Seige: Embedded and Thor review(s)

Siege: Embedded

Siege: Embedded

Over the last little while, I’ve been discussing how important it is the choose the correct point-of-view for your story can change everything. How different would Nobokov’s Lolita have been had it not been from the point-of-view of Humbert Humbert, the pedophile? It would be a terribly different novel had it been from Lolita’s point-of-view, and different again had it been from her mother’s.

If only there were a concrete way to prove this… an example of what is, essentially, the same story except for point-of-view, wherein one succeeds and the other fails miserably?

On, wait. We do have that. We have Siege: Embedded by Brian Reed and Thor: Siege by Kieron Gillen.

For those who need catching up on this 2009 Marvel Comics event, Siege functions as the end-cap to the Dark Reign story-arc and features Norman Osborn going bloody-nitwit insane and manipulating Norse God Volstagg into causing a disaster just so that he can then retaliate and wage war on Asgard itself. Is it crazy? Oh hells yes. Is it good? Oh hells yes. But we’re not talking about those comics.

See, in every big Marvel event the House of Ideas milks it for all it’s worth and publishes a plethora of auxiliary titles featuring side-stories. These actually aren’t as obtrusive as they sound. They aren’t necessary to understand the main arc and often function as interesting vignettes in and of themselves.

The problem is, this time the House of Ideas apparently ran out, because both of these books tell the same story: what happened to Volstag during the Siege?

They each offer different version of the events, but do not contradict each other. Volstag is absent from the third chapter of Embedded, which is when his entire involvement in Thor takes place. But in both stories you’re viewing the main action of the Siege from afar, seeing only glimpses of the major events of the battle.

The difference? Thor’s story is from the point-of-view of the Gods, while Embedded is from the point-of-view of working-class journalist Ben Urich.

And here, of course, is where the major divide comes into play. Because if you’re going to tell the story of the people left to bear witness to the effects of a battle while remaining outside it, it should absolutely be from the point-of-view of the common man.

Ben Urich is a wonderful, hard-boiled yet hopeful investigative reporter who got his start during Frank Miller’s Daredevil run. He has remained a constant supporting character since, but recently has been given his own series of mini-series titled Front Line, of which this is a part despite not bearing the point-of-view of the common man, as reported by exceptionally driven reporters.

The Embedded storyline is the story with the stronger theme, focusing to tell the story of Ben and his cameraman friend as the last journalists willing to tell the truth, with the personality-driven Keller being analogist to shows like The O’Reilly Factor, wherein truth and balanced journalism take a backseat to ratings. Ben pounds the pavement and risks life and limb to get to Oklahoma and cover the Siege, so that the world will have a point-of-view to counter Osborn’s embedded journalists.

Thor on the other hand isn’t really about anything. it’s fractured, and rather than seeing the Siege through the chosen character’s point-of-view, we’re left just seeing the bits between the chapters of the main Siege book that Bendis didn’t include.

What else is there to say? A study in contrasts.

Siege: Embedded Siege: Embedded by Brian Reed

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“what happened to Volstag during the Siege?”

View all my reviews

Siege: ThorSiege: Thor by Kieron Gillen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“what happened to Volstag during the Siege?”

View all my reviews

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