Good god, this is what everyone needs to look at over at Marvel and DC if they need to know how to do a tie-in to a crossover book. My god, Jeff Parker tells a fantastic story. Let us count why this is awesome:
1) It is a tie-in that advances a plot and seems as if it has some importance to the main title. I know the Spear of Odin is not going to show up in Siege 4, but that doesn't mean the books can't act like they're some important piece to the over-all story, and this plot about the Thunderbolts getting the Spear of Odin to Osborn to help him defeat the Asgardians is exactly that. You have some real tangible proof that if something bad happens in this book, then people in the main story could be in serious trouble.
2) It has The Mighty Avengers
2.5) U.S.Agent vs Scourge. you never knew you would want this fight to happen until it actually happened.
3) "You've blown my cover. That's another demerit." God bless you, Nuke.
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This, thankfully, is one of the better Bendis written tie-ins to Siege. It is not ALL flashback. In fact, the only thing the flashback sequences accomplish is to provide characterization of Cage, Jessica, Hawkeye, and Mocking Bird. I don't mind knowing how each of these respective characters feel about the Siege of Asgard and it's aftermath. Do I wish that, perhaps, there were no flashbacks? Sure. Hakeye and Mockingbird's little story could have taken place inside Asgard, but I'm just too happy over the fact this entire issue isn't ALL flashback.
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OK. First the bad. As much as I bang on Bendis for his tie ins to Siege, at least his boks help, a bit, in characterizing the major players of the event. Dan Slott's first of a 2 part tie-in doesn't really matter much in the grand scheme of Siege. Its not right to call this a tie-in and probably anyone just lookign to pick up all Siege books will be disappointed in this book.
Now, for the good. this is a book written by Dan Slott. That's instant credibility in my eyes and a sure fire guarantee of "having a hoot." As a person who started reading Avengers books with New Avengers, and neve rpicked up Mighty Avengers until Dan Slott's run, I'm happy to be reading my first Ultron story, now. The book features its daily requirements of Pym science and does enough to tangentially tie itself into the Siege event.
Now, just some general reactions to things in the book:
1) Hank Pym is straight up getting creepy with his real(er) doll mods he keeps doing to Jocasta.
2) I forgot about G.R.A.N.D.P.A.
3) Hank Pym is kinda a dick.
4) I HATE speculating on the future, but hear me out on this because I think this whole train of thought has a special pay off of insanity. So, The Wasp looks kind of like Eternity in the Underspace. I can only surmise that when Thor teleported the Wasp to underspace so she could blow up at the end of Secret Invasion, she was the new Big Bang of Underspace, and she became the Eternity of Underspace.
Now, Eternity in the Marvel U is the personification of the Universe. To recap-The Universe is actually a living biped. Now, Eternity must have been born in the big bang. There was a universe that existed before the Big Bang in the Marvel U. Galactus is its last survivor. So, Eternity, the personification of space, has a tiny Galactus floating aroud inside him eating planets. Its like a virus in the bloodstream, or a hook worm.
So, If Eternity, the embodiment of the Marvel U, has Galactus, the last survivor of the universe before the big bang, foating around inside him, then does Janet Van Dyne, the Eternity of Underspace, has a tiny Galactus floating around inside her, too, from the universe she destroyed when she blew up?
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Christos Gage keeps doing what many people find to be amazing: Give adequate page time to about several different plot threads and stories in a 22 page book. We have the New Warriors, Taskmaster, Constrictor, Diamondback, Penance, and The Hood as the books main characters and Gage utilizes what little page time each character can have to their maximum efficiency. Night Thrasher decides whose side he will be fighting on by the 2nd page. Tigra gets her chance to tear into the Hood for about 3 pages. Justice worries as only a leader can worry for about 2 pages. Penance comes around within 3 pages, Taskmaster gets his chance to shine for about 6 pages, Constrictor and Diamondback get all emotional for another 3 pages, the remainder is tied into timing the events of Siege 3: The appearance of The Hood, The Avengers attacking Osborn, and the Sentry's destruction of Asgard. There's is a LOT going on in this book and Gage deftly handles it all.
You know what this means? Its a comic that doesn't slow down. God Bless Jorge Molina for keeping the action going on the page, too. Outstanding work.
This book is a tie-in with plot hreads that are independent of main story, yet have real repercussions to the over-all tale. We're back to why I liked Thunderbolts so much and this book is another example of point 1 from that review.