S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 Might Be A Little Confusing To New Readers, But It’s Still Interesting
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1, written by Mark Waid and drawn by artist Carlos Pacheco, might be a little hard for casual fans to understand, but it sets up some interesting plot lines.
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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuted on television over a year ago and I’m a little surprised that it took this long for a comic to surface. In some ways, I can understand Marvel’s hesitation when it comes to a comic based on a television show that exists far outside the current comic continuity. I personally thought that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started off very weak, but after the tie in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the latter half of the first season it has been steadily improving. However, the MCU is much more streamlined compared to the sometimes very confusing comic continuity (I will refer to it as the ‘616’ from now on), so I was wondering how well these two things would mesh and if they would be confusing for new fans. The end result is a little confusing, but the comic has the foundations for something interesting.
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 follows the adventures of the breakout MCU character Agent Phil Coulson. Coulson is still just an Agent in this universe, but he is still tasked with handling some of the best and brightest that S.H.I.E.L.D. has to offer. With the help of familiar faces such as Agent Melinda May and science duo Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz Coulson, he must use S.H.I.E.L.D.’s connections to help combat world ending crises.
So perhaps it’s because I still haven’t read the last issue of Avengers and X-Men: AXIS, but I was a little confused as to what exactly is going on which is never a good thing. As I said during my AXIS review Marvel should be doing their best to help new fans into this hobby, and instead they seem to misunderstand how exactly to do that. That being said the mission that they were on was at least fairly interesting, even if I had a hard time differentiating the characters, which I suppose might not say the best things about Carlos Pacheco’s art.
I understand that they can’t make the characters look exactly like their television counterparts, but everyone was also in the same S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms which just made it even worse. That’s not to say that the art was bad, but there were so many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents running around that it was hard to pick people out of a crowd. This is one of the reasons why aesthetic design is so important in a visual medium. It’s very easy to pick Captain America or Iron Man out in a crowd because they are designed to be flashy superheros. S.H.I.E.L.D., however, by design is supposed to be in the background, which also makes their characters not very visually appealing when they are standing in a group. Pacheco is a veteran of the comics world whose work includes the New Avengers for Marvel and Final Crisis for DC Comics, so I’m hoping that the story will get the characters out of the uniforms and into their own clothing so I can tell them apart easier.
Writer Mark Waid has also done a lot of work for Marvel including the current run of Daredevil, which has been on my “I should be reading this” pile for months, and he also helped write 52 for DC Comics, which is often considered one of the best books they’ve published in recent memory. The story he sets up is interesting and his nods toward continuity, such as Fitz asking a woman if she was the new Thor, are entertaining enough. He also makes sure to emphasize that Coulson is, at his core, a complete nerd for all things superhero. He knows everything about everyone and it’s nice to see Marvel’s resident fanboy out and about in the dense world of the 616. I’m interested to see where he takes these well established characters from here.
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 might require some wikipedia research for new fans, but I’m hoping after an issue or two the series will find its footing and draw in new and old Marvel fans alike. If you’re a fan of the show S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 is worth a look.