Sunday, February 07, 2010

Longbox Special: Under Siege

I managed to survive the Blizzard of 2010 here in Pittsburgh mostly intact.  We lost power Friday night and didn’t get it back until Saturday night.  This put me somewhat behind on putting together this week’s installment of Under Siege, not that I’m sure many will notice.  Anyway, this week’s releases brought major installments as things get ratcheted up.
Siege #2
Ares engages Balder as the siege of Asgard continues.  It is then, thanks to Heimdall, that Ares finally sees that he’s on the wrong side of the fight.  It just seems like it’s taken him way too long to finally figure this little detail out.
Meanwhile, Osborn and some of his higher powered flunkies have downed Thor and are attempting to take him into custody when Maria Hill shows up on the scene.  Did I mention she’s in a pick-up truck with a hick and a rocket launcher?  With a little help from a badly beaten Thor, she’s able to get him off of the field and into town.
Back at Avengers Hideout in New York, Captain America makes a stirring speech to a group I’m pretty sure don’t need convincing that it’s time to take Osborn down.  He’s assembled a team made up of New Avengers, Young Avengers, Classic Avengers, and Nick Fury leading his Secret Warriors.
Back at Asgard, Osborn takes another hit as Ares makes his move and calls Osborn out.  Before Ares can put an end to it all, Sentry comes in and removes Ares from the battle with extreme prejudice.  It is certainly the most graphic scene in the issue.
Cap and his team load up to head out, except for Phobos.  For whatever reason, Fury is keeping the kid out of this fight and we learn that the god of fear really has nothing on Fury.  This is followed up by a big old gift giving scene when Bucky gives Cap the shield back and Jarvis gives Cap a briefcase that belongs to a friend in need near the battle (Hint: Tony Stark used to cary the Iron Man suit around in a briefcase).
Finally, Osborn sends Daken out to find Thor only to find that Thor isn’t really one for hiding and has cooked Daken but good.  Osborn then gets one more incoming alert, something round and shield-like that’s going to clang him in the noggin.
Bendis has kept the writing and pacing tight on this issue and the art is still peak.  This issue though is all build up setting issue #3 up to possibly be the tipping point.  Either that or the next issue will just be a lot of Cap and Osborn hitting each other and spouting dialogue as the big three get ready to come back together again.  The Jonathan Hickman-esque text bit at the end of the issue was a nice way to fill in the gaps that people who haven’t been reading Secret Warriors might be experiencing.
Siege: Embedded #2
One could say that this book is mainly a road trip story with an overweight Scandinavian  but that would simplify things a bit too much.  Embedded’s battlefield is not Asgard nor is it wherever Volstagg decides to hit people.  Embedded works its battlefield as that of the press and it works it very well.
Ben Urich and Will Sturn are escorting Volstaag back to Oklahoma where he plans to turn himself into the proper authorities because of what happened at Soldier Field.  Urich uses the trip to talk with the people they run into to see how the nation is reacting.
On the other side of this field is Todd Keller, a loosely-veiled caricature of Glenn Beck if ever I saw one.  He has sold his journalistic integrity to get inside the biggest story and to make buddies with Norman Osborn.  Now, I don’t mind me some overt satire of high profile media personalities, but it would have been nice if they had made Keller look not so much like Beck.  Seriously, you don’t have to hit us over the head with a hammer.
As Keller finds out that the real Osborn doesn’t have the time to actually speak with him on the air, Urich, Sturn, and Volstaag have a run-in on the road with H.A.M.M.E.R forces.  Volstaag winds up acquiring one of the agent’s flying sleds and proceeds to deliver some justice on them.  All the while, Urich and Sturn are arrested and taken to Tinker Air Force Base where they make a Scooby-Doo-like escape from custody.
The humor and humanity of this book is what makes it a great addition to the bigger event.  The story is less about Volstaag and more about the everyman and their existence in the larger Marvel Universe.  Brian Reed has a real knack for this dialogue and brings these people to life, even when they’re being portrayed as types.

That's this week's Siege installments.  Hopefully next weekend I'll be able to dig myself out and get to the coffee shop where I normally write these things...

...till the next...


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