SHIELD #1 (Comics Review)

Marvel’s cinematic universe has had an interesting effect on its comics in recent years. And that applies to the movies released by Marvel itself, and those by other studios who own rights to some of Marvel’s characters. One of the most noticeable of late is that Fantastic Four is facing cancellation without recourse to a republish, possibly because Disney is pushing its own properties to which it has full control. Another is that through Agents of SHIELD, we are seeing some trickle down of characters and relationships in the comics from the television/movies stuff, and one of the biggest changes of late is the new SHIELD comic, out this week.

Phil Coulson has been a mainstay of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since it kicked off back in the Bronze Age with Iron Man. Since then, the character has come a long way and has gone from being a regular old field agent to becoming the Director of SHIELD itself in Agents of SHIELD. In the comics, he is still an agent in Secret Avengers but with the new SHIELD #1, we learn that he is the supreme commander of SHIELD’s Special Ops department, giving him an unparalleled access to all the different heroes and all of SHIELD’s resources. And Mark Waid writes a damn good story that is beautifully illustrated by Carlos Pacheco and the rest of the art team.

S.H.I.E.L.D. 001

This new comic brings to the Marvel comics-verse the characters of Agents Melinda May, Leo Fitz, and Jemma Fitz, who were created for the show and have become quite the staple since their introduction, being a part of the main cast. In the new comic, we have the four of them going on a mission together to save the world from an all-out dimensional invasion even as the superheroes of all teams and non-teams gear up to hold the frontlines while Team Coulson does its job.

Mark Waid draws in on a lot of things from the show, but he keeps the story here grounded in its own continuity and its own experience without appearing to pander or copy or anything like that. I loved how he introduced Coulson from when he was a kid and then showed us a brief snapshot of how he eventually became the Supreme Commander of SHIELD Special Ops. It serves to make the reader connect to the character, and also gave him some depth beyond what we have seen before in comics, or perhaps even in the movies and the show. He’s always been a fan of superheroes and has one hell of an analytical mind, which Mark Waid is able to show off to excellent effect, thoroughly grounding the character and also establishing him as a serious and major player in the cosmic game of tag with Earth in the middle.

The ancillary characters like FitzSimmons and Agent May unfortunately don’t get to do much here, but they do support Coulson really well whenever he is on the scene. May is, of course, involved in some of Coulson’s early days with SHIELD, while the other two are newcomers relatively, and there’s some wonderful bonding between the four of them, not to mention that, once again, we have the show to thank for some of the things that happen in the issue.

This is a pretty much standalone story and I loved the twist towards the end, which kept things really interesting, and also provided with a fantastic outlet to do something else as well. Being a standalone story, and in the comics medium, Mark certainly tells a grand old story that is sure to get your heart racing.

Carlos is the penciller here with Mariano Taibo and Jason Paz on the inks, Dono Almara on the colours, and Julian Totino Tedesco on the cover. As I said above, I loved the artwork here. Mark Waid went absolutely nuts on the story, and the art team delivers handily, drawing all sorts of heroes and villains; Iron Man, Hyperion, (new) Thor, Blue Marvel, Hulk, Agent May, Maria Hill, Jemma Simmons, fire demons, storm giants, and so on. The colours are also often quite… light-hearted and bright, which just adds to the fantastic overall atmosphere of this debut issue.

A beyond-amazing start is what this is!

Rating: 9.5/10

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Posted on January 3, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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