By now you’ve all heard about Marvel’s upcoming SIEGE event. It’s interesting for two reasons: first, Cap’n Steve, Thor and Iron Man will reunite, and second, “Siege” is in the name of a pre-existing Avengers story, and one that’s regarded as a bit of a classic. Let’s take the second part first.
Under Siege: “Avengers: Under Siege” went down in “Avengers” #270-277 (1986-1987). Writer Roger Stern and artists John Buscema and Tom Palmer showed how Baron Helmut Zero (later to be the guy that initiated the Thunderbolts) organized a new, massive Masters of Evil in order to wipe out the Avengers. The large group of villains destroyed Avengers Mansion and nearly killed Jarvis and Hercules before being defeated. The storyline is collected in the “Avengers: Under Siege” trade paperback, and is really quite good. Interestingly enough, the ending relies on Cap and Thor rallying the heroes to put the beat down on the bad guys.
Under Siege II?: In another example of continuity symmetry or just the plain old-fashioned twenty-odd-year pop cycle, the new “Siege” perhaps hits some similar beats. There’s an overwhelming force of villains out there rallied by a familiar foe (Norman Osborn, of course), and they’ve invaded and occupied a lot ground that’s traditionally been covered by the Avengers and their allies. Again, it falls to the founders to help save the day.
Above the Law: Obviously, one big difference will be how the infrastructure of America and the U.S. government will be affected, given Norman’s predisposition for stacking the 50-state teams with villains. There’s also the added wrinkle of putting the heroes squarely against government officials and troops. Certainly, public sentiment may ride with Steve Rogers returning, but let’s not forget that the last time that the American people saw Cap and Iron Man together, they were beating the crap out of each other until public service workers pointed out the cost of the battle.
Hard to Kill: It’s also going to be fairly hard for the Big Three to unseat Norman in the first place. He’s already proven his remarkable tenacity, and he has surrounded himself with a pretty huge stable of villains. Unfortunately for him, he got played by Namor and Emma Frost, and he can’t really trust Loki any farther than he can throw him/her. In fact, about the only way that Norman could withstand a combined onslaught of the heroes of the 616 lead by Captain America would be to, what, make a deal with the devil? Could “One More Day” FINALLY come back into play here?
Marked for Death: That’s assuming, of course, that the heroes survive the current machinations of Norman’s “List”. The X-Men managed to hold against Marrina, but Ronin was captured and more havoc is on the way. The conventional wisdom is that Cap, Thor and Iron Man will emerge unscathed to lead a new, uh, Newer Avengers. However, what if someone doesn’t make it? Might Tony go down as final contrition of initiating the chain of events that lead the country to this point? (Answer: Probably not with a sequel coming out. Downey would not be amused.)
Out for Justice: So when the takedown of Norman finally occurs, who should be there? I think we’ll see the Big Three. What about Hank Pym? You know Spidey needs to be there. Wolverine owes him for dragging his son into it. There’s Frank Castle, Punisher, of course. How about Dr. Strange? Ronin and Luke Cage need to get some shots in, too. Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman, definitely. Interesting collection of people, isn’t it? Interesting that they’d need to . . . avenge . . . some things, isn’t it?
The Patriot: The really big piece here is Steve Rogers. What does his return mean for New Cap? It’s not crazy to think that two Captain Americas could operate at the same time; after all, DC has run same-named characters simultaneously for years. And how will Cap react to this Post-Civil-War world? He’s once again a man out of time.
Executive Decision: This brings me to one question to leave you with: at the close of “Siege”, presuming that Norman is defeated, the Dark Reign is over, and the heroes get out alive . . . who should be The Avengers?
Look at the layout: we have New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Dark Avengers, Avengers: The Initiative, Young Avengers, and maybe even Secret Warriors (what’s their role once Norman goes down?). If Dark Avengers sticks around as the X-Force-like Avengers team, who should be on it? Should we have one big team split between Mighty and New? How about the Initiative? We know they have another mini coming, but will the Young Avengers get a regular book again beyond that? I have some thoughts on all of this, but I want to hear you. Talk to me, people.