SIEGE #1 (OF 4)

Review by: akamuu

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community think?

Avg Rating: 3.8
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WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS: Oliver Coipel
COVER BY: Oliver Coipel

Size: 40 pages
Price: 3.99

Joe Quesada’s “Cup O’Joe” pages at the back of this issue open with the rhetorical question “how was THAT for a beginning?”  I like answering rhetorical questions.  It was bad, Joe.  Very, very bad.

Bendis is writing four jillion titles for Marvel right now.  His Ultimate Spider-Man is fantastic.  His Spider-Woman has been very good.  And his New Avengers fluctuates from amazing to huh.  But his magnum opus of events, his House of M to Civil War to Secret Invasion to Dark Reign to The Siege is very very very very very very very very very very very very bad.  It’s noble, but that doesn’t make it good.

For this project to have worked, Bendis either needed to stop writing all of his other books, or he needed to farm out either his ongoing titles (New Avengers, Dark Avengers, etc.) to other writers, or else to focus on those titles and give all the mini-event titles (House of M, Secret Invasion, and The Siege) to someone else.

Millar did an excellent job of fitting Civil War into Bendis’s huge story arc.  Greg Pak took a character I have never enjoyed reading (The Hulk) and made his crossover event very much readable (though, still, not my favorite).  Bendis’s event crossovers all have a huge promise that is never quite fulfilled.  House of M came closest with its No More Mutants ending, but Secret Invasion was continuity porn with seven issues of foreplay and, in the end, the orgasm happened off camera.  And Dark Reign has been a gigantic clusterfuck of Norman Osborne where it appears that none of the writers have sat down with one another to discuss what the others are doing.  And now there’s The Siege.

There’s been a lot of misdirection as to what exactly is to be seized by this mini/maxi/limited/ongoing whatever.  But, really, The Siege is something that’s been going on for years.  It’s the Marvel Universe.  And it’s in the grip of Brian Michael Bendis   And he’s successfully cut off most of the interesting stories from reaching Marvel readers.  Sure, Daredevil and X-Factor have slipped through, with barely an Osborne in sight.  And Spider-Man has floated in and out a number of times.  But mostly, there’s no new life in the Marvel Universe and it is Brian Michael Bendis’s fault.  His epic idea proves too ambitious.

While Geoff Johns seems to be writing most of the books over at DC, and has written a few giant crossovers, his crossovers seem more focused, and have definitive beginnings, middles, and endings, while Bendis seems to be writing without an outline.  Yes, he says he has a specific end in sight, and I believe him.  But he didn’t organize his subplots very well, and I don’t think he knew exactly how he was going to get there.  And he certainly didn’t tell any of the other writers.

Siege #1 encapsulates the Bendis problem perfectly.  It’s unfocused.  There’s a lot happening  that Bendis has obviously been building up to for a long time, but the journey seems unsatisfactory.  What could have been one impactful Oh Shit issue is told in five pages, and then he drags out uninteresting action for the rest of the issue.  It’s like the Savage Land section of Secret Invasion in reverse.

I didn’t find Coipel’s art memorably good or bad, because I was so focused on the story because I really wanted it to work.  And I’m extremely disappointed that it didn’t.

Story: 1 - Poor
Art: 3 - Good


  1. Kudos on the early reviews, especially this one. Glad I’m not reading this–though I don’t judge anyone who is–but it’s interesting for me to get the early impression that the "grace period" most people gave to events is gone. In the past, if in the end an average reader wasn’t going to like a book, early on it was like they’d be making tons of excuses for not loving the early issues: "Oh I’ll just stick with it", and they’ll deem the first ish about a 4/5 anyway. Though it’s not so chic to talk about "event fatigue" lately, I get the impression that people are going to be giving events a lot shorter leash from now on. The early (poor-to-mediocre) reviews of Siege back me up on this ( especially had three interesting reviews). People who didn’t like this first issue aren’t even justifying things by saying "Oh, it’s only four issues. I’m sure it’ll pick up."

    And–even though I love Morrison’s Batman–when the Return of Bruce Wayne rolls around, I think people who won’t like it will be a lot quicker to get fed up with it or jump ship than they were with Final Crisis. I think back to when FC #1 came out, and people were in such a good mood, even though in retrospect the setup of that first issue was part of the problem for them. Maybe it’s the economy, or that people are less happy to pay $3.99 (for 22-pages sometimes), but that good will is gone now.

  2. I enjoy BMB’s stuff so I think I’ll like this judging from other reviews. Maybe the BMB Avenger’s-centric universe just isn’t your thing? I know plently of people who just can’t get into his writing-style at all. If you enjoyed DD and USM I’ld recommend you check out Alias by Bendis. It’s probably more to your liking and is my favourite thing he’s written at Marvel so far.

  3. This review isn’t that…. focused. You talk less about the book, and seem to be ranting about your subjective feelings, it wasn’t very helpful. I don’t mean to be rude, that isn’t my intention, but i did not find this helpful.

  4. @flapjaxx: I think one of the reasons people aren’t willing to give it a shot is related to Event Faituge.  It’s not that I’m tired of events or Bendis.  It’s that I’ve been so deluged by his events that I still feel the stab of disappointment when I think of them.  THere’s been no time for me to get nostalgic for his events.  For example, when Jeph Loeb wrote Ultimatum, it had been so long since I’d read any Loeb that I was willing to give him time to set up a story and win me over (which, in the end, he failed to do), but I’ve been reading Bendis non-stop for years now, so I have no patience for letting him "build a story" because he’s firmly in my mind as someone who either grabs you off the bat and writes a continuously awesome story (like Ultimate Spidey) or someone who never quite gets a foothold on his story, and never will (Secret Invasion).  This one feels choppy and unfocused right off the bat, so it’s gone. 

    @davidtobin100: I loved Alias, and I’m enjoying every third issue or so of The New Avengers.  The moments of Cap Bucky complaining about the New Avengers mucking up his hideout was great.   The buildup in the Molecule Man arc was superb, but the end was cheap unfocused Bendis.  I mean, The Sentry again?  Really?  He’s become sort of the Saturday Night Live of writers, in that he can string together interesting beginnings, the middles drag for a bit, and he has no idea how to end things, so he just stops.  And, given how much I do enjoy him when he’s on his game, I find it hugely disappointing.

  5. @summersleep: The review is a metaphor.  If you love Bendis, you should love this review.

  6. Hahahahahahaha…

  7. Reliable Akamuu.  Predicatable.

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