Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Olivier Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover artists: Coipel & Morales/Gabriele Dell’Otto/Joe Quesada & Danny Miki
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99 US
Though Marvel Comics has been the target of criticism over the past year when it comes to pricing and the value of its products, I think it’ll be this comic book that serves as the point when many readers realize that the publisher is out to pad its bottom line at the expense of its customers’ good will. The first issue of Marvel’s latest event certainly does constitute a siege, but the siege isn’t on Asgard. Instead, it’s a siege on the readers’ wallets. This four-dollar periodical offers little content of substance, and it offers even less value for one’s money. Yes, the artwork is attractive, but that’s all this comic book is: pretty. The events of this are completely miss-able, and that weren’t annoying enough, the plot doesn’t even make all that much sense.
Norman Osborn, AKA the Iron Patriot and the director of H.A.M.M.E.R., wants desperately to launch an invasion of Asgard, a city of Norse gods that’s hovering over Braxton, Oklahoma, but he needs something to justify the invasion to the U.S. president. His ally Loki engineers such a motive in the form of an Asgardian god’s reckless behavior in a battle with super-villains, leading Osborn to lead an army of super-villains against the Asgardians. As the gods defend themselves against this surprising attack, other heroes take note of these recent developments and prepare to enter the fray.
Coipel’s artwork is certainly a good fit for this event title, as he’s adept at capturing the immense scope of the superhuman action. Furthermore, this story features Asgard as a vital component of the plot, and Coipel’s recent stint on Thor had him design and convey the new direction for the Asgardians in the Marvel Universe. My favorite aspect of his art in this issue, though, was his take on the U-Foes (not that they’re identified as such). His interpretation of these lesser-known Hulk villains made them seem far more alien and inhuman than what we’ve seen in the past, and I found that choice to add to the threat they posed.
Of course, the strength of Coipel’s work comes as no surprise, since Marvel readers have already seen several of these pages. In Siege: The Cabal, six or so pages of this comic book were offered up as added value, but they’re included in only 23 pages of story and art in this $3.99 US comic book. So for four bucks, Siege are really only getting 17 pages of new story and art. There’s other material at the back of the book, but it’s promotional material, for the most part. Joe Quesada’s sales pitch is not added value. A Fall of the Hulks preview is not added value.
If that weren’t enough, the majority of this issue consists of mindless fight scenes. For a continuing storyline that’s had politics and ethics as key foundation concepts, this culmination of the direction of so many Marvel Universe titles for the past year is surprisingly devoid of those elements. Also irksome is the lack of logic in the plotting. The story opens with Osborn being frustrated that he has no way to justify his invasion plans to the president; once his justification is manufactured, he doesn’t even both to present it to his boss, opting instead to charge ahead recklessly. It makes no sense.
Just about everything about this comic book shows a lack of respect for the reader. The pricing, given the padded nature of the product, shows a lack of respect for the buyer. The plotting shows a lack of respect for the audience’s intelligence. And it also shows a lack of respect for some of the stronger storytelling that us up to this point. 3/10
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