Written by:  Brian Michael Bendis

Art by:  Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales

Published by:  Marvel Comics

There was a telling moment in the issues of Thor not too long before Siege, Marvel’s latest event comic.  Thor was rightfully angry with Iron Man who had helped create a clone of him which was used during Civil War and killed (Black) Goliath.  So during a climactic (and AWESOME) battle with Iron Man he says “At this moment I have more pressing business to attend to.  But in the time to come, be assured that you and I will finish … discussing … your violation of my person, my genetic code, and what was once a friendship that I valued.”

“Your known scientific description of the universe is false.” –Loki

According to Marvel’s marketing, Siege was “Seven Years In The Making”.  Beginning with Avengers Dissembled which led into House of M, thus unraveling two of the pivotal super hero teams in the Marvel Universe, the Avengers and the X-Men.  Next up came Secret Invasion which didn’t have the long term reverberations it might have had because there was no chance for the heroes to catch their breath, but it did lay the groundwork of paranoia and distrust which fed into Civil War.  The fallout from that story lasted years as we had outlaw heroes, including Nick Fury going underground, and Norman Osborn handed the keys to the kingdom as he was put in charge of National Security.  Thus we had the morally ambiguous Dark Reign, with the Dark Avengers, though we also saw Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor through some their lowest points as well as their rebirths.  All setting the stage for Siege.

What Siege is about in particular, is Norman Osborn being goaded by Loki into invading Asgard.  Due to the events surrounding the return of the real Thor, Asgard currently floated above the Midwest heartland.  It is essentially an incursion of a foreign nation into the heart of America, after all.  Not just any nation, but a city-state of gods.  So Osborn assembles his forces, the Asgardians rally, the Marvel heroes (minus the X-Men, oddly enough) don’t sit out this opportunity, however, neither do the other Marvel villains.

Loki at the heart of villainous machinations was how the Avengers assembled in the first place.  With Siege, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are forced to work together again, exactly what the series was designed to do.  It might as well have been called Avenger Resembled.

Siege works for several reasons.  It is pure pulp insanity.  There is no decade’s worth of continuity to get bogged down in.  If you were a current reader of comic books, you could jump in just fine.  All you needed to know was that everyone was pissed at everyone.  Also, Brian Michael Bendis (Powers), the chief architect of Marvel’s seven years of events, was at his best.  He has always been one of the best superhero writers in the business, but the chief knock against him has been that while he knew how to imagine and craft these events, he had trouble executing them.  The payoffs often fell flat giving way to his “talking heads” brand of resolution.

Siege has a more cinematic feel.  The reader feels engulfed in a Jerry Bruckheimer film filled with lots of action, serious butt-kicking, and a fast paced feel.  There no padding (stringing the series out to six or eight issues needlessly).  No loads of internal conflict (no room for talking heads).  It’s pretty much like the bulk of the Marvel universe’s heroes, after their respective storylines, simply needed to vent.

“We all have tools.  We all have areas of excellence.  We all have ways that we can shape the world.” –Loki

We all have stories that we’ve chosen to live by. Sometimes it’s only a matter of choosing the one best able to form you into who you were meant to be.  Sometimes it’s hard to get a vision of what it means to lead missional and intentional lives – to join in with Christ’s redemptive mission.  Christ’s good news was that the kingdom of heaven was now, and we can join him in being a blessing to others. He came to give life, full and rich life, full of joy and color.

The values of the “kingdom” run contrary to the ideas of “empire” (especially Norman Osborn’s vision, which encapsulates all of the negative values of empire in an extreme). The hope of kingdom holds the hope of healing the effects of imperial violence. Heroes, by example, can inspire people to renew a spirit of community and call them to take control of their lives and re-establish cooperation. They can foster a sense of community as people learn to come to each other’s aid, restore mutual assistance, and work toward regaining and rebuilding trust.  All of which are needing in the Marvel Universe after the wringer they’ve all been through.

“So if you’re smart enough to keep fighting you just might do something that defines your life.” –Nick Fury

Siege, ironically enough, was a superhero Ragnarok.  It wraps up the mischief of Loki, the life of the Sentry (hopefully for good – was there ever so tiresome a character that was pivotal mostly because we’re told he’s pivotal?), the reign of Norman Osborn, and the days of the “Superhuman Registration Act.”

The art was amazing, employing the grand scope feel that has taken over books when they felt they had an epic story to tell.  Olivier Coipel was in rare form.  There were three major deaths during Siege and one was depicted with such brutality, it was “that moment” in the book, the one where the reader’s jaw drops and wants to high five his buddy next to him.  In four issues, Siege was a roller coaster of super-hero action.