The latest crossover event from Marvel is a murder mystery, and it looks to be a scorcher. Disparate clues, disturbing evidence, and baffling riddles pave the way to what could be one of Marvel's best books this year. It's off to a bright enough start. [Spoilers below.]
After last week's prelude, we start things off with a bang. Literally. We visit the Watcher's citadel on the moon, giving readers one last chance to see him alive and watching, before the inevitable happens. In other words, kaboom.
We find our heroes enjoying 'Meat Night', which is apparently a thing. Cap, Logan, the original Nick Fury and the Black Widow all get together to reminisce and be carnivores. It's kind of perfect. What's interesting is that everyone at the table is older than they look. Between Logan's healing factor, Cap's time spent on ice, and the secret treatments that Fury and Romanova received, they're all much older than they seem. Old souls getting together for steak and memories.
Then the call comes in. It's bad. So bad, in fact, that the retired Nick Fury takes point and drives them to the moon. He literally drives them to the moon. It's awesome.
This issue shakes things up, hard. It's jarring to see an immortal being lying dead on the floor, his all-seeing eyes gouged out and missing. Thor and Iron Man are already on the scene, assessing the damage: The Watcher is Dead, and his cache of super weapons was rifled through in a hurry. Someone (or ones) got away with a lot of firepower.
There's just one hiccup. In the words of Cap,"The Avengers aren't murder police." They're not detectives! They don't usually need to hunt down their bad guys, they react to them starting trouble in public. So, we move into the next beat of the chapter, assembling the team to get to the bottom of this mystery.
And it's a weird team. It never once occurred to me that the Punisher would work with Doctor Strange. It just... sits wrong in my brain. That doesn't mean it won't be awesome. (Not so coincidentally, of the people assembled for this investigation, many of them will likely wind up as suspects, at one time or another.)
Fury contacts Black Panther, asking him to take point on the investigation. He sends over a file full of old research, but gets cryptic about the contents. BP doesn't appreciate it. (Neither do I.) When you're assigning someone a mystery to solve, it's not helpful to be vague— about anything. But I can't really fault Jason Aaron, the writer. It's a story. It's supposed to pull you in with curiosity. It's doing that.
The rest of the team is just as baffled as to why they've been chosen, or how they're expected to work together. Emma Frost, Ant Man, the Winter Soldier, Gamora... It's crazy. And it works.
Before we get comfortable, we see the first aftershock of the Watcher's murder, in the form of a rampant Mindless One.
These creatures are stupidly powerful, and well, mindless. This one starts screaming telepathically, ranting about what happened to it on the moon. Then it grabs the Ultimate Nullifier, snatched from the Watcher's keep. It continues ranting, before it blows its own head off.
Cripes. The Ultimate Nullifier is one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe. (It was also shown in issue zero, so way to fire that chekov's gun in a timely fashion, Jason!) That's gonna be one heck of a mess to clean up.
So our ragtag team travels to the moon to investigate proper, while somewhere, two villains observe their other Mindless Ones, all of which are flipping out over what happened to them, before the bad guy finishes cleaning off the Watcher's eyeball. Ew.
There's... not much more to go on, here! The illustration is kind of grim, which fits the tone of the story perfectly. Mike Deodato's linework and Frank Martin's colors go together quite nicely. We have a bizarre assembly of characters sniffing around, and a mystery that feels like it's going to have quite a few layers. Color me intrigued.
So go pick it up!
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