The final page of “Siege” #2 delivers a gutcheck for readers and Abigail Brand as writer Kieron Gillen delivers a payoff following an issue of mounting suspense and character study. Artist Filipe Andrade provides most of the artwork, but three double-page spreads from Yasmine Putri, Kyle Strahm, Jesus Aburtov and In-Hyuk Lee serve up some jaw-dropping moments for readers to pause and soak up.
Two of those spreads align with excerpts from Brand’s War Journal, while the third seems to be more of a time-displaced documentary. All three of the spreads depict the Shield under siege from different forces, both defining the strength of Battleworld’s barrier wall and also identifying the accompanying isolation inherent in such a sentry outpost. While six pages from a modern comic may seem like a large chunk of the issue, Gillen, Putri, Strahm, Aburtov and Lee maximize the content and impact of these three double page images. Andrade folds the rest of the story around and between, less driven by storytelling and more punctuated by emotional presentation, with lean characters that sprout out from the backgrounds of their panels.
Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors are filled with anxiety and intensity, further emphasizing the shadows Andrade uses to outline his figures. The Shield is light on background detail, underscoring the importance of the characters while projecting Rosenberg’s colors and the uncertainty packed between color and shadow. Letterer Clayton Cowles keeps the story clean, but finds the right tone for each new voice present in “Siege” #2.
Gillen appears to fully embrace the crazy sandbox universe created within the “Secret Wars” event, delivering a wide array of story beats throughout “Siege” #2. There’s humor and subterfuge, zombie apocalypse and sci-fi fearsomeness. Through it all, the readers learn just how hard-shelled Abigail Brand is as Gillen cracks her open to appeal to the readers. Brand maintains face within the story but, in defining her parameters, Gillen explains the cast of characters around her and establishes their effect on her life. Most importantly, however, Gillen implores the reader to forget everything else, dig in deep and enjoy this sandbox with him.
“Siege” #2 provides a slice of what “Secret Wars” can do as a concept. Gillen, Andrade, Rosenberg and Cowles construct a fun story from that concept and give readers plenty to enjoy. This isn’t the most upbeat story, as horrors surround humanity, ready to scale the Shield, but Gillen gives his audience a solid read with a gripping cliffhanger.