Siege #1


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Siege #1


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Olivier Coipel
  • Inks: Mark Morales
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jan 6, 2010

Seven years.  That is how long it has been since Avengers Disassembled.  Since that storyline, Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America have not stood together.  There are many reasons for that.  Civil Wars.  Deaths of two of them.  The basic destruction of the mind of one of them.  We know from the ads for the Marvel status quo after this event to end all events, the Heroic Age will see the three fighting side by side again.  Siege is how we get there.

Since that first explosive story by Bendis, the Marvel brand has been a unified whole.  House of M, Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, and now Siege have been stories that affected every nook and cranny of the universe that Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby built.  When you think about it that way, every year being a big status quo breaking event for seven years of comics, it is no wonder that fans talk about event fatigue.  Our senses are worn.  How much more can we take?  It’s like Saw Part 7, eventually you stop caring.

Marvel has promised us a reprieve after this one.  Four issues, no more.  That’s a relief in and of itself, especially considering that House of M and Secret Invasion could have been told in a few less books.  It seems maybe the House of Ideas has been listening to the internet naysayers all along.  Only time and the decisions of Quesada, Buckley, and Disney will tell.  But given the general nature of Marvel over the last seven years, the lift in quality across the board of the line as a whole, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

Siege opens up with Loki and Osborn talking about Asgard.  If you didn’t know that Siege was about Asgard, I find it very interesting that you are reading this review.  It has been the buzz of the internet almost since Dark Reign, the insane status quo where Norman Osborn effectively runs the 616, began.  The die hard Spidey fan in me is upset that Peter Parker is not the ultimate unraveling of Osborn’s grasp on ultimate power.  However, the no holds barred action and level of storytelling here make up a lot.

Quickly, another Stanford level calamity takes place.  An Asgardian is used as a scapegoat and Norman sics his Avengers on Asgard.  By issue’s end, we know that Cap, Thor, and Stark will once again be together.

Gone are the normal static voicing of characters by Bendis in a team book.  Loki, Norman, and Ares in particular have distinct voices.  Blake even seems like he comes out of JMS’s run on Thor.  It is popcorn action at its best.  Ares on a jet fighter.  The Dark Avengers raiding the stronghold of Norse gods.  It's breathtaking and it gets the adrenaline pumping -- unlike Avatar, there seems to be substance here.  This is not cliche.  There are mysteries still to be revealed.

Bendis doesn’t exorcise all his demons though.  After the main story ends there is a five page conference between the Dark Avengers made to look like the secret computer transcriptions from Nick Fury’s files in Secret War.  This is different though.  It isn’t just behind the scenes stuff.  It is meant to be a view into the characterization of the movers and shakers at the heart of the initial raid.  Problem is it reads like Bendis doing Hickman in that infamous Bendis speak.  Everyone sounds funny and frightfully the same.  A lot of this is made up for with humor, but then that is a complaint about Bendis speak to begin with. 

Fortunately, Bendis doesn’t interject it into the main body of the story as Hickman would have done.  If this was a decision by editorial or one by Bendis, it is a good one.  It isn’t as jarring as it would have been otherwise.  This allows it to play like a DVD extra, and it doesn’t interfere with the momentum of the main event.

Coipel’s art is as spot on as always.  There is really nothing to say about the art.  Morales and Martin accentuate the pencils as professionally as the pencils convey the ideas Bendis has scripted.

Marvel is the machine that made comics event-driven.  It seems with this issue that they just may have perfected it, just in time to let it go.  There is no better way to leave than on top.  Question is, will the retirement of the event be like the retirement of Jay Z or Garth Brooks, just another way to grab at money?

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