Jude Terror wraps up a week of Siege reviews with Siege: Embedded #4, by Brian Reed and Chris Samnee!
Credits & Solicit Info:
COVER BY: Adi Granov
WRITER: Brian Reed
PENCILS: Chris Samnee
INKS: John & Laura Lakey
COLORED BY: John Ross
LETTERED BY: Werther Dell'Edera
SIEGE BLOCKBUSTER TIE-IN!! As the SIEGE of Asgard escalates to its final chaotic moments, one man must decide which is more important - living through the day, or getting the truth behind the story of the century! Rated T ...$3.99
IN STORES: May 12, 2010
It's been almost a week since the jaw-dropping finale of Siege hit stores, and now we've all had some time to digest it, as well as ato nticipate this week's Avengers #1. It is clear that an era has ended in Marvel Comics, and we are entering the beginning of a brand new Marvel Universe. While Brian Bendis's trio of finales, Siege, Dark Avengers, and New Avengers, have soaked up much of the attention in the past week, it would be a crime not to recognize the fantastic work that Brian Reed has put into not only Siege:Embedded, but the post-Disassembled Marvel Universe as a whole. Just as Siege itself closed out the "dark" age in Marvel, so did Siege: Embedded, aided by the remarkable talents of future superstar Chris Samnee, close out Reed's work in the era.
Embedded, a four issue companion series to the main event book of Siege, filled the role that Front Line did during Secret Invasion and Civil War. Furthermore, Embedded could also be considered a sequel to Secret Invasion: Front Line, as that book was also written by Reed, and began the arc of suffering for lead character Ben Ulrich that concludes here. The first three issues of Embedded were fun and exciting, a journey full of potential for the unlikely trio of Ulrich, his fellow disgraced journalist William Stern, and Norman Osborn's Siege scapegoat, the voluminous Volstagg, as they take a road trip to Braxton, Oklahoma, site of the invasion of Asgard.
The first three issues, despite touching on serious subject matter and setting the stage for some big allegories, were almost bright in tone, with the excitement building as the characters made their way to Asgard, and Volstagg providing brilliantly written comic relief. This issue, on the other hand, deals with the somber after-effects of the assault on Asgard, and the shock of going from jokes about Volstagg's appetite to pulling bodies from underneath rubble creates a starling juxtaposition that causes the reader to consider the gravity of war, which is, of course, Reed's goal. Reed set out to tell a story about embedded journalists with this book, a unique twist on the everyman perspective of the Front Line books, and he succeeds, ascreators often do in works that stand out in the comics medium, in rising above the simplicity of superhero slugfests and saying something that applies to the real world.
This should come as no surprise, of course, as Reed has become a master of writing event tie-ins that matter, turning what should, by all rights, be simple filler into must-read stories on their own. As this was true of Dark Reign: Spider-Man, Secret Invasion: Front-Line, the Siege: Spider-Man one-shot, and a good portion of Reed's 50 issue Ms. Marvel run, so it is true of Siege: Embedded, perhaps more than all of those put together. While the previous Front Line books examined an everyman look at superheroics and the frightening repercussions of a fictional superhero conflict, Siege: Embedded manages to do this while at the same time addressing the brutality and sorrow of war, and the destruction wreaked on the lives of ordinary people, in ways that some of the other Siege tie-ins could only grasp at. The book also makes important points about the responsibility of journalism, and the failure of much of the real world media, in the actions of the Glenn Beck-esque Todd Keller when compared to the heroism of Ulrich.
This is not to say that Embedded #4 doesn't provide a happy ending like any good end of an era book should. This is the end of the Dark Reign and the beginning of the Heroic Age, and this book makes that very clear. However, it does so while providing a somber contrast as well. Ben's inner monologue about finally finding happiness and the dawning of a bright new age begins, after all, at the grave of his dead wife. Some characters, like Volstagg, begin atoning for their sins, while others, like Stern and Ulrich, have paid their debts and find a new beginning.
None of this would have been possible without the amazing art of Chris Samnee. Reed found the perfect person to bring his story to life in Samnee, who makes panels like the final page, showing Heimdall's observatory on top of Avengers tower radiating a rainbow over skygazing New Yorkers is a wonderful metaphor for the onset of the new era itself, as the rainbow begins to shine just the slightest bit of illumination down over a world overrun with darkness. Samnee brings this kind of masterful use of the comics medium to page after page in Siege: Embedded, using not only action, but also tone and setting to convey the grand ideas of this ambitious story to readers who might not be expecting something this deep from a funny-book, much less one with a big event trade dress. And of course, I would be remiss in not mentioning Samnee's greatest achievement, which was turning the lovable Volstagg into the breakthrough character of the entire Siege event, with the incredible range of emotions he managed to convey on the warriors chubby face. Readers who enjoyd this book will be clamoring for more Volstagg, which will hopefully lead to many people giving his Thor: The Mighty Avenger all-ages book a try.
Speaking of breakthroughs, both Reed and Samnee are one huge hit book away from becoming Marvel's next superstar creators, and readers have a chance right now to experience their growing potential with Siege: Embedded. So call your comic shop and ask them to pull all four issues of this off the shelf for you, and if they can't put the trade on your pull list early. If every tie-in book was as good as this one, event fatigue would be a distant memory.
Rating: BUY IT!
My rating scale:
BUY IT - You have to read this for the foreseeable future.
TRY IT - Worth at least a few issues.
WAIT FOR IT - Pick this up in trade if it lives up to its potential.
SKIP IT - Spend your money on something better.
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