Here we are, at the Dark Reign saga’s finale and the post-Civil War Marvel Universe’s culmination. What’s Norman Osborn’s fate? Where do our heroes stand in the new world order? Is the comic any good? Find answers to these questions and more within!
“The Siege of Asgard – The Fallen”
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILER: Olivier Coipel
INKER: Mark Morales
COLORIST: Laura Martin
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
In order to keep this review at the same reading level as the book itself, I will now summarize Siege #4 using only three-word sentences.
Sentry blasts everyone. Loki empowers everyone. Everyone attacks Sentry. Fail, fail, fail. Sentry explodes Loki. Stark hacks helicarrier. Helicarrier rams Sentry. EXPLOSIONS EXPLOSIONS BOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!! Sentry’s still alive. Sentry attacks Thor. Thor kills Sentry. Stark nods approvingly.
CRAPASS CHARACTER DEAD! CRAPASS CHARACTER DEAD! CRAPASS CHARACTER DEAD! DING DONG DEAD! DIE CRAPFACE DIE!!!!!! NO MORE SENTRY!
Osborn gets arrested. Henchmen get arrested. President promotes Rogers. Rogers heads SHIELD. Registration act repealed! Everyone’s friends again!
Sunshine, rainbows, HOOORAY!!!
Ahem. Okay, now that I’ve cleared that from my system, I need to review the thing. So, does Siege deliver on its promise to tie together years of Marvel Comics and dawn a new age? Eh, kind of. By the end of Siege, everything’s pretty much back to the pre-Civil War status quo. The Superhuman Registration Act no longer exists, the heroes aren’t fighting each other in the streets, and the bad guys actually lost for once.
Some message board folks dislike that, by coming full circle, the Marvel Universe has negated the past five years or so’s relevance. I don’t share that complaint. We’re back to status quo, but it’s a good status quo. Who actually wants the Marvel heroes stay fugitives and fight each other forever? That was an interesting diversion while it lasted, but ultimately it isn’t a theme that should dominate Marvel indefinitely. What happened still happened, so future writers can draw from those stories should they choose to, but the universe may freely explore other avenues. That’s the best of both worlds.
On the other hand, just because I like the idea of returning to the norm doesn’t mean I like it’s execution here. The Dark Reign saga ended disappointingly. Osborn barely put up a fight, and Spider-Man had no hand in bringing his nemesis down from his most triumphant state ever. Worse, even though Osborn’s reign lasted fifteen months of real time, Marvel never developed the concept of an America run by the Green Goblin beyond the initial premise. Osborn never DID anything with his power. He had no plan, no endgame, unless this Asgard assault was his master plan, in which case the writers should have built up Norman’s obsession with Asgard instead of throwing it us a month before Siege.
The “final boss” battle with the Sentry proved anticlimactic both because Sentry in no way interests me and because Coipel render it unexcitingly. Most of the action panels in this issue depict the Avengers swinging their weapons at amorphous black lightening and orange swirls, hardly a riveting visual representation of a showdown against what’s supposed to be one of the most powerful beings the Avengers have ever fought. And they didn’t even defeat Sentry cleverly. Despite Loki’s temporary power-up and Iron Man’s kamikaze helicarrier, at the end of the day Sentry died because Thor hit him very hard with his hammer. Snore.
But hey, at least Sentry’s dead! We even see Thor throw his remains into the sun! Hopefully this death will stick. The Sentry is a useless character because he’s so powerful that he throws every conflict off balance, so the writers write him out of every story. He either flies into space crying or blows up inexplicably. That’s literally all the Sentry has ever done. Good riddance.
Did Bendis killing Loki have a point? It severed no dramatic purpose in this story, and it’s only a matter of time before Loki resurrects, so his death won’t fool us into thinking some important sacrifice was made. We just saw Loki return from the grave as a woman recently, so will he be a hermaphrodite now? I like that Bendis gave Loki some redemption, but it would have seemed more in-character if Bendis somehow underscored that Loki only wanted to save Asgard so he could rule it. Showing Loki die in a selfless act after years of evil scheming is too much of a 180 to happen in a mere few panels.
Another thing: Bendis should retake high school civics. The president can’t throw out a federal law at his discretion. Once a law is passed, Congress has to pass another law to supersede it. This emblemizes the transition to the “Heroic Age’s” forced and rushed character. It takes one or two pages to clean up everything that’s made recent years the Avengers’ darkest era and now everything is hunky dory.
Mostly, Siege was just mindless. It had no depth, no fascinating character moments, and no insightful thoughts to speak of. It doesn’t even satisfy as a “popcorn” comic, because the action scenes are too generic. It could have been worse, though. Nothing in this series angered or disgusted me, but it did fail to capture my imagination. Bendis ought to take a step back from the spotlight for a while and work on breaking out of the patterns he’s repeated ad nauseum at Marvel. He can’t keep alternating between heroes making quips at the breakfast table and drawn-out, uninspiring action scenes forever. His schtick seemed stylish and fresh seven years ago, but now it’s worn thin and thinner substance shows beneath.
RATING: 2 out of 5 webheads.
REVIEWED BY: CrazyChris