Sunday, May 16, 2010

Longbox Special: Under Siege: The Finale

Here we are at the end my friends.  The end of Marvel’s latest super hero epic.  No longer will we be
I’m going to break with my usual format this time around and just go ahead and talk about this weeks final five books interchangeably.  Where to start though?  Let’s start with how much of a fizzle I felt Siege #4 was.  Up until this point, Bendis had been ratcheting things up with each issue and giving us a little bit of pay off each time.  This issue should have been the big pay off, the last boss battle, the part of the story that should have hit us hard in the face and make us want more after.  It didn’t really deliver that feeling, it felt more like a disjointed sequence of events that didn’t really mesh well.
Opening with Loki’s plea to his dead father to help the heroes overcome the Void seemed to play against what Loki had been working towards all this time.  The argument can be made that he didn’t think it would get as bad as all this but I have to ask just why would it matter to him?  From what we’ve seen in the Siege: Loki one shot, he wanted to be free from all that Asgard represented.  Doesn’t its fall mark the biggest freedom he could get from it?  I can understand a desire to save his fellow Asgardians but he decides to power up the assembled heroes, leaving his brothers and sisters to simply stand by and watch.
Once the heroes are powered up, things really don’t improve much, mainly because there isn’t much difference in how they appear.  We get little snippets of pretty cliche dialogue telling us things like Iron Man’s batteries are charged and his systems are online.  Great.  Iron Man is on par with my car.  The battle itself is underwhelming with the heroes taking shots at the Void until the Void destroys the Norn stones and Loki along with them.  Then a non-suped up Thor proceeds to essentially hit the Void until it doesn’t move anymore.  Why didn’t he just do this in the first place when he had more power at his disposal?  Finally, he kills Bob and whisks his body off to a burial in the sun which lacks any kind of emotional weight.
This lack of emotional weight carries over in The Sentry: Fallen Sun where heroes gather to remember The Sentry.  The book plods along and is fairly unremarkable as a memorial or farewell to the character.  Of course there are the hints that he’ll be back.  Also, apparently he and rogue hooked up.  Great.
Siege: Embedded also managed to fall flat for me.  It was a lot of Ben Urich just watching stuff happen and reminding us how small normal people are in the face of an event of this magnitude.  The problem was that the book just didn’t feel big enough and I wasn’t sold on Ben’s sense of awe.  It does give us a bit more Volstaag, which has always been enjoyable in this book.
Finally, there are two books that wrap up their runs along side the final installment of Siege; Dark Avengers and Avengers: The Initiative.  Of the two, Avengers: The Initiative is arguable the weakest.  It attempts to tie up all of the loose ends of the three stories it’s been weaving throughout the past few months.  It also tries to set things up for the book set to replace it, Avengers Academy (or whatever they’re calling it).  I really liked this book when it was focused on Taskmaster simply because he seemed like such an unlikely protagonist for the story.  Things got bogged down when they started putting focus on fairly uninteresting side stories.
Dark Avengers was the one book that gave a really good send off to itself.  It’s also been the only book to really portray Norman Osborn in something that resembles a sympathetic light.  The coda that Osborn gets at the end of the book is some really fantastic writing from Bendis.  I wonder where that kind of writing was for the last issue of Siege?  If I haven’t mentioned it before, Victoria Hand was also an up point of this book.  I’m happy to see that she made it through this and will be around for what follows.
So that’s it, the end, fin, I’ve got no more to say really.  I had considered throwing The New Avengers Finale into this week’s article but it technically isn’t part of Siege.  Also, it was pretty lacking too.  Siege built itself up pretty nicely as did some of the tie-in books but in the end it didn’t feel like it delivered the goods.  Sure, things are set up for Marvel’s Heroic Age and all that, but it would have been nice to have a better end to Osborn’s Dark Reign.  In any case, it was fun doing these pieces even though it pulled me away from doing proper comic book reviews (if one can call my reviews proper).  Maybe we’ll do this again sometime.  Maybe I’ll just drink myself into a stupor instead.  Take care and be well...

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