If I could give it zero, I would
This was, undoubtedly, the worst comic I have ever read, and I've read Loeb's Hulk. There is not an ounce of reverence for any character in this book. First of all, "Norman Osborn and his Avengers will pay for their crimes" so says the Government. Um, you morons are the ones who gave them power in the first place! You don't just get to blame them now it's all done. No accountability for the Government. Next, all the heroes are best friends again. Last I checked, Tony still tried to round these guys up and put them in prison, I don't care how much respect you have for someone, you don't just get over that. No accountability. Finally, the Sentry. A guy who was being manipulated the entire time,
I hated this comic, I really did. I have never been so mad at a company for treating a character so callously.
Seriously, if you can tolerate half-expletive terrible writing, then by all means, buy this love-fest piece of horse excrement. But if character development and respect for mental illnesses mean anything to you, then buy something from DC instead, or just save your money for the next Amazing Spider-Man, because, whilst I love Marvel, I have never been so angry with a comic book.
Next to this, Superman: For Tomorrow (another story I felt betrayed character in exchange for cheap thrills), looks like Daredevil: Born Again.
Supplemental Review (in extreme detail);
First of all, let’s examine the lead up to Siege; Asgardian is attacked, stuff gets blown up, Norman Osborn wages war on Asgard. Let’s just take a moment to think about this. Norman Osborn, without the expressed permission of the President (I’ll explain why this is apparent later), declares war on a nation that hovers over US soil. Does no one else think this screams “BAD IDEA”!? And it’s not like you’re attacking Greenland here, this is Asgard, home of the gods. Gods. Plural. Osborn has been planning this with the curiously absent Cabal. Where the hell was Doom when all this was going on?
“Huh, Asgard’s going to be destroyed, is there a chance anything interesting could be happening over there? It’s not like MY CONCURRENT STORYLINE HAS ME RESEARCHING ASGARDIAN PHYSIOLOGY” By definition, War implies casualties on both sides, otherwise it’s just an extermination. Ergo, dead Asgardians. So Norman and his team of Avengers decide to attack Asgard with HAMMER agents. Please keep in mind said agents are probably just regular enlisted men with homes and families, that becomes important later on.
So, now that all this is going on, the Marvel Heroes decide that enough is enough. Norman Osborn has gone too far, as opposed to everything else he’s done this year which was just shy of “too far”. Suddenly Ares realises that the known psychopath and supervillain who threw an innocent young woman off a bridge and has secret meetings with Dictators and mobsters may in fact not be all that trustworthy, so he decides to rebel against the Dark Avengers. He is then promptly slaughtered by the Sentry.
“Surely you mean the Void who has incapicated the Sentry?” Nope, I mean the Sentry. Bob Reynolds. He just killed Ares. Why? Don’t think about that, you idiot, Bendis sure didn’t. So now the Sentry, the Saint of the Marvel Universe, is a complete and utter nutbar. And by nutbar, I don’t mean mentally unstable, which is how he was written, I mean he has the maturity level of an eight year old and listens to a KNOWN PSYCHOPATH AND SUPERVILLAIN WHO THREW AN INNOCENT YOUNG WOMAN OFF A BRIDGE. But hey, it’s not like that young girl was the Sentry’s friend’s girlfriend. Oh wait. It was. But just remember, as far as Bendis is concerned, this all makes sense.
So anyway, the Marvel heroes show up and there’s a bunch of fighting, I don’t really remember the specifics of said fight, as it was incredibly dull and forgettable. Anyway, Spidey punches Norman Osborn inside his Iron Patriot armor and the helmet flies off leaving Norman looking all green and sick. I think this was supposed to imply that the Goblin had taken over, but mostly it just looked like he vomited on himself inside his helmet. Anyway, Steve Rogers and the Marvel Heroes declare that Osborn is under arrest. Yep, because apparently they have the right to arrest people now. Why did they not do this beforehand? Like when Osborn was trying to steal a Cosmic Cube? Um, shut up, that’s why. So Norman Osborn is being arrested for… Wait, why’s he being arrested? This whole War seems to be sanctioned by the US Government. Wait? It’s not!? THEN WHY THE HELL WERE THE DARK AVENGERS AND THE HAMMER AGENTS FOLLOWING OSBORN!? When your boss says jump, and the Government says stand ****ing still or we’ll put you in prison, you stand ****ing still.
Anyway, Norman goes ape**** at the concept of losing his position of power, so he tells the Sentry; greatest hero in the Marvel Universe, to trash Asgard. Why? Just coz. So then Bob does it, and boom! We are now staring at some kind of crab thing that looks like it was taken straight from a porn anime. So, what the hell is that thing? The Void? Huh? Since when did the Void look like that? Oh, it does now. Ok, that makes sense.
I enjoyed Bendis’ original run with the character back in New Avengers, and whilst it was nowhere near the quality of the Jenkins’ story, it was still thoroughly enjoyable. Then, came Dark Reign. Norman Osborn succeeds in manipulating the Sentry, Robert Reynolds and the Void; why is he able to do this? No idea. There is no explanation given. In Dark Avengers #5, Norman tells Robert “there is no Void”, and then asks for the Void’s help next issue. I know that Bendis is trying to illustrate just how evil Osborn is, but it comes off more as an insult to the intelligence of the reader. We know Osborn is evil. We know he is an insane, cruel and manipulative expletive. Gwen told us that 30 years ago.
So, in order to tell us what we already know, Bendis spends the first 6 issues of Dark Avengers showcasing the Sentry as something of almost Spectre-level power, and all the while having him being controlled by Norman Osborn. Again, the question is why? Why would the Sentry follow Osborn? The Sentry is a universal force for good, his best friend is Reed Richards. He is a mentor to Spider-Man and a friend to the Hulk. For whatever reason, he forsakes these prior relationships (relationships he was willing to sacrifice his memory and legacy for), so he can work for Osborn. Again, the question is why?
Nevertheless, I have a large amount of patience for comic books, even books with overwhelmingly large plotholes; and Mike Deodato Jr is one of my favourite artists, so I continued to look forward to Dark Avengers each issue.
Then, the Molecule Man Arc. I don’t even need to explain what was wrong with this. How exactly does drinking a freaking serum give you molecular control of the environment around you? Answer, it doesn’t. The serum accelerated and temporally displaced Robert’s molecules, it did not give him a metaphysical reality alteration ability. Still, it could be worse? We all know that the Sentry is going to return to his status as a true hero at some point, atone for his sins, and all will be well.
Dark Avengers #13 and #14 threw in some garbage about the connection between the Sentry and the Angel of Death of the Passover. So, that’s a nice slap to Jews and Christians everywhere (of which I am one) by suggesting their faith is actually just a physical manifestation of a schitzophrenic’s “dark” side.
Still, I continued to persevere with the series, just waiting for Bob to shed this dominated weakling persona he gained for some bizarre unknowable reason; then Siege #3. In Dark Avengers #15, Bullseye kills the Sentry’s wife. Sentry becomes the void (of-bloody-course) and yells for a few pages. Then Osborn just tells him to chill….And he does. The most powerful human being on the planet is told by a world-renowned psycho (Bullseye) that his wife committed suicide. And he believes him. Now, on top of that being ludicrous in of itself, I’m reasonably certain that the Sentry has telepathy. Which, for some ungodly reason, he decides never to use when HE IS LIVING WITH A BUNCH OF CRIMINALS AND SADISTS.
So, we’ve established that DA #15 frustrated me, but I still didn’t hate the issue that much. Bullseye’s interaction with Lindy was hauntingly wonderful to read. And then I read Siege #3. What the hell was that? The Sentry destroys Asgard on Osborn’s order, because Osborn has just had the holy hell beaten out of him by the good guys (took long enough), in an entirely unsatisfying manner. This is all after Thor and Sentry have had a mini-throwdown with Thor having a look of “holy $#%@” on his face the entire time. So, Sentry destroys Asgard and Norman starts whining about how he was the only one who could keep “him” in check. The heroes all stand around like a pack of morons, after all, it’s not like a floating city just got destroyed or anything, and then we see what Osborn was alluding to; the Sentry in fully voided-out-mode looking maniacal and menacing.
And so the real villain of Siege was the Sentry, the greatest hero of the Marvel Universe (according to Jenkins’ original series, we all know Spidey is really the greatest in the MU). A truly incorruptible and selfless being is now the Big Bad. Everything that made the Sentry a joy to read, his fragility, his honor, his courage, his strength and his willingness to do what is right no matter what, is completely gone. This character, who I so loved for being psychologically scarred, has become just another nutcase. Bendis took a character with a severe mental illness that was treated with the utmost respect and understanding, and turned him into just another evil dude.
The characterisation isn’t what has annoyed me, nor the plot holes. It’s the complete disregard that the writing has held for such an awful illness. The moral of the Sentry is no longer “overcoming adversity with faith and selfless action”, but rather “if you have a mental illness, you’re going to turn into a grotesque, psychotic demon”.
So we’ve just finished Siege #3, and it turns out the Sentry is the villain. I’m sorry, the Void, because in Bendisland, they occupy the same body. So there’s a big fight scene with the Marvel Heroes and the Void. The Void decides not to use its immense telepathic power, because that would be logical, and instead chooses to attack everyone, not killing any of them, mind you, with his super powerful tentacles of death. Then Loki does something with the Norn Stones and dies after what is actually a pretty solid examination of his character. Oh that’s right, that happened in Thor, not Siege. Oh well. So yeah, Loki’s dead, and despite causing all of this FOR TEH LULZ, we’re supposed to feel really bad about it. But enough of that crap, the Void isn’t done hitting everyone with non-lethal attacks. Except Loki, he got the lethal attack. Then a helicarrier crashes into the Void and this reverts it back to Bob, coz it works that way (no it doesn’t).
So Bob begs Thor to kill him in a truly noble showing of self-sacrifice. Thor says “**** you, you mentally ill person, I want to watch you suffer”. Ok, that wasn’t verbatim, but that was the gist. Suddenly Bob turns into the Void again! OMG, I TOTALLY DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING! Oh wait, I have an IQ above 14, yes I did. So then Thor decides that he’s really mad at the Void for killing his brother, and wants to destroy it. Even though he just said he didn’t want to do that four seconds ago. Then he hits the Void, the being of infinite power that was capable of reforming itself after Molecule Man literally tore it apart on a Molecular level, with a hammer and a lightning bolt. Well, that’s just going to tick the Void off, why would you do that?
Oh no. Wait. He’s dead. Well he’s gonna come back; that was the whole point of Dark Avengers, wasn’t it? Showing that Bob couldn’t die!
Oh no, wait. He’s really dead. Huh?
So yeah, Bob’s dead and the Marvel Heroes are all standing around wondering what the hell they were doing involved in a war that was handled by about five of them. Then the remaining HAMMER agents and the Dark Avengers are arrested… Wait, why are they being arrested? One assumes that they were unaware that Osborn was acting outside of the US Government’s orders, meaning they were manipulated and believed they were doing the right thing. So they’re being arrested because their boss was a psycho? That seems fair. And those HAMMER soldiers, yeah, they wont be able to go home and sing happy birthday to their kids, because apparently, they did the wrong thing by following the orders of their superiors. Those bastards.
So Steve is promoted to Head of SHIELD due to his immense amount of experience in the field of running large scale organisations. What’s that? He has no experience? Shut up, this is a happy ending!
Siege was promoted as being the culmination of eight years worth of Marvel events. Civil War, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign. Captain America revolted against the Government, friends became enemies, enemies became a badass bounty hunting team written by Warren Ellis, Iron Man became a tyrant who apparently embezzled billions of dollars of Government funds, Spider-Man’s family was shot due to the inability of the Pro-Reg forces to live up to their word, etc…
But that’s ok, because none of that matters! We’re all friends again! Why are we friends again? Because that’s what Bendis wants! Hooray!
Basically, Siege was terrible. Don’t read it.