Siege #2

Here's a possible tag line for "Siege": It looks even better than "Secret Invasion"! Or, it's like "House of M," but faster! Or: "Siege," it's exactly about what it says its going to be about.

"Siege" #2 feels a bit meatier than the opening issue, but not by much. It's just basically a bunch of fight scenes as Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers lay siege to Asgard while the Avengers gear up to enter the fray. But it sure looks great, with Olivier Coipel providing the best work of his career, and it has a rapid-fire pacing that we didn't tend to see in the middle parts of Bendis's other event series.

This issue features a few fun/exhilarating/disturbing moments, from Ares realizing that he's been duped by Osborn (and then paying the cost of his gullibility), to Maria Hill riding in the back of a jalopy with a bazooka on her shoulder, to the assembled Avengers and Secret Warriors gathered around the returned Steve Rogers, waiting for his command. And the final page features a nice use of comic-book-panel slow motion for a gag that's been a long time coming.

It's almost impossible to talk about the specifics of this issue without spoiling it, since it's all so plot heavy. That's just the type of comic it is. It's about the fake good guys going too far and the actual good guys finally stepping up and challenging them. It's about the end of Norman Osborn's Dark Reign, through Osborn's own hubris.

So let me talk about a few more scenes, without telling you how they end: We get the Sentry vs. Ares, in a vicious battle. We get Cap and Bucky, talking about who really shall wield the shield. We get Nick Fury standing up to the pre-teen God of Fear. We get Daken, shaken and stirred.

It's spectacle, pure, simple and direct. It's the original "Secret Wars" with less word balloons. Costumed characters going at it, and Olivier Coipel's camera pulling forward and back, chopping up panels and going wide, to make everything as dramatic as it needs to be.

It seems that, after years of a single extended narrative that began with the launch of "New Avengers," ran through "Civil War," "Secret Invasion," and "Dark Reign," we're finally getting the denouement. And it looks to be nasty, brutish, and short. Which is just fine with me, as long as it looks this good.

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