Title: Siege #1
Writer: Brian Bendis
Penciler: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Mark Morales
I am going to begin this review with a positive before it degenerates into what most of you have come to expect from me reviewing a Bendis book. The one thing I really liked about the this first issue (along with Coipel’s art, so I guess that’s two things I liked) is that there is no decompression storytelling going on here. For a Bendis comic, the story progresses very, very briskly and is a nice change of pace from the over saturation of unnecessary dialog we are usually treated to (this is where the positivity stops in the review by the way)…but there is a bit of a problem with this. Now, I know, I KNOW, some of you are going to say “Man, you are going to hate on Bendis no matter what he does, right?” to which I will respond with “That’s not true. Just hear me out on this.” So, ya, just hear me out on this.
The first six pages of the book are the catalyst for “The Siege.” That’s kind of important, right? Really quickly, this is what happens: Volstagg is adventuring in Chicago. Volstagg stops an armored car heist while on the expressway…I think. Volstagg gets attacked by some of the Hood’s goons who shoot energy blasts and pink lighting at him. Volstagg somehow gets blown into (from out on the expressway mind you) the exact center of Soldier’s Field’s, um…field in the middle of a football game. The Hood’s goons then (again) shoot energy blasts and pink lightning at Volstagg and when Big Daddy V blocks said energy and pink lightning it just so happens to cause a major explosion destroying all of Soldier’s Field and almost everyone in it. And because of this incident Norman Osborn can now invade Asgard because it somehow shows the Asgardians to be a threat to the American people.
Within the first six pages of the comic I already have a problem with it. Like New Avengers #60, everything just sorta happens the way it happens with no real explanation because that is exactly what the writer NEEDS to happen in order to further the story. Why is Volstagg blamed for the explosion? Didn’t anybody see that he was attacked by a team of super villains? I am sure that the football game was being televised, right (but it was a Bear’s game so nobody was watching anyway…har har)? Wouldn’t the cameras show Volstagg was, in fact, defending himself against the villains who actually caused the explosion? (And yes, I am very aware that this is a comic but even I can’t suspend my disbelief THAT much.) This whole first scene just strikes my as either hurried or lazy writing, take your pick. For fuck’s sake, we already had to go through this sort of storytelling in House of M, Civil War and Secret Invasion. I guess you could say at least Marvel’s storytelling has pretty much been consistent over the last 7 years. Hooray?
I will now in no creative way whatsoever try to list as quickly as possible the my other thoughts on this book:
* I don’t know why Osborn thinks that this incident is enough for the U.S. to declare war on Asgard. He’s supposed to be smarter than that, right? He really thinks that he doesn’t need to confer with the President before he attacks? I know that he is crazy but he’s not stupid. There is a scene where Victoria Hand tells Osborn he can’t just do as he pleases but it does nothing to deter him. Why is he so adamant about invading Asgard? I have read all the comics I felt I needed to in order to understand why he is doing this and all I can remember is: because he wants Loki to run Asgard. Is that right or am I forgetting something? Was it because of the whole Green Goblin mask telling him to do it? Maybe that was Loki actually talking and not Osborn’s fractured psyche? Just thinking out loud here trying to make sense of this all so thanks for bearing with me.
* There was a decent one page scene with Ares and Osborn. Ares refuses to help invade Asgard. Well, that is until Osborn tells him that Loki has taken over as ruler of Asgard, which is not true. Ares then tells Osborn that if he is being lied to he will cut off Osborn’s head. Here’s hoping that this will in fact happen.
* While briefing the Dark Avengers on the invasion they all pretty much tell Osborn he’s fucking crazy and they want no part of it. Now, if Bullseye is scared shitless by this idea and calling you crazy wouldn’t that set off any alarms? Again, I don’t buy Osborn not thinking this situation through.
* The “speech” that Ares gives to all of Osborn’s troops before the invasion is pretty uninspired. It’s like every other clichéd speech ever given right before characters march to their perceived doom. Plus there were a ton of villains in that crowd of troops who are helping Osborn. Why the hell would they care what Ares was saying. I kept picturing them all laughing and saying “Fuck this guy” behind Ares’ back.
* The President of the United States FINALLY figures out that maybe putting Osborn in charge of SHIELD wasn’t the best idea. Ya, didn’t see that coming.
* Man, Coipel’s art is fucking great in this issue. That panel with Donald Blake jumping with the fighter jets above him was pretty cool I’ll have to admit. Not to mention seeing Thor show up on the next page. And yes, I am being serious for once.
* So, Thor pretty much takes care of the Sentry only to be put down by the Hood’s flunkies? Who the hell are these guys? Did I miss something somewhere where somebody explained who this team is and why they are so powerful? Or was this another one of these “let’s just have this happen to move the story forward” things?
That finishes off the “My Thoughts” portion of this review. I will now be going into familiar territory where I, yet again, have a big problem with Marvels publishing practices. This review has gone on for a while so if you’d like to go grab a snack or a drink, I can wait.
…This is what I like to call “Padding the Review”. It’s a little trick I picked up from a certain Marvel writer.
You back? Ok, let’s continue. We’re almost at the end.
This book was $3.99 and ran 40 pages and here is the breakdown: 1 “Story Thus Far” page, 23 pages of art, 3 page Cup O’ Joe column, 5 page “Ares War Plan Transcript”, 1 page Siege checklist, 6 page Hulk #19 preview and 1 page ad. Only having 1 ad in the entire comic was nice but you know what wasn’t so nice?
1. 3 page Cup O’ Joe column
All this was was 3 pages of Joey Q. trying to convince people that The Siege is the endgame for a story 7 years in the making. And coincidentally enough each major story that has been told in those 7 years has it’s own trade paperback. This basically boils down to 3 pages of advertisements for Marvel trades. Not needed.
2. 5 page “Ares War Plan Transcript”
These are 5 pages of text dialog for a Dark Avengers meeting that took place somewhere in this issue. That’s right, just dialog (with some reprinted panels from the Thor comic). I guess one could argue that it adds somewhat to the story but here is the kicker, of the 5 pages 1 page was printed twice. Since one of the pages got printed twice that means that one page of dialog is missing completely. Marvel tries justifying a $3.99 cover price by giving you unwanted extra material and then goes and fucks that up so you don’t even get the whole story that was intended. But wait, it gets better: Marvel has made the corrected version of the “Ares War Plan Transcript” available for FREE on there website (thanks to CCW reader ohsnap! for bringing this to my attention). Why the fuck didn’t they just do that in the first place and make this a $2.99 book like it should have been? This pretty much goes to show that if Marvel wanted to treat there fans fairly they would stop putting this needless back matter into their books (while charging extra money for them) and just make it available for free on their website. Overall this was not needed either.
3. 6 page Hulk #19 preview
Do I really need to explain why this was completely unnecessary? By the way, the same 6 page preview was in Siege: Embedded #1 as well which was a decent read. Embedded #1, not the Hulk preview. Just clarifying.
I guess overall this comic wasn’t entirely a train wreck but at the same time I certainly had some major issues with it. Thankfully this will just be a 4 issue mini instead of the normal 7 or 8 and hopefully the Marvel U can become event free shortly after it‘s conclusion. Well, that is unless Marvel feels the need to tack on an extra issue or two because the fans or Marvel shareholders “demand” it.