Written by Brian Reed
Art by Chris Samnee
I went into this week intending to review Siege #1, the first issue in the main book of the event that brings an end to the Dark Reign and will supposedly usher in a new era of. So why did I go with what is essentially Siege’s Front Line tie in? One line:
“We’re gonna go kick Norman Osborn’s ass. With journalism.”
This really is the follow up to all the Front Line tie-in books that came with Civil War, World War Hulk and Secret Invasion. The start is Ben Urich, noted reporter of Daily Bugle and Front Line fame, who has rushed to see the disaster at a Chicago stadium after a fight set up against Volstagg blows up the place, killing thousands. He meets up old friend and current cameraman Will Stern and the two team up to cover what they deduce will be an invasion of Asgard.
My personal interest in journalism aside, Embedded answers a pretty good question not in Siege #1 – what happened to Volstagg? He hangs out with Urich and Stern, of course. There is almost no better way to show just how little Osborn and Loki care about Volstagg than by having the Dark Avengers and the military not even care to look for him after the stadium explosion. He was simply a means to an end, and now no one cares, except for the two reporters who stumbled upon probably the greatest lead of the event.
Just like almost all of the recent Marvel events, you can trip over the political parallels this tries to make. Following along Norman Osborn’s implied hard right slant is a Glenn Beck-esque character, Todd Keller, praising the ground Osborn walks on a Fox News rip-off network. Couple with that is government violation of freedom of the press by restricting access to some press but not all for favorable coverage. It’s almost as if this book were trying to make a statement, but that can’t be right. If these kinds of overtones turn you off, then you may want to steer clear of this tie in.
The only part I just didn’t care for is the obvious title line of “Embedded journalists.” Really? Does embedding journalists in a military conflict really have to be spelled out for people to get the book’s title? It wouldn’t be so bad if it were buried in some dialog, but no. It just needed its own dialog bubble, said by two characters at the same time. It feels like it punched me in the face.
This is a down-to-earth book. Save the flashy looks for the main book where the fights are. Here, everything is in a fittingly grounded appearance as this book is supposed to be the normal people view point. Everyone and everything looks worn. Clothes and faces are wrinkled and covered with creases.
The colors are in darker, more grounded tones, fitting a series that’s supposed to be from a more grounded view of reporters covering a disaster and essentially a war. There’s a lot of shading, which makes sense given that this mostly takes place at night.
The character Todd Keller doesn’t just draw comparisons to Glenn Beck by his actions alone. Right down to the suit and tie and the short hair cut, he’s an almost spot-on match to the Fox News host. Samnee knew just what he was doing for what I believe is Keller’s first appearance (hear that, crazed collectors?).
As for the cover, it mirrors the design of Siege #1 with the characters on the left and the title over the same silhouetted Asgard on the right. Here we have lifelike depictions of the Dark Avengers covered with blood, drawn by the always wonderful Adi Granov.
It’s not perfect though. There could be some better definition here, some cleaning up and touch ups there. But if the book manages to come out on time (something I fear about the main Siege), then that’s not really a problem.
Not everyone is going to care for a low-action book about some old reporters watching what’s happening in Siege. The heavy conservative right media analogs are probably going to put some off. Still, for those who have some inkling of a journalistic interest or are just really big Ben Urich fans (I’d think that would be a lot of overlap), you may get a kick out of this.
Overall (Not an Average) 7.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7.5/10