Marvel’s latest Avengers event wrapped up this week. If anyone is interested in reviews of Fall of the Hulks and/or World War Hulks, speak up and I’ll cover them.

General Information

Title: Siege

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator(s): Olivier Coipel (pencils), Mark Morales (inks) and Laura Martin (colours)

Cover Date: March – June 2010

Cover Price: $3.99 US each of four issues

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca in hardcover.

Premise

Norman Osborn doesn’t like Asgard hovering just above U.S. soil, and neither does Loki, though for different reasons. Norman acts to change the situation by launching a full scale invasion of Asgard.

High Point

From issue 3:
Mr. President: Okay, okay. If something like this happens, what is our move?
Mr. Secretary: Sir, we– we’d call the Avengers in… We’d call Norman Osborn.
Mr. President: Mr. Secretary, mobilize all of our available military forces. Get General Stewart to Oklahoma. The order is: arrest Norman Osborn and his team for treason. And hope for a miracle.
Mr. Secretary: Um, I think we just got one… Captain America just showed up. And he brought his friends. Sir, um Nick Fury is with them.
Mr. President: Nick Fury has resurfaced?
Mr. Secretary: As far as wel can tell, he and Captain America have teamed up.
Mr. President: Are you kidding me?
Mr. Secretary: And it looks like they have recruited all their former teammates and their — all the heroes in training.
Mr. President: Are we happy about this?
Mr. Secretary: I guess it depends on how it all turns out, sir.
Mr. President: And you said, Captain America?
Mr. Secretary: Yes sir.
Mr. President: Well, all right.

Low Point

Read in isolation, it’s nothing but a great big fight.

The Scores

This isn’t original. We’ve seen fights before, and several were better. I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork looks great on a panel-by-panel basis. Some of the extended sequences, however, such as the fights between Sentry and Ares, are not particularly easy to follow. That’s not a big deal, as there are few individual skirmishes that are dwelled upon. Clint Barton takes down Dark Avenger Hawkeye in a single panel, for example. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is all about cummupance, and there’s a lot of it. Those of us who have wanted to see Osborn smacked down since the end of Secret Invasion see exactly that through issue 3. Those of us who disliked the Sentry because of his power levels and/or mental problems can expect to enjoy issue 4. As with Secret Invasion, there’s a lot of payoff, but very little setup. This works as a culmination for readers who have been here a while. For new readers, it’s a great big fight. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is limited. There are a lot of characters in play here, and many only get a line or two, but Bendis knew that was the case, and chose those individual lines carefully. It’s done far better than I’d expect from something with so many characters on so few pages. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response for me, as a person who has been reading Bendis on the Avengers since Disassembled, is excellent. This is exactly the payoff I’ve been waiting for since the world of the Avengers first fell apart in 2003. The band is (mostly) back together, the world recognizes their contributions, they’ve got fancy new digs, and their opponents have been smacked down hard. I give it 6 out of 6.

The flow mostly works. It’s a highly compressed time frame of a matter of hours, with a lot of isolated moments, but still works well apart from a handful of extended sequences. Unfortunately, the extended sequences tend to be the important ones. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s worth reading as a climax, ending and/or epilogue to recent years. If you are new to the Avengers, don’t start here. Instead, wait for the new and relaunched titles in coming weeks, including Avengers #1 due May 19 (from Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.) and Secret Avengers #1 (by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato Jr., which I’m extremely excited about) on May 26. I give Siege 5 out of 6, because the emotional response is the main thing I was looking for, and that is very well delivered.

In total, Siege #1-4 receive 31 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

Like most events, there are crossover issues as well. Here’s a nutshell view of them:

  • Siege: The Cabal – Works as a jumping on point to some degree. It explains why Osborn’s list of allies is reduced as it is for the start of the event.
  • Avengers: The Initiative #31-35: Focus on Osborn’s crew. Entertaining read.
  • Dark Avengers #13-16: A consistently strong title, but not critical for understanding all of this story, aside from the Sentry’s mindset.
  • Dark Wolverine #82-84: The least significant tie-in, in my opinion. Not recommended unless you are trying to get a feel for the title anyway.
  • New Avengers #61-64: Again, establishes mindsets of characters coming into the battle.
  • Siege: Embedded #1-4: The equivalent to Frontline for this event. Worth reading, especially for Volstagg and Ben Urich fans.
  • Thor #607-609: If you’ve been reading the JMS run, this is critical reading to cover the altered status quo. If not, it’s easy to miss.
  • Thunderbolts #141-143, Mighty Avengers #35-36: I’m lumping these together as they feed off each other, with members of each team interacting with the other. A worthwhile tie-in.
  • New Mutants #11: If you aren’t reading this title anyway, don’t bother.
  • Siege: Captain America, Loki, Secret Warriors, Spider-Man and Young Avengers: These five one shots are character spotlight moments. Pick them up for the characters you are already interested in, and pass on the rest.
  • Siege Epilogue: The Sentry: Fallen Sun: If you are a fan of the character, grab it. Otherwise, easy to miss.