As with every storyline written by Brian Michael Bendis in the past few years (House of M, Secret Invasion), Siege was touted as a story in the works since for years, quite possibly since he first Disassembled the Avengers to make New Avengers. That realization is sort of true, as Siege is the finish to the phase that started in Secret Invasion, which finished the phase started in Civil War, which finished the phase started when Bendis took over the Avengers and made them New. But with Siege, the task wasn’t to just usher in a new era of the Marvel Universe, but rather to reset it back to the bright and shiny way it had been before Bendis had the Scarlet Witch go crazy and Nick Fury go into hiding. A Heroic Age, if you will.
But with only four issues to do it in, the effort simply didn’t work as it apparently had been intended. Yes, I’ll go into details, but since there are SPOILERS, I’ll do it after the jump.
After Secret Invasion, the Civil War between heroes had allowed Norman Osborn to take control of SHIELD (or rather HAMMER, its replacement) and alienate pretty much every hero in the Marvel U. Why no one in the Marvel U’s government thought that was a bad idea until now is questionable, but that’s what we had. Osborn had surrounded himself by villains dressed as heroes and was being a shady ass to the cheers of the public. And that’s pretty much all that Dark Reign got us. To close it up, Osborn would have to be knocked from his perch, so he decided to attack Asgard (floating above Oklahoma) by creating a tragic incident involving an Asgardian in the same spirit that the Civil War was started by a tragic incident involving young heroes.
Except this time, the government didn’t think it was such a good idea, so when Norman took off anyway, it finally donned on everyone that he was crazy. So when the recently returned Steve Rogers led a squad of heroes to join the Asgardians in fighting Norman and his villain squad, they were once again hailed as heroes. That was step one.
But what’s a Major Event without bloodshed and ‘holy crap’ moments? The story shifted from Osborn being the major villain to the Sentry, finally doing something after years of pretty much being panicked out of combat. He ripped apart Ares (in a very bloody sequence) and attacked the rest of the heroes. But then Loki, who had orchestrated this whole mess, apparently had a change of heart and was himself killed trying to help the heroes. This led Thor, who could not kill the Sentry earlier, to kill the Sentry and toss his body into the sun. Asgard was saved, Norman deposed, the villains arrested and the heroes are once again celebrated. Congratulations, we have fixed the Marvel U.
But Siege didn’t really work as well in its intended purpose. For one, the event was too short with only four issues to tell the entire story. Yes, both House of M and Secret Invasion did not need the eight issue spans they had, but Siege could have used one more issue to deal with the resolution of the story. Issue #4 had the unenviable task of not only ending the fight, killing off the Sentry, deposing Norman, but also setting the stage for the new Heroic Age. In the process, it no longer felt like the story was being told, but rather merely shuffling the necessary pieces to the position they needed to be in for the next week’s launches. There was no strategy to beating the Sentry. He needed to be beaten, so despite his overwhelming advantage, the heroes just kind of beat him. Osborn went off the stage with little more than a whimper and all the villains were done with…despite there being a ton more of them than heroes present.
And of course, you have the gratuitous deaths to deal with. It feels like you can’t have a crossover without killing a mid-level character, be it Goliath (Civil War), the Wasp (Secret Invasion) or now Ares. The problem with Ares is that he was kind of tossed in out of nowhere back when Mighty Avengers launched, and despite having some good moments here and there, wasn’t really that important of a character. So there was a lack of emotional loss when he died, and it really didn’t add that much, other than being a disgustingly visual demise (complete with intestines!).
And there was also the inevitablity of the whole thing. With Civil War, it wasn’t quite sure whether Cap or Iron Man would come out victorious, or what the ramifications were going to be moving forward. With Siege, you knew the villains were going to lose, the heroes were going to win, and everything would be just fine at the end. It took the edge off of the whole thing, and made the quick finish seem even less important.
And really, the whole overall story really didn’t make too much sense. Since taking over, Norman Osborn has been extra careful to consolidate his power while not giving his enemies any means whatsoever to get him out of his position. Then, suddenly, he decides to violate the orders of the President and invade Asgard…for no particular reason. Asgard was no direct threat to him, so why do it at this point? And what would have happened had Norman won? Would he have taken over the U.S. government? That would have cost him the support of the people, which is what this whole thing was based upon. But I suppose all these questions are irrelevant since that’s not how it went down.
But like it or not, Siege has wrapped and now Marvel is back to its bright and shiny norm…at long last.