Siege: Embedded #2

Posted by on March 19th, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Marvel. Written by Brian Reed, drawn by Chris Samnee; colored by Matthew Wilson, cover by Adi Granov; $3.99

Issue Highlight: On the march to Asgard with Glenn Beck’s haircut.

Issue’s situation: Part of a supporting-players arc in the larger Siege storyline. The big storyline involves Norman Osborn’s invasion of Asgard. Embedded features the storyline’s supporting characters. One of them, Volstagg, is the big fat god whom Osborn used to scare the public into thinking that Asgard had America under attack. Another is Ben Urich, the shuffling, wheat-haired reporter Marvel always drops into its stories.

Breakdown:
Five pages with Volstagg, Urich and another earth guy. They’re on the run. Humor byplay.
Four pages, Iron Patriot robot and Glen Beck lookalike. Plot point made and military vehicles, gear, personnel shown in background.
Ten pages, Volstagg and earth guys jumped by US forces. Volstagg fights, earth guys are captured. Action. More military gear, etc.
Three pages, the two earth guys in captivity. Implausible escape.

As usual: The stand-in robot. Dr. Doom fooled Osborn with a Dr. Doom robot in The Cabal. Osborn tries to fool a Glenn Beck lookalike with an Iron Patriot robot. The Glenn Beck stand-in sees through the gag, so he’s smarter than Norman Osborn.

Tradition:: Useless nipping at the heels of the right. In this case it’s the Glenn Beck-ish character, a TV demagogue but one who would appear not to be crazy. Craziness matters when you consider Glenn Beck. He isn’t selling you a line, he’s got a crease in his brain pan and it talks to him.

Why? … have soldiers flying on one-man jet gliders? … It can’t be easy for them to balance and they’re wide open to ground fire. The gag reminds me of the way old Batman writers would make Mr. Rose leave a giant thorn embedded in his victim’s desk, or whatever. Maybe Osborn needs to see his visual motif writ large around him; villains are like that. He feels submerged in his identity as the Iron Patriot, an Iron Man ripoff, and needs to make U.S. military personnel perform a Green Goblin style homage.

Would he really? … say “I want to stretch my legs” if he were a Norse god who showed up on earth just a day or so ago? Maybe the earth characters taught him the phrase in Siege: Embedded 1 and I’m missing an understated running joke. I’ll think about it.

Watercooler: “Okay. I want to stop imagining right now.” Said by character with thumb and finger to his eyes, his forehead wrinkled, because he’s fighting the thought of Volstagg, the fat god, getting undressed in front of the mirror. Variant of “too much information.”

Historical parallel: Norman Osborn is the Bismarck of Marvel’s U.S.A. He’s using blood and iron to unify the realm, with war against Asgard (France) to seal the new regime’s control back home. A flaw in the parallel is that Osborn wasn’t the one to lash the superheroes to state control; that was Tony Stark’s doing. Also, Bismarck would not have made soldiers use inefficient transport for style reasons. And I think Osborn is getting played by Loki. Then again, Bismarck never had to face a Norse god; maybe he have would been played too.

Deep thought: Marvel is creating a corporately authored fictional saga that’s a bit like War and Peace with action figures. Nations and battles and subplots, but none of it really has to make sense. Tolstoy needed some idea of how two armies could get to a battlefield and fight the Battle of Borodino. But invading Asgard … who knows? And it’s not like Marvel plans any convincing answers. They don’t take magic realism that far.

Side issue. Asgard is now a bit less valuable as a fictional property — not so much the shining realm sited in a larger reality, more the oddly configured lump of real estate sited in a field.

Best part: Three panels depicting military gear/action. The detail is present in some spots; in others you just see shadows or a bit of blur. But together it all gives the impression of mass. The weapons and gear look solid, even when they shouldn’t.

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