirms, except these meteorites look an awful lot like a trail of shell casings, floating in space. As the rest eye the casings, Moon Knight then supposes that they’ve just found what they were looking for. No, Winter Soldier disagrees. What they’re looking for… is whatever lies at the end of the trail.

As the trio continue, they are unaware that they are being watched via a monitor by their benefactor. Won’t be long now, he tells the man standing behind him. They’ll have visitors soon. He’s to make sure everything’s ready. Prepare for the worst. Yes, sir, the man replies. They always do. Eying one of the gamma-irradiated bullets, the boss notes that he’s afraid they’re going to need… a hell of a lot more of these.

(Avengers Tower)
Unsheathing his claws with a snikt, Wolverine asks the Orb, his prisoner, if he hears that sound. It means he’s got about three seconds to tell him what he wants to know. Sitting on a bench, his hands in massive manacles, the Orb regards Wolverine and the Hulk and muses that one is a tortured a school teacher and the other a deranged physicist. Is this some sort of bizarre variation on the good cop, bad cop routing? To this, Wolverine replies that it’s more like a stab cop, smash cop. Start talkin’, bub. Literally hulking over their prisoner, the Hulk bellows for Wolverine to tell “eyeball man” to stop staring at Hulk! Two seconds, Wolverine says.

When he doesn’t reply, Wolverine bluntly orders the Orb to tell him what happened on the Moon. Tell him how he killed the Watcher. Seemingly unphased, the Orb replies that he didn’t come there to tell them anything. They’re not the one who can stop this. They want to know what happened? What is happening? Then put him in front of the man in charge. Bring him Nicky Fury and he’ll tell him everything.

As he watches this exchange from his monitor room, Nick Fury receives a call from Captain America, who reports that the trail’s gone cold. No sign of Midas or his crew. He also reports that Stark says the energy signature they used to track the Mindless Ones is suddenly nowhere to be found. Midas must’ve caught on and figured out how to block it. They’re back to square one, which means they’re stretched pretty thin out there. If he’s going to have to canvass the entire planet, he’ll need more bodies.

When Cap then asks where everyone is, Fury replies that it was a bomb full of secrets. That’s what the Orb unleashed on them today. The Orb, he then mutters. Still can’t get over that part. Continuing, he informs Cap that readings confirm it’s the Watcher’s eye. The current theory, courtesy of Reed Richards, is that it acts as some sort of living storage device, recording everything the Watcher sees. Orb was somehow able to access that info and basically… throw their own secrets back at them like grenades.

The only good thing, Fury continues, is that only those people in the immediate vicinity were affected. Bad news, half their team is suddenly out of action or barely functioning. Thor, Spidey and Daredevil lit out right away and nobody’s heard from them since. It’s all he can do to keep Hulk from tearing Stark apart for some reason. He has no idea what sort of secrets people saw, but whatever they were… it’s thrown them into chaos. Which he imagines is exactly what the Orb was hoping for.

Cap asks if the Orb has said anything, but Fury ignores the question for one of his own. What did he see when the bomb exploded, Fury asks. Pausing for a moment, Cap finally replies that that’s not the mission right now. Call him when he’s got more info. Cap signing off. With the connection broken, Fury picks up the Watcher’s eye with both hands. See, he says to it. Even Captain America saw something and Captain America doesn’t have secrets. But he does, more than he can count. So why didn’t he see anything?

In space, Moon Knight’s ship has come to rest on an alien world on which the trio now step, clad in space suits. Leading the bunch, Moon Knight quips that, when you follow a trail of bullets through space, you expect to find something pretty crazy at the end of it. Some big, dead floating space god full of bullet holes. Maybe Galactus with a giant machine gun. Instead they get… a whole bunch of nothing.

Examining the word around them, nothing but barren rock, soil and dead foliage, Moon Knight adds that the radiation levels are extremely high. Did their killer wipe out an entire civilization? Is that what they’re looking at there? To this, Gamora points out that there would still be ruins. Some signs of settlement. There is nothing there. Nothing but a dead world. Picking up a gamma-irradiated bullet, the Winter Soldier considers the words “dead world” for a moment. Standing up, he tells the others to look around them. These are bullet holes, more than he can count, all of them shot straight down into the dirt. Their killer was rather a terrible shot. Or…

Suddenly, the Winter Soldier’s mind’s eye furnishes his mind with the image of an armored robot, floating in space and shooting a belt-fed machine gun. Oh, hell… Or a damn good one, the Soldier mutters. Turning to Moon Knight, he asks that they flew in from the planet’s dark side, didn’t they? When Moon Knight confirms, Winter Soldier orders him to send up a camera. Now.

As Moon Knight complies, Gamora interjects that she doesn’t understand what he thinks he will find. They have scanned the entire planet. There is nothing there. Nothing but a dead world, the Winter Soldier replies. Just like she said. A world surrounded by bullets. A world shot full of holes. Their killer didn’t miss. He never does. His bullets hit the ground because that’s where he was aiming. They’re looking for a corpse? They’re standing on it.

From orbit, Moon Knight’s camera shows the meaning of the Winter Soldier’s words. Taking up nearly a quarter of the world’s surface is the face of what was once a living planet, its expression depicting the painful agony in which it died.

Reeling at the images from his probe, Moon Knight is in disbelief. A living world. Someone shot and killed… a planet. He’s gonna need a minute to process that. More calm at the thought, Gamora voices that she’s seen world like this before. Sentient ecosystems. Like Ego the Living Planet. But the power it would take to slay one is… is almost unimaginable. Someone imaged it, Moon Knight rejoins. Can’t be many people in the known universe who could pull this off, is he right? He means, this sure has to narrow down the suspects. Examining the bullet he had found as he walks away from the others, the Winter Soldier mutters that it certainly does. With that, he clicks a button on his wrist.

Oblivious to the Soldier’s actions, Moon Knight suggests that they need to get in touch with Black Panther, tell him what they’ve found. This is some sort of… of cosmic killing spree they’re looking at there. They’re gonna need to call in the… the… everybody on this. Considering this, Gamora asks Winter Soldier exactly why it was they who were sent there. And by who. Who knew of this murder? Gamora begins to voice a follow-up question, only to realize that Winter Soldier is gone. She calls out his name of Bucky, but receives no reply. The next moment, Moon Knight’s spacecraft explodes, the result of a bomb affixed to its wing.

Dumbfounded, Moon Knight struggles to understand what happened, but quickly comes to the conclusion that the Winter Soldier is responsible. Already there in her mind, Gamora remarks that she thinks that’ve just found their prime suspect. And all this time… he’s been right in front of their face.

In his monitor room, Fury is still regarding the Watcher’s eye when he receives a call from Wolverine, suggesting that he get in there. The “eyeball guy” is ready to start talking. After replying in the affirmative, Fury cuts the signal and mutters that that’s what he’s afraid of. An eye full of secrets. But last he checked, the Watcher had two so… Who’s got the other one?

Suddenly, a portal opens on the floor behind Fury, expanding into a vertical aperture through which the Winter Soldier emerges. Fury has only a time to begin to as “Bucky” where he came from before the Winter Soldier lifts his sidearm and shoots Fury in the chest. Now on his back and his chest a bloody mess, Fury attempts to ask why, but the Winter Soldier tells Nick no more hiding. No more running from their sins. Another shot from the Soldier’s weapon severs Fury’s hand, which was reaching for his own weapon.

Now pulling his field knife from his belt, the Winter Soldier continues. No more turning a blind eye. Snarling at the man who will soon kill him, Fury spits that he never liked him. No more, Nick, the Winter Soldier concludes. A moment later, the knife comes down with a sickening shunnk, severing the head of Nicholas Fury from his neck. Now holding both the Watcher’s eye and Nick Fury’s decapitated head, the Winter Soldier promises “No more secrets.”

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
Shadowy boss’ assistant
Ant-Man, Black Panther, Emma Frost (subterranean team)
Doctor Strange, Punisher (extra-dimensional team)
Gamora, Moon Knight, Winter Soldier (deep space team)

Doctor Midas, Exterminatrix, Orb
Mindless Ones

New Yorkers

Monster corpses (subterranean & extra-dimensional)
Living planet (deceased)

Dr. Midas

(on monitors)
Gamora, Moon Knight, Winter Soldier (deep space team)

(Winter Soldier’s mind’s eye)
Robot assassin

Story Notes: 

The identity of the “shadowy boss” is revealed next issue.

The secrets the Hulk learned about Tony Stark are explored in Original Sin #3.1-3.4.

The story of Thor looking into the secret of him having a sister is explored in Original Sin #5.1-5.3.


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