Siege 2

Posted by on April 13th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Marvel. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by Olivier Coipel and Mark Morales, colored by Laura Martin; cover by Coipel, Morales and Martin; $3.99

Issue highlight: “You can’t shoot intangible, you dumb @#$% !” Said by the character who’s wearing Mar-vell’s costume these days. She’s dodging bullets, so her face is way down low and her leg is kicked up behind her. The position shows a lot of butt cleft, and her butt cleft is defined to a brutal degree. She could be a device for peeling cantaloupe in emergency battlefield situations.

Issue’s place on earth … is as number 2 in the central miniseries for the latest Marvel top-rank crossover. Norman Osborn is invading Asgard, and there are scenes of his guys fighting the various gods — not just Norse gods, Ares too. Maria Hill springs Thor from capture. Steve Rogers addresses the underground Avengers about the ongoing situation. (He’s back, but his lip has a pouty tuck to it. “I look around and I can’t stand what I see,” he says.) Big fight scene, Ares vs. Sentinel, eight pages if you include the set-up; it ends with a big two-page spread where Sentinel kills Ares. The rebel Avengers get together and fly off to get Osborn and his guys, then arrive.

C-lister death splash. Black Goliath got done in Mark Millar’s Civil War miniseries. This time it’s Ares. The Sentinel pulls him apart, literally separates ribs and flesh from spine, turns him into a raspberry jam diorama of the Soviet Union, a diorama inset with ventilation piping, an extended trilobyte and a nest of ugly sausage.

The party trick comes earlier in the series than Black Goliath’s did, and it’s a full-on, muscled-up attempt to knock the reader’s head back. Kill enough of these C-listers and you have to kill them real good before anyone will notice. Since Marvel is telling alleged adult dramas, deaths of regulars are called for. But the drama will never end, so there are a lot of such deaths, with diminishing returns as the result.

Misc: Another Norse god in a truck.

Theory: Heading into battle, Spider-Man pipes up with a wisecrack. Standard, but the joke is about a glowing miracle device that’s bigger than a few dozen helicopters, and Spider-Man’s premise is that naturally any superhero would want such a thing: “Seriously, no one is going to go ‘I gotta get me one a’ these?'” Never thought he was one for super-deluxe toys and weapons, but in the modern age being a top-liner has new responsibilities. Marvel needs Spider-Man in its Avengers storylines, and those are designed to get a load of Marvel properties on stage, the company’s collective wares. Miracle devices and miracle powers are now built into Spider-Man’s surroundings, so his frame of reference is not like the old days. He’s still a joker, though.

Luke Cage is another street-level hero who has moved up to the higher game. He’s no big deal commercially, and with his series gone he became one of those c-listers who are always available. So he wound up in the Avengers too. Because of Bendis, Cage’s support and ensemble work have been godsends for his career. (One example: the exchange in Alias about cape-fucking.)

Daredevil, a midlevel hero with a following, bobs up as an ensemble player with the Secret Avengers, but I don’t think he’ll ever really take in that capacity. Unlike Spider-Man he doesn’t bring enough readers to be indispensable; unlike Cage he does have enough readers for, possibly, some significant part of the Marvel audience to feel that he has better things to do than try to keep his head up around the big-power guys.

Also, Daredevil’s degree of street-levelness exceeds that of Cage and Spider-Man. Daredevil is the hardest working of the Marvel heroes, the gym rat who gets the most out of the least. In this respect Batman is his opposite number at DC, but Batman is a star and the JLA writers have shown him royal treatment. They fix scenes so that, along with being the powerless guy, he can also be the guy who’s always a step ahead of everyone else.

Daredevil can’t count on that treatment; he risks getting pushed to the wall like the ’70s Black Panther, winding up as one of those fellows who’s always crouched off to the side, tucked behind somebody’s giant cocked elbow.

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