It took me just a couple of very intensive reading hours to get through Siege. I had read some of Brian Michael Bendis' work before, as Powers, House of M and Civil War but this time he hit the spot. I couldn't stop reading until I reached the end and I would have continued all night long if there was more.
"The Marvel Universe is under the control of its greatest villains. Norman Osborn - the man previously known to the world as the Green Goblin - is the commander of H.A.M.M.E.R., the international peacekeeping force." This part of the story starts with Siege: The Cabal, where the reader is shown Osborn's madness is again overwhelming him. As he goes paranoid and while, after losing Namor and Emma Frost's support, Doom leaves the cabal and actually attacks him, Norman is seen falling prey to Loki's mischief. Afterwards the book collects Siege #1-4, where the attack on Asgard actually happens and comes to a somewhat surprising and close to apocalyptic end.
Siege is a very interesting story from the beginning, having its roots in the latest big Marvel events, probably better noticed by those following the cabal and also Thor, told just at the right pace to make the reader feel excited but not like jumping pages to the end. It's easily understood by anyone that knows what's generally been happening in the Marvel Universe. The war on Asgard allows the author to bring a lot of heroes and villains into play and still be able to peek into their personal troubles, their personality, so that by the end of this event, everything could change or just come back to normal, and all would be fairly within limits of credibility.
As Osborn's, the full power of H.A.M.M.E.R. and the initiative are attacking Asgard, Steve Rogers gets the true Avengers into play, joined by Fury's Secret Warriors and later by a still recovering Iron Man into play. They manage to beat the attacking forces and disable the Iron Patriot armour but there is still one force to contend with - the "also" mentally unstable Sentry. Finally losing all control, Robert Reynolds fully unleashes the Void after destroying Asgard and becomes a danger to the whole world. When even the might of Thor's lightning and the heroes empowered by the Norn stones seem unable to stop him, Iron Man remotely crashes the H.A.M.M.E.R. helicarrier on him making him revert to human form. Reynolds begs the heroes to kill him and when they notice he is again losing control over the Void, Thor does just that and burns his body on the sun. In this single event, Thor has shown the extent of his determination, Loki demonstrated that even he cares for Asgard's existence over his own plans, Iron Man and Steve Rogers made heroic comebacks and in the end, friendships seem renewed.
NO MORE SPOILERS
The Siege of Asgard, together with the X-men's Utopia stories, reset the Marvel Universe, preparing it for a Heroic Age, which seems to want to prove that after all the trouble, through the Civil War and the Secret Invasion, the superheroes can still find their old places in the world, as recognized defenders but also as friends with hopes of happiness. But any Marvel reader knows this will not be the end of the story, that problems will keep coming and the cycle will begin again, so all I can ask of the writers is that they do so in style, with the quality that Brian Michael Bendis showed in Siege. I must also make due reference to the amazing illustrations, penciled by Olivier Coipel or, in The Cabal, by Michael Lark. If not a masterpiece, in level with what can be done with separate, more independent graphic novels as Maus, Persepolis, Watchmen or even Sandman are considered (I still have to read some of those), I believe Siege is as good a novel as I've ever seen given its context.
I recommend Siege for all of Marvel's usual readers as I believe only those with enough knowledge of the current state of affairs in the Marvel Universe and of most of the characters can enjoy all that this graphic novel has to offer.