Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Filipe Andrade
Colours by Rachelle Rosenberg
Double page spreads by Andrade and Rosenberg; James Stokoe; Jorge Coelho
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by W. Scott Forbes
Edited by Jake Thomas
Published by Marvel Comics
Months before Secret Wars started, I was terrified of this event. I loved my 616 universe, flaws and all, and I didn’t want it to change. But as the creative teams got matched up for more and more interesting titles with even more interesting superhero teams, I quickly changed my tune and soon, almost my whole pull list was made up of Secret Wars tie-ins. Siege by Kieron Gillen and Filipe Andrade was one of the titles I looked forward to most this month and I’m really glad the first issue managed to live up to my own expectations. Battleworld is a mash-up of all the fun different events and what-if universes that I had grown to love and seeing it all get fleshed out with titles like Siege makes me kind of wish we had more time with the Battleworld landscape (as much as I roll my eyes at the whole idea of god emperor Doom.)
Unlike the original event this comic was named after, Siege isn’t about an attack on Asgard, instead it takes place on the edges of Battleworld with the shield maidens and hel hunters of the Shield guarding the rest of their planet against the hordes of undead beyond the wall. Yes, it does feel like I just described Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones but instead of Jon Snow, we get Abigail Brand at the helm and she’s fracking awesome. 616 fans might recognize her as the head of S.W.O.R.D. but here she’s head shield maiden at the wall, taking Fury’s place. She’s dedicated, hardened, and weary but still manages to get up and out of bed to lead a mission that seems entirely hopeless.
While we do get a little bit of an intro into how Abigail Brand got serve on the wall, it still feels like we’re dropped into the middle of the action and there are several gaps in the story. However, that’s not to say that it’s not an interesting read, even if we don’t know everything. It’s a delicate balance that I appreciate in solid first issues where you’re given an introduction and enough intrigue but you’re not given too much information that it turns you off of reading it.
Gillen’s writing really gives a depth and weight to the story that gets you invested in these characters despite not knowing too much about the circumstances of how they got there. Each of the characters has his or her own moment, however short it is, to let us know exactly who they are and what they mean to the dynamic of this team. I’m a little sad that we didn’t get more moments with some of the characters *cough Ms. America Chavez* but overall, I really did enjoy the pacing in this issue. The dialogue between the characters work incredibly well too and you get an idea of how they feel about their mission and what they can do about their situation on the wall. Some want to be proactive, others just want to protect the wall until their inevitable end. Despite the status quo being “We can’t win, we can only survive,” you get the idea that something will happen that will change it and I’m really excited to see how it all turns out.
I’ll have to admit, the art by Filipe Andrade takes a little getting used to, as I wasn’t the biggest fan when he was on Kelly Sue DeConnick’s first Captain Marvel run. However, in a book that takes place on the edges of all civilizations on Battleworld, Andrade’s stylized art is a perfect fit. Rosenberg’s colours make for an incredible accompaniment to Andrade’s style and the first double page spread is jaw-dropping (reminds me a little of that incredibly cinematic spread in the first issue of Descender).
Verdict: BUY. Despite not being totally sold on the art, the colours and scope of the issue really hooked me in and the characters themselves have me fully invested story-wise.