Marvel’s tradition of releasing a companion book based around the journalistic coverage of their event books is a long-standing one at this point. Some have felt a bit more extraneous or shoehorned than others, but “Siege: Embedded” is tied to “Siege” very well. Volstagg pretty much caused this entire storyline (inadvertantly) and “Embedded” follows the paths of Ben Urich and Volstagg alongside that of a fairly trasnparent Glenn Back analogue, Todd Keller. It’s pretty clear who’s going to be on who’s side here. That makes the “politics” of “Siege: Embedded” a lot more explicit than the kind of grey area Marvel tried to maintain during “Civil War.” Right Wing = Fox News = Norman Osborne. Not really too much wiggle room here.
So, a reader that might be a bit more sensitive to political slights might find themselves instantly turned off of “Embedded,” even while “Siege,” itself, barely dangles a toe into the waters of Red State/Blue State dynamics. But if you’re able to just look at the characters and their stories on their own terms, “Embedded” is a solid story. Watching Ben Urich (along with an old pal journalist who really should have been either Neal Conan or Manoli Weatherell) and Volstagg drive through the American Midwest is plenty charming. Naturally, it all devolves into a giant fight in the middle, but ends up in a nice little jail break. The issue balances the kind of widescale theatrics that are pretty much necessary for any Event Book Crossover with the kind of interpersonal dynamics and ground-level storytelling that justify the decision to even have a book like this.
Much of that success can be attributed to the fantastic artwork of Chris Samnee. On first glance, he might look a lot like many of the other Michael-Larkean artists who deal in heavy blacks and a wide line. But in reality, Samnee has a wonderful flexibility to his art that is able to capture both the Ben Urich grit and the Volstagg-eating-cheeseburgers charm of the story. His work is also perfectly complimented by colorist Matthew Wilson. In an industry where crossover books are usually churned out with four or five pencillers and twenty-eight inkers just to make a deadline, “Siege: Embedded” is a wonderful looking book with its own unique and consistent style; one that is well suited to the story being told.
While it might be a bit more direct with its politics than some might like, “Siege: Embedded” is a gorgeous looking book, and one that supplements the Event Book it corresponds to instead of just riding its coattails with the appropriate trade dress.