Siege: The Cabal #1: The problem with these types of “set up” books is that they have to strike the odd balance of saying enough to engage you, but not too much since it’s sole purpose is to get you interested in the actual story that’s going to take place.
With that said, I think this book does a fair job of setting things up, especially if you haven’t been keeping up with all of the Norman Osborn shenanigans that have been taking place since after Secret Invasion. You get to peer into his maniacal Green Goblin/Norman Osborn personality split, and it basically sets the shape of things to come.
The problem with this is that a big portion of the book becomes useless and unnecessary for those that have been keeping current on the status quo of the Marvel Universe.
As far as new things covered, the confrontation between Osborn and Dr. Doom seemed completely forced and unnecessary. Also, we get Bendis…Asgard is full with a bunch of guys that are complete badasses. So much so that nobody wants to mess with them.
Who would want to fuck with a god? It just seems like Bendis spends a whole lot of time trying to convince you that you need to care about Asgard being attacked that it makes you think that perhaps it’s only a big deal because Bendis is telling you that it is.
Another thing that annoyed me is this supposed “secret” person that’s been helping Norman along. They’ve been hinting at this guy for almost a freaking year, it’s getting to the point that when they do expose him, I will more than likely no longer care. Then again, Bendis isn’t exactly known for his brevity.
Still, it’s a decent enough setup issue, I suppose. It gives you all of the pertinent info you need, although in the end it doesn’t feel like anything more than a cash grab tie in.
New Avengers Annual #3: This issue pretty much concludes the “Clint Barton goes after Norman Osborn” sub plot that’s been going on in New Avengers proper. It was a fun story, but nothing earth shattering really happens until the end when *GASPS* Captain America (no not that Cap, the real one…you know, Steve Rogers) joins up with New Avengers.
This is classic Bendis. A story that could be summarized in two sentences is stretched out over thirty pages. The one thing I was really looking forward to was Mayhew on art since I’ve loved a ton of his cover artwork. I have to say that it was a bit off putting to see an entire comic in that art style. At times it looked beautiful and other times awkward. This is basically all fodder and stop gaps before the real event so I’m willing to cut it some slack.
New Avengers 61 & 62: Are you ready for some more setup, because you’re about to get some! Again more unnecessary set up for Siege. How two fight scenes takes up two complete issues to resolve is beyond me, but that’s Bendis for ya!
It might sound like I’m hating on this stuff so far, and I suppose that I am to a degree. If I had to read this stuff month by month I might be tearing my hair out due to the decompression. Luckily, I have a decent stack of Siege stuff to read through which makes it a whole lot more bearable.
Perhaps bearable is a bit harsh. As a whole, it was nice to have things fleshed out, but all of these issues could have been easily put together in one deluxe sized issue. Instead what I got was a whole lot of setup for the same price that it will cost me to read the actual Siege storyline.
Siege #1: The more I think about it, the more I totally buy into this “seven years in the making” business that Bendis and Marvel are trying to sell us about this series. There are status quos currently in the Marvel Universe that stem from events that took place half a decade ago or more. So as much as I give Bendis crap about the decompression in his stories, he has to be commended for being in the forefront of most of what shapes the Marvel Universe, even to this day.
So back to the issue at hand, this is more like it! Although you still have Norman trying to convince us that Asgard is a huge deal to invade initially, he actually does so! The art really brings things to life between seeing the group shot of the Dark Avengers closing in on Asgard, to Thor finally making an appearance…all good stuff.
One thing that reading all of these Siege tie ins have made painfully obvious is, what the hell happened to The Sentry? At one point a few years ago, he was a focal point and had a semi-interesting story, at least interesting enough that I wanted it to still be explored. Now he’s nothing more than Bane in the movie Batman & Robin. He just does what he’s told and gets about 2-3 panels an issue if any. I’m hoping that there is more planned with the character as he’s become wafer thin as far as backstory is concerned.
Siege #2: Alright, when we last left off, Iron Patriot had just beat up Thor, Ares was fighting Asgardians, and Captain America was hatching a plan to turn the tables. All very interesting plots that get furthered along in this issue.
When Ares finds out that Osborn played him, that Asgard wasn’t being ruled by Loki, that Thor wasn’t casted out, he had more than just a bone to pick with Osborn, he was going to kill him. So it makes sense that Osborn sics The Sentry on Ares. After a few pages of a one sided ass whooping, Sentry does the unexpected…he literally rips Ares in half, killing him. I seriously didn’t see that coming, and I’m amazed by the amount of gore and detail that was added to the scene. Before meeting his gory demise, Ares was able to gouge Sentry on his side with his axe, and you see a Void-like tentacle pop out of his side. Foreshadowing anyone?
While all of this is happening, Maria Hill takes it upon herself (with the help of a random person) to rescue Thor. I will say that Maria Hill has come a long way from her Civil War days. I once found her to be one of the more annoying characters in the Marvel Universe, but between Matt Fraction and Bendis (mostly Fraction), she’s really been an integral part of the Marvel Universe, in Invincible Iron Man in particular.
Anything else that happens in this issue is merely setup for what’s to come. Captain America says a very inspired speech to rally the super heroes that are about to join the fray, Winter Soldier convinces Cap to take the shield to battle as an act of symbolism, and Daken tries to search for Thor and ends up getting fried by him (whether or not he’s dead is left ambiguouse), and the issue ends with one a four panel shot of the Iron Patriot looking up while the reflection of Cap’s shield is getting bigger and bigger in each panel as it get closer to clocking Osborn in the head. The fact that the issue ends before you see the shield hit him in the face definitely leaves something to look forward to in Siege #3.