By: Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Olivier Coipel (penciller), Mark Morales (inker), Laura Martin (colorist)

The Story: Osborn has managed to start his war with Asgard pretty well. He’s got Thor down, the Asgardians are on the ropes and things look good, until Ares clues in that Osborn wasn’t entirely truthful. Divine blood is thicker than water and Osborn’s got to pay. But then, Ares has a problem: Sentry.

What’s Good: Coipel is always a treat to watch. My comic reading experience here slowed waaaay down, just to admire the beautiful pencils, inks and colors. Steve Rogers has a very definite look under Coipel’s inks. Ares, with or without helmet, is an awe-inspiring figure. The Sentry’s motion is so fast as to disappear in some panels in a style that reminds me a lot of Gene Colan’s art. The other artist that Coipel really reminds me of is Paul Smith, especially Wolverine. While Daken stalks Thor in Broxton, he looks so much like his dad did under Paul Smith in the Uncanny X-Men or in the X-Men-Alpha Flight miniseries. And for the fans of more gruesome content, you may wish to check out this issue if you want to see what Wolverine and Ares look like from the inside. I won’t explain – it’s worth the look…

The events Bendis has set in motion are a big deal. That’s good for a story and I’ll give you some examples of stuff that matters. Sentry is now a bad ass. Not only can I tolerate his presence, I actually like this brutal punisher that Osborn has on a leash. Captain America and Bucky are sorting themselves out, for the long run. They are each deciding who they will be. Osborn seems to be coming closer and closer to a comeuppance. Ares fights Sentry and it ain’t pretty. Steve rallies the divided troops. For a lot of reasons, this series is showing that it matters; events in this book will affect the rest of the MU.

What’s Not So Good: However much I enjoyed the art and the slapdowns, the whole issue gave me the feeling I was reading the twinkie version of a comic saga. The tense rescue scene with Maria Hill seemed cool to read, until I thought “Wait a second…the people who just took out Thor and invaded Asgard have just been driven off by a defrocked SHIELD agent with a big gun and some hillbilly helpers in a pickup…” Same thing when Steve and Bucky are arguing over who should carry the shield. This should be a *big* comics moment. They’re talking about who will carry the symbol of their country and of their highest ideals. But, the guy who got to hold the shield…got to hold the shield. That was it. No fanfare. No emotion. No reaction. It didn’t seem to matter to the characters involved. That meant that there was no way for it to matter to me. There was way more emotion and reader payoff in the exchange between Heimdall and Ares where Ares learns the truth about Osborn. These are big lost opportunities to turn this series from something good to something that people will refer to for years.

Conclusion: Siege may have been years in the making, but its execution was rushed and emotionally flat. If the $3.99 cover price doesn’t scare you off, go ahead and buy it for the art and the *massive* superhero beat-downs, but you might find that in some parts, you don’t engage with the story.

Grade: C

-DS Arsenault