I hit Midtown Comics on New Year’s Day to catch the 20% off sale, and the first thing I saw when I hit the racks was a seemingly endless stream of variant covers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1. There were at least twenty copies featuring all the big names from the Marvel Universe. At the time I figured the slew of covers were a marketing blitz, but once I read the issue, it became obvious that there were so many variants because practically everyone from the Marvel Universe appears in this book. I know I’m given to hyperbole, but that really isn’t an exaggeration. Seriously, everyone from the Avengers to the Fantastic Four to heroes I didn’t even know about given my lack of Marvel depth. They’re all here.
Without dropping too many spoilers, the story revolves around everyone’s favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Phil Coulson, and how his childhood obsession with super heroes evolved into a unique ability to analyze their skills and combine them in different teams to fight an unknown threat. This means that the comic is essentially an epic battle sequence featuring almost every superhero known to man is in this story, but at its heart the story isn’t about them, it’s about Coulson. It’s just Coulson’s story starting out in the most cinematic way possible. And considering they introduced us to him in the MCU, I think that’s fitting. Yeah, maybe it’s a little thin on plot other than “how are they going to get out of this one?” but it’s fun and definitely opens the series with a bang.
The artwork is as colorful and epic as one would expect (complete with a couple of two-page spreads), and if the S.H.I.E.L.D. team doesn’t look exactly like they do on TV in every panel, I’m willing to go with it. Fans of the TV show should know that so far there isn’t a lot of tie-in with the series—no mention of Hydra, Fitz doesn’t appear to be suffering from any brain injuries, and Maria Hill is the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. rather than Coulson. It’s definitely the comic universe rather than the TV ‘verse, but I’m willing to go with that, too. We’ve got a convincing set up for the rest of the story arc, I am loving Fitz’s quest for a helper monkey (especially in the Joe Quesada short strip at the end), and it looks like issue #2 is going to feature my favorite teenage superhero, Kamala Khan herself. It’s a good way to start and I’m giving it 4 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Carlos Pacheco
Inkers: Mariano Taibo & Jason Paz
Colorist: Dono Almara
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Fitz & H.E.N.R.Y Strip: Joe Quesada
Release Date: December 31, 2014