Author: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Olivier Coipel
When last we left the main SIEGE mini-series, The Sentry had just torn Ares in half, all the heroes looked on horrified, and Norman Osborn was just about to get Captain America’s shield right in his smarmy “Iron Patriot” face. This issue (#3) opens up right where #2 left off with a sweet “CLANG” as said shield bashes Norman’s mug and Cap leads a group of heroes from various teams that he just refers to as Avengers. It’s Cap’s thing afterall. From this point, Cap and his make shift “platoon” proceed to really take the fight to Osborn and his warpigs right there in Asgard.
As the fight to end all fights is happening, we find out that the President and his Joint Chiefs of Staff have declared Osborn to be rogue. They have empowered Steve Rogers to arrest or kill Osborn and they revealed that they are against this attack on Asgard. This is pretty cool, and made me wish that Steve would take over Norman’s gig after the fact and resurrect S.H.I.E.L.D. from the ashes. As the fight further progresses, we finally get to see Thor take on Bob Reynolds, aka The Sentry. And it turns out that The Sentry can indeed hold his own against the Thunder God. Thor was shocked. Thor thought he would swing Mjolnir and end it fast, but this was not to be. The question is now: What the hell is The Sentry exactly?
From this point, Osborn is de-masked and it’s revealed to the world that he wears his Green Goblin stuff underneath that Iron Patriot armour. Big surprise. A resounding round of “I told you so” ‘s comes from every side. But then the big moment of the issue happens. Osborn tells The Sentry to not let them win, and Bob Reynolds then proceeds to utterly destroy Asgard right in front of everyone, and on national television to boot. Osborn then says that he has been working to save the Earth this whole time as he is the only one who truly knows what it is that The Sentry is. Now The Sentry is loose with no one to control him. And that question from earlier? The one about what exactly The Sentry is? I think we are about to find out. But not until April. ARRRGHHHH!!!!
Oh…and just a little side note. He’s only in a few panels, but Tony Stark has finally come back to reality and put on his Iron Man suit. The suit is one of the older versions, but it looks fantastic. Now we have Thor, Captain America and Iron Man back. How can they not win? AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!
Author: Brian Reed
Artist: Chris Samnee
When we left the boys in SIEGE: Embedded last time, Ben Urich and Will Stern were running away from H.A.M.M.E.R. agents on foot while the gigantic Volstagg had decided to join the fray at Asgard by jumping on one the H.A.M.M.E.R. agents goblin-gliders, and going in full steam ahead. Urich had continued to interview various ‘man on the street’ types all the while trying to get a handle on what Middle America thinks of Osborn and his jihad against super-heroes and Asgardians. Issue three opens directly after the end of issue two. Let’s join the action…
Much like issue two, this issue parallels the current issue of the main SIEGE mini-series. Ben Urich and Will Stern get split up at the H.A.M.M.E.R. base and are forced to go different ways. As the attack on Asgard is not going as well as Osborn planned, the various H.A.M.M.E.R. troops are all running around with ten thousand things to do. Both Urich and Stern were originally in custody for trespassing, but they were soon left alone as Osborn ordered everyone who was capable to head to Asgard, and made all other duties fall to secondary status. Stern takes his van back and heads directly for Asgard with his camera running, while Ben Urich hops a ride on Todd Keller’s (the Marvel Universe Glen Beck analogue) air transport headed for Asgard. That Ben Urich has a knack for getting into the most impossible situations!
With the invasion in full gear, Keller shows how nuts he truly is by threatening both his producer and Urich art gun point, and forcing them to get his network-feed up and running so he can continue to sling Osborn’s righteous bullshit about the evils of the “self-proclaimed” gods of Asgard. It’s at this point that Asgard cracks in half and falls, no doubt due to the actions of the madman Bob Reynolds, aka The Sentry, from SIEGE #3.
Volstagg does not actually make an appearance in this issue. It seems as though he will be shown in more depth in next month’s final issue. This was the fastest read of the mini-series, but a quality issue none-the-less.
Author: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
Dark Avengers is a totally under rated book. I haven’t really ever been a big fan of Mike Deodato Jr.’s artwork, but in this series he’s really stepped it up. His art is actually very reminiscent of Gene Ha’s work. And for this book, that is perfect. If he continues this trend, I may just have to pick up Secret Avengers, his next assignment, when it debuts later this spring.
This issue is kind of hard to place in the grand scheme of the entire SIEGE event, but we see Ares still alive, and the Dark Avengers still at their tower and not in Asgard at this point. In the last issue Norman Osborn had decided that Lindy Reynolds, Bob’s wife, was too big of a liability. He ordered Hawkeye, who is really just the assassin better known as Bullseye, to kill Lindy at the first available opportunity. That opportunity happens in this issue. Bullseye flew her out over the Ocean on an Avengers Quinjet, and then proceeded to choke the life out of her, and then dropped her body into the water like a sack of frozen kittens. After the murder, Bullseye heads back to the Tower where he is confronted by The Sentry. The Sentry immediately accuses Bullseye of murdering his wife, but in true Bullseye fashion, he does an amazing job of lying. Even when The Sentry is bearing down on him ready to bring a demi-god’s worth of wrath down, Bullseye still keeps his cool and insists that Lindy didn’t want to live any longer in constant fear of Bob, and says that she committed suicide. Bullseye says that if he had killed her, then why would he ever return? Bob could kill him in an instant. It would be insane for Bullseye to lie, he insists. So as it turns out, Bullseye/Dark Hawkeye has balls thrice the size of Stephen Colbert’s. He outright murdered the wife of an angry god, and then convinced said god that he was innocent. Absolutely unbelievable.
The preview for next month’s issue has everybody’s favourite fake Avengers lying face-down in the dirt reeling from the beating they are taking over in SIEGE. The end is near for Osborn and his villain team. How will it all end? April will be an exciting month in the Marvel Universe J .
Title: Dark Avengers #14
Author: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
Release date: February 17, 2010
Admittedly, I haven’t been collecting Dark Avengers since it was first released a year or so ago. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Mike Deodato’s art style, and the $4 US price tag made me shy. In fact, when Marvel upped their cover price to $4 US on some of their bigger books, I just flat out dropped them in protest. Only Captain America survived that particular cut. I say all this, because recently I picked up the SIEGE-centric issues of Dark Avengers (as well as Avengers: Initiative and New Avengers) and became really interested in the exploration of Bob Reynolds, aka The Sentry. He seems almost like a robot in the main SIEGE mini-series. He just follows Osborn’s orders without question, no matter how evil they are. I was curious as to why he was like this, and since The Sentry and Norman Osborn both are front and center in Dark Avengers, it seemed as though that was the right place to check.
Following last year’s massive Skrull Secret Invasion of the Marvel Universe, Norman Osborn took command of S.H.I.E.L.D., renamed it H.A.M.M.E.R. and then formed his own group of Avengers. The only “heroes” that joined Osborn’s group were Ares, who wasn’t that great a hero in the first place, and The Sentry. Dark Avengers was launched to tell this story, with one of the most important pieces of the story being Bob Reynolds/The Sentry. In the last issue (#13) Bob was taken over by what he calls “The Void”. This Void is either a dark entity of some type or just a really dark and homicidal side to Bob’s personality. Bob’s wife tried to kill him, at his request no less, because she found out that Bob wasn’t really a super-hero. He was a super drug addict being controlled by some dark force. It turns out that the thing that makes Bob Reynolds into a Superman is really just a serum that runs out over time, but provides the greatest high of all when at full potency: super-powers on par with a god. Her initial attempt to kill Bob seemed to work, but then he got up like nothing happened. The Void had taken complete control and revealed that he would never let Lindy (Bob’s wife) kill Bob, or let Bob commit suicide. According to the Void, Bob was too weak of mind to ever truly end his own life, even if he insists that it is what he really wants.
Cut to issue #14 and we have the Void throwing the most destructive temper tantrum since YHWH sent the great flood. Things are falling apart inside “Avengers Tower” as Norman Osborn’s psycho-Avengers are all showing their true colors and acting out accordingly. All the while cracks are starting to form in Osborn’s psyche and it seems as though he may soon fold and maybe even turn back into the Green Goblin. His Green Goblin-ish behaviour really takes center stage when at the end of the issue Osborn tasks Bullseye with the assassination of Lindy.
Brian Bendis has really set up the characters in this book for a big fall. It seems as though all of this stuff is going to come to a head in the next two issues and will lead to its ending as a series. Of course we know that this is happening due to solicitations for the series drying up after April, but how they get there will be tons of fun to read. I think we can expect the utter destruction of Osborn’s Avengers and the resurgence of Osborn as a villain that is recognized as a villain. Maybe even The Void will get his. J
The Heroic Age of comics is upon us it seems! With the recent announcement by DC Comics that their big event mini-series, Blackest Night, would be followed up with a bi-weekly series entitled Brightest Day, it seems as though Marvel has also thrown their hat into the ring with an announcement of their own.
As it was made known a week or so ago, following Marvel’s big Siege mini-series event, Marvel will be ending all of the monthly Avengers titles (New Avengers, Dark Avengers, Mighty Avengers, and Avengers: The Initiative). What wasn’t known was what would be taking their place. Well Marvel has just announced that following Siege, writer Brian Michael Bendis (who else) will launch a new Avengers monthly title, simply titled The Avengers. The book is set to star the recently reunited Marvel Big 3, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man; as well as Hawkeye, Beast, Black Widow, Spider-Man and a few others.
What is significant about this relaunch of the Avengers brand, is the fact that Marvel will strive to tell more “heroic” tales. This means more swashbuckling and more fun for the heroes, who will finally be able to be true “heroes” again. The villains will be just as bad as ever, but like DC and their Brightest Day series, Marvel is looking to employ a broad spectrum tonal shift in the way they tell comic book stories. There is a promotional piece of art available online that shows a new Avengers line-up which may or may not be final. The piece is drawn by the amazing Jim Cheung, but at this point no artist has been announced for the new monthly. Check this space for updates as they happen.
Title: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #31
Author: Joss Whedon
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Storyline: Season 8 (single issue story)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release date: January 13, 2010
31 issues down and only 9 left to go. When Joss Whedon and Scott Allie (editor, Dark Horse Comics) set out to continue the story of Buffy and her gang of “scoobies” into a theoretical season 8, no one knew how big the venture would become. Here we are almost 4 years later, and 30+ issues in, and even though it’s been an incredible amount of work, Whedon and his merry gang of contributors are still steaming ahead.
Recently Mr. Whedon announced that the series would be coming to an end with issue #40. Fans didn’t expect the book to go on forever; after all…the book was labelled as “season 8”, and as we all know, seasons always come to an end. But fans were still disappointed as Buffy has never been this good. Of course this can be attributed to the involvement of Joss. It never hurts when the creator of a Pop Culture Icon is actually the one steering the proverbial ship.
Mr. Whedon also announced that with the end of Season 8 will come the beginning of Season 9, with a little hiatus in between. There has been no official word on when “Season 9” is expected to start, or whether Joss will be able to hold onto to artist Georges Jeanty. But it is hoped that some of the contributing writers from Season 8, many of which wrote for the television show, will be back again. Now onto this week’s issue, entitled Turbulence.
At the end of the last issue of Season 8, Buffy’s vast army of junior slayers, whilst in battle against the forces of the mysterious Twilight (season 8’s big bad) lost all of their powers, which then came rushing back into Buffy, and now it seems as though she is a superhero. This set-up sounds kind of ridiculous, but the execution was pretty good.
Issue #31 finds Buffy exploring her new found superman-like ability to fly. Willow’s insanely powerful magic abilities are reactivated through some type of aftershock from a massive mystical event, which is to be explored in a later issue. Xander finally reveals to Buffy that he and Dawn are in love, and we find out that Twilight has Giles, Faith, and Andrew all in custody. This issue really acted as a bridge from the last storyarc by Jane Espenson (former Buffy TV writer) to the next one entitled Twilight, by novelist and popular comic writer Brad Meltzer. “Twilight”, which has nothing to do with the Stephanie Meyer penned abominations, will finally reveal the identity of Twilight. Which, unfortunately for the fans that’ve been waiting for four years to find out, has already been leaked on-line by Dark Horse in order to increase sales on the series. Will this gamble work, or will it just piss off fans? You be the judge. If you would like the info on the massive spoiler, just click here J. Overall, much like the rest of Season 8, I really enjoyed this issue. Joss has hit another one out of the park. I can’t wait for the next arc, as it all finally comes together.