Or – “Alas, Poor Yorick…”
“…I threw him, Horatio…Â
…into the sun.”
Siege #2 (of 4)
Â Previously, on Siege:Â Marvel-Earth has not been a happy place for a number of years now, from Illuminati plots to Planets Hulk, from Wars Civil to Reigns Dark, and Norman Osborn’s ascension to a position of political power really underlines the fact that Captain America was right when he said that a database and an oversight committee would undermine what it is that a hero does. With Thor exiled from Asgard, Asgard floating above a city in Oklahoma, and a convenient fake-disaster courtesy of Norm-O’s villainous thugs, Norman has declared war on the floating city. (I’m sure that the President has a few words for him upon his return, mind you..) Last issue, the Dark Avengers, the recruits from Camp HAMMER, and whichever malcontents and criminals Norm could round up attacked, going so far as to knock down the Goddathunda… This issue promises to remind Norman that these heroes have been out before, but never for the FULL count.
A pivotal moment in this battle takes place in the first two pages of the book, as Ares of Olympus confrons Balder and Heimdall, and is told the real truth about Osborn’s pretense of invasion. Ares wasn’t really fully invested in the mortals interfering in godly affairs to begin with, and Heimdall’s words convince him that the entire affair must stop immediately. He sets out to find Iron Patriot, but before he can, Norman’s armor warns him of an incoming attack. Before he can move, he is hit by what looks a bit like a Stinger missile. I am suddenly amazed to hear myself say “Thank the lord for Maria Hill!” The interim pawn head of SHIELD comes in with guns blazing, and extracts Thor from the clutches of the U-Foes and Dark Avengers and escapes in a borrowed pickup truck (with a bit of help from Thor’s lightning bursts.) Half a continent away, Steve Rogers rallies his troops (The New Avengers, the Young Avengers, and Nick Fury and the Secret Warriors) to finally throw off the yoke of the Green Goblin’s mad oppression. at full tilt (thanks to a super-transport that Nick Fury might have stolen from SHIELD) while, in Oklahoma, Ares finally finds the man who lied to him.
“You would have done the same thing,” explains Norman, a bit too calmly. Ares rages that he will rip off Norm-O’s head, but is suddenly taken down by a golden streak from the sky. “I thought us friends,” says Ares, realizing that he’s been attacked by the Sentry, but their fight is NOT that of friends, or even really that of HUMAN BEINGS. Axe meets fist, as the Golden Guardian of Good and God of War lay into one another, for page after page. In Brooklyn, Norman Osborn informs Phobos, the son of Ares, that he’s not willing to take a ten-year-old kid ito a warn zone, and the heroes board their transport, leaving a seething mad God of Fear behind. As Ares begins to feel the effects of the battle, a completely unfazed Sentry grasps him by the throat, pulling him to his feel. “Is he going to–?” asks Bullseye/Hawkeye, knowing what the look in Sentry’s eye means (what with being a psycho-killer himself and all.) The Sentry literally TEARS ARES APART with his bare hands, on NATIONAL TELEVISION, as the stunned combatants look on. We see Dark Wolverine hunting Thor, only to take a lightning bolt to the face (YEAH!) for his troubles… The main battlefield remains still, though, until Norman’s armor again warns him of incoming fire. As he turns, we see the reflection of the familiar red, white and blue shield of Captain America coming straight at his face…
I will say that this issue has some moments that got to me (like the multi-panel “push” on Iron Patriot’s armor as Cap’s shield grows larger and larger, the electrocution of Daken, and even Maria Hill playing cavalry) but events really moved at a breakneck pace throughout. Ares was suspicious in panel one, and dead by page 18, Thor was down and out at the beginning but frying mutants by page 20, and all in all a TON of things happened in quick succession. That’s not at all a bad thing, though, since last issue felt like all-too-much prelude, and there really haven’t been a lot of ‘Hell, YEAH!’ moments during the tense buildup that was Dark Reign. The end of Norm-O is quite obviously on it’s way, and it’s occasionally fun to watch a car roll downhill and burst into flame, metaphorically speaking. Olivier Coipel has come a long way since his early days on ‘Legion Lost,’ and his art here works quite well, especially in the detailed vision of one man ripping another man in half. Spider-Man gets in one good quip, and everyone seems to be acting in character, even if what is set up in the beginning as an epic battle sort of disappears as the issue progresses. I am gratified to see that this book is a four-issue setup, unlike the seemingly interminable Civil War and Secret Invasion 7 and 8 issue smackdowns. I’ve been having cognitive dissonance about Bendis’ work lately, but this issue delivers the goods for me… Siege #2 earns a rather satisfying 3.5 out of 5 stars overall, and a little bit more Cap and Friends could have easily pushed it into 4-star territory. A couple of long-standing plot points are about to be harvested, and it really seems like we’re clearing the decks for the coming Heroic Age…