It's difficult to call Siege #1 a good comic or a absolute failure despite it being both at the same time. Have you read anything about Siege wherein the basic concept is explained? Then you've read the first issue. "Norman Osborn and company invade Asgard after he stages a disaster to make Asgard look like a threat." That's the concept of the whole crossover and it's also the content of the first issue. I just saved you four bucks. Literally nothing else happens. It happens in more detail and those details are presented well, but that's it. The concept is the content.
Does that make this a bad comic? Well, yeah. And no. I guess it depends on how you approach it: as a single issue or the first issue in a story. As a single issue, this one fails as it feels like a letdown providing nothing I didn't already know about the project. Instead of blowing me away and increasing my excitement, I was left underwhelmed and feeling a little cheated. I repeat: nothing happens that I didn't learn for free from the publisher and writer ahead of time. Nothing.
But, Bendis needs to set the story up and that means laying out the concept. He could have rushed it and crammed it into the first five pages just to move on, but that wouldn't have been any better. It's like this first issue is disappointing by necessity. It's a necessary component of the larger story, so we have to suck it up and deal with spending four bucks on a comic that offers nothing we didn't already know (assuming you're the type to pay attention to interviews... otherwise, I guess this doesn't actually apply to you... unless you heard the concept at all going into it). Is this the best way to kick off an event? Not at all as most of my excitement and enthusiasm is gone (and despite my cynical 'too cool for school' front, I was excited -- I spent 24 hours on Bendis's Avengers work this past summer, so it's clear where my interests lie). It's like hearing the concept of a TV show and the pilot simply spells out that concept while offering little new information. Years later, it will work better when put together with what follows, but right now? Horrible.
Siege #1 is presented with skill and confidence, but is so unsurprising that it left me bored. The concept is the content.
[As I said, this was originally posted at GraphiContent where I also do things like post my unused blurbs for CBR's best comics of 2009 and discuss Joe Casey comics like Krash Bastards. This weekend, I will be doing a series of posts on 2009 including looks at Casey's output for the year, some notable books that didn't make the top ten, a few words on my favourite comic critic of the year, and my top ten comics of the year. So check it out.]