Review by Karl Verhoven
Spoilers in review
Battlefield collects a number of one-shots issued to coincide with the Siege series in which Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers invade Asgard, then suspended above Broxborn, Oklahoma. In turn, and through different creative teams, we see how events affected Captain America, Loki, Secret Warriors, Young Avengers and Spider-Man. Most occur deep into the main Siege story.
If you’re able to take Razorfist seriously as a villain, then his battle against Captain America, both of them as it was at the time, has some tension provided by innocents endangered. Christos Gage presents an unusually indecisive Cap, and Federico Dellocchio’s art veers between appealingly delicate and strangely clumsy.
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Loki story cleverly repurposes a conversation from the main Siege storyline setting things in motion, Loki forever the tempter rather than it being Osborn’s inner voice. It’s just the lead in to a clever story about Loki prodding here and making a deal there in order to achieve what he wants. “This isn’t mischief”, he chillingly discloses at the end, “it’s mayhem”. It’s also very satisfying and the best on offer in Battlefield, with McKelvie’s art notable for imaginative layouts.
Siege’s key shocking moment was the death of Ares, which impacts on his son Phobos, one of the Secret Warriors gathered by Nick Fury. Jonathan Hickman and Alessandro Vitti’s subsequent exploration has a few nice moments, especially Fury taunting Osborn with “Asgard’s the last stop on the crazy train”, but overall fails to convince. It’s about someone who seemingly can’t be beaten no matter how overwhelming the odds, and there comes a point where it’s no longer believable.
Brian Reed and Marco Santucci give us Spider-Man vs. Venom, which of course has been seen many times before. To stand out, then, it needs something different, and beyond Ms Marvel’s involvement, something is provided that shows perhaps there are ways that Venom could be even worse. It’s a nice idea, but doesn’t really go anywhere except to the end of a page-filler.
The already ruined Asgard provides the setting for Sean McKeever and Mahmud A. Asrar’s Young Avengers story, which is high on reflection and soul searching with two pairs of team members and Speed all involved in their own situations. Perhaps it reads better to anyone caught up with the Young Avengers and their relationships, but it’s over-egged, and too melodramatic, although Asrar’s art is a little more subtle.
Only the Loki story is consistently good, but for anyone who enjoys Siege enough to want all facets, Battlefield offers some nice moments.