Saturday, June 12, 2010

S.H.I.E.L.D. #2

I love stories that make you think.

That;s one reason why I was a big fan of the (sadly concluded) TV show Lost. It had its ups and downs, but it always made you think, and challenged you to put together the pieces of the mystery and (sometimes) reach your own conclusions.

I get the same vibe from the comic S.H.I.E.L.D. - there's a lot going on here, and some big concepts seem to be in play, but it's not being spelled out (in a clear and painful way) for the reader - you have to do the work and assemble those mental puzzles on your own.

All we know so far is that S.H.I.E.L.D. is a secret organization, dating back to the times of the Pharoahs, which is dedicated to protecting humanity from the dark menaces out there - both science based and supernatural. We don't know yet if this is the same group that operates in the proper Marvel Universe, or if this story is even taking place in the M.U. (indications are that it isn't - quite).

This issue focuses on two characters - the young man Leonid (whose past and parentage seems a complete mystery, but he somehow holds the key to the future) and one of history's most fascinating people - Leonardo da Vinci, here re-imagined as a strapping science hero.

He serves as a guide to Leonid, but there are many mysteries to be uncovered, and we only get a few hints this time around.

The art by Dustin Weaver (with colors by Christina Strain) continues to be phenomenal, with amazing details and panoramas on display. The layouts are vivid and imaginative, and the characters leap off the page.

If you pick this comic up, you'll want to track down the first issue, too. But it's well worth the effort - it will challenge you to expand your thinking and it'll force you to pay attention.

So far, this is shaping up to be one of the year's best. But will the ending live up to the buildup?

Grade: A-


Bobby Nash said...

Did the one page of just dialogue with no art bug you as much as it did me?

Chuck said...

Yeah, it definitely broke up the flow of the comic - in fact, as I looked at the page I thought, "Is this the end of this issue?"

It's become Hickman's trademark, but it's not particularly effective. I know plenty of guys who don't even read the captions in comics, much less a page of text.

That's why I think the recap page leading off each Marvel issue is a waste of space (though a few comics have come up with creative ways to cover the same purpose).

If the comic needs a recap, I say put it at the end of the book and make a note of it at the beginning. Maybe I just miss splash pages opening the comic.