Sunday, February 28, 2010

Giant-Sized Longbox Special: Under Siege

So Marvel seemed to give us all a break a few weeks back when there were no Siege books followed by a week with only one.  Well, this past week, they made up for it with not one, or two, or even three, but five total Siege tie-in books.  Most were good, a few, not so much.  In any case, it’s given me a lot to write about and so I’m skipping a normal Longbox review to give you this giant-sized Under Siege. 
Thunderbolts #141 is probably the weakest of the books released this week.  To be honest, I haven’t really been following it since its roster changed after Secret Invasion so I’m only passingly familiar with the characters from their appearances in other books.
The story is a Mission: Impossible-style set-up with Norman Osborn setting the team to locate the spear of Odin stashed away somewhere in the armory of Asgard.  Already down two members (Ghost and Headsman), the Thunderbolts head off on their mission.
There is little here that really got me interested or invested into any of the characters and Osborn is written in a fairly unremarkable way that doesn’t seem to resonate with his character in the other Siege books.  The only thing this book really does is serve to bring the Mighty Avengers into the battle and that doesn’t happen until the last page.  By that time, I was ready to take a nap.  Here’s hoping the actual Mighty Avengers tie-in book does a better job with this.
Thor #607 improves things a bit for me but really just made me miss Straczynski.  Gillen’s writing on the book so far has been good but this tie-in feels very herky jerky.  It moves all over trying to fill in gaps with the Asgardians leading up to Osborn’s siege.  It also skips ahead in Volstagg’s story, possibly picking it up following the events of the most recent Siege: Embedded.
The Asgardians hear about what has happened in Chicago and Loki takes out the seers Heimdall and Knut so that there is no warning about what is to come.  Meanwhile, Kelda heads off to town to speak with Bill’s family about what has happened to him prior to all of this.  The story catches up with the siege as Osborn’s forces move on Asgard and Volstagg sits in a Broxton prison cell and watches Thor gets taken down on television.
The police of Broxton, feeling sympathy for the Asgardians and their situation release Volstagg and post a video to the internet in an attempt to rally public support.  As Volstagg hits the streets, Ragnarok hits, literally in the form of the Thor clone.  While I enjoyed a lot of the elements that were played with in this issue, I don’t think they were given real room to breathe.  Not bad, but not great.
Dark Wolverine #83 continues to follow Wolverine’s son Daken during Osborn’s assault on Asgard.  In the previous issue it was revealed that the Norns (think Greek fates but in colder weather) have taken an interest in Daken seeing him as the bringer of Ragnarok.  The issue ended with an interesting turn of events and a cliffhanger that seemed to put things at odds with what’s been going on the main Siege book.  Of course it was just an illusion used by the Norns to open a dialogue with Daken.
The action moves back to the real world where Daken is sent out to track down Thor in Braxton, a sequence that is handled very briefly in Siege #2.  The Norns continue to play with Daken’s perceptions and reveal their plans for him as well as expand on a point made for the siege of Asgard.  Asgard’s presence on Earth has set things out of order in the grand scheme of the universe and the Norns need Daken to set things on the right path by bringing about Ragnarok.
Daken beholds the future the Norns speak of and is told he has been chosen as the agent of Earth to bring about the rebirth of Asgard.  Daken is taken in by the promise of destruction and death on such a scale, but of course doesn’t give himself over to the plans of another.  Just as with Osborn, Daken moves contrary to the direct wishes of the Norns claiming his own agency.  Things sync back up with the real world and the post cooking of Daken by Thor.  I’ve been enjoying how well this book has been tying in and telling its own story.
New Avengers #62 picks up from #61 with Spiders -Man and -Woman fighting one another and Captains America dealing with Living Laser.  Bendis brings the words and the action in a way that always seems to make me happy.
While this book serves mainly to fill in the gaps of how Steve Roger’s and his Avengers come together with Nick Fury’s Secret Warriors, it is done in a well thought out way and brings the original Captain America back into the fold of some of his old team mates.
Bendis’s ability to write good action and witty dialogue brings a humanity to his books that I really love to see in a super-hero story.  He also manages to balance it out as a New Avengers story as well as tying into the larger Siege event.
Avengers: The Initiative #33 continues to follow Taskmaster’s and Diamondback’s stories as they are engaged first-hand in the attack on Asgard.  The book opens though with the members of the Avengers Resistance attacking The Initiative’s training facility, now under the control of The Hood.
Taskmaster finds that he’s put himself on the wrong end of Osborn’s temper in his attempt to be a part of taking down Thor.  This leads him to a realization a lot of people have had about Osborn long ago and so Taskmaster is now bringing his own motivations into question.  Diamondback, acting as a double agent, stands ready to try and assist Thor as best she can when Maria Hill shows up and takes the pressure off of her.  Constrictor pulls her out and gets her back to Asgard in time to witness the events of the fight between Sentry and Ares as well as the arrival of a famous shield in flight.
Back at The Initiative training camp, the resistance moves in only to be confronted and immobilized by The Hood.  Penance is being held in his quarters, unable to assist, and Night Thrasher is given an opportunity to see his brother resurrected from the dead.  All he has to do is kill Tigra.
So that’s it for this week Under Siege.  It was a rough one for me and here’s hoping that they don’t drop that many books on us in one week like that again.  Sure, it’s good for revenue but hard on the review.  See you guys next Sunday.


Denny said...

It could be worse, you could be trying to review all the Blackest Night books weekly.

Magus said...

F that noise right in the A!