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A New Dawn

June 17, 2010

The event years in the making, that brings a close to storylines first brought up in Avengers Disassembled, concludes in Siege #4.  As the Void attacks, Loki takes the Norn Stones away from the Hood.  Apologizing to Odin for his folly, Loki uses the stones to power up all of the superheroes to defeat the Void.  The Avengers and allied superheroes counterattack, but the Void is still going strong.  The Void notices the source of their new power and attacks Loki.  Thor and Iron Man try to save him, but they are too late; the Void vaporizes Loki.  In anger, Thor renews his attack.  Norman Osborn tries to sneak away, but Captain America (Steve Rogers) catches him.  Thor lures the Void out into the plains, and Iron Man uses the H.A.M.M.E.R. helicarrier as a massive bullet to kill the Void.  Victoria Hand, the only person remaining on the helicarrier, evacuates as fast as she can.  Using the light from the explosion, Osborn smacks Cap in the back of the head and tries to escape.  Fortunately, Volstagg shows up and atones for his sins by delivering the “final blow” to Osborn.  The Void turns back into Robert Reynolds, who begs Thor to kill him.  Thor doesn’t want to, but when Reynolds turns back into the Void, Thor has no choice.  He kills the Void and tosses his body into the sun, to be sure that he won’t be coming back any time soon.  Steve brings back Osborn and gives the shield back to Bucky Barnes, saying that the world needs only one Captain America.  Steve then gets called to the White House, where President Barack Obama has him become the U.S.’ new top cop.  However, Steve wants to do it his way, so the president throws out the Superhuman Registration Act.  At a party later, at which all of the superheroes are gathered, the New Avengers wonder if this is a trap.  Then, Tony Stark shows up and starts toasting everyone.  Fortunately for him, since he’s putting his foot in his mouth, Thor and the Asgardians arrive to steal the spotlight.  Heimdall moves his watchtower to the top of Stark Tower to show Asgard’s solidarity with the world and the Avengers.  Steve then comes over and says that’s good, because everyone will be needed for what’s next.

I think that, more than anything else, this issue shows that Brian Michael Bendis is good on big event concepts, but always fails to deliver in the finale.  All right, so we all know that Siege wasn’t exactly a cerebral experience, and it had very little time for big character moments due to its size.  But if this whole ending wasn’t a massive exercise in the use of deus ex machina, I don’t know what was.  The Norn Stones are a lesser use of this, since they were in New Avengers and were established to be at Asgard because of the Hood’s involvement.  How convenient for a power-up.  Then then non-deus ex machina thing was Thor suddenly being able to kill the Void.  I get that the Void was weakened from the fight and the helicarrier drop, but come on.  While I think that Thor should be as strong as the Void, I think that him suddenly being able to defeat the Void with one big lightning strike is a bit unbelievable.  Then back to the deus ex machina, suddenly Steve Rogers being back allows Obama to throw out a law.  I’m pretty sure that’s violating the concept of checks and balances, unless, unknown to us, there was a provision in the Superhuman Registration Act allowing the president to unilaterally toss the law out if he wants to.  That’s way too convenient a way to get rid of the consequences of Civil War.  Just like with Secret Invasion, the ending of this series turns into a convenient way to move us on to the next new status quo, rather than remain as an entertaining story in its own right.  Bendis’ few character moments were still very good.  Particularly the craziness of Norman Osborn.  Not sure how Siege convinced Cap that Bucky should be Cap, since Bucky barely did anything, but whatever.  And Olivier Coipel’s art is still freaking awesome.  So Laura Martin randomly forgot Osborn’s face paint in that one panel when Volstagg smacks him.  That’s not too big a deal.  Coipel’s art is so beautiful in the whole issue that I’m not really complaining.  Now, we know that Loki will be back very soon in Thor, considering that little dirty deal he made.  So the weight of his death… well, it’s not that much.  I’m sure Bendis knows about that deal, though, and he wants to keep it separate, since this story is about his sacrifice.  But in the end, it becomes obvious that Bendis is best at writing ongoing series that aren’t making major status quo changes for the rest of the Marvel Universe.  His best work is on books like Dark Avengers, New Avengers, and Daredevil, that, although they do have major stuff going on, don’t leave it up to him to single-handedly move the world forward.  And yet he’s in charge of the flagship title of the Heroic Age, the Avengers.  You’d think Marvel would have learned.

Plot: 6.5      Art: 9.4      Dialogue: 8.7      Overall: 7.3

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