Holy hell, this series. I've got to hand it to Jason Aaron, Mike Deodato, and Frank Martin. They've created a mystery series that consistently defies expectations, keeps the action and the intrigue moving at a breakneck (ahaha) pace, and is legitimately compelling reading. Hot damn. [Spoilers follow.]
When last we saw our heroes, they faced off with The Orb and Exterminatrix, moments before The Ex-Resident set off a literal drama bomb. He somehow triggered the late Watcher's eyeball, unleashing personal information to almost anyone in the blast radius. Seeing heroes and strangers alike reeling from sudden revelations is just the tumble we needed to kick off chapter three.
This shock-and-awe misdirection... well, it works. It does exactly what the Orb wanted it to. Thor, Spidey, and Daredevil take off to deal with their new information, heaven only knows what Spidey learned.
Nick Fury is unaffected by the drama bomb, and puts a gun on the Orb long enough to put him in custody. (A lovely bit of theatre is Wolverine and the Hulk questioning the Orb. Who knew we needed Stab Cop, Smashy Cop?)
Doctor Strange and the Punisher, aka the pinnacle of all crack-pairings, conclude that whoever's been killing these creatures (along with the Watcher) is a master marksman, narrowing their list of suspects to ten or fewer.
I'll say it: nothing I've seen in any of these chapters has dissuaded me at all from believing Nick Fury is behind it all. Visual cues and parallels continue to illustrate the mastermind as someone methodical, patient, and has been at this for decades. He has an underling in a SHIELD uniform, for cryin' out loud.
The Winter Soldier, Gamora, and Moon Knight are scoping out another cosmic crime scene, before Bucky has a flash of inspiration, and teleports off... stranding his partners in the process. So color me surprised when Bucky pops up behind Fury and straight up murders him.
Some might think this means Bucky's the killer behind it all. It's certainly a possibility. Rather, I think WS had a moment of insight, and acted on it before Fury could defend himself. That's what the Winter Soldier does: swift, decisive action.
Chapter #3 is every bit as intense, visually stunning, and captivating as its predecessors. Aaron, Deodato, and Martin are all at the top of their game. It's... phenomenal. Go pick it up... and then tell me what you think.