Writer: BENDIS. Pencils: Michael Lark.
What Happened: This issue begins with Norman Osborn having a heart to heart talk with his Green Goblin mask about the fact that Asgard is still on American soil. The mask convinces Norman that he should do something to get Asgard off of earth. In order to deal with Asgard, Osborn decides to call the meeting between the Cabal, who are basically a band of super powered villains. The Cabal consists of Osborn, Loki, the Hood, Dr. Doom, and Taskmaster, who is taking the place of Namor. Doom announces that he isn't interested in doing anything about Asgard until Namor is put back on the Cabal, but Osborn refuses to entertain that. The conversation between Doom and Osborn gets more and more heated, and Osborn winds up threatening Doom with his mystery bodyguard. Doom refuses to back down, which leads to Osborn's bodyguard assaulting Doom. Loki secretly tells the Hood that he should leave, and Osborn has his bodyguard obliterate Doom. Upon investigating the charred remains of Doom, Osborn realizes that that wasn't Doom at all, but some kind of robot. The robot unleashes a swarm of robotic bugs, which begin to destroy Avengers Tower. Before Osborn, and the entire building is destroyed, the Sentry rushes to the scene and destroys the robot, ending the threat. Doom sends a coded transmission to Osborn in which Doom threatens Osborn and his son if he dares to strike back at Doom. The following day, Osborn tries to convince the president to go war with Asgard, but the president wants to start diplomatic talks with the Asgardians instead. When the president brings up the attack on Avengers Tower from the previous night, Osborn blames it on Tony Stark. Once again Osborn tries to convince the president to go forward with an attack on Asgard, but the president is steadfast in his decision to start diplomatic talks. This issue ends with Osborn and Loki deciding that they need to stage an incident in which it looks like the Asgardians are attacking the United States, so that Osborn can have his war against Asgard.
What I Thought: This was quite possibly one of the best BENDIS written comic books I've read in a long, long time! The story was sound, the dialogue was good, everything I usually complain about in a BENDIS written comic book was done perfectly here. Hell, it's almost like BENDIS didn't even write this one! I was kind of on the fence about this whole Siege storyline, but as of right now I'm actually looking forward to it! So it seems Loki's been pulling Osborn's strings since the beginning, all in an attempt to get Thor out of the way and to take the throne of Asgard for himself. See, that actually makes sense. My biggest complaint about the entire Siege storyline was the fact that I didn't think Osborn was a powerful enough villain to be behind it all, but having Loki revealed to be the puppet master makes perfect sense. Plus now you have Doom as a wild card, which is also a stroke of genius. And of course, besides all that, there's the mystery surrounding Osborn's bodyguard. If I were to take a guess right now, I would guess that Osborn's bodyguard is the Void, the Sentry's evil half. But who knows, I could be, and probably am, way off. Wow, I just spent an entire post complementing BENDIS... It must be a Christmas miracle!
Score: 9 out of 10.What do you expect when you have a room full of megalomaniacs?