Norman Osborn's political and extralegal powers give him worldwide influence over events in the Marvel Universe, but that's not enough for the former Green Goblin. He wants to extend his dominion over to other realms as well. In the December one-shot ,"Siege: The Cabal," by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Lark, Osborn makes a move to do just that. The events of the one-shot serve as a prologue to "Siege," an event that begins in January and involves a huge cast of characters from Marvel's "Avengers" titles. CBR News spoke with Bendis about the project, which marks the end of Osborn's Dark Reign and the beginning of the next major chapter of the Marvel Universe.
Bendis envisions "Siege: The Cabal" as a companion piece to the "Secret Invasion: Dark Reign" one-shot, which detailed the origins of Norman Osborn's secret criminal brain trust. "This is how the Cabal falls apart," the writer told CBR. "We knew they were going to fall apart. The only question was how were they going to fall apart?"
Bendis wants to keep much of the plot details about "Siege: The Cabal" under wraps, but the solicits for the special reveal that part of the reason the Cabal unravels is because Norman Osborn sets his sight on conquering the realm of Asgard. "I don't want to reveal too much, other than the fact that Loki has Norman's ear," Bendis said. "Loki has been working him pretty good since the beginning of 'Dark Reign.' We've seen almost all of those scenes front and center."
Further complicating the dynamic between the Cabal members is the power vacuum that was left when two of it's members, Namor and Emma Frost, quit the group. "In 'Siege: The Cabal,' Norman replaces Emma and Namor with two new members," Bendis remarked. "And he does so without the other remaining Cabal members having any say in the matter."
While one of the new members remains a secret, readers who have seen the cover to "Siege: The Cabal" know that the other is the villain known as Taskmaster. "I'm a big Taskmaster fan, and he's a Norman loyalist. He's running Camp Hammer," Bendis remarked. "If people are going to be disloyal to Norman, he's going to replace them with loyalists. That's just the way he does things."
The fallout from "Siege: The Cabal" is what kick-starts the four issue "Siege" mini-series that begins in January. "It's written by me, drawn by Olivier Copiel, and colored by Laura Marin," Bendis said. "It's the big, brand new chapter in Avengers lore. It's as big a change to the Avengers franchise as 'Avengers Disassembled' and 'New Avengers' were, and that's not hype or bull. What I like it about it is, it's a very big change to a franchise that's doing pretty well and didn't need to change anything, but the story is telling itself and we're going for it."
"Siege" is a storyline that will be huge in both scope and cast. "It stars all of the Avengers teams, the Secret Warriors and the Young Avengers. Plus we've got all of Norman's forces, as well, including the Initiative and all that entails," Bendis revealed. "This the event that brings the classic Avengers back together again. What could happen in the Marvel Universe that would get Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and everyone else to get over themselves and get back together? What would get the band back together on legitimate terms?"
"Siege" is a mini-series as well as a crossover event that will spill over into the Avengers titles, and possibly several solo titles that feature prominent Avengers as well. "There will be tie-in issues, and the 'New Avengers' and 'Dark Avengers' issues will be essential, but those issues will include a lot of fun payoffs for a lot of characters. Including characters that people have been wondering about, like Norman Osborn, the Sentry, and Ares," Bendis explained. "Just like we did in 'Secret Invasion,' we're going to flip over all our cards and show you everything. We're not going to end 'Dark Reign' and leave you wondering, 'What happened to that guy? And what happened to this guy?' We're going to turn everything over. I think people were satisfied by the way we did that in 'Secret Invasion.' As a fan, it's what I like to see. And that's definitely what we're going to do."
Bendis is excited to usher in the next chapter of the Avengers franchise with "Siege," but he's just as excited to be working again with his "House of M" collaborator, Olivier Copiel. "I love him. I think we've done amazing work together, and I think he's done amazing work on 'Thor,'" Bendis remarked. "Since 'House of M,' we've been dying to work together again. And, as the years went by, and 'House of M 'kept selling, our determination to collaborate again grew."
In addition to a story that's immense in scope, with an A-List artist, "Siege" readers will also get some extra features as well. "There's going to be some special back matter material that I'm helping to produce in the back of the 'Siege' issues, as well as the tie-in issues of the Avengers titles," Bendis revealed. "So, the issues are going to be packed. They'll have back-up stories, text pieces, or whatever is appropriate to accentuate what's going on in the book itself. It's going to be a hell of a package."
When "Siege" hits stores in January, it will bring the curtain down on Marvel's long running "Dark Reign" storyline while also serving as a bookend to some of Bendis's early Avengers related work like "Avengers: Disassembled" and "Secret War." "'Siege' has been in the works since about 'Avengers: Disassembled.' When it would happen and where was up for grabs, though," Bendis said. "There was some discussion about whether it would happen before or after 'Secret Invasion,' but once 'Dark Reign' was set, Joe Quesada and everybody else said, 'Hold off on 'Siege.' 'Dark Reign' needs to be a part of it.' So 'Siege' needed to fit with the way Marvel is right now. We knew that after 'Dark Reign' we'd be headed towards a different Marvel Universe, and 'Siege' is the beginning of that."
ROBOT 6 has video of a trailer for "Siege" here. | Tuesday afternoon, CBR will publish a video interview with Bendis talking all things "Siege"