Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Siege

SIEGE (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Avengers: Free Comic Book Day 2009 (Siege Prologue), Origins of Siege No. 1, Siege Nos. 1-4 and Siege: The Cabal (cover dates May, 2009- June, 2010).
Longtime readers of my blog know of my disdain for Brian Michael Bendis' writing. Believe it or not, it was not always so. I really enjoyed the first 50 or so issues of Ultimate Spider-Man, and the first 2 or 3 arcs of New Avengers. The guy has come up with some interesting ideas, but ends up stretching them out to pad out trade paperbacks, and even then he usually fumbles the execution. House of M cleared the docket of all of the ridiculous mutants that they created. Secret Invasion could have literally helped reset the Marvel Universe, eliminating so much of the bad continuity that Marvel had in the late '90s/ early '00s. Both chances were squandered. Siege tends to follow suit in regards to this endless sea of crossovers. Interesting premise, the stage is set, the story progresses...and then the ending is fumbled.
(Spoilers have been warned!)
First off, I cannot buy the whole Norman Osborn (a/k/a the Green Goblin) running the show thing. It's just not plausible. That said, having the 'Dark' Avengers as a foil to the real Avengers makes for an interesting read. It's nice to see the heroes finally acting like themselves after the whole Civil War/ Secret Invasion debacle. Bendis has tested the limits of my loyalty to these characters to the fullest. There were so many times, particularly at the end of Secret Invasion and it's Avengers tie-ins, where I was ready to throw in the towel. Too little story unfolding over too many pages. In Siege, we actually see Bendis ramp up the amount of story that is in each issue. I didn't feel ripped off this time, which is something that I haven't been able to say about a Bendis-helmed book in years. I do not like the way things ended, though. Loki turning  against Osborn at the end. The Sentry, quite possibly the worst creation in the Marvel Universe since Shatterstar, finally gets killed off. Not before taking Ares with him, though. That's kind of weak. I have some issues with Osborn's mortal horde of villains being able to take on all of Asgard. Really?? That seems to be something of a stretch, and I can't suspend my disbelief that much.
So what did I think about Siege? It was a mild disappointment, mostly for the reasons listed above. On a positive note, Bendis seemed to lay off of the decompression, a huge plus in my book. His dialogue still annoys me, but at least I wasn't subjected to entire issues of talking heads this time out. I did enjoy the Avengers: Free Comic Book Day 2009 issues. Some of the dialogue was awful, but the story seemed to work. Things seem to be improving. Who knows...maybe someday I may Bendis. Maybe.

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