Welcome, one and all to an all-new yet sorta-familiar column! With great event comes great recap, or so said my old Uncle Tom. That’s right, Marvel’s launching a SIEGE on Asgard and your wallets, and we’re here to make sure you know everything that happens, even if you can’t pick up EVERY tie-in. Oh, and to make fun of things a little bit, too. We kid because we love. Bring on the heroes, bring on the villains, and bring on those Damn Dirty Gods!
Newsarama Note: If you haven’t read Zach Smith’s ROAD TO SIEGE yet, you have failed this mission and must start back at the beginning of the game. Or, you know, click the link and check it out.THIS IS A SPOILER COLUMN! DO NOT READ THIS COLUMN IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS GALORE! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! SPOILERS AHOY! Siege: The Cabal: And so we begin . . . sorta. This event is billed as seven years in the making, so who knows where we should really technically start, right? That probably lets out Team America . . . or does it? Damn you, Bendis!!! The guy in the closet is the Marauder, isn’t it?! (I was just handed a note that says it doesn’t matter who is in the closet; Liefeld’s gonna fix that as soon as he comes back to write Peter David’s books). At any rate . . . this is the one-shot where WE are going to begin.
Things get cooking early as Dr. Doom arrives pissed. He wants his Namor, and he wants him now. You’d think that they could get in touch with one another with their Super-Villain Team-Up souvenir phones, but NO. Not Namor; he never calls. Of course, Namor’s not in the house as he and Emma Frost previously unveiled their double-agent status during the Utopia event. Norman HAS invited Taskmaster to the adult’s table, and Doom is not amused with much that Norman’s been doing.
The rhetoric gets heavy, and Norman brings on . . . The Guy in the Closet. Taskmaster invokes a classic Bill Murray/Steve Martin routine by repeatedly yelling, “What the Hell is that?” before getting punked by Doom (as revealed in “Avengers: The Initiative”). The boogeyman takes out Doom, who in turn is revealed as a Doombot, one that’s loaded with tons of killer robotic insects. Norman’s not faring well with them, but the Sentry (who is outside and therefore likely not The Guy in the Closet) shows up and fries them. Norman is, like Fake Doom, not amused.
In his tumult, Norman’s ready to invade Asgard. After getting no love from the President, Norman gets some advice from Loki. Loki suggests that they emulate the opening of the recent “Civil War”; that is, create a tragedy and use it to propel the war forward. As the issue ends, Loki smiles knowingly at Norman, who is a)losing his sh*t, and b) standing in front of a picture of a classic Avengers line-up.SIEGE #1: I don’t know why, but I just feel like the main title should always be capitalized. It’s just more important that way. Anyhow, the official beginning of the story is right here, and it picks up right where Cabal left off. Loki and Norman are once again having a conversation, in handy color-coded caption boxes (though strangely, Norman Osborn, the former Green Goblin, is in purple, while Loki is green), while we see their plan taking shape. Volstaag the Voluminous is riding a horse into Midgard, while they decide how to set him up. Being virtuous, as well as other random V words, Volstaag moves to stop a couple of criminals, and successfully does, cutting their entire getaway vehicle in half.
Four Z-list villains from The Hood’s crew step in to keep Volstaag fighting, blasting him into the middle of Soldier Field. Because Bears fans didn’t have it bad enough this season, the villains then all fire at him at once, and Volstaag instinctively disperses the energy with his enchanted blade, causing it to go out into the players and stands, killing the 70,000+ people instantly. Guess next year will be a “re-building year.”
With that, they have an inciting incident similar to the Stamford one that kicked off the Civil War, and Norman has his excuse to attack Asgard. Norman goes full steam ahead, telling his assistant (Victoria Hand) to call the president in his stead, and tell him they’re invading Asgard. He then assembles his (Dark) Avengers, plus the entire 50-State Initiative, to get ready to take down some gods.
While readying his war plan, he starts with a god of his own, Ares. In some excellent foreshadowing, Ares notes that if Osborn is not on the up-and-up about Asgard, he will “cut [his] head off, armor and all.”
The Dark Avengers are shaking in their boots, but Osborn promises to cut them loose if they succeed in taking down Asgard. Ares rallies the troops (all 50 States of them), and we see that Osborn might not be operating quite as above board as we thought. Hand’s phone call to the President doesn’t go very well, as he tells his cabinet that Osborn is out of control. Perhaps he’ll send Bill Clinton into Asgard, though if he comes out with anyone but Enchantress, the world will be surprised.
The floating head of Loki (who should really be a recurring character of his own) does what everyone except Osborn expects, and plays both sides against the middle, rallying Balder, temporary leader of the Norse gods. As Balder states in a cocky manner that no mortal force can threaten them, The Sentry flies through half the city. The movie placard: THE SIEGE OF ASGARD – PHASE ONE is displayed above the Dark Avengers, the non-fliers of which are on modified goblin gliders. They start to tear Asgard apart, and Hogun gives the godly equivalent of a “yo mamma” joke, insulting Ares father.
In nearby Broxton, Oklahoma, a certain Dr. Donald Blake and Maria Hill, formerly of S.H.I.E.L.D., are watching over the currently comatose Tony Stark. Blake, worried about the explosions coming from the floating island of Asgard half a mile away, tells Hill to take Stark and get him to safety, presumably to try to aid in his recovery. She tell him he’s “going to need a bigger stick,” and he strikes the ground with his cane, transforming into the Mighty Thor.
As Thor flies into battle, the Moonstone-cum-Ms. Marvel nearly craps herself in fear, and he lands then takes out The Sentry in one swing of his hammer Mjolnir. This too, Osborn has planned for, and he and several other energy users hit Thor with the equivalent of a massive nuclear blast. The Iron Patriot pummels Thor while being recorded by a live news team. We see a TV showing this footage, pan out, and Steve Rogers, surprised, angry, wearing his Captain America Uniform, and maybe sliiiightly constipated, watches on, ready to join the fight.Siege: Embedded #1: Look! It’s Glenn Beck! Oh, wait . . . it’s “Todd Keller”, a conservative talk show host that probably also thinks he’s a libertarian. And he’s not crying. Anyway, Keller gets approached by H.A.M.M.E.R. to see if he would be interested in covering the invasion of Asgard in an exclusive capacity. This proves by association that Glenn Beck supports Norman Osborn, and thoroughly approves of the Pregnant Gwen Stacy storyline. Don’t blame me, kids; I’m just bringing you entertainment and enlightenment.
Elsewhere, Ben Urich tries to get himself arrested, but is saved by his pal Will Stern. Stern used to be an anchor, but is now a cameraman. If you ever worked at a TV/radio news station, like I did, then you’ll know that an anchor becoming a cameraman is actually less believable than Asgard floating over Oklahoma. The two reporters run into Volstaag, who is walking back to Asgard from Chicago. They pick him (not literally; that would kill them) to get his story as they drive to the Earthly locale of the Realm Eternal. Urich and Stern think that Norman is trying to use the media to his advantage. You think?!