Title: Siege #1
Writer: Brian Bendis
Penciler: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Mark Morales
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99

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.

J.

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Comments
  1. generaldark says:

    you can just tell that this event was rushed to come out with editorial still not getting there shit together.

  2. Matthew Guy says:

    Marvel needs to learn from Hannibal from the A Team

    “I love it when a plan comes together”

    Hint: proofread, editors check the copy & make sure no pages are missing, misprinted or printed multiple times & for the love that is holy, DONT LEAD THE END OF THE SIEGE LEAD US INTO ANOTHER EVENT we want a damn conclusion.

    Gets off the soapbox & reads Jonah Hex #51.

    Matthew

    • Deemar says:

      Editors? Marvel? Editing? Editing their golden boy Bendis? LMAO that’s like McG trying too direct Christian Bale

  3. MicahSkin says:

    They had that preview at the end of X-Factor: Nation X. (It’s good, go get it) I swear to GAWD that Loeb was reading his old Calvin and Hobbes comics and read the poorly written, ultra violent comics Calvin read. I’m surprised no one said “I could feel my spine shatter. It Hurt. A lot.”

    However in this one, yet again, another word balloon pointing in the wrong direction. Not an entire page but still.

    As for Siege. Is there a reason Marvel’s comics are being written for middle school kids? Oh wait, even they could understand the gaping plot holes big enough for Cable-esque shoulder pads through.

  4. TheComicRant says:

    I miss you JMS.

  5. Holy shit. Is that who those Hood goons are? Wow. I vaguely remember those guys from the eighties. Thanks djsweet. I actually learned something today.

    J.

  6. Mitiators says:

    A 6 page Hulk preview? Am I missing something here? What in the flying f&*k does that have to do with the Siege storyline? If I want a damn Hulk comic I’ll buy a damn Hulk comic! Its like someone watered down my vodka and charged me extra for it. Classy Marvel. Classy.

  7. StarkOryan says:

    Jose, your reviews are pretty funny, sometimes perplexing but always entertaining, and you manage to bring up some good points (of contention) on a consistent basis. I liked this issue for the art mostly, and I do agree that the price has gone a bit out of hand for what amounts to a good regular issue of Avengers; New, Mighty, Dark, what have you. It was a book that should have been regular price, but why else have an event, I suppose? It’s cool to hear a retailer rally for lower prices, at any rate.
    R

  8. Pobra says:

    Hmm, while I completely agree with you on the unneeded, unwanted filler that was added to the end to pad the issue so marvel can pluck an extra dollar from your pocket, I’ve got to say, for a Bendis book… it wasn’t that awful.
    Now before I set myself up for a verbal lashing from the esteemed viewers of CCW, let me explain. This didn’t entirely feel like a Bendis book. It moved the story along quickly, with every page feeling necessary to the plot and plenty of action throughout. And the Coipel art was simply gorgeous. I agree that the six page set-up with Volstagg becoming the catalyst for Norman’s “siege” was pretty terrible, unoriginal and didn’t make a lot of sense, but coming from Bendis, shit like this is to be expected. But once you get past that, the rest of the book becomes fairly tolerable, which is about as good as you’re going to get from Bendis these days.
    So, all in all, I really didn’t mind this book. There were some cool moments from Ares and Thor especially. The $3.99 price tag is a little hard to swallow, but seeing as how this is only going to be a four issue mini that promises the return of the original Avengers line up, I might have to see this one through. Sorry guys and gals, let the lashing ensue!

    • generaldark says:

      even if the original avengers is written by bendis???

      • Pobra says:

        I’ll give it a chance, if it reads anything like New Avengers, it will be quickly dropped. So far I don’t hate Siege, so I’ll at least be reading this mini, unless Bendis totally fucks it up in the next issue, which is entirely possible.

        • Deemar says:

          Same here, oh and he’s gonna fuck it up straight-up.

          Bendis is 0 for 2 when it comes to Events, this here ain’t no different. Plus he’s still gonna be writing Avengers after this is all over so now it’ll simply be him fucking up the big three instead of street-level guys like Luke Cage.

    • You know Pobra, I can’t really argue with anything you just said. Seems like we agreed on what worked and what didn’t for the most part.

      J.

      • Pobra says:

        Ya, I definitely agree with your review, I think I was just surprised that I didn’t completely hate it. Far from the best book this week, but a better Bendis story than I’ve read in a while.

          • Locusmortis says:

            I’m obviously not as forgiving as some of you. I’m not giving Marvel $3.99 of my money every month for this and its 39(so far) tie-ins, in the hope that bendis dosen’t do a shit book and in the hope that he restores the classic avengers line-up.

            Bendis hates the classic avengers, thats why he destroyed in the first place and its why he couldn’t hack mighty avengers for long.

            • Pobra says:

              @ Locusmortis
              I don’t doubt that Bendis will find a way to shit all over the Avengers, but for some reason I keep wanting to give him a chance. I tried to like Ultimate comics spider-man, Ultimate spidey was the only Bendis book that I still liked, I even like LaFuente’s art, but the book just isn’t worth 3.99 in any way. Same could be said for Siege, but at least it’s only going to be four issues (I don’t plan on getting any of the tie-in’s). But As soon as Bendis pulls some shit, it’s dropped. I don’t know, I guess I’m hoping that the old Bendis is going to miraculously reemerge from the shit heap and start delivering some quality books again.

    • Deemar says:

      Agree

      I think Bendis is trying in his own unique way, to listen to the criticism he’s gotten over the years to his writing style. I think the guy is spread thinner than mayo on a triscuit. I see him becoming as irrelevant and trite as Chris Claremont.

      • Venom829 says:

        Oh, wait till next issue I’m guessing. You’ll see some of the shitty old Bendis back. I could be wrong, since I do think he is an amazing writer, who’s been writing crap for the past 3 years. Anyway, we’ll see which direction it takes.

  9. Curtis says:

    Great review

  10. Manwe says:

    Good review. For my part, I didn’t think that it was much of a stretch for the US to declare war on Asgard while using the incident as an excuse. I agree with your assessment of the Henry V ‘band of brothers’ speech, though. It seemed a bit rushed.

  11. Smallmaniac says:

    Jose, this was an excellent review. You keep getting better. Please let us know when a good Marvel event is coming out. I hope it’s before I die 😀

    SM

  12. Deemar says:

    I read this review Jose and I sensed a bit of apathy towards the whole Seige endeavor. I feel the same this “Event” is going to be the anthesis of Blackest Night.

    I just don’t care about anything Marvel like I used too.

    Dead on review mang

  13. kurumais says:

    2 things about this book
    23 pages of story and we saw 4 or 5 of them already in the preview they shoved in other books so they are only giving us 18 or 19 new pages
    also WTF are the bears playing football in the first week of april? they still have the USFL or something in the marvel u? come on that should have been an easy spot.

    i passed on this i told my comic guy i just couldnt do it he was understanding he liked it but said ” you’re right there isnt that much here”

  14. arp*09 says:

    Jose, I’m very surprised you didn’t go on a profane laden diatribe about half the comic being filled with backmatter. I guess you’ve just become accustomed to Marvel offering less content for more money, huh?

    • I am sure if I DID go on a profane laden diatribe about half of the comic being filled with back matter you still would have complained. I just can’t win with you, huh?

      J.

      • arp*09 says:

        No, I wouldn’t have complained. I thought I had made the reasons for my last few posts clear. Oh, well. Apparently I need work in expressing my points clearly enough.

  15. Check out my review of Seige#1 if you’re interested! Comment if you want to! Thanks!

    http://itsjustsomerandomgeek.blogspot.com/2010/01/siege1-review-marvel-event-of-2010-is.html

  16. Morlock50 says:

    Two positive reviews of Siege #1 on CBR. WTF?

  17. “to which I will respond with “That’s not true. Just hear me out on this.” So, ya, just hear me out on this.”

    That thar’s sum Bendisian writing! 😛

  18. Dan Griffin says:

    I didn’t hate it, but i didn’t love it either. Bendis got what he wanted from me and that was heartache at seeing Thor getting ganged up on.

  19. kurumais says:

    a buddy of mine made a pretty funny point he said ” 7 years in the making? this was their end game? green goblin vs the asgardians? that was the dream match up?”
    i got a kick out of it

  20. MrManPretty says:

    I liked it more when it was called Civil War #1, and Volstagg was Speedball. How is this ORIGINAL!

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